Living in Southern California there is no end to the weekend (or long term) travel destination options. We have mountains, deserts, a massive coastline and yes there are islands! About 30 miles off the coast of the Los Angeles area lies Santa Catalina Island. Part of the Channel Island chain Catalina (as its most commonly referred to) is the most populated with just over 4000 permanent residents. Its accessible via frequent ferries by Catalina Express (takes just over an hour) or there are also helicopters available.
I have visited Catalina a few times for day trips but this was my first overnight experience and I truly wish we could have stayed longer (work and school made that dream difficult) We had the pleasure of staying at the newly opened Hotel Atwater in the city of Avalon. It’s just a few steps off the main strip and is perfectly located close to the mini golf course, the pier and shops and restaurants. We also appreciated that it wasn’t right on the main strip so that we could get some sleep, people definitely like to let loose while visiting this laid back island.
Although there are a multitude of ways to get your exercise on Catalina such as zip-lining, parasailing, kayaking etc. everyone walks or rides a bike (or drives golf carts) due to the limited number of motor vehicles on the island, we just chose to walk everywhere so we could burn off the calories from all the delicious food we consumed.
There are certainly no shortages of fabulous restaurants in Avalon. Seafood is plentiful on the island and the BlueWater Avalon has some of the best we experienced as well as a stunning view of Avalon Harbor and a killer dirty vodka martini! My boy and I shared a seared tuna salad and a bucket of mussels and clams, my husband tried a new fish (to him) called Sand Dabs and we finished it off by sharing some fantastic Key Lime pie. There was a discussion of catching a post dinner movie at the Casino but dinner did us all in and we went back to the hotel and got a great night sleep.
My first time visiting the city of Avalon on Catalina Island was many years ago when my then fiancé, now husband, and I were scouting locations to get married. Catalina is definitely a celebration destination as there were several weddings, a high school reunion, two bachelorettes and a 21st birthday going on and those are just what we noticed while hanging out in our cabana at the Descanso Beach Club. This beach club definitely has you feeling like you traveled much further south. The white sand beaches and access to water sports has you feeling like you’re on a tropical vacay the nachos and micheladas certainly helped with that fantasy.
As you can see from the looks on our faces we had a delightful time visiting Santa Catalina Island and recommend you pop on over the first chance you get, I know you’ll love it!
Happy Travels, xo ~Zia
Lounging Poolside at Island Spa Catalina
Thank you Catalina Express, Hotel Atwater & Bluewater Avalon for partnering on this post. All thoughts and ideas are my own.