A little history: This island was originally settled by Native Americans, which eventually exchanged claims from Mexico to the United States. The island has a dope past of being used for otter hunting, smuggling, and gold digging. Now it is a tourist destination because of William Wrigley Jr. – yes the chewing gum guy, who bought out the Santa Catalina Island Company. He invested a lot of money into the island, creating the Catalina Casino, which is now used as a cinema. This island was then used by the Chicago Cubs as a training camp since Wrigley owned the team as well. Then during WWII the island was used for military training… for more history check out the Catalina Island Museum.
What we did: We took the hour-ish ferry from San Pedro to Avalon. Once you step off you’ll instantly fall in love with the scenery. It’s got small town vibes mixed with coastal views. Shortly after getting lunch and drinks, we rented a golf cart and took it around the island. Stop at some look out points to take in the views and snap some pictures. Once our time was up we hung out on the small beach area, walked along the rocky beach, strolled down the dock, and popped in some shops. We then enjoyed a long dinner and headed back on the ferry.
What to do: There are plenty of outdoor activities to choose from if you want to be active – parasailing, snorkeling, boating/ sailing, swimming, hiking, golfing, fishing, or visit the botanical garden. There’s a really cute cabana beach area called Descanso Beach Club. You can get food, drinks and enjoy the sun and views away from the crowds.
Places to stay: If you want to stay the night because there’s too much to do, there are actually a lot of options for lodging on the island. Their website Here is pretty helpful. You have choices between bed & breakfasts, vacation rentals, camp grounds, and even resort & spas. Be mindful to book early when planning a trip during a festival because I could see the island booking up easily.
Where to eat: There are a handful of restaurants here. We ate at Cantina Cantina for lunch and Bluewater Grill for dinner, which was really nice. I would have loved to eat at the Descanso Beach Club if we had more time.
Ferry- If traveling from San Pedro, you can head to the terminal early to enjoy some drinks and light fare. They have a cute outdoor bar area, which is always nice to relax before waiting in line and being stuck on a boat for an hour. Definitely take a blanket or a jacket even in the summer for the ride back. It gets pretty chilly when you sit outside. The boat has a bar with snacks and drinks, but you can totally bring your own. Also, the bathrooms are surprisingly nice. Don’t forget- you get a free ride on your birthday!
If you’re a high roller- consider taking a helicopter. It gets you there and back a lot quicker and you get a different view of the island.
Wearing: Ray Ban sunnies and a Brandy Melville shirt-dress
Photos are original + from Pinterest