Boat-In Only Campsites on Catalina Island

To truly escape the campground atmosphere and get “out there”… to escape the spring break crowd and chemical toilets… you can take advantage of Catalina’s best kept secret – its remote boat-in only campsites. In the stretch between Avalon and Two Harbors on Catalina’s leeward side, there are 17 campsites spread between 9 different locations. To spend a few nights at one of these remote campsites, is to truly escape.

You can access the boat in campsites by kayak or small boat. There are no overnight motorboat rentals on Catalina Island. You can rent kayaks from Descanso Beach Sports or Joe’s Rent-a-Boat.

Each of the locations has its own unique set of rules, but there are some rules that apply to all of these spots. First, you must bring your own portable restroom, and pack out any waste or trash. If you plan to cook, a portable propane burner or portable BBQ is necessary. Open fires are absolutely prohibited. A Park Ranger will pay a visit at least once a day to make sure you are safe, and complying with the regulations.

As with any of the campsites on Catalina Island, you can rent equipment from Two Harbors Visitors Services. They can supply you with 4 and 2 person tents, sleeping bags and mats, propane burners and lanterns, etc. Call (310) 510 8368.

Precautions! It is recommended that you bring your own VHF radio in case of emergency. The Park Ranger carries a radio, but they may not be around when you need help. Bring plenty of fresh water with you.

There are no mooring at any of these locations, so – if you plan to anchor and take your dinghy to shore, you’ll need to check your GC chart for bottom conditions. A bow line and a stern line, as well as a spare anchor is recommended.

Keep alert for Rattlesnakes. They are common along the coastline and are often seen within close proximity to the campsites, sunning themselves on the rocky hillsides nearby.

Squirrels, seagulls, and foxes are notorious for stealing food, so keep your food secure… and by that I mean SECURE! I’m talkin’ 24hr lock-down secure! Squirrels have been known to chew right through plastic bags or climb right into backpacks! Turn your head for 30 seconds, and a gull could fly off with half of your sandwich!

Getting to Know Catalina’s Boat In Campsites

There are seventeen different campsites spread between the following nine locations, listed from West to East: Rippers Cove, Paradise Cove, Lava Wall, Gibraltar Beach, Cabrillo, Goat Harbor, Italian Gardens, Long Point Beach, and Willow Cove. There are no roads to any of these campsites, but some are accessible by hiking, like Willow Cove.

The locations are primarily accessed by kayak or small boat. You can also sail or motor in, and use a dinghy to get ashore. there are no moorings, so you must secure your own anchorage (consult GC charts).

There are no chemical toilets, fresh water, showers, sunshades, or lockers. It’s just raw nature and you. You must bring any supplies you’ll need with you, and pack out your trash and waste.

Note: The Park Ranger will check each campsite to make sure you have a bathroom facility in place. If you don’t, the Ranger can sell you some WAG bags. WAG bag are individual land-fill approved potti-bags with a deodorizing and liquid gelling powder inside. You can line a plastic bucket and squat, and it’s actually not to bad. But that’s me, and I love pit latrines and squatting and all that bushman stuff. You need to figure out your own solution.

Catalina Island Boat In Campsite Rules

Nobody likes rules when you want to go all “Lord of the Flies” on a remote island – but here goes:

  • Each group of campers must be accompanied by an adult 21yrs old or older, who is responsible for the group.
  • You may not cut wood for fires or otherwise,  gather plants, or deface any natural or man-made object.
  • Firearms, archery equipment, traps, or hunting equipment is prohibited.
  • Fishing is allowed, you must present you fishing license to the Ranger. Get a fishing license at High Tide Traders on Crescent Ave. near the Green Pleasure Pier.
  • Dogs are not allowed at any of the remote boat in campsites. This rule is enforced to protect the native wildlife like the island fox, birds, squirrels, etc. This rule is also in place to protect your dog from wild boar at night.

Boat In Campsites on Catalina Island: Fees and Reservations

Unlike the five campgrounds on Catalina Island, the rates at the boat in only campsites remain the same year round, regardless of midweek or weekends. These campsites book up quick on holidays and during peal travel times so book well in advance!

Adults pay $12.00/night, children are $6.00/night. You must sign in with and pay the Park Ranger directly. Campsites must be cleaned up and vacated by noon the following day.

For more information and reservations you can follow this like to or call (310) 510 TENT. Groups of 20 or more should call (310) 510 8368 ext 1414. Please note that reservations booked by phone are subject to a $25 administration fee. You can avoid the $25.00 fee by booking online at

Map of Boat-in Campsites on Catalina Island

Ready to plan your camping trip? Check our boat in campsite detail pages with maps, information and pictures for each of the following boat in campsites on Catalina Island:

Main 5 Catalina Campgrounds

There are a total of 5 main campgrounds on Catalina Island. At any of these campgrounds you’ll have access to fresh water, showers, toilets, picnic tables, lockers, sunshades, and you can rent tent cabins as well as other various camping supplies. Use the links below to visit our campground pages to see pictures, video, and for detailed info about fees, reservations, rules, renting camping equipment, transportation and hiking access.