Catalina Island is the perfect weekend getaway, girl’s trip or even day trip for a carefree island experience. Catalina feels like an exotic foreign land but no passport is required for this trip! That’s because the island is only 22 miles off the coast of Long Beach and considered part of California.
How to Get to Catalina Island:
The island is easily accessible by ferry from multiple California docks and only costs about $70 round trip. The Catalina Express and the Catalina Flyer both operate ferries to and from the island every day. We drove to Long Beach from San Diego for the The Catalina Express to Avalon (Catalina Island). The ferry was a comfortable trip lasting about an hour each way. The overall ease and affordability of getting to the island is just one reason why this is a must visit travel destination in the United States!
What to do on a Catalina Island Day Trip:
Descanso Beach Club – Visiting the beach club is a must for any trip to Catalina! The club’s located right on the waterfront and is open to the public for dining, chaise and cabana rentals. We had a rental pair of chaise lounges on the Descanso beach which I highly recommend. I felt the epitome of “island vacation vibes” laying out on the beach, eating refreshing, tropic meals off the menu. I tried several great items off the menu including the ceviche, poke bowl, and guacamole.
While all three were great, the guacamole is definitely my favorite thing off the menu. Also on the menu is the signature drink of Catalina Island, Buffalo Milk. Don’t be fooled by the name, this drink has no buffalo milk in it. The creamy cocktail is actually made from a blend of with Kahlua, Creme de Banana, vodka, and Creme de Cocoa dessert liquors. The cocktail gets its name from the wild buffalo that the island is known for and still inhabit the interior of the island.
Catalina Aerial Adventure – Despite being a small island the list of possible activities is quite extensive. The Catalina Aerial Adventure obstacle course is one of the many fun activities you can do on the island. The aerial course is actually only a quick walk from the Descanso beach cabanas but feels like a different world. The aerial course was the perfect blend of adventure and fun for me. The course let me play like a kid again and even did some zip-lining! If you’re a little bit braver than you can do an entire Zip Line activity much higher in the air and really feel a rush! For my next trip I plan on doing the super popular Bison Expedition amongst other activities.
Catalina Island Golf Cart Rental – Driving golf carts is the preferred transportation method around the island aside from walking. The best way to see all of the views is to rent a golf cart and drive around the island. We only had about an hour left before our ferry to tour the island on our golf cart, but got to see almost the whole island in that quick time. Golf cart rentals are usually $100 for 2-hours and includes a map with places of interest and a recommended route to follow. Before taking off, they also gave me a quick rundown of how to operate the golf cart and the safety features. It was my first time driving a golf cart and I felt super safe driving it around the island alone.
Shop on the Main Street – No trip is complete without a little time for shopping. The main street of the island is Crescent Ave and has so many cute shops and restaurants to explore. Walking along the Crescent Ave I saw so many locally owned shops and boutiques. I really wanted to go inside and take a look around all of them but sadly didn’t have the time. The shops are so unique, you can easily spend a whole day just strolling the street and exploring the different places.
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Stay at Hotel Atwater – Hotel Atwater is one of the hotels on the Avalon side of Catalina Island. It’s located in a prime position on Sumner Avenue, right off the main street, Crescent Ave. The hotel is easily accessible from the Avalon ferry drop off location and is close to many attractions like Descanso beach and the casino. The lobby inside of Hotel Atwater is super cute, with a whimsical wall paper in the bathroom that visitors stop by just to see! Inside the lobby is also the popular breakfast spot,Bistro at the Atwater. We went here for breakfast as soon as we got off the ferry. The breakfast menu included staples like coffee and pastries as well as some hearty breakfast sandwiches. Although I didn’t get a chance to stay at the hotel during this trip it looks adorable and boutique.