When it comes to idyllic coastal scenery and activity options for fun in the sun, Two Harbors Campground on Santa Catalina Island’s west end is as good as it gets. Take a one-hour express ferry from Long Beach, San Pedro, Newport Beach, or Dana Point to reach this Southern California island 22 miles off the coast.
The campground, which includes 42 sites, 13 canvas tent structures, and three group camping areas, feels ultra-secluded and serene, thanks to its bluff-top location on the island’s sleepier side. (For a truly remote beach camping experience, check out Little Harbor Campground, about seven miles east of Two Harbors.)
Rent all types of aquatic toys and equipment—snorkel and SCUBA gear, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, beach umbrellas, wetsuits—from Two Harbors Dive & Recreation Center and explore the island’s turquoise coves. You can also obtain hiking and biking permits (Catalina Island is home to some fantastic mountain biking and hiking routes—just keep your eyes peeled for the resident buffalo!) at Two Harbors Visitors Services, located at the foot of the pier. If you don’t want to haul in a bunch of camping equipment, this is also where you can rent a tent, sleeping pad, propane stove, and more.