Beaches In Catalina Island 

beaches in catalina island

With its coves, sandy stretches, and crystal-clear waters, Catalina Island is a beach lover’s paradise. From secluded escapes to family-friendly shores, Catalina beaches have something special for everyone.

In this guide to the island’s finest beaches, we’ll cover all the best spots to soak up the sun and sea air in Catalina. Pack your swimsuit, grab your towel, and let’s hit the sand!

Best Catalina Island Beaches

beaches in catalina island

Catalina Island has stunning beaches and secluded coves waiting to be discovered. From the golden shores of Avalon to remote secreted spots like Starlight Beach, the island offers over a dozen breathtaking beaches.

The beaches come in all shapes and sizes. Some offer convenience, like Descanso Beach, right in the heart of Avalon. Others require adventure to access their untouched sands, such as Ben Weston Beach.

Here are the island’s most spectacular shores.

Best Catalina Island Beaches in Avalon

As the island’s main town, Avalon has the largest selection of Catalina beaches. These convenient beaches are right on the edge of the village, putting you just steps from shops, restaurants, and entertainment.

Descanso Beach Club

Arguably Avalon’s most famous and lively private beach, Descanso Beach offers fun facilities and prime views of the Casino building. Rent a beach bed or cabana, play volleyball, or take a kayak out. The snack bar with lounge chairs serves up cold drinks, burgers, ice cream, and more beach treats.

beaches in catalina island

South Beach

Just south of Descanso near the green pleasure pier, South Beach has beautiful calm waters that are excellent for swimming and snorkeling. Spend a relaxed day swimming around Garibaldi Fish and other local marine life. Beach walkways and the Green Pleasure Pier make access very easy.

Middle Beach

Middle Beach is another centrally-located option in downtown Avalon. The white sand beach slopes gently into the sea, creating safe swimming conditions. Middle Beach tends to be less crowded than its northern counterparts.

Step Beach

Tucked beneath the cliffs on Avalon’s Crescent Ave, dainty Step Beach feels like a local secret escape. Access the sand via a staircase punctuated with bright bougainvillea blooms. Due to its small size, Step Beach is better for sunbathing than swimming.

Other Beaches on Santa Catalina Island

In addition to the Avalon beaches, Catalina has dozens more exquisite beaches and coastal spots waiting to be discovered.

Crescent Beach

Just north of Avalon lies the peaceful crescent-shaped beach that gives Crescent Beach its name. The calm cove is fringed by pepper trees providing shade. Enjoy fantastic snorkeling, surfing, and kayaking in the protected waters.

beaches in catalina island

Hamilton Cove

On the northeast shore, Hamilton Cove stuns with dazzling white sand and translucent turquoise waters. Entry is restricted to resort guests, so book a night at the Hamilton Cove villas if you want access to this world-class beach.

Little Harbor Beach & Shark Harbor Beach

Along the western coast, adjacent Little Harbor and Shark Harbor beaches both impress with their remoteness and innate beauty. Little Harbor Sands has a small secluded cove, while Shark Harbor is better for beachcombing and whale watching.

Two Harbors Beach

Two Harbors Village has its own sweeping crescent beach overlooking Isthmus Cove. With few crowds and plenty of shoreline, Two Harbors Beach makes a peaceful escape. Take a stroll at sunset, then enjoy beachfront dining at The Banning House Lodge.

beaches in catalina island

Lovers Cove

Southwest of Avalon, Lovers Cove seduces visitors with its secluded romantic vibes. Accessible via golf carts, this rocky gem has a quirky changing area built into the cliffside. Bring snorkel gear to explore the Garibaldi-filled waters.

Parsons Landing Beach

On Catalina’s northeastern shore, Parsons Landing Beach is only accessible by boat. Chartering a ferry or water shuttle to reach this unspoiled white sand beach is well worth it. Sunbathe, snorkel, and soak up the isolation.

Starlight Beach

Starlight Beach brings a taste of Hawaii to Catalina with its sparkling sand. Accessible only by boat like Parsons, you’ll want to spend all day on this hidden gem. Nestled between steep cliffs, the dreamy beach has unbelievable snorkeling.

Ben Weston Beach

Named after a legendary buffalo runner, this rugged northern beach takes some effort to reach. Making the adventurous hike down the steep slopes rewards you with desert-island vibes and fantastic kayaking opportunities.

Howlands Landing

On the quiet western shore, Howlands Landing charms with its peaceful atmosphere. Reachable by Golf Cart or on foot, it’s perfect for swimming and beachcombing. Spot the herd of American Bison that roam Catalina’s interior from this quiet beach.

Ready to Visit Catalina Island?

With such diversity, beauty, and seclusion, Catalina Island’s beaches continually impress. Whether you’re looking for family-friendly conveniences or remote undiscovered havens, Catalina has a beach for your style.

Exploring several of these dreamy beaches is one of the ultimate highlights of visiting this Californian island escape. With swaying palms, sugar-soft sand, and the gentle lap of waves, Catalina Island’s pebbly beaches continuously charm visitors.

Spend your days soaking up the laidback island vibes on these shores.

Does Catalina Island have good beaches?

Yes, Catalina has many stunning beaches! From Avalon’s Descanso Beach to the remote paradise of Starlight Beach, Catalina is packed with gorgeous beaches. The island’s picturesque coves and bays provide beach lovers with plenty of options.

Can you swim at the beach in Catalina Island?

Most of Catalina’s beaches allow swimming and have calm, clear waters perfect for it. Some exceptions are smaller coves like Step Beach that don’t accommodate swimming. Favorites like Lovers Cove, Two Harbors, and Parsons Landing are ideal for swimming and snorkeling.

Does Catalina Island have clear water?

Yes, Catalina is known for its exceptionally clear waters thanks to the island’s location and minimal runoff. Many coves, like Lovers Cove and Parsons Landing, have visibility up to 70 feet, allowing excellent underwater viewing while snorkeling and scuba diving.

How far is Catalina Island from the beach?

Catalina is the beach! Situated just off the coast of Southern California, the island is surrounded by dozens of beautiful beaches along its rocky shoreline. No matter where you stay, you’ll be just a short walk or golf cart ride away from a stunning Catalina beach.

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