Although Catalina Island affords plenty of comfortable accommodations across the island, from Avalon to the Two Harbors, many visitors seek out Catalina’s many camp grounds to enjoy the island’s natural beauty and wilderness up close and personal. Catalina Island offers a variety of camping options for a variety of tastes. Camp grounds range from locations near Avalon to high into the interior-only reachable by boat or hiking. With the island being far enough from the southern California coastline and overall very lightly occupied, camping on Catalina Island gives way to spectacular views of the stars in the night sky and natural wildlife, including the roaming buffalo that at times come through or near the camp sites.
The Hermit Gulch camp ground is perhaps the best campsite for those that are either beginners as campers and or who are looking to have one foot in the wild and another close to civilization. The Hermit Gulch grounds are in Avalon and is the only site in town. The Hermit Gulch campground is on Avalong Canyon Road about 1/2 of a mile before the road ends in the Catalina Interior at the Wrigley Botanical garden. During the day there is heavy traffic on this road and the walk down into Avalon is about 10 minutes. The campground does not have views of the ocean however the foliage covered steep peaks of the Catalina Interior are all around. The campsite offers a BBQ and picnic area as well as fresh water showers and bathrooms.
Little Harbor campground is located in the Two Harbors area. The site consist of 23 campsites that include eight group areas. As this site is near Two Harbors campers can rent equipment from the Two Harbors Dive and recreation center. Accessories include volleyballs, tennis raquets (free tennis courts nearby) and beach lounges and umbrellas. This campsite is equipped with full sanitation facilities that include showers, flush toilets as well as BBQ sites and picnic tables.
Two Harbors campsite is1/2 of a mile outside of the small village of Two Harbors (see more on the Two Harbors page). The site include 42 individual sights and 3 camping areas. The site is equipped with restrooms, showers, chemical flush toilets and full picnic and BBQ areas.
Parson’s landing is located approximately 7 miles west of Two Harbors. Although this site is equipped with toilets and BBQ areas that include picnic tables, it is one of the more secluded areas on the island. The Parson’s landing site holds eight campsites that accommodate six people each. As part of your fees to camp at this site rangers add 2.5 gallons of water and firewood (which your are responsible for brining to the site itself). Access to the site is moderately difficult as it includes a steep climb, alternative methods include kayaking to the site.
The Black Jack camping site is located at the top of Catalina’s Mt. Orizaba. This site is in a remote area and is only reachable by hiking, taking the Avalon Shuttle or jumping off the Safari bus as it passes through. The trail from Avalon to this campsite is 9 miles long with the final 1.5 miles being a moderate to difficult climb. The sit itself enjoys 360 views of the Pacific Ocean and all of Catalina Island. The site is equipped with showers, flush toilets, BBQ and picnic areas.
Boat In Camp Grounds
For those looking to truly rough it and be in total touch with nature is an area of the island of called “boat in camp grounds”. These are 17 pre determined campsites around 9 locations around the island only accessible by boat or kayak. When we say “predetermined” we mean areas that provide land that are conducive to setting up a tent or laying down a sleeping bag. Otherwise campers must bring their own portable latrines and equipment. In addition fires are not allowed at any of these sites so cooking must be done on either a self contained camp stove or BBQ. There are no sanitation facilities at these sites. Rangers go through daily to check on each of these sites. The Catalina Conservancy provides maps from its office in Avalon of where these sites are located.