A tiny village of 150 people, Two Harbors is a very popular destination for Los Angeles boaters because it has a natural protected cove. It is also attractive to visitors because it is in a beautiful and isolated natural setting that is the perfect base for outdoor recreation activities like hiking, diving, and kayaking.
Two Harbors enjoys a mild subtropical climate that is warm throughout the year. It gets an average of 34 days with measurable precipitation during the year. Temperatures range from an average high of around 23°C (73°F) in August and September to an average low of 8°C (46°F) in January. Most rainfall comes from December to March.
The Two Harbors Campground has facilities for both regular tents and tent cabins. The campground is on a high bluff with great views of the Pacific Ocean. Located less than a half-kilometer (quarter-mile) west of Two Harbors, the campground has 42 sites and three areas for group camping. Rangers have firewood, propane, charcoal, and equipment for rent. Available from April through October, the tent cabins can accommodate as many as six people and have cots, stoves, lanterns, picnic tables, barbecues, shade, and a fire ring. Sleeping bags, pads, and four-person tents are also available for rent. Reservations are required for campsites, and amenities include showers, chemical toilets, fresh water, and lockers in addition to the items already described. Campers should check in at Two Harbors Visitor Services before they set up camp. The Safari Bus provides transportation to the campground, but most outdoor lovers will want to walk.
There are nine primitive boat-in campgrounds on the east side of Santa Catalina between Two Harbors and Avalon. Nightly fees vary between weekdays and weekends and range from $6 for children to $16 per adult. Special rates are available for groups of 20 or more. Requiring reservations (that can be made online), the 17 boat-in camp sites are accessible only by kayak or boat, and boaters must bring their own water, shade, and sanitation equipment. All waste must be packed out, and all fires must be self-contained in barbecues or camp stoves. Camping equipment is available for rent at Two Harbors Visitor Services. Kayak rentals are available at the Two Harbors Dive and Recreation Center and at other businesses in Avalon.
Two Harbors offers easy access to some of the best scuba diving in the world. The water is clean and clear, allowing visibility from 12.2 to 30.5 meters (40 to 100 feet), and water temperatures range from 13°C (55°F) to 22°C (72°F). The most popular ways to dive at Two Harbors are kayak and shore diving. Gear is available for rent at the Two Harbors Dive and Recreation Center, and divers can get dive trips and lessons at Two Harbors. Dive masters offer guided kayak dives as well as kayak or snorkel tours.
There are four picnic areas in Two Harbors that are available first-come, first-served if they are not being sued for special events. Catering is available for all four areas, and food is also available at the Two Harbors General Store. Each of the picnic areas offers wonderful views of Isthmus Cove.
The biggest picnic area in Two Harbors is the Main Bandstand. This covered shelter can accommodate up to 500 people and has electrical outlets and barbecues. The closest picnic area to the beach is the West Bandstand which can accommodate up to 250 people. The covered shelter has electricity, a large barbecue, several picnic tables, and a fire pit. Located behind the Harbor Reef Restaurant, Buffalo Park is a covered bandstand with electricity, several picnic tables, and a barbecue. Two Harbors' Buffalo Park can accommodate up to 250 people. On the west side of the Isthmus is the Catalina Harbor picnic area for groups of less than 100 people, offering shaded picnic tables and a barbecue.
While non-permitted biking is allowed in Two Harbors and in Avalon, bike permits are needed to ride in the island's interior areas. (Membership in the Catalina Island Conservancy includes a bike permit.) Mountain biking around Two Harbors is extremely popular with experienced bikers. With trails from novice to advanced, sturdy mountain bikes with all-terrain knobby tires are required, and bikers must wear helmets. Bikers can rent equipment, including mountain bikes, at the Two Harbors Dive and Recreation Center.
The Two Harbors area is also popular with hikers and backpackers. Hiking permits are required, but they are free and can be obtained at Two Harbors Visitor Services. Trails range from easy to difficult for day hikes that offer inland habitats, steep ridges, and great ocean views. The available overnight campsites are great bases for backpackers who want to explore the island, although they can also be reached by regularly scheduled buses.
Fishers love visiting Two Harbors and Santa Catalina Island because they find outstanding ocean fishing. Species frequently caught include sea bass, halibut, and yellow tail to name a few. Adventurers will enjoy the boat trips, shore fishing, and underwater spear fishing. Equipment, skiffs, and fishing kayaks with rod-holders can be found for rent at the Two Harbors Dive and Recreation Center. The Two Harbors General Store offers fishing licenses, frozen bate, and tackle.
To really get to know Santa Catalina Island, the Buffalo Safari takes travelers east from Two Harbors into the interior to see the island's American Bison (buffalo) and to explore the rugged coastline and canyons. Buffalo were first introduced for use in Hollywood movies in the 1920s. Today, almost 250 of the legendary creatures roam the hills. The tour is offered throughout the year as long as weather is favorable, and advance bookings are advised.
The Catalina Express provides transportation from the mainland to Two Harbors. Round-trip ticket prices range from $54 for children from two to eleven to $70 for adults to 54. Seniors get a small discount. Reservations for tickets on the day of departure are recommended, as the Express frequently sells out. Upgrades are available to passengers going to Two Harbors.