12 Best Beaches in Catalina Island, CA

Nothing beats lazing in the sun with the cool refreshing waves of the ocean wind touching your sun-kissed skin.

And if you’ve ever heard Bruce Belland of the Four Preps’ song 26 Miles about Catalina Island, you’re already aware of this tropical island’s world-renowned beauty.


The multi-faceted beauty of Catalina Island and California beaches will leave you speechless throughout your visit, from clear blue waters to oddly sculpted rock formations!


The mainland’s beaches appear drab compared to the stunning shorelines and paradise-like waters found on this spectacular island.


Continue reading to find out how we can help you plan a great holiday by providing you with a customized list of the best beaches in Catalina Island, CA.

  1. Crescent Beach

Looking for a place to start your island-hopping journey on Catalina Island?

View the palm tree-lined beachfront of Crescent Beach near the Green Pleasure Pier.

Why We Recommend this Beach

Crescent Beach’s lovely beach, named after its crescent-shaped beachfront, is a popular destination for people suffering from vitamin sea insufficiency.

Its dark blue waters and golden dunes are a delightful treat that will have you returning for more.

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Expert Tip

Although Crescent Beach is popular with tourists, visitors can have a tranquil holiday at the beach’s sand-covered terraces and the surrounding wooden pier for gourmet delights and fishing sports.

  1. Descanso Beach

Just half a mile from Crescent Beach, the quiet Descanso Beach offers a refreshing ambiance and a variety of outdoor activities.

Why We Recommend this Beach

If you think beaches are solely for casual, vibrant enjoyment, Descanso Beach will show you incorrect.

This beach is surely the place to be, with its offerings of kayaking, snorkeling, and even getting a cold drink while chilling on the seaside’s white sand.

Expert Tip

Don’t miss out on the zipline tours offered by the adjacent tourism center!

With an adrenaline rush, marvel at the island’s magnificent beauty, undoubtedly one of the top things to do on Catalina Island.

  1. Lovers Cove

Lovers Cove is rich in marine flora and wildlife, making it ideal for local snorkeling and scuba diving enthusiasts.

Why We Recommend this Beach

This cove’s quiet, pure blue waters will make your heart grow fonder of the sea, and it’s only a few minutes of hiking trails from the center of Avalon!

Lovers Cove’s beachfront is one of the nicest beach sites on Catalina Island, with everything from sea stars to vivid orange garibaldis.

Expert Tip

Because Lovers Cove is a designated marine sanctuary, please avoid causing damage to the reefs or harming the fish species.

  1. Pebbly Beach

Because Lovers Cove is a designated marine sanctuary, please avoid causing damage to the reefs or harming the fish species.

Why We Recommend this Beach

Pebbly Beach, as the name suggests, is home to many spectacular vivid sea glass shards on Catalina Island.

Its coast is a riot of amber, green, and any other hue you can think of!

Expert Tip

Although not ideal for sunbathing, more enjoyable sports such as parasailing, snorkeling, and kayaking can be enjoyed here.

  1. Hamilton Cove

Hamilton Cove is located in a private gated enclave on Catalina Island, with breathtaking crystal blue seas reminiscent of a Mediterranean retreat.

Why We Recommend this Beach

This cove is plush and luxurious, with an immense 180-degree vista of the vast turquoise Pacific Ocean.

Expert Tip

Enjoy a fantastic family BBQ at the cove’s shaded beach huts, or participate in outdoor activities like volleyball while overlooking a beautiful blue sea.

This is undoubtedly an excellent beach for a private family holiday.

  1. Two Harbors Beach

Two Harbors Beach, located on Catalina Island’s west shore, is rich in history and hedonistic nightlife.

Why We Recommend this Beach

Previously inhabited by native American Indians, the Isthmus Cove near Two Harbors Beach now houses several historic structures, including the Banning House Lodge and campgrounds for an unforgettable overnight trip!

Expert Tip

Previously inhabited by native American Indians, the Isthmus Cove near Two Harbors Beach now houses several historic structures, including the Banning House Lodge and campgrounds for an unforgettable overnight trip!

  1. Catalina Harbor

This section of Two Harbors Beach, also known as Cat Harbor, has the island’s deepest cove.

Why We Recommend this Beach

Despite the lack of sandy walkways, this beach is a simple beauty overlooking magnificent mountainous topographies and herds of American Bison wandering nearby fields, making it a soothing nature-friendly tourist destination.

Expert Tip

Go to Catalina Harbor and anchor at one of the shore-side rental boats for some alone island time.

  1. Parsons Landing

Parsons Landing is one of Catalina Island’s most popular camping destinations.

Why We Recommend this Beach

The quiet Parsons Landing beach is unlike any other, offering more than simply traditional outdoor water sports.

Its numerous difficult hiking paths, located seven miles west of Two Harbors, provide breathtaking scenery and a peaceful environment for the outdoor enthusiast in you.

Expert Tip

Because it is a seven-mile ride from the nearest town, tourists can bring their mountain bikes or pack appropriate footwear for the excursion.

Reservations are essential to ensure you check in at Two Harbors before embarking on the lengthy hiking routes.

  1. Little Harbor

Despite its name, Little Harbor is one of Catalina Island’s several wide natural beaches.

Why We Recommend this Beach

Little Harbor’s broad sandy beach and brilliant turquoise seas are shielded from the fierce Pacific surf by a rocky outcropping known as the Whale’s Tail, making it the best beach for swimming on Catalina Island as well as the safest beach for kids!

Expert Tip

Enjoy snorkeling and swimming with your children in the shallow waters of Little Harbor.

You can hike the gorgeous hilltops along the harbor or camp for the night.

  1. Shark Harbor

Shark Harbor, located across Little Harbor, is one of the best beaches for surfers!

Why We Recommend this Beach

Unlike Little Harbor’s quiet, calm seas, Shark Harbor features breathtaking landscapes and stubborn, big waves ideal for surfing.

Expert Tip

Prepare your surfboards to ride the big waves in Shark Harbor!

If not, you can climb through the area’s rocky granite cliffs for a breathtaking ocean view.

  1. Cottonwood Beach

Cottonwood Beach’s hidden beauty will amaze tourists who happen to pass by, although getting to its shores requires a relatively difficult climb.

Why We Recommend this Beach

Cottonwood Beach is a modest, beautiful coastline with cottonwood trees growing in the canyon behind the dunes.

Its shores also include a wooden sign reminiscent of a Mark Twain story from the nineteenth century.

Expert Tip

Swimming and other water activities are prohibited in this location due to the dangers of riptides.

Instead, tourists can unwind with a picnic at the seaboard’s picturesque perspective or watch various birds fly by.

If you’re interested in history, World War II military remnants are on show on the canyon’s southern ridge.

  1. Ben Weston Beach

Another stunning landmark prized by surfers is Ben Weston Beach on Catalina Island’s southwest shore, an automatic inclusion when discussing the top beaches in Catalina Island, CA.

Why We Recommend this Beach

During the summer, with winds from the west, Ben Weston Beach becomes the island’s next surfing hotspot.

This beach will make your holiday even more enjoyable with its lengthy nature trails and diverse flora and wildlife.

Expert Tip

Enjoy the seclusion of the chilly breeze of the ocean while riding the big waves when surfing because this beach is quite isolated from tourist-packed waters.

Hiking trails through the guided terrains are also available to visitors.