Whether you live in Los Angeles or are just visiting, Catalina island offers a great opportunity for a weekend getaway. Catalina island boasts only a couple small communities, 42,000 acres of pristine wilderness and average temperatures in the low 70s for much of the year. In short, Catalina island is just about the most perfect island getaway this side of Indonesia.
Getting to Catalina island is easy enough. You have your choice of the Catalina island express (www.catalinaexpress.com), the Catalina marina Del Rey flyer (www.catalinaferries.com), the Catalina flyer (www.catalinainfo.com) and the island express helicopter (www.islandexpress.com). Rates range from $35-$84 each way and take 15 minutes (by chopper) and 60 minutes or more by sea.
Now you’ve reached Catalina island’s main city of Avalon, checked in to you hotel and are ready to start your weekend. Your first day on the island you’re going to want a hearty breakfast. The pancake cottage offers great breakfasts ranging from pancakes to omelets or giant muffins. Breakfast here will give you the energy you need to explore the island.
My first day in a new place I always like to go exploring. Catalina island offers plenty of tours designed to introduce visitors to the island. The Santa Catalina island company offers a $15 Avalon scenic tour of Avalon, its beach front and attractions. Tours last an hour. $98.50 buys a 4 hour tour of the island’s interior including middle ranch canyon, the habitats of various Catalina island animals and a stop at the airport in the sky. Tour includes a complimentary lunch.
After all these activities maybe you want to take it a little easy. Brown’s Bikes (www.catalinabiking.com) rents bikes starting at $5 per hour or $12 per day. Or maybe an afternoon movie at the Casino’s 1400 seat theater would be an idea. Need to work the kinks out? Try one of Catalina island’s spas. A touch of heaven (www.atouchofheaven.com), A Spa at Catalina (www.catalinaspa.com) and Island breeze day spa salon (www.islandbreezespa.com) are all ready to give you the best pampering around.
I can’t suggest a trip to Catalina island without getting you out on the water or giving you a look a William Wrigley’s influence on the island. Let’s get out on the water first. If going under water is your thing, you might take a guided snorkel tour (www.snorkelingcatalina.com) or get in touch with Catalina Scuba Luv (www.scubaluv.com) for a variety of dive packages and adventure tours.
Don’t want to get that wet? Check out Decanso Beach sports (www.kayakcatalinaisland.com). Descanso offers group activities, hotel packages and guided tours of Catalina’s beautiful coastline. All necessary equipment is provided and instructions are offered for first timers. Apparently, learning to kayak is almost as easy as learning to ride a bike. These companies and too many others to list are happy to take you out on the water for fly fishing or island tours.
Finally, I have to mention William Wrigley. First, the Wrigley memorial & botanical garden. William Wrigley, former owner of Catalina island is honored with a monument built from stone mined from Catalina island. The garden covers almost 40 acres and places emphasis on plants native only to Catalina island. The garden is open year round and admission is only $5.00.
Obviously I could go all day raving about Catalina island’s offerings. If you’re looking for more things to see and do, www.catalina.com can offer more fun, exciting things to do if oyu haven’t worn yourself out already.