Catalina Island Adventure

This is a fun way to start UCSD and have a great experience in one of the most beautiful places in Southern California. After taking the ferry over to Two Harbors on Catalina Island we will spend our days kayaking, hiking, snorkeling and scuba diving. Nights will find us sitting around camp fires sharing stories, getting to know each other and learning the inside scoop about UCSD. We will be staying in picturesque cabins just steps from Emerald Bay with hot showers, clean bathrooms and healthy, delicious meals. The Trip After you meet your fellow group members at UCSD  we will drive up to San Pedro and take the Ferry over to Two Harbors on Catalina Island. We will then settle in to our cabins at the picturesque Emerald Bay Camp, have dinner and get to know our fellow UCSD incoming students. We will be kayaking, snorkeling and visiting the Marine Science Center.  We will head out on a hike travelling through some of Catalina's best scenery followed by more swimming, snorkelling and relaxing while we enjoy great food  as well as archery, sports, boating, a research lab and much more. We will depart early afternoon, return to the mainland by ferry and be back at UCSD ready for those assigned to early college crientations to take part. Optional Scuba Dive: All Catalina Island Adventure participants will be able to snorkel on the trip, but there is an option to scuba dive. The dive is run by the Malibu Divers shop on the island. There are dive options for both certified divers and participants who are not certified, each include all necessary equipment. The dive fee would be paid directly to Malibu Divers on the island when you arrive. Click on a trip video here Course Area - Catalina Island, California Santa Catalina Island, or just Catalina, is a rocky island off the coast of the U.S. state of California. The island is 22 miles long and 8 miles across at its greatest width. The island is located about 22 miles south-southwest of Los Angeles, California. The highest point on the island is 2,097 feet Mt. Orizaba. Prior to the modern era, the island was inhabited by people of the Gabrielino/ Tongva tribe , who, having had villages near present day San Pedro and Playa del Rey, regularly traveled back and forth to Catalina for trade. Archeological evidence shows Tongva settlement beginning in 7000 BC. These Pimugnans had settlements all over the island at one time or another, with their biggest villages being at the Isthmus and at present-day Avalon, Shark/Little Harbor, and Emerald Bay.The island is very rich in quartz, to the point that some beaches on the seaward side have silvery-grey sand. Catalina is primarily composed of two distinct rock units: Catalina Schist from the Cretaceous period, and volcanic and intrusive igneous rocks from the Tertiary period. Catalina is home to 15 taxa found nowhere else. About 400 species of native plants grow on the island. Six species, subspecies or varieties are endemic and can be found only on Catalina Island.The island is home to five native land mammals. Trip Itinerary

Day 1 – Meet at Outback Adventures Office / Rental shop at 10 am on the first day. Gear check and experience the Outback Challenge Course. Camp at Outback Adventures on the first night

Day 2 –  Depart for the Catalina Island Ferry. Arrive at Emerald Bay and move-in

Day 3 – Kayak, snorkel and visit the Marine Science Center

Day 4 – Day hike on Catalina Island

Day 5 – Optional morning scuba dive or swim, snorkel, kayak, archery and more. Take ferry to San Pedro and return to UCSD in the evening for final celebration dinner.  Camp on campus at Outback Adventures.

Day 6 -Breakfast, Closing Ceremonies, Depart 10am. Plan flights no earlier than 12pm (noon).

Physical Demands This trip offers an exciting experience without being physically strenuous. At times there will be opportunities to swim at the beaches; a swim test will be performed for anyone wishing to participate. Non-swimmers or those unable to pass the swim test will be required to wear personel flotation devices (PFDs). *We are more than willing to work with participants who may require adaptive solutions. Please call the Director for more information at a minimum of 30 days in advance of the trip start. Registration Fee Info Registration fees cover transportation from UCSD to the trip destination, instruction, most food and all group gear (tents, cooking equipment, canoes, kayaks, surfboards, first aid supplies etc.). Participants provide personal equipment on the trip packing list, most of which can be purchased or rented at Outback Adventures. Cancellation Policy - please review the trip cancellation policy before registering for Wilderness Orientation. WO DOES NOT REPLACE FORMAL COLLEGE ORIENTATION and students must schedule WO and college orientation without a time conflict.  


Drugs, alcohol, tobacco and firearms are not permitted on any Outback trip. Presence of these items is grounds for immediate removal from the trip at the participant's expense.

Current emergency contact and medical information must be provided.

All participants must complete a Liability-Waiver (PDF) prior to the trip.

Cancellation Policy

Rental gear listed as provided above by Outback Adventures must be reserved and picked up at the Outback Rental Shop prior to the trip, during store hours. There is no extra charge.


Adventure travel has inherent risks of injury and/or death. These risks contribute to the "adventure" aspect of our trips. UCSD Outback Adventures and its employees assume no liability for any damages, loss, injury or death as a result of our trips. Some trips have a prerequisite fitness level, for which the participants are responsible. Any person participating in an Outback Adventures trip is personally responsible for his or her own safety.

WO DOES NOT REPLACE FORMAL COLLEGE ORIENTATION and students must schedule WO and college orientation without a time conflict.