Catalina Island is 22 miles off the coast of Long Beach, California, the island is 75 square miles and the only city located on the island is Avalon. The only vehicle allowed on the streets of Avalon is golf carts, and that works just fine as most restaurants, shops and attractions are within what are considered walking distance.
As always there are exceptions to every rule and that is good for wheelchair users as there are wheelchair accessible cabs and the Island Hopper tram. Located around town there are several courtesy taxi phones and the tram has regular routes through town.
Arranging your travel to the island you want to take Catalina Channel Express and it runs out of Long Beach and San Pedro. There is handicap parking available at both locations and boarding is also accessible, the newer boats are VERY accessible, and all boats are accessible. As with all travel these days there are luggage requirements so be sure and get acquainted with those when you make your travel reservations. This is where a personal travel website agent becomes valuable, as they will be able to handle these fine details for you. There is also a service to the island from Newport Beach, however, there isn’t handicap parking and the ramp to and from the boat is very steep, so this service is basically un-accessible for wheelchairs or challenged walkers.
Where to stay on the island, Pavillion Lodge is just 14 steps from the beach and really close to the boat pier, and located close to the downtown area of Avalon. It has a large courtyard for relaxing and sunning. There are wheelchair accessible rooms on the ground floor with roll in showers. I have stayed here and it is very convenient and works very well.
This is a quaint pedestrian style island and it is basically handicap/accessible friendly which is wonderful as when towns and areas tend to be quaint, it restricts mobility drastically for the physically challenged. If you can get in a golf cart, they are rented by the hour(s) and the day and that will make the island even more accessible for you. Most of the tours are not accessible so that is why a golf cart would work the best if you can use one.
Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Garden is accessible, with assistance, as it is sloping and rocky, so you may want to check this out to see if it would be accessible for you. The Art Deco Casino Theatre has a ramp. The Casino Ballroom has an elevator. Catalina Museum is accessible.
Events that happen on the island are accessible: The Catalina Festival of Art (September) is on Crescent Street along the beach. The Catalina Jazz Trax Festival (Fall) is in the Casino Ballroom. The News Eve Gala is in the Casino Ballroom. So make your reservations with your Travelling with Disabilities Travel Agent, pack your bags for an adventure of fun and relaxation, not to mention the clean air and marvellous weather.