Santa Catalina Island, CA, USA

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Santa Catalina Island, CA, USA

Santa Catalina Island vacation rentals

Soak up the sun on Santa Catalina Island

Enjoy a sun-soaked getaway at Santa Catalina Island, one of California's postcard-perfect Channel Islands. A world-renowned playground where almost 80 percent of the 75 square miles are devoted to all things nature, opportunities abound for activities such as hiking, biking and wildlife watching. The island's main town of Avalon, where you'll find most Santa Catalina Island vacation rentals, provides a change of pace for those travelers who are content to soak up the sun on the palm tree-lined Descanso Beach or squeeze a little culture into their stay at the town's iconic art deco casino.

Explore Santa Catalina Island your way

Once you've arrived on the island, by ferry or helicopter, an array of outdoor adventures awaits. On land, hiking and biking are prevalent, although a hummer tour can be an interesting way to learn about the area while soaking up the scenery, including not-to-be-missed views of Avalon Harbor. Thrill seekers can get a bird's eye view of the landscape on the Zip Line Eco Tour, while for those who can't wait to be in the crystal-clear waters, kayaking tours along the coast are difficult to beat. Pack your snorkeling gear for a close-up look at the area's orange garibaldi fish.

Get your culture fix on Santa Catalina Island

While the star of the island's show may well be the breathtaking surroundings, there's plenty of ways to add a little variety to your vacation. If a culture fix is on the agenda, the Catalina Island Casino certainly delivers. Despite its name, there's no gambling here Ñ its title is simply the Italian way of saying gathering place. This imposing circular landmark Ñ the brainchild of chewing gum tycoon William Wrigley - hosts nightly movies in the Avalon Theatre, as well as swanky events in its magnificent ballroom. Elsewhere, the Catalina Island Museum proudly displays artifacts from the island's celebrity-filled past.

Escape to Santa Catalina Island all year round

A moderate Mediterranean climate, with just 10 degrees variation between the summer and winter highs, means that an escape to a Santa Catalina Island vacation rental is an option all year round. The high season takes place between June and October but, perhaps unsurprisingly, the biggest crowds on the island often appear in the peak of summer. If you prefer a little more elbow room, and perhaps a more attractive rate for your rental, it can pay to look at what's available between November and May, particularly if your schedule allows for a weekday break.

Meet the wilder inhabitants of Santa Catalina Island

A stay in a Santa Catalina Island vacation rental means different things to different people, but if you're even the slightest bit interested in wildlife, you won't be disappointed here. Everything from Anna's hummingbirds to white-throated swifts can be seen in the skies above the island, while the surrounding waters offer an idyllic playground for California sea lions and northern elephant seals. That said, top billing on the wildlife front goes to the island's very own herd of American bison _ the descendants of a group of 14 bison brought to the island for a film shoot in the 1920s.