Under the Rosemary

Glamping at Catalina Island

Originally published on November 21, 2016.

This post is overdue as I've taken a long breather from the blog to focus my energy elsewhere. As I was clearing things on my computer, I came across these photos of my time glamping with friends and a wave of nostalgia washed me out. So what I've prepared for you is a throwback as well as a breakdown of my time at Catalina Island this past summer wrapped into one post.

What I list below are just a few things I dabbled in during my stay at Catalina. I strongly urge you to scroll through the Catalina Island Conservancy's and Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce and Visitor's Bureau's websites for more ideas when planning your visit.

I appreciate your patience, support and good wishes. Talk to you soon!

Where We Stayed:


Hermit Gulch Campgrounds

The campsite was tucked away in Avalon Canyon, roughly a mile and half way from the boat dock. There is a small, subtle incline in walking from Avalon to the campgrounds, but it's totally manageable. If your load of camping gear is light, then you'll survive the walk up to the site. However, we had a lot of items to get us through the week so walking with stuffed duffel bags and backpacks would have been... difficult. Luckily taxis take visitors from the boat dock to the campgrounds and lessen the burden.

I had a blast staying at the campground. The camp rangers were the FRIENDLIEST people I've ever met. They were always up for a convo and were so laid back. We nicknamed one of the rangers "Shaggy" for his blazing personality. Critters also made daily appearances. Quails would scurry around and deer would pass through, often a mere four feet away from our bewildered stares.

Camping Costs:

Staying at the camp cost $24 a night per person over the summer, but prices vary depending on the season. Thanks to Tristan, our resident camping expert, we prepped meals that allowed us to have a taco night, pasta night and even a pizza night outdoors and cut down on the cost of eating out. Each site had its own small grill so we bought charcoal (available in town or with the rangers) to cook our family style dinners and ice to keep things cold. Showers were available and cost 25 cents per minute. Due to drought conditions, only cold showers were available, but I was often relieved to let the cold droplets wash away a day's worth of sweat. So much for embracing the funk, I know.

Things to Do:

The Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Gardens was a short walk up the road from the campsite. Golf carts and hikers would buzz up and down the road to visit the beautiful site. The entrance fee was $7 and $3 for students.

The Nature Center at Avalon Canyon is across the road from the campground. It's comprised of a large room dedicated to telling the natural history of the island. It's open daily and admission is free.

Hiking opportunities are abundant on the island. We did a group hike on the Hermit Gulch Trail where the end result was a beautiful view of the sunset dipping behind the island as the moon rose in the orange tinted sky. To be honest, I was totally dying internally getting up to the amazing view, but it was worth it and that's all I care to say about the matter.

There are so many shops scattered in Avalon. I spent a lot of time in the Metropole Marketplace drinking coffee from the Catalina Coffee and Cookie Co. and listening to the musicians that gathered nearby. The brick paths of the marketplace led the way to the cutest shops selling souvenirs and sometimes tempting me to spend more than I should.

In terms of food, our meals for the week were mostly prepped or consisted of sandwiches and cereal. On one occasion we brunched at the Pancake Cottage, which specializes in Italian, Mexican and American cuisine. I also recommend not leaving the island without a visit to Big Olaf's Ice Cream. Make sure to order your ice cream in a waffle cone with whipped cream and the works. Don't be deterred by the lines!

Along The Water: 

You're on an island so naturally all of the water activities come to mind. Over the summer, it was refreshing break to take a dip in the cold water. There are shops nearby with snorkeling gear rentals and guided snorkeling tours available for enthusiasts willing to spend a few bucks. The beaches were usually pretty packed with people claiming what little areas of sand were available, so that's something to bear in mind.

On the last two days of our trip, we spent a good portion of it fishing on the pier. So if that's your thing, have at it.


Walking should do the trick, but for $1 the Garibaldi Transit will get you everywhere! Loved it so much and it was a lot more affordable than taking a taxi. Golf cart rentals are also a popular choice for many visitors, but was not in our budget.