Lover’s Cove, Catalina Island, California

There is a ‘must visit’ spot for every snorkeler off the coast of the Catalina Island. Whether you’ve cruised in on your boat, or you are a local, checking out this Southern California treasure has got to go on your ‘to do’ list. This protected marine reserve is a great place to dip in, whether you’re new to snorkeling or you’re a pro and charges no fees.

An interesting thing about Lover’s Cove is that the protected areas were designed by local divers, fishermen, conservationists, and scientists in 2012. With the intention to preserve its sea life while still enjoying being able to enjoy the area for recreation, studies, and educational purposes.

Many who have visited claim that the marine life is a little different to what normally sees in the tropical waters. At Lover’s Cove, you’ll want to keep your eyes out for sea stars, eels, anemones, octopuses, and the remarkable orange Garibaldi fish. If you are okay to dive a little deeper, you might run into small crustaceans and exotic nudibranches anywhere between 10 to 15 feet below water.

This can probably be attributed to the cool waters. Many visitors recommend full well suits as it can get a little chilly. The recommended time to visit is during the summer as it does get between warm and low 70s.

Some tidbits from visitors:

  • Easy as 1,2,3: Just a few minutes from the ferry terminal, you can get your gear here, rent a locker, and then walk over to the cove.
  • Be a spectator, in gloves: Wear gloves as fish down here may try nibbling on your fingers. You may actually want to avoid feeding the fish and anyone that might be partaking in this as it may cause a bit of a frenzy.
  • No Bling: There are a few fish who might some sharp teeth, so you’ll want to refrain from wearing any shiny jewelry as it’ll get their attention.

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