Lover’s Cove, Catalina Island, California
The most popular snorkel spot off Catalina, this protected area sports kelp forest, rock reef, and a menagerie of cool-water
inhabitants. Guides and operators can help you in by boat, or try heading out on your own from the Pebbly Beach access stairs;
just don’t forget your flag marker.
On-site secret: A lot of the fish here are used to being fed and aren’t shy. Wear gloves if you’re bringing peas or bread for them, as their enthusiasm leads to finger nibbling―more of a nuisance than a danger. Keep an eye out for: sea stars, eels, anemones, octopuses, and, most notably, the brilliant orange Garibaldi fish. If you are comfortable diving down 10 to 15 feet, you’ll find many small crustaceans and beautiful nudibranches.
When to go: summer, when water temperatures warm to the low 70s; 877/766-7535 or catalinadiveshop.com.