Quick Trip to Catalina Island It's amazing how Santa Catalina Island can be a romantic vacation getaway just 22 miles from Los Angeles. Remarkably little has changed since the era of big bands and ballrooms. The small village of Avalon, surrounded by an amphitheater-like backdrop of steep hills, has never outgrown its charm. Those visitors who do leave Avalon catch the ferry for the trip to the little village of Two Harbors, also know as the Isthmus. Even kids can make the short walk from Two Harbors to the surf-lashed west coast, and a trip to the island's rugged interior is a step back in time.