Disclosure: We received complimentary hotel accommodations, some meals, tours and transportation while visiting Catalina Island. However all opinions expressed here are our own.
Traveling with older kids is not easy. They are not easily impressed and can be a little high maintenance. We just recently visit the beautiful Catalina Island off the coast of SoCal and we had a great time with our son. The main reason he had such a great time is because there are plenty of things for older kids to do. Here are mine (and my son's) favorites.
Getting to Catalina Island is very easy. Catalina Island is located just 22 miles off the coast of Southern California. You can be on the island in just one hour by boat via Catalina Express. The Catalina express takes daily rides to Catalina Island from San Pedro, Long Beach and Dana Point. Planning a staycation at Catalina Island to enjoy with your teen or older kids is a fun thing to do. It is easy to find cool things your kids will enjoy.
When you get to Catalina Island you can walk to your hotel. Pack light and maybe take a suitecase with wheels so it is easy to carry it. Everything is walking distance. 10 minutes walking while you start looking for restaurants, ice cream shops and even tours to take and then you can check in at your hotel.
Here are my son's 6 favorite things to do at Catalina Island:
1. Take a tour
There are plenty of tours to choose from. We took the Skyline Drive tour: This exciting, narrated journey along the scenic “Skyline Drive” takes you ten miles into Santa Catalina Island’s protected wilderness area on a 1950’s Flxible Bus. Along the trip you’ll see spectacular vistas, deep canyons, quiet coves and an endless blue ocean. Keep your eyes open for the island’s largest inhabitant, buffalo, before you visit the Catalina Nature Center at the Airport in the Sky. The airport’s DC-3 Grill offers a quick bite and famous “killer cookies.”
2. Play mini-golf
It is a fun activity that kids of all ages can enjoy, but for sure your teen will have fun on this golf course due to its challenging course.
Catalina Island’s Golf Gardens is the ideal spot for an afternoon of family fun. This unique 18 hole course has been a much-loved fixture on the island for nearly 40 years. Golf Gardens is known in mini-golf circles as one of the world’s most beautiful and challenging courses. The classic styling and award-winning layout make for an unforgettable experience that will be a highlight of your stay on Catalina Island.
3. Visit the candy stores and ice cream parlors
Nothing like having a sweet after lunch or just a treat in the middle of the afternoon. So many choices to choose from. Different ice cream flavors and very delicious treats including taffy and caramel apples.
Lloyd's of Avalon is the home of the World Famous Lloyd’s salt water taffy made in the window. Fabulous caramel apples, chocolates & goodies homemade here! Fresh baked cinnamon rolls, sweets & other yummy treats.
For more information please read details at Lloyd’s of Avalon Confectionery
4. Go Ziplining
We love the adrenaline rush, we love adventures at high. Ziplining at Catalina Island will be one of your teen's favorite adventures.
Propel down 5 separate zip lines dropping from 600 feet above sea level with one run that is 1,100 lineal feet long all on its own. You will travel close to three quarters of a mile over five consecutive zip lines at heights of 300 feet above the canyon floor at speeds up to 30 mph.
After shuttling to the top of the course, high in the hills near Avalon and descending through Descanso Canyon, you will pause at several eco-stations along the way before continuing on your journey. At each station, your hosts will give you a presentation on some of the unique and interesting aspects of Catalina Island, its wildlife, history, and the areas you are passing through.
5. Explore Avalon in a Golf Cart
A golf cart is the best way to see Catalina, since the use of cars is severely restricted. They're also a lot of fun! The easy to operate carts offer four-to-six passenger seating, and will whisk you and your family or friends around town and into the hills overlooking Avalon, where you'll see amazing views of the coast and town. The scenic tour signs mark the way so you will not get lost. Have your camera ready because you want to take pictures of the amazing ocean views.
For more information please read details at Catalina Island Gold Cart Rentals
6. Go rock climbing
Climb 32 feet high alongside beautiful trees and gorgeous ocean views. The Catalina Climbing Wall offers 8 color coded climbing routes available for every level of experience, beginner to advanced. Start easy and see how far you can go. Challenge yourself or race your friends. High tech auto-belays manage each line during ascent and lowers climbers safely and slowly to the ground afterwards.
As you can see there are so many activities that older kids can enjoy in Catalina Island. If your kids enjoy water sports, they can also go to Descanso beach and go kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, snorkeling, swimming, fishing and even parasailing.
What would be your kid's favorite?