Get the inside scoop on living here.

By Jeff Book
September 07, 2007
Get the inside scoop on living here.
Courtesy of Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce

Setting: Avalon faces east on the southern half of SantaCatalina Island. The town lies about 22 miles southwest of LosAngeles Harbor (San Pedro), and may be reached by regular ferryfrom San Pedro, Long Beach, and other points, and by helicopterservice or private boat or plane.

Attractions: Avalon has a sunny, ocean-moderated climate andremains relatively free of crime, pollution, and traffic problems.Residents enjoy ready access to a singular coastal environment thatincludes 2,000-foot peaks and indigenous wildlife.

Drawbacks: Tiny Avalon receives most of the island's millionannual visitors, which can seem like too many on a busy summer day.Limited available land and freshwater restricts development.Because it's on an island, count on paying more for everything,from groceries to construction.

Housing: Avalon's diminutive lots mean most homes aresmaller than on the mainland. Homes with water views command apremium. Expect to pay at least $700,000 for a small cottage thatneeds work and more than $1 million for a hillside house withexpansive views. Condos go for $550,000 and up. Rentals as low as$1,000 a month tend to be snatched up by locals.

Your next-door neighbors: Full-time residents range fromshopkeepers and restaurant workers to artists and entrepreneurs.Island remoteness fosters a number of retirees and telecommuters.Many homeowners live here part-time, renting to vacationers in highseason (summer).

How you'd spend your free time: Clear, clean watersencourage year-round boating, fishing, scuba diving, andsnorkeling. Almost all of the island remains undeveloped, allowingplenty of opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and camping.The landmark Catalina Casino contains a grand ballroom and movietheater.

(published October 2007)