With so many great photo spots in Southern California, it’s easy to forget how wonderful Catalina Island engagement photos are! For instance, Catalina has really diverse terrain. In addition, there’s the cute streets and buildings of Avalon and the pier. Furthermore, Catalina has wild locations with amazing views. Every location is within walking distance or a short drive. All of these reasons are why you should consider doing Catalina Island engagement photos!
Getting to Catalina Island
Catalina is super easy to get to from anywhere on the Southern California coast via the Catalina Express! There two ports in Catalina: Avalon and Two Harbors. Avalon is the epicenter of Catalina, where all the dining, recreation and lodging options are located. Two Harbors is a smaller, quaint village about 18 miles northwest of Avalon. There are regular trips to Avalon and Two Harbors from the mainland ports of Dana Point, Newport Beach, Long Beach, and San Pedro.
Your Catalina Island photoshoot is a less-than-two-hour boat ride from any port. The boats are stable so the ride is smooth, and there are plenty of great seating options. Food and beverage service is also available!
Ticket costs into Avalon range between $35-$50 each way, depending on the port from which you’re departing and the class of ticket you want.
What to Bring to Your Catalina Island Photo Shoot
If you plan on going for just the day, then you really don’t need to bring much! Aside from whatever outfit you and your partner are wearing for your engagement photoshoot, just bring the essentials: ferry tickets, money, and ID. If you’re wearing dressy shoes on your shoot, it’s recommended to pack a small bag with comfortable shoes for walking from spot to spot.
If you’re just going for the day, I recommend leaving from Avalon or Long Beach, as those two ports offer more choices for departure and return times.
If you plan on staying at one of the many hotels on Catalina Island, bring a small suitcase/roller for whatever activities you have planned during your stay. Click here to see the Catalina Express ferries’ baggage policy.
The Best Spots for Catalina Island Engagement Photos
If you’re staying overnight, your hotel will be in Avalon, so it’s a great place to start your engagement shoot! Downtown Avalon is super walkable and has lots of cool streets and storefronts that make for great spots to take photos. You can also grab a quick bite, have a cocktail, and enjoy the people watching!
There are so many wonderful places to shoot Catalina Island engagement photos! There are very few cars in Avalon (although lots of golf carts!), so roaming the streets is super easy!
Casino and Waterfront
Casino Way runs along the waterfront, and it’s an easy way to get to the casino from Avalon. Along Casino Way there’s an incredible view of the harbor and the shoreline, which makes for great backdrops for your engagement photos.
It wouldn’t be a Catalina Island engagement photo shoot without a stop at the Casino! The Casino was built in 1929 to mark the 10-year anniversary of William Wrigley’s purchase of the island. In its heyday, the Casino was the gathering place dinner and dancing for the millions of people that made the 26-mile journey.
I love shooting on the jetty that comes off Casino Point because it allows me to get an angle that looks back toward the Casino and other parts of Avalon.
Hamilton Cove is located just north of Avalon. This gorgeous, rock-lined cove features crystal-clear water, low crowds and incredible views. It’s the perfect spot for an engagemetn session on Catalina Island .
The condominiums on the cliff give it a unique look–sort of like Greece. All these elements make it a great spot for engagement photos!
Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden
With towering views over Avalon Bay, the Wrigley Memorial is one of my favorite photo spots on Catalina Island. Located just a short golf cart ride up the hill from downtown Avalon, the Memorial and its surrounding gardens make it a must-see on anyone’s tour of Catalina.
Buena Vista Point Scenic Overlook
Located on the hill on the southeast corner of Avalon Bay, the Buena Vista Point Scenic Overlook offers incredible views of the bay, the ocean to the east, downtown Avalon, and the Casino.
Things to Do on Catalina Island
From scuba diving and snorkeling in Catalina’s crystalline waters to backcountry tours with buffalos, there is no shortage of things to do when you’re not shooting Catalina Island engagement photos.
Places to Stay on Catalina Island
Want to extend your engagement shoot into a little vacation? Catalina is the perfect spot for a weekend getaway. Here’s a rundown of some great hotels and B&B’s in Avalon on Catalina Island!
- Catalina Hotel St. Lauren
- Catalina Canyon Inn
- Catalina Island Inn
- Hotel Metropole
- The Avalon Hotel
- Aurora Hotel
- Zane Grey Pueblo Hotel
- Hotel Atwater
- Pavilion Hotel
- Seaport Village Inn
- Bellanca Hotel
- Hotel Vista Del Mar
- Mt. Ada
- Hotel Mac Rae
- Catalina Courtyard Suites
- Casa Mariquita Hotel
- Banning House Lodge (Two Harbors)
- Snug Harbor Inn
- The Old Turner Inn
- The Edgewater
- La Paloma Tres Flores
- Buena Vista Hotel
Catalina Island Dining Options
Catalina also offers a wide variety of dining options:
- Descanso Beach Club
- NDMK Fish House
- Bluewater Avalon
- Steve’s Steakhouse and Seafood
- The Lobster Trap
- Catalina Cantina
- Mi Casita
- Maggie’s Blue Rose Mexican
- Avalon Grille
- Katie’s Kitchen
- El Galleon
- Catalina Island Brew House
- Coyote Joe’s Bar & Restaurant
- Pancake Cottage
- Original Jack’s Country Kitchen
- Antonio’s Pizzeria and Cabaret
- Original Antonio’s
- Coney Island West
- Naughty Fox
- M Restaurant
- Avalon Seafood and Fish Market
- Luau Larry’s
- Mrs. T’s Kitchen & Avalon Bake Shop
- Pete’s Avalon Pizza Cafe
- Eric’s on the Pier
- Ellie’s Island Deli
Catalina Island Wedding Photos
I have been fortunate enough to photograph a few weddings on Catalina Island. If you’re planning a wedding there, check out these Catalina Island wedding photos!
Getting Married on Catalina Island
Getting married? Are you interested in Catalina Island engagement photos? I’d love to chat! Fill out the form below to schedule a consultation!
There’s no doubt Catalina Island is a great option for engagement photos. Whether you’re doing a day trip or making a long weekend out of it, Catalina Island is a true gem of the Southern California coast.