All visitor services—equipment rentals, lodging, and restaurants—in Two Harbors are owned and operated by the 124-year-old Catalina Island Company, founded by island pioneers William, Joseph, and Hancock Banning.
The Two Harbors Dive and Recreation Center is the place to sign up for most activities and gear rentals. You’ll find the building just to the right as you exit the pier, across from the Two Harbors Visitors Services building. 310-510-4272 or 310-510-4205. bit.ly/2MCcgar.
Yoga: Wednesdays through Sundays at 9 a.m. during the summer (pictured above), start your day with a 45-minute yoga session on the beach to the soothing sounds of waves traveling the beach. Sign up at Dive and Recreation. $15.
Hike: Two Harbors has trails to fit any fitness level, and all quickly offer rewarding views. Sign up for a 90-minute guided hike ($20 a person). Or head to Visitors Services, where you’ll get excellent advice and maps on trails, distances, and effort levels. For a gentle walk, take the road to Lower Ballast Point (3 miles round trip), which follows the east side of Catalina Harbor (called Cat Harbor by residents). At the end, sit on benches and soak in the scenery. For a more challenging hike, and a higher vantage point, head up a steep trail to Upper Ballast Point (5 miles round trip). The payoff is a bird’s-eye view of the isthmus, mountains, and both harbors. The ambitious can backpack or hike sections of the 37-mile trans-Catalina Trail, which crosses the island’s interior from Starlight Beach on the west to Avalon on the east.
Bike: Take your own or rent mountain bikes from the Dive and Recreation Center, then ride to Lower Ballast Point or take the West Road that curves past Fourth of July and Cherry coves. Rates start at $24 an hour or $99 for a full day.
Kayak: If you are new to kayaking or the isthmus area, sign up for a guided, 2-1/2-hour afternoon kayaking tour to Blue Cavern Point. It’s an excellent upper-body workout that leads to a passage through a narrow, once-volcanic cave carved by the sea. $40 per person. Or rent kayaks for $24 an hour or $99 for a full day.
Laze beachside: The Italian expression “dolce far niente” applies to the six thatched-roof palapas and lounge chairs, which are an ideal place to savor the “sweetness of doing nothing.” New in 2018 and named after movies filmed on the island (like 1962’s “Mutiny on the Bounty”), the palapas sit on Harbor Sands, a beach made of 1,900 tons of imported white sand, and evoke the feeling of being on a tropical island. During peak season, palapas are $250 for a full day Monday—Thursday, $300 Friday—Sunday; lounge chairs, $30 for a full day Monday—Thursday, $35 Friday—Sunday. Order beverages and food beachside from the Harbor Reef Restaurant kitchen.
Two Harbors’ choice of dining options is limited: It has three areas with table service, which are serviced by one kitchen, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Harbor Reef Restaurant dishes up big plates of seafood—try the swordfish, if available—steaks, burgers, and other American standards for dinner nightly in a nautical setting with paintings and photographs of the island on the walls. Entrees $21—$35.
Harbor Reef Saloon has beer, wine, and cocktails—including a Two Harbors original, Buffalo Milk, a concoction of crème de cocoa, Kahlua, crème de Banana, vodka, and half and half ($10).
Reef Point Dining Deck, set under canopies on Harbor Sands just above the isthmus’ natural beach, serves burgers, salads, tacos, and sandwiches. Try the Harbor Reef Special, a tender, tasty burger of buffalo and Kobe beef for $15.95.The West End Galley has coffee, latte, and breakfast and lunch to pick up and go.
Two Harbors General Store, the village’s only shop, truly is eclectic, stocking groceries, beverages, and produce to make your own meals, as well as myriad other items, such as souvenirs, clothing, beach accessories, and fishing gear.