This post is a collaboration with Catalina Express and Catalina Island. All opinions, grammatical errors and typos are my own.
If you are looking for a great place to escape the craziness of the city and go for a fun weekend away, you should consider visit Catalina Island. Just 22 miles from the coast of California with a very European style you can have an amazing time while you stroll around the very picturesque town.
Do not let the small size of the Island scare you that you will get bored. It is the opposite. A weekend might not be enough to enjoy all the great things the Island has to offer.
Where to stay
There are plenty of hotels for all styles and budgets. A lot of hotels offer packages that make more affordable and enjoyable your stay.
I always like to visit the Catalina Express page. They have up to date information of the best packages available for the season.
For winter, there are plenty of packages. Catalina Express’ Best of Winter deals include round trip transportation, hotel accommodations and other perks, with savings of up to 65 percent off. Here are some of the ones that called our attention:
Elegantly appointed accommodations with incomparable Avalon views
Breakfast, lunch and evening wine and hors d'oeuvre reception
Butler's Pantry stocked with fresh fruit, ice cream, snacks, soft drinks, beer and wine
Use of a golf cart to explore the Island during your stay
Priority cabana and chaise lounge booking at Descanso Beach Club
Access to tennis courts at Catalina Country Club
Complimentary green fees at Catalina Island Golf Course
Access to Island Spa Catalina pool, hot tub, relaxation deck and fitness classes
Discover the Casino Tour of historic Catalina Casino
Private transportation from airport, heliport, boat terminal or other lodging
Daily housekeeping, nightly turndown service and Wi-Fi
Rates start at $250 per person/per night, a savings of $95 per person/per night
Where to eat
So many choices, however you know you want to enjoy amazing views while you eat and off course have some seafood. Some of our favorites are: El Galleon Steakhouse, Mi Casita Mexican Restaurant, Maggie’s Blue Rose, Steve’s Steakhouse, Antonio’s Pizzeria, Luau Larry’s and Lobster Trap.
This time around we had lunch at Descanso Beach Club and Bluewater Avalon. Both totally recommended.
Descanso Beach Club
With an amazing view and environment and just a 10 min walk from the main streets of Avalon you will find Descanso Beach Club.
The Club has easy access to snorkeling, kayaking, the Catalina Climbing Wall, Catalina Aerial Adventure and the Zip Line Eco Tour. Descanso Beach Club offers high-end amenities such as private cabanas, chaise lounges and a very friendly staff.
We had the traditional cocktail from the Island, the Buffalo Milk (and other drinks) and for lunch we choose the Carnitas Nachos and the Descanso Fried Pacific Catch Sandwich.
Here you can eat inside or enjoy the amazing waterfront patio. They have a full bar and stunning views. Bluewater Avalon is a must-visit favorite located right on Avalon Bay, over the water in the historic waterfront terminal building.
Here we had the Longfin Tilapia (grilled) and the Ahi Tuna.
What to do for adventure
If you are an adrenaline junkie Catalina has a lot of things for you. If you just like to go hiking and be in touch with nature, then Catalina is for you. Plenty of choices for everyone. On this trip we decided to try the Catalina Aerial Adventure. This is a very unique adventure.
You have five self-guided, self-paced courses—each made up of rope ladders, log bridges, balance beams, zip lines and other challenging elements—are arranged in beginner (2), intermediate (2) and advanced (1). Since I love Zip Lines and sky diving, I was thinking before I got there I was going to try the intermediate or advanced. Let me tell you this is a workout as well as an adventure. I am not afraid of heights, but you need balance, core work and coordination for this activity. I would advice to start with the beginner. It was fun and very challenging. I am glad we did it and now I am challenging myself to train and get in shape for next time because I would love to try the advanced course.
We are very grateful for Manny and Lorenzo our tours guides. They were amazing!
What to do for a cultural experience
Most times you talk about an island you think party and food. Certainly you will find those at Catalina Island, but you will also find great cultural experiences.
A must do when visiting Catalina Island is the Catalina Casino. The Casino is hard to miss. You can see this majestic building even when you are just arriving to Avalon by Catalina Express. Casino is Italian for gathering place. No gambling here. However the building is full of history and it is home to the world’s largest circular ballroom on the top level. They offer different tours during the day. We took the Twilight at the Casino one and we loved Frankie, our tour guide. We learned a lot about the Casino and we even took a mini swing dance lesson with him.
The tours lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes and you can experience the Casino much the way William Wrigley Jr. intended when he built this grand gathering place nearly 90 years ago. See the beauty and learn the history of this architectural icon as you make your way from the majestic theater up to the stunning ballroom, where you'll have the chance to take a spin on the original hardwood dance floor as big band sounds fill the air. Then, toast twilight views of Avalon with a complimentary glass of wine on the Romance Promenade and enjoy some fruit and cheese.
Catalina Island Museum
The new museum building designed by the architectural firm of Marengo Morton Architects, provides well over 18,000 square feet of exhibition and support space. At the museum you can refresh from a hot day while enjoying pieces of art that tell the history of the island and also be captivated by pieces from other artists. The exhibitions are changed and updated frequently, that way you can visit several times a year and discover new things.
As you can see there are so many things to do at Catalina Island. It is the perfect place to get away for the weekend. With many package deals available is a great destination. It is a great place for kids, you if you want just to take a girlfriend's trip or even a romantic weekend away, you should consider visit the island.