Catalina Island Snorkeling Paradise!

Catalina Island Snorkeling is probably the best you’ll find anywhere in Southern California. Warm water during the summer months, bountiful marine life, and plenty of places to rent snorkeling gear or take a guided snorkeling tour make snorkeling on Catalina Island a truly awesome experience.

Catalina’s water temperatures vary seasonally, from a low of 56 degrees during the winter months, up to high’s in the mid 70′s during the summer months. During July, August, and September, a shorty wetsuit or trunks is all you’ll need to be comfortable, and during winter a 3mm full wetsuit is necessary. If you don’t own your own gear, it can be rented easily once you arrive.

Catalina is known for it’s abundance of marine life in the nearshore waters, and many secluded coves and bays, it’s a snorkeling paradise. Clear waters provide excellent visibility (up to 150′ in the winter), so you get to see everything. It’s common to see striped sea bass, colorful red garibaldi, lobster, octopus, harbor seals, and all manner of sea creatures and plants all swaying in the current. Catalina’s waters are known to be the most diverse, thriving, algae-based ecosystems on the west coast of North America. Bring a little fish food with you and experience a feeding frenzy of sheephead, calico bass, senorita fish, blacksmith, opaleye and kelp fish right before your eyes.

Snorkeling Catalina is as easy as putting on a mask and snorkel, life jacket if you need one (recommended for kids), and swimming out 20 feet. Lover’s Cove is probably the best, and most popular place to snorkel safely, with an abundance of fish at all times. Lover’s Cove is to the immediate left of the ferry landing (as you approach the island), and is where you will see snorkeling tour groups, yellow semi-submersibles, and glass bottom boats many times per day. Descanso beach, on the other side of the harbor and just past the casino building, is also a popular spot.

Guided Snorkeling Tours and Boat Trips

There are a lot of good reasons to take a snorkeling tour. If you have young kids, they will be supervised, especially if you don’t want to get wet yourself. Also, the boat trips take you up the west coast, to a secluded bay for snorkeling. It’s a great way to experience more of the island. You can even bundle your snorkeling adventure with ferry tickets, and electric bike rentals. More on guided snorkeling tours and boat trips →

Catalina Island Snorkeling Rentals

There are a lot of places that rent snorkeling equipment on Catalina Island, so there’s no need to plan in advance.

Joe’s Rent-a-Boat

Joe’s Rent-a-boat has been a family owned business for more than 80 yrs! Rent snorkeling equipment including mask, snorkel, and fins. Wait, it get’s better, at Joe’s Rent-a-Boat you can rent a boat with an anchor and a ladder to get you in and out of the water easily. It’s a great way to captain your own snorkeling adventure! Rental boats can take up to 6 persons, and are permitted to travel within a ten mile range, so you can access many of the best areas for snorkeling.

Mask, snorkel and fins rent for $6 for 1hr, $8 for 2hrs, and $10 for 4hrs. 20hp boats are $65 for 1hr, $195 for 4hrs, and $325 for 8hrs. Joe’s Rent-a-Boat is located right on the famous Green Pleasure Pier in the center of Avalon. Call (310) 510 0455.

Catalina Dive Shop

Lover’s Cove has been a dedicated marine sanctuary for years, and it’s probably the most popular, and most accessible place to snorkel. Easy entry in to the water, and an abundance of sea life make it the perfect snorkeling spot. The Catalina Island Dive shop is located right there at Lover’s Cove – no need to look any further. They rent mask and snorkel sets, fins, shorty and full wetsuits, snorkel rafts, towels, and even prescription masks. They also have lockers available if you need to secure your valuables while in the water. Underwater cameras and fish food are also available for rent.

Prices are determined by 1 hour, 2 hour, full day, and 24 hour rental periods. Visit for prices and information. Call toll-free (877) SNORKEL.

Catalina Diver’s Supply & Dive Shop

Catalina Diver’s Supply and Dive Shop do the rental thing a little bit differently. Snorkeling equipment rentals are all for 24hrs rather than by the hour, 2hr, 4hr, etc. period. This is actually good if you plan to keep your gear for more than 2hrs. Mask and snorkel is $7.50/day, fins are $7.50/day, and shorty wetsuits are $11/day. They also rent hoods, gloves and booties, as well as a complete range of scuba diving equipment.

Find them easily at #7 on the famous Green Pleasure Pier, or visit for prices and information. Call (310) 510 0330.

Catalina Ocean Rafting

Ocean Rafting is the most exciting adventure you can experience while visiting our Island Paradise. Catalina Ocean Rafting trips are not just a ride, but an Island Adventure which goes beyond the ordinary tour. Great Snorkeling Adventures available — Call 800.990-RAFT for reservations.

Catalina Scuba Luv

Snorkel gear rental, guided tours, charters. 800-262-DIVE

Catalina Snorkel & Scuba Adventures

On-site at Lover’s Cove. Call toll free 1-877-SNORKEL

Catalina Tours

Owned and operated by Catalina Island Residents, Catalina Tours selects only the best and most professional activity providers on Catalina Island. Book online or Call (800) 990 7238 for reservations.

Descanso Beach Ocean Sports

Rent snorkels, masks & fins at the Descanso Beach Club. Also kayaks & view rafts. Call (310) 510 1226

Catalina Kayak Adventures

Avalon and Little Harbor. Rent snorkel gear, kayaks, beach equipment by the hour or day. Introductory 2 hour snorkel trip to marine preserve. (310) 510 2229

Catalina West End Dive Center

Offers rental of equipment, as well as guided boat and kayak tours. Two Harbors has a full service, PADI certified dive shop. Offering boat dives, instruction at all levels, guided underwater tours, guided kayaking tours and equipment rentals. Call (310) 510 4272.

Island Water Charters

Enjoy the beautiful waters surrounding Catalina Island. Take a snorkeling trip along the coastline. Snorkel, fins, mask, and spring suit provided. Call us at (310) 510 9280, or visit one of our two locations, at the end of the Pier or in the Tour Plaza.

Wet Spot Rentals

Rent one hour mask, snorkel and fins – get 2nd hour free! Located at boat landing close to Lover’s Cove Marine Preserve, the best snorkeling on the island. New! Glass Bottom Kayak Tours through Marine Preserve. Family owned and operated 19 years! Open daily April thru Sept. (310) 510 2229