Picture Credit: Michael Juliano | Catlina Island
This summer as pandemic restrictions have lifted, people are vacationing again. A perfect island getaway that is within the United States is Catalina Island, just off the coast of Newport Beach in Southern California. Catalina has beautiful mountains, a perfect view of the ocean, and cozy towns, making it a great spot to visit.
First, how do you get to Catalina? The main way to the island in the morning is by booking a one hour boat ride on the Catalina Flyer or the Catalina Express to Avalon–the island’s busiest and largest city (the other main tourist spot being Two Harbors). There are other means of transportation to the island, but these two are the fastest and cheapest.
After debarking, I would suggest walking ten minutes to Catalina Coffee & Cookie Co. to try one of the best cinnamon buns I’ve ever tried. They are also well known for their coffee drinks and other delicious pastries. You purchase your food at the counter and then can enjoy them on the patio, where there will often be live music.
Next, I would spend an hour walking around the shop-lined streets of Avalon, a highly walkable city. Little boutique and souvenir shops are right along the ocean. They are small and dainty little cottages.
After some shopping, another tourist favorite is renting a golf cart or an electric bike. The golf cart and bike renters provide maps of the city and the scenic routes. At the top of the mountain, where the scenic route will take you, the view provides a wonderful picture taking spot and just a beautiful area to relax. The scenic route takes about an hour to drive and leads you to a few museums and tourist spots and throughout some of the city streets. You have to be 25 year or older to rent and drive the golf cart.
Once you have returned your golf cart, you may find many places to dine for lunch. A coastal town, Avalon is full of seafood restaurants as well as many other popular dives like the Naughty Fox.
In the mid-afternoon, you can choose from many adventure and water sports like parasailing, snorkeling, paddle boarding or ziplining. I recently had my first parasailing experience at Parasail Catalina. I got on a speed boat with several other people and as soon as the boat took off, we put on life vests and harnesses. When it was my turn, I climbed to the edge of the boat, was strapped onto the parasail, and then slowly sent 800 feet into the sky. Once in the clear blue sky, it was surprisingly quiet and peaceful, as I took in the beautiful views of Catalina from a new perspective. The ten minutes flew by.
Although you can easily see and do many things in one day on Catalina Island, tourists may also stay overnight at hotels such as Hotel St. Lauren, Hotel Atwater, Glenmore Plaza Hotel, and the Casa Mariquita Hotel. These are the more high-end and luxury hotels–popular with beautiful views, but can be on the pricier side. On my first day trip to Catalina, I returned to the maintaland the same way I arrived, via the Catalina Flyer.
Overall, Catalina Island is a great place to visit for a quick vacation. There are so many things to do there for all ages and so, with the country opening back up again, go to Catalina Island and have some fun!