It’s the time of year when we can gather with family for a traditional turkey dinner, have a little pumpkin pie, and then spend the rest of the weekend lounging around on the sofa in a food-induced coma.
Maybe this is the year you break from tradition and try something new. We don’t mean serving ham instead of turkey or watching golf instead of football. Instead, think about getting off the sofa, taking advantage of your four-day weekend, and taking off for a fun family Thanksgiving outing on Catalina Island.
Yes. Catalina is open for Thanksgiving. In fact, it’s one of the best times to visit the island. The summer crowds are gone, the weather’s pleasant, and the clean, clear island air is filled with a relaxed holiday vibe. So you might be wondering, “What’s there to do on Catalina in November?” In a word: plenty.
GETTING THERE IS HALF THE FUN
The fun begins before you even get to the island. The kids will love going up top on the ferry ride over to watch for dolphins and humpback whales, which start their migration south in November. Before you know it, colorful hillside homes and the iconic Casino will appear on the horizon as you approach the scenic harbor town of Avalon.
FIND YOUR ADVENTURE
Why not make it a Thanksgiving you’ll never forget by taking off for two hours of high-flying excitement on Catalina’s top-rated Zip Line Eco Tour. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind adventure, where you zigzag across Descanso Canyon, 600 feet above towering eucalyptus trees, on five separate lines at speeds up to 35 mph. The views are amazing.
If you’re feeling energetic, go for a hike in the hills and take in amazing views of the harbor. Or enjoy Catalina’s natural beauty by climbing aboard an open-air biofuel Hummer for a Bison Expedition. Play a round of mini golf at Golf Gardens. Known for its unique par-54 layout, this challenging course will keep the whole family entertained for hours.
Curious about the island’s history? Venture into the island’s interior on the brand new Explore El Rancho Escondido tour to learn about the history of the “hidden ranch” with its sustainable vineyard, Saddle & Trophy Room and The Bishop’s Chapel. Or take a scenic stroll along the waterfront to the iconic Casino for a walking tour of Avalon’s 90-year-old Art Deco beacon.
If you’re into the ocean, the waters around Catalina Island are famous worldwide for their clarity and diversity of marine life. The best way to explore the wonders below the surface is aboard the Undersea Expedition on a journey of discovery through Lover’s Cove Marine Preserve.
When it’s time for relaxation, put a drink in your hand and your feet in the sand at Descanso Beach Club. It's home to Catalina's only beachside restaurant and bar and one of the last private beaches in California open to the public. Spend your time enjoying signature food and drinks at your private cabana, chaise lounge, beach towel or ocean-view table. Kick back and enjoy the warm sun, cool breeze and beautiful ocean views on your own slice of Descanso paradise.
GATHER AROUND THE TABLE
Enjoy a special Thanksgiving dinner in Avalon or Two Harbors!
Avalon Grille in Avalon will host a Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, November 23. View the menu online. Make special family memories with a menu of chef-inspired dishes for a unique dining experience only steps from Avalon Bay.
Harbor Reef Restaurant in Two Harbors will host a Thanksgiving holiday buffet on Thursday, November 23 from 2-7PM. View the menu online. There will be a special Cyclone schedule departing Avalon at 1:15 or 4:30 pm and returning from Two Harbors at 3:30 or 7 pm or you can catch a direct ferry from the mainland. Explore the more rustic village on the island’s west end for an entirely different style of getaway.
COME FOR THE DAY - OR STAY AND PLAY
There’s so much to see and do on Catalina Island, you might consider extending your getaway with our Best of Winter package including transportation on Catalina Express and accommodations at Hotel Atwater, Pavilion Hotel, Mt Ada or Banning House Lodge. Discover Catalina with your family this Thanksgiving. VisitCatalinaIsland.com for details or call 877.778.8322.
Find your slice of island paradise with Catalina Island Camping. We offer campgrounds in Avalon, Two Harbors and remote parts of Catalina Island including boat-in camping sites. If you’d like to get back to nature, but don’t care to bring your gear, we offer Tent Cabins in both Avalon and Two Harbors (in addition to regular tent sites). View more Catalina Island Camping or call or call 310.510.4205.
Explore the west end with mooring and anchorage options to help you make the most of your Catalina Island boating adventure.