REI Catalina Island Campout
First things first – I’d like to Cordially Thank REI Instructors for organizing this mini California getaway staycation and making my dream come true! Camping at the Catalina Island has been on my bucket list for years now. REI Catalina Island Campout 2018 turned out to be everything I expected and more!
Special thanks for Catalina Island Company for making our stay comfortable! & huge thank you to Catalina island conservancy guided tour of the facilities. Also thank you for saving the Chanel Islands fox, without you it would’ve been extinct!
Check out official REI Campout Schedule for more awesome locations to checkout outdoors when you #optout.
Transportation to Catalina Island Campout
1. Easy going boat ride from San Pedro to the Catalina Island (Two Harbors) roughly took us an hour. (Parking at the Catalina Express ferry costs around $18 /night).
2. Upon arrival there was a truck to shuttle your gear from the dock directly to your camp site. Although you could go on a 15-20 min walk directly to the campsite(Two Harbors Campgrounds) with your backpack.
3. The campsite is located only 15 min away from the Two Harbors Visitor Services and the restaurant – Harbor reef.
The set up for REI Catalina Island Campout
There are several sites located on the terraced “Two Harbors Campground” most of which are out of the shade (there aren’t that many trees on the island). There’s a shaded table and bench areas at every camp site. Mind that the areas, especially group areas may be shared among multiple visiting parties.
You can find fire pits at every campsite. There are also port-potty bathrooms and showers located within a stone-throws distance from the campsites.
Daily activities program
Every day REI campout organizers had multiple hikes planned as well as Beach Yoga, Snorkeling and Kayaking on the schedule. The activities were well planned so that you could attend multiple session with meal breaks in between. Furthermore we went on a couple of hike lead by
Catalina Island conservancy representative which was not only fun but also pretty informative. The CIC does quite a bit to save native plants and animals from extinction, works on water desalination projects as well as serves as a campus for USC students.
Btw you could easily just explore the island on your own, there wasn’t like a strict rule of where you should be at certain time. Although I think the whole point of going camping with a huge group like the REI campout was too meet other interesting individuals. I’ve meet like a dozen people who love outdoors and learned about most random things.
Catalina island conservancy
Technically you should preregister for the activities through REI website. I received an email a week or so before the camping trip and could easily click through the options. A confirmation email was sent back from REI and I simply printed my itinerary. However, you could join the groups even if you didn’t pre-registered. Like I said, the instructors are easy going and very accommodating.
Additionally we learned about the Catalina Island Conservancy program and the efforts USC makes to preserve the native habitat of Catalina with Wrigley family financial support.
Side note: Chicago Wrigley family used to own the entire island.
What do Wrigleys have to do with Catalina Island?
Wrigley played an instrumental role in the development of Santa Catalina Island, California, off the shore of Los Angeles, California. He bought a controlling interest in the Santa Catalina Island Company in 1919 and with the company received the island.
Wrigley improved the island with public utilities, new steamships, a hotel, the Casino building, and extensive plantings of trees, shrubs, and flowers. He also sought to create an enterprise that would help employ local residents.
By making use of clay and minerals found on the island at a beach near Avalon, in 1927 William Wrigley Jr. created the Pebbly Beach quarry and tile plant. Along with creating jobs for Avalon residents, the plant also supplied material for Wrigley’s numerous building projects on the island.
5 billion star hotel
The campout was compete with the evening bonfires down by the ocean at the headquarter campsite – Brisa Del Mar. Campers could make s-mores, share past experiences and talk about future hiking endeavors. Overall it was a chill and very relaxing atmosphere.
Furthermore, we had a grand dinner the second day of our stay with pretty decent burgers, salads and palatable hot dogs. Completed with life music it was a great ending to a Saturday on the island.
REI continuously showered us with various gifts, trinkets and other useful things like glasses, chopstick and sunscreen. They continuously replenished ice-cold drinks and gave us snacks throughout the weekend. They even brought portable chargers. (BTW internet works well on the island! who would’ve thought?)
At night it was pleasant to hangout by the fire and simply throw your had back to see all the stars in the heavens. This place really is a 5 billion star hotel. You could see the portion of milky way, and all the lights from the Two Harbor bay boats. Check out the pictures!
Subaru at REI Catalina Island Campout.
Also we’ve got to checkout new Subaru cars, forester and highlander if I’m not mistaken. You had a chance to enter the raffle to win one of those cars. Additionally Subaru sponsored some of the activities on the island, as well as giving out tons of free useful things.
Catalina Island Campout with kids
This was a perfect place to bring your little ones, or even older kids. There were a couple of families with older kids ( basically adults) who came together with their parents to enjoy the weekend at Two harbors on the Catalina island. The youngest camper who came with his parents was about 2, so you can probably feel safe bringing your kids to the REI Catalina Island Campout.
Hiking trails… (I will add some info on this soon – srry work gets in the way of exploration)
Btw. Here’s a cool video of what Avalon – a town on the opposite end of Catalina Island looks like: