Beautiful Islands in California to Visit on Your Vacation

Beautiful Islands in California to Visit on Your Vacation

California, also known as the golden state, is a top favorite spot of all tourists, attracting millions from across the globe. The perfect ambiance, breathtaking views, and scrumptious foods make it one of the most appealing spots. However, something that truly sets this state apart is the coastline, housing numerous beautiful islands which leave a person in absolute awe. These islands are scattered along the coastline. So no matter where you go, you’ll always find a tiny island around!

Ready to explore the wondrous West Coast? From rolling waves to blissful beaches, let’s discover the Californian islands that are perfect for an unforgettable getaway with your closest companions. 

Lapping up the salty ocean air, there’s nothing like a day spent sunbathing on the beach or meandering along sandy shores! Here are some of California’s most enticing islands—places that guarantee you absolute joy and unparalleled feelings of freedom. Pack your bags and set sail for a dreamy vacation in paradise!

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Channel Islands, National Park

Channels Islands is an amalgamation of five diverse islands, including:

  • Santa Cruz;
  • Anacapa;
  • Santa Rosa;
  • Santa Barbara;
  • San Miguel.

Out of these, Santa Cruz and Anacapa are the most famous, as they are close to the mainland. Tourists can enjoy several activities on these islands, from snorkeling to kayaking to hiking, there is no chance that you will even experience an ounce of boredom here. These islands are also rightfully called “the heaven” for adventure seekers.

There are campsites available on all five islands if one wishes to stay here for a few nights. The rugged landscape and the biodiversity of the area make the visit spectacular.

Channel Islands are also rightfully called “the heaven” for adventure seekers. Photo: Tomas Tichy / Shutterstock.com

Angel Island

  • Weather forecast: Mostly sunny.
  • Best time to visit: September and November.

Angel Island is the second biggest natural island in the San Francisco Bay area and offers outdoor activities and natural scenic beauty. There are multiple hiking trails around the island, and biking options are also available. The highest point of this island is Mount Livermore, some enthusiasts travel to the absolute top to capture the glorious 360-degree view of the island.

There aren’t any hotels in the area. However, most people book campsites and enjoy starry nights under the magical sky of Angel Island.

Angel Island is the second biggest natural island in the San Francisco Bay area and offers outdoor activities and natural scenic beauty. Photo: TierneyMJ / Shutterstock.com

Coronado Island

  • Weather forecast: Summers are short and Winters are long, temperature typically varies from 50 °F (ca. 10 °C) to 77 °F (ca. 25 °C).
  • Best time to visit: Early June to mid October.
  • View hotels on Coronado Island

Coronado Island is a soft sand island with wide beaches and is connected to San Diego by a thin strip of land. Whether you plan a day trip with family or a full-on vacation with friends, Coronado beach has plenty of entertainment and sightseeing options available.

Tourists usually take a ferry to the island or drive over the famous bridge to reach this spectacular sight. The most famous spot on the island is the Hotel Del Coronado.

If you are super lucky, you might spot dolphins. So always keep a camera at hand to capture nature’s marvels. The white sandy coastline will give you all the reasons to enjoy and relax.

Tourists usually take a ferry to the island or drive over the famous bridge to reach this spectacular sight. Photo: Manuela Durson / Shutterstock.com

Catalina Islands 

  • Weather forecast: Mild subtropical climate with warm year-round temperatures, summer average temperature is 65 °F (ca. 18 °C)-72 °F (ca. 22 °C) & Winter average temperature is 50 °F (ca. 10 °C)-63 °F (ca. 17 °C).
  • Best time to visit: June-September.

Catalina Island, located on the Southern Californian Coast is nestled between colorful houses and boats easing through the crystal blue water. The bustling island has diverse marine life and is the perfect spot for scuba diving and snorkeling. Only a few lucky people get to experience the magic of the aqua world! 

A blessing in disguise is that visitors are not allowed to use cars here. However, tourists can visit the island on foot, by bike, or even use golf carts. It not only helps keep the environment of the island clean but gives tourists a better chance to explore every little corner in peace and harmony.

The raw beauty of Catalina makes this island stand out, there isn’t much development, but tourists experience a great sense of calm here. You’ll surely get a taste of the Mediterranean by visiting Catalina!

A blessing in disguise is that visitors are not allowed to use cars here. Photo: Chris Grant / Shutterstock.com

East Brother Island

  • Weather forecast: Summer average temperature 57 °F (ca. 14 °C)-63 °F (ca. 17 °C) and Winter average temperature is 33 °F (0.56 °C)-58 °F (ca. 14 °C).
  • Best time to visit: During the fall and before winter.

As the name suggests, East Brother is a pair of islands near the coast of San Francisco. The highlight is a lighthouse that has been converted into a quaint hotel with five rooms. Unlike other islands, this is relatively less crowded. It gives a very customized and secluded experience to the visitors and should be on the list of islands you need to visit at least once.

The highlight of East Brother Island is a lighthouse that has been converted into a quaint hotel with five rooms. Photo: Naaman Abreu / Shutterstock.com

Treasure Island

  • Weather forecast: Summers are long and the winters are short, the temperature typically varies from 57 °F (ca. 14 °C) to 89 °F (ca. 32 °C) and is rarely below 47 °F (ca. 8 °C) or above 93 °F (ca. 34 °C).
  • Best time to visit: November, April, and then December.
  • View hotels on the Treasure Island

It might be difficult to find an actual treasure here, but the Treasure Island music festival and monthly flea market are the two features that are the main reasons tourists flock to this area in huge numbers. The views from this island are also great, and one can see the beautiful skyline.

The views from this island are also great, and one can see the beautiful skyline. Photo: kropic1 / Shutterstock.com

Alcatraz Island

  • Weather forecast: Summer average temperature is 64 °F (ca. 18 °C)-73 °F (ca. 23 °C) and winter average temperature is 51 °F (ca. 11 °C)-57 °F (ca. 14 °C).
  • Best time to visit: April-May & September-October.

Alcatraz Island has a bit of a notorious reputation for all the prisons that were situated here once. Now, these prisons have been converted into historic museums. However, there was a time when people were locked here in isolation. This island is also known as the remnant of a dark history. One can roam here on foot or even get self-guided audio tours. It’s an ideal location for a sunrise viewing gathering or even a night tour.

Alcatraz Island has a bit of a notorious reputation for all the prisons that were situated here once. Photo: Maciej Bledowski / Shutterstock.com

Woodley Islands

  • Weather forecast: Summers are short, the temperature typically varies from 35 °F (1.67 °C) to 72 °F (ca. 22 °C) and is rarely below 24 °F (-4.44 °C) or above 82 °F (ca. 28 °C).
  • Best time to visit: June to late August.

Woodley Island, situated among the ancient redwoods of Eureka Bay, is an ideal destination to spend a vacation with friends. One can find delicious seafood such as fish and crabs, as well as plenty of refreshments at the harbor. Experience the thrill of simple pleasures come alive like never before with a trip to this special place!

One can find delicious seafood such as fish and crabs, as well as plenty of refreshments at the harbor. Photo: Jairo Rene Leiva / Shutterstock.com

Naples Island

  • Weather forecast: Summers are long, over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 56 °F (ca. 13 °C) to 89 °F (ca. 32 °C) and is rarely below 44 °F (ca. 7 °C) or above 92 °F (ca. 33 °C).
  • Best time to visit: March and May.

Naples Island is the quintessential Southside beach on the list of every tourist. The sandy beach has calm lagoons, majestic canals, and boardwalks. Unlike Venice, the canals are not overcrowded at all. So you can enjoy these in peace. It is also called California’s own little Italy. Most places have Italian names, and the area has a rich history, full of stories and tales. Tourists can easily access shops at Long Beach, shops, and hotels and enjoy the buzzing nightlife.

If you plan to confess your love to your partner and make it a grand gesture, then Naples Island is the ideal spot. This island provides all the romantic vibes and encapsulates you in its glory.

The sandy beach has calm lagoons, majestic canals, and boardwalks. Photo: KK Stock / Shutterstock.com

Balboa Island

  • Weather forecast: Summers are short, over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 48 °F (ca. 9 °C) to 79 °F (ca. 26 °C) and is rarely below 42 °F (5.56 °C) or above 87 °F (ca. 31 °C).
  • Best time to visit: March and May & from September to November.
  • View hotels on Balboa Island

Located amid Newport Bay, Balboa Island is near Orange County. It can easily be accessed via ferry or one can drive to the spot as well. There are many charming bistros, restaurants, and bike riding options. The best part is the food, the most famous item on the menu is ice cream. Balboa Island’s ice cream is a must-have and leaves one in sheer delight.

There are accommodation options available at Balboa Island, and one can easily make bookings through different online booking platforms. ZenHotels can help you plan the perfect trip, from finalizing the dates to choosing the hotels you want to stay at, everything is super convenient.

Located amid Newport Bay, Balboa Island is near Orange County. Photo: CharlieBphoto / Shutterstock.com


California is all about having a good time! If you are exhausted from your mundane routine, and want to relax with family and have some fun, there couldn’t be a better and more cost-effective option than the amazing islands of California. Although there are several options available, we would recommend that Balboa Island, Coronado Island, and Catalina Island should be on the top of your list as they offer more entertainment options.

With so many picturesque and peaceful islands, California is just waiting for your vacation dreams to come true! We invite you to take the plunge and explore all the beautiful islands in the state. From San Francisco to LA, the Golden State offers something magical that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Relax on the beach, explore the coastline, savor the local flavor and experience unrivaled sunsets-you won’t regret a vacation of adventure, relaxation and culture when it comes to island visiting in California.

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