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Is Catalina Island Dog-Friendly? (+ Activities & Hotels)

So I’m planning another trip to Catalina Island and wanted to bring my dog along. I wanted to see how dog-friendly the island was and didn’t see much information out there. So, I did some research and called around. Here’s what I found.

The ferry to get to Catalina, Catalina Express, does allow dogs as long as they’re leashed and muzzled, or in a pet carrier. Hiking trails and restaurants with patios allow dogs on leashes. Most beaches, casinos, boardwalks, and hotels do not allow dogs. Although, Catalina Canyon Inn and Seacrest Inn do.

To find out which parts of Catalina Island allow dogs and their requirements, read on.

My photo of the city of Avalon

Are Dogs Allowed on the Ferry to Catalina Island?

Catalina Express, Catalina’s most popular ferry does allow dogs with no fee.

I called Catalina Express and found that their requirements are for the dog to be either leashed AND muzzled or in a pet carrier.

Catalina Express costs around $80 roundtrip per person. The ferry takes around one hour each way to the island. To book a ferry to Catalina or for questions, you can call 800-481-3470 or visit their website.

I read about The OC Backyard’s legitimate experience bringing his dog to Catalina Island and on the Catalina Express. If you’re interested, I definitely recommend checking it out!

Are Avalon and Two Harbors Dog-Friendly?

Our dog on the beach

Avalon is Catalina Island’s only established city known for shops, casinos, short hikes, hotels, restaurants, and beaches. Avalon has many hikes along the Trans-Catalina Trail and some patio restaurants that allow dogs.

However, Los Angeles County Code Sections prohibits dogs on any beach in Los Angeles county, including all beaches in Avalon. Dogs are also not allowed on the boardwalks or in shops.

Two Harbors is on the west end of the island and is known to be Catalina’s rustic village. Two Harbors allows dogs on all of their beaches and sidewalks!

5 Fun Things To Do on Catalina With Dogs

1. Bluewater Avalon

Our view from Bluewater Avalon
Our view from Bluewater Avalon

Bluewater Avalon is a restaurant in Avalon, offering mouthwatering seafood options and cocktails, right on the ocean. The space was actually built on the historic site of the SS Catalina Ferry Dock! I definitely recommend trying their signature drink “Buffalo Milk”, it was amazing.

Out of all the options for dining in Catalina, I would most definitely recommend eating here. This is one of Catalina Island’s most highly-rated restaurants, and it was my favorite.

I went and asked if dogs were allowed and they said yes, on the patio!

2. Trans-Catalina Trail

my boyfriend's hike at trans catalina trail
My boyfriend’s photo from the hike

The full Trans-Catalina Trail (TCT) is a total of 38 miles with an elevation gain of nearly 8,000 ft and typically takes 3-5 days.

The trail starts in Avalon and ends in Two Harbors (or the other way around) with campgrounds and views of the ocean along the way.

We did this hike and loved it. Some hills were extremely steep and we also ran out of water, so make sure to budget the water properly! Luckily, some guys came by in a truck and offered us water.

If you are looking for a shorter hike, don’t worry! You can get a permit at the Conservancy Trailhead in Avalon and hike parts of the trail starting at Hermit Gulch.

Dogs are allowed on leashes here! Although, I would only recommend doing a day hike with them.

“Leashed dogs are allowed on the TCT, except at Two Harbors and Hermit Gulch campgrounds. The harsh environment, lack of water, and presence of bison make it a pretty dog-unfriendly environment. I would strongly consider leaving your dog at home for this one.”


Pro Tip: There are not a lot of supplies or food on the trail, so be sure to pack some for the day!

3. Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden

Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden

Garden to Sky Hiking Trail is a 3-mile in-and-out hike that allows dogs (leashed). It also includes the popular Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden along the way.

The Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden is a breathtaking testament to both nature and architecture. Established in 1935 by Ada Wrigley, wife of chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr., the garden was created to honor her late husband’s commitment to conservation and his love for the island.

This captivating 37-acre garden showcases a diverse array of native and rare plants, with a particular emphasis on those endemic to the Channel Islands and the surrounding California mainland. Its centerpiece, the Wrigley Memorial, is an awe-inspiring monument designed by architect William Peyton Day and constructed from locally-sourced materials.

The trail is an all-uphill hike and has amazing ocean views.

4. Avalon Dog Park

What better idea than to bring your dog to their own vacation on your vacation?

The City of Avalon recently opened a small dog park at People’s Park on Avalon Canyon Rd. View hours of operation and rules for the Avalon dog park.

Love Catalina Island

5. Ocean Scenic Overlook

Located at Wrigley Rd, Avalon, CA 90704, the Ocean Scenic Overlook is the best overlooking spots on the island that you can drive to. Travelers pull their golf carts to the side of the road to take photos and enjoy the stunning view.

This outlook also just so happens to be a 5-minute drive to Buffalo Nickel Inc which is an American restaurant, with a beautiful European-vibe outdoor patio that allows dogs!

3 Dog-Friendly Hotels in Catalina (Ranked)

1. Catalina Canyon Inn

Catalina Canyon Inn
Image Source: Catalina Canyon Inn

Catalina Canyon Inn is located in Avalon (a 15-minute walk from the coast). The hotel has beautiful luxury rooms with an on-site restaurant, The Cove Bar & Grill.

Accessible by boat, ferry, or helicopter, Catalina Canyon Inn lies on the hills of the island, surrounded by untouched nature. They have a variety of options for services and conveniences such as a heated outdoor pool, fitness center, and more.

I called to ask if they allow dogs and they said they do allow pets, with a $75 fee.

2. Seacrest Inn Catalina

Seacrest Inn Catalina is a Victorian-styled guesthouse, just one block from the ocean. They also have a rooftop patio with a view of the ocean and super close to the golf cart rental shop.

The hotel has many different room options, even suites.

They are dog-friendly! To make a reservation or for any questions, you can visit the link above or call 310-510-0800.

3. Hermosa Hotel

Hermosa Hotel provides cottage-vibe rooms, with their rooms dating back to 1896. They are also only one block from the ocean!

You can find their dog policies here.

4. Avalon Cottage