Drone Videos
Photos All Photos

Cottonwood Beach

SANDEE RATING: 83 / 100

Location9GGC+GH Two Harbors, CA, USA

Overview

Located in the south-western portion of Santa Catalina Island, Cottonwood Beach - also known as Mills Landing Beach and Cottonwood Canyon Beach - is a small remote north-facing beach with light brown sand. This beach is situated below steep oceanfront bluffs and a canyon named Cottonwood Canyon is also present behind it. As an interesting fact, Cottonwood Beach is named after the cottonwood trees which grow in this canyon. There is also a creek that sometimes falls onto Cottonwood Beach from the blufftop area above and pools up on the beach before flowing into the Pacific Ocean. Cottonwood Beach does not have lifeguards or any other amenities, so plan your trip accordingly. Dogs on leash are allowed on this beach. Getting to Cottonwood Beach is difficult - the access trail to the beach is located along Middle Ranch Road, which is easily accessible from the nearby community of Two Harbors via Little Ranch Road and from the city of Avalon via Airport Road. However, driving to the blufftop area above Cottonwood Beach is hard as the road conditions in this part of Santa Catalina Island can be rugged and steep. If you are hiking, you can also access the blufftop area above Cottonwood Beach via the Trans-Catalina Trail (the main trailhead for this popular hiking trail is situated near 708 Crescent Avenue in the city of Avalon, more than 15 miles away). There is a steep access path going down along the bluff sides to Cottonwood Beach from the blufftop area above.  

Cottonwood Beach offers many fun activities including sunbathing, beachcombing, picnicking, wildlife watching, and hiking. Aquatic recreational activities including swimming and surfing are highly unsafe in the water near this beach as it has dangerous rip currents. This beach is ideal for those looking for a quiet beach experience as this beach sees few visitors. In addition, the waterfall which occasionally flows onto Cottonwood Beach offers amazing Instagram-worthy pictures. If you are looking for a more engaging hiking experience, Catalina Backcountry offers interesting guided hikes around the beach and the surrounding Santa Catalina Island shoreline. As an interesting fact, Cottonwood Beach and the area around it was first settled by the Native American Pimu people during the Pre-Columbian era. You can explore the vibrant groves of cottonwood trees present in the canyon behind this beach and on rare occasions even see American bison in this canyon. However, if you encounter an American bison, we recommend being careful as these dangerous animals have an unpredictable nature and can attack at the slightest provocation. There is a mountain ridge present to the south of Cottonwood Canyon that has ruins of military installations dating back to World War Two. If you are looking for additional information about Cottonwood Beach, you can call Catalina Island Conservancy (a non-profit organization responsible for the protection of 88% of Santa Catalina Island) at 310-510-2595 (Avalon office) or (562) 437-8555 (Long Beach office).

Attractions

There are many attractions near Cottonwood Beach within an hour’s drive. The Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden has an interesting monument dedicated to the memory of the eminent industrialist and chewing-gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. In addition, the site’s botanic garden is also home to a wide variety of interesting flora. The garden also has a special emphasis on rare plant species endemic to California’s islands. The memorial and botanic garden also offer access to one of Santa Catalina’s most popular hiking trails known as the Garden to Sky Trail, which offers amazing Instagram-worthy views of the Santa Catalina Island shoreline. The Wrigley Marine Science Center (which is a part of the University of South California’s Wrigley Institute) is a research center and teaching facility which is generally only accessible to research scholars, faculty and students from the University of South California, and other academic groups. However, from May 31 to August 30, the research center offers interesting tours of its premises for the general public on Saturday mornings. Visitors can view many interesting research exhibits, a touch tank, and a hyperbaric chamber during these tours. In addition, they can also attend an informative science lecture. If you are interested in being a part of this tour, you can visit the "Saturdays at the Lab" webpage of Wrigley Marine Science Center’s website or call (310) 510-0811 for more information. 

If you are looking for another attraction near Cottonwood Beach, Catalina Island Casino is a major local landmark that was opened in 1929. While this casino does not offer g, visitors can explore the casino premises through guided tours. These tours offer a unique insight into the casino’s marvelous Art Deco architecture and colorful history. This casino also has one of the world’s largest circular ballrooms and it also hosts many exciting events including Santa Catalina Island’s annual New Year’s Eve Celebration, Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival, and the Catalina Conservancy Ball.

Restaurants

If you get hungry, there are many great restaurants near Cottonwood Beach within an hour’s drive. Avalon Grille offers a pleasant oceanfront dining experience. In addition, this restaurant also serves amazing gourmet dishes prepared from fresh and local ingredients. This restaurant also serves an exquisite drink called Wrigley’s Martini, which was created by Philip K. Wrigley. This drink was popular in Chicago during the 1950s (it was originally exclusively served only at The Wrigley Bar in Chicago). West End Galley offers amazing breakfast and lunch entrees including sandwiches, pizzas, wraps, burritos, salads, and burgers. If you are looking for another good and affordable restaurant near Cottonwood Beach, The Sandtrap offers amazing Mexican and American breakfast dishes.

Hotels

If you are looking for a hotel near Cottonwood Beach, there are many great nearby options within an hour's drive. The 4-Star Mt Ada Bed & Breakfast was the former retreat of renowned industrialist William Wrigley Jr. and offers many amenities including a bar, a fireplace, a terrace, complimentary access to the butler’s pantry throughout the day (which includes alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, fruits, mixed nuts, and ice-creams), access to a golf cart for exploring the city of Avalon, and complimentary shuttle service from the airport, heliport, boat terminal, or other hotels. A more affordable hotel is the 3-Star Banning House Lodge offers many amenities including complimentary breakfast, a terrace with views of the Pacific Ocean, a common room with a fireplace, a sunroom, and complimentary shuttle service. If you are looking for another good and affordable hotel near Cottonwood Beach, the 2-Star Hotel Mac Rae offers many amenities including complimentary breakfast, a DVD library, and complimentary beach towels. In addition, the hotel also has an open courtyard with lounge chairs and tables.

Amenities


LGBTQLGBTQ

Yes

DisabilityDisability

NO

ATMATM

No

BarbecueBarbecue

No

Blue FlagBlue Flag

No

Boat RampsBoat Ramps

No

Party SceneParty Scene

No

DogsDogs

No

Fire PitsFire Pits

No

NudeNude

No

Free ParkingFree Parking

No

Paid ParkingPaid Parking

No

PlaygroundPlayground

NO

RestroomsRestrooms

No

ShowersShowers

No

Stairs To BeachStairs To Beach

No

Street ParkingStreet Parking

Yes

Picnic TablesPicnic Tables

NO

Wi-FiWi-Fi

No

Activities


ATVATV

No

Bike PathsBike Paths

Yes

CampingCamping

Yes

All-Terrain VehiclesAll-Terrain Vehicles

NO

FishingFishing

No

HikingHiking

Yes

Jet SkiingJet Skiing

No

Kayaking / CanoeingKayaking / Canoeing

NO

Paddle-boardsPaddle-boards

No

SailingSailing

No

Scuba DivingScuba Diving

No

SnorkelingSnorkeling

No

SurfingSurfing

No

SwimmingSwimming

No

VolleyballVolleyball

No

Water SkiingWater Skiing

No

WindsurfingWindsurfing

No

Rentals


Lounge Chair RentalLounge Chair Rental

No

Beach Mat RentalBeach Mat Rental

No

Umbrella RentalUmbrella Rental

No

Transportation


Bike AccessBike Access

No

Bike RacksBike Racks

No

Car AccessCar Access

No

Fishing BoatsFishing Boats

No

Foot AccessFoot Access

Yes

Bus StopBus Stop

Yes

RV ParkingRV Parking

No

BoatsBoats

Yes

YachtsYachts

NO

Food


BarsBars

No

Beach VendorsBeach Vendors

No

RestaurantsRestaurants

NO

Basic Details


Phone

Phone

No
Hours

Hours

24 / 7
Cell Reception

Cell Reception

Weak
Parking

Parking

No
Size of the beach

Size of the beach

0.08 mi
Sand Color

Sand Color

Sand Texture

Sand Texture

Smooth
Entry Fee

Entry Fee

No
Public or Private

Public or Private

Public

Weather
°F
°C


NaN°F

Sun

Mist - Mist

NaN°F

Daily Hight

NaN°F

Daily Low

%

Cloud Cover

%

Relative Humidity

Enjoyed this beach page? Share it with your friends:

FacebookFACEBOOKInstagramInstagramSnapchat

Snapchat

TwitterTwitterPinterestPinterest

Nearby Beaches: Cottonwood Beach