Two Harbors is just a short hop from Avalon or LA, but a world unto itself where bison wander freely, the days pass slowly, and there’s a little bit of something for everyone. But not too much. It’s also the common base for cruising rallies and debaucherous party weekends of all kinds, including the notorious Pirate Days in the fall.
The shore of Catalina is free from hazards when approaching from Avalon or points S and E, but there are a few items directly off Two Harbors and to the North to keep an eye on 1) Harbor Reef, nearly in the middle of the bay, but marked well by daymarks (lit at night); 2) Sail Rock, further out in the bay, an obvious large rock during the day and a good radar target at night; and 3) The off standing rock at Emerald Cove, if you’re hugging the shore as you come from the N or West.
Like Avalon and the other major mooring areas at Catalina, this one controlled by the Catalina Island Company, with harbor master boats patrolling and welcoming new arrivals. Check in with them to get a ball assignment. Based on your boat size, length of stay, etc. You have the option of the main Two Harbors area, or the smaller coves to the west (Cherry Cove and 4th of July). Note that these can be nasty washing machines of refracting swell if wind is E of North.
Do you need to book ahead to get a ball on busy weekends? YES. Make reservations here.
Mooring is bow and stern, with the two lines connected by a “sand line.” If you’re not familiar with this mooring pickup process, check out the tutorial here before arriving, and it will save you some hassle or possible embarrassment.
This is very much a summer camp for adults, with just enough infrastructure to while away a weekend or a week without worry. Restaurant/Bar, small store, ice cream, historic yacht club, lots of hiking, play time on the beach, etc.
Follow one of the many hiking trails up onto the surrounding ridges to get a bird’s eye view of the harbor and your boat happily bobbing among the throngs. Reward your effort with ice cream and a dip on your return. Perfect.