Whether you like to kayak, fish, surf or snorkel, Catalina Island is a dream location for fun water sports that you can participate in. This rocky island off the southern coast of California is only about 22 miles long and eight miles wide at its widest point, but is filled with loads of activities for those who love surf and sun. Usually accessed by ferry, the trip to Catalina Island typically only takes about an hour (sometimes more depending on where you depart from), and because Catalina Island is located off of Southern California, the weather is usually perfect for water sports year-round. So pack up your swimming trunks and get ready for one (or several) days in the water and sun!
One of the most exciting water sports out there, parasailing is truly for the adventurous. The parasailing participant begins by strapping his or herself into a harness that is connected to a large, angular parachute. The harness assembly and parachute are then attached to a motor boat by way of an extremely long tug line, the length of which can reach upwards of one thousand feet. When the motor boat begins to gain speed on the water, the parasailer is then raised up into the air, with the parachute providing lift; this whole time, the parasailer is connected to the motor boat via the tug line. The height and speed gained make for an extremely unique experience and gorgeous view of the bay and surrounding water. You can order parasailing trips through a charter company on the island, such as the Island Water Charters, for varying lengths of time. Many charter companies will also include photo packages for great visual reminders of your trip.
If you are an avid swimmer, you will definitely love the miles of pristine beaches and shoreline on Catalina Island. With warm water and soft sand, many beaches also cater to tourists and visitors, and feature dining and drinking areas where servers will bring you any kind of drink or snack you need while you lounge and soak up the sun. But if you find yourself itching to get some swimming and exercise in, you are always close to the shoreline. Some particularly popular swimming beaches include Descano Beach, Step Beach, Middle Beach and South Beach. Most beaches include lifeguards and facilities for showering, changing or using the restroom.
Another popular water sport enjoyed by many visitors to Catalina Island is Scuba Diving. Whether you are brand new to the activity and have never slipped into a wetsuit or you are an experienced and rated diver, Catalina Island has just the diving experience for you. With some of the most well-known and renowned diving spots in the world, Catalina Island boasts of an active diving scene right off of its Avalon Coast, near the city of Avalon. Prepare to witness thousands of species of marine animals, as well as spectacular coral reefs and forests of kelp. There are plenty of dive shops on the island that offer everything from lessons and guided tours to rentals and gear for sale. Catalina Island even features an underwater city park; the Casino Point Marine Park. This park has shipwrecks to explore, as well as artificial reefs and plenty of marine life to get up close and personal with. If you would like to experience the magic of the diving experience, but without the expensive gear or lessons, snorkeling opportunities also abound. One popular spot for snorkelers is the Lover's Cove Undersea Gardens, located just south of Avalon bay.
Because so much of the Catalina coastline is inaccessible, kayaking is a convenient and fun way to create your own trip. Kayak rentals are plentiful, especially in the main city of Avalon, and finding a rental stand along the beach should be no problem at all. Whether you want to strike out on your own or bring along a partner in a tandem kayak, the calm waters surrounding the island are perfect for the novice or advanced kayaker. If you would like to gain some insight as to the history of the island, as well as its abundant wildlife and plant species, you can also book guided kayak tours, where a local expert will take you around to various spots of interest along the Catalina coastline. If you really want to create a memorable experience, take along some snorkeling gear and make pit stops at interesting points around the island.