Catalina Island in May

Catalina Island in May

The beautiful island of Catalina offers a Mediterranean escape with palm-fringed beaches, coastal trails, charming villages, and endless sunshine. As Catalina’s popularity grows, May is an ideal time to visit and take advantage of the island’s famously pleasant spring weather before peak summertime crowds arrive.

We will cover everything you need to know about visiting Catalina Island in May, including average temperatures, rainfall, water temperature, wind, and humidity. Read on for tips on the best times to visit, what to pack, and frequently asked questions about experiencing Catalina in May.

May Weather On Catalina Island

May marks the beginning of Catalina’s dry season, with comfortable daytime temperatures in the 60s-70s°F, cooler nights, and the least rainfall compared to winter and spring. The island sees more sunshine in May than January-March, with 13-14 hours of daylight, but not as much as in the summer.

As the shoulder season before peak visitation, May offers mild weather that is ideal for Catalina’s scenic outdoor pursuits like kayaking, hiking, and snorkeling with smaller crowds and lower accommodation rates before summer pricing.

Average Temperature On Catalina Island In May

The average high temperature on Catalina Island in May is 62°F (16.6°C), with highs of  69°F(20.5°C), while average lows dip down to around 56°F(13.3°C) overnight. However, with Catalina’s microclimates, temperatures can fluctuate across different island areas, like Avalon Town versus Two Harbors. The ocean helps regulate temperatures from getting too extreme.

Average Temperature On Catalina Island In May

Pack layers of light clothing like shorts, t-shirts, long sleeves, pants, and dresses that can be added or removed as needed. A light jacket or sweater is advised for evenings. Ocean winds can make shoreline areas feel cooler, especially in the late afternoon, so have an extra layer on hand.

How Sunny Is It On Catalina Island In May?

May continues Catalina’s sunniest stretch of the year, which began in April. The island sees an average of 276 hours of bright sunshine over the month. Skies stay mainly clear and sunny, with almost 14 hours of daylight. Cloudy days are infrequent.

How Sunny Is It On Catalina Island In May

These long sunny days mean prime tanning and beach conditions. Pack sunglasses, hats, and high-SPF sunscreen when sightseeing or enjoying the shoreline to protect against UV exposure. Seeking afternoon shade is advised to avoid sunburns and dehydration.

Does It Rain In May?

As Catalina enters its dry season, rain becomes unlikely in May, with just a 1-4% average chance of precipitation on any given day. Compared to the winter rainy season, May only averages 0.1-0.3 inches of rainfall over the entire month if any rain falls. Showers tend to be very brief.

Does It Rain In May

While umbrellas are less necessary, a foldable poncho can provide insurance in case of the occasional passing spring shower. However, beach plans are unlikely to get rained out, as extended storms are rare.

How Humid Is Catalina Island In May?

The ocean breezes and lack of rainfall in May keep Catalina’s air feeling dry. The average humidity comfort level is 0%, which is on the lower end of the scale. The warm but not muggy air contributes to the pleasant island conditions. However, moisturizer and hydration are still recommended.

How Humid Is Catalina Island In May

If feeling sticky, jumping in the ocean for a swim can instantly cool down. At an average of 62°F, the ocean is approaching its warmest temperatures in May, though wetsuits are still advised for prolonged swimming or water sports. The low May humidity keeps Catalina comfortable both day and night.

How Windy Is Catalina Island In May?

May is Catalina’s second windiest month, with average wind speeds of around 8.8 miles per hour. The island’s exposed position in the Pacific leads to consistent breezes, with the strongest gusts in the afternoons.

How Windy Is Catalina Island In May

The winds help counteract the warmer May air and rarely reach disruptive levels. However, you may need to hold onto hats. Seek sheltered coves if the winds become bothersome for boating or other water recreation. Trees and buildings buffer winds in Avalon and Two Harbors.

Is The Water Warm In May?

As spring transitions into summer, the ocean temperature off Catalina gradually warms up. May averages sea surface temperatures around 62°F, reaching up to 69°F by month’s end. This is the warmest it gets before the summer spike in June-August.

Is The Water Warm In May

May offers water lovers the best balance of warmer yet still cool and refreshing ocean conditions. A wetsuit is recommended, but the water won’t be frigid enough for a brief swim. Snorkeling, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding become even more enjoyable pursuits.

Still have questions? Check out these answers to some commonly asked questions. 

Is May a good time to go to Catalina Island?

Yes, May is an excellent time to visit Catalina! The weather is sunnier than spring but cooler than summer. Crowds are smaller, and prices are lower. Days are long to maximize activities.

What are the best times of the year to go to Catalina Island?

The weather is nearly perfect year-round, but May, June, September, and October are ideal, with sunny skies, moderate temperatures in the 70s, and smaller tourist crowds. Summer brings heat, humidity, and peak rates.

Can you swim on Catalina Island?

Yes, though wetsuits are advised as water hovers around 62°F. For brief swimming and water sports, most can endure the cool water. As May progresses, the ocean gradually warms up, reaching 69°F.

Is Catalina Island expensive?

Yes, Catalina Island is generally more expensive than the mainland due to the added costs of transporting goods there. Lodging, dining, activities/tours, and shopping all come at premium island prices. However, discounts are offered in shoulder seasons.

Is it worth going to Catalina Island?

Catalina is considered a top Southern California destination. Its picturesque villages, beaches, hiking, wildlife, and abundant activities make for an idyllic weekend or vacation escape from the mainland.

What is the off-season for Catalina Island?

The winter months from November through March are Catalina’s off-season, with fewer tourists, discounted hotel rates, and more availability. However, the weather can be chillier and rainier.

Can you swim from LA to Catalina?

It is possible but extremely challenging due to currents, shipping lanes, and water temperatures. Only highly experienced endurance swimmers attempt the over 20-mile open ocean crossing. Most people reach Catalina by ferry or boat.

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