Diving at Casino Point Dive Park at Avalon in Catalina Island is a great day trip! It’s a bit of an adventure in itself if you’re from Los Angeles, as you’re going to have to get up early, drive for a bit, and then board a boat. But it’s worth if for the epic diving adventure you can experience there. Most likely, unless you’re organizing an event with your own boat, you’ll be boarding the Catalina Express to head over into Catalina Island. The Dive Park is a short, beautiful walk by the shore from where the boat docks, so you’ll get a nice walk in. If you’re planning to bring your gear with you, you can pay a small fee per bag to have a valet carry your bag over on a golf cart for you to the dive center. I highly recommend this because, while it is a quick walk, it feels a lot longer with all your heavy dive gear and weights. You can also easily rent equipment at the park. (Regardless of what you bring, it’s probably a good idea to rent your tanks right there at the island.)
There’s a a friendly, go-with-the-flow atmosphere on the island, so divers regularly just leave their things around by the back of the park in piles, and their stuff almost never gets disturbed. We left all of our things over in a corner when we were diving, and there were no issues at all. The honor system is pretty strong over on Catalina. Perhaps the best part, however, is that the dive park has stairs that go right into the water, so you don’t have to worry about the hassles of beach diving. You can put on your gear, walk about 30 feet, and just go down the stairs directly into the water. On your way out, the surge will take you right up to the water, as well.
The most amazing part about this dive park, however, is what lives on under the water. There is a beautiful large forest of kelp, many different types of plants and fish, and, if you’re lucky, you just might see some giant sea bass. We saw sea bass the size of cows when we were there. There were also plenty of garabaldi, and we even saw a moray eel.
Many diving classes go to take their final dive tests out at Casino Point dive park, and it makes sense. It’s controlled, beautiful, and, even on the weekends in the summer, it’s not too overcrowded. I highly recommend giving it a go and going diving at Casino Point Dive Park if you’re a certified diver!