Great place to get away from city life. I only spent a day there, but there are hotels if you want to stay overnight.
I didn’t get to experience the huge variety of activities they offer on the island, such as snorkelling, para-sailing, zip-lining and more, since I was only there for a day, but I did do a lot of walking and even rented a golf cart for a couple of hours.
I decided to use the Metro Blue line towards Long Beach, so it was an early 6am start for me, since I had to set off from West LA. Not an easy route because you have to go via Downtown LA, then take the Metro Blue line all the way to Long Beach, then its a short walk to the ferry terminal.
I do recommend booking your Catalina express tickets in advance online during summer. The ferry left at 10am and it was an hour journey.
Make sure you pack something warm if you plan to sit on the open upper deck. It can get breezy when the ferry picks up speed, but should be fine on a hot day.
Once I arrived at at the island, I took a short walk around the town, and had lunch. It’s such a funky town with lots of small stores and plenty of bars and restaurants.
I did more walking uphill afterwards and gave up because it was just too hot, so I went all the way back down and rented a golf cart.
It’s worth doing if you want to get to some locations with good views, or it would take you a lot longer on foot.
There’s a scenic route with is marked that you can take which is about 1 hour drive, or 2 hours if you intend to stop and take your time. There are a few rental cart locations near the ferry terminal. Usually rent for $40 / hour. 2 hours is plenty of time, and they give you the 3rd hour free.
Just keep an eye out for “No rental carts” signs along the road, so you don’t end up taking a wrong turn, but there are plenty of places to turn around.