Adventures of Catalina Island

Discover a small island only an hour away by ferry from the city of angels. Catalina island delivers the kind of paradise you crave without an exhaustive flight to reach it, and speaking of paradise, the island has no cars. Catalina is easily one of the best places close to the city to slip away for some rest and relaxation, but don’t let the island’s peaceful visage fool you, Catalina is full of adventures as well.

The island’s effortless accessibility makes it perfect for a day trip getaway or a weekend escape. After you hop off the ferry and land on the island, you can easily take in the sights by foot or rent a bike for the duration of your stay. If you’re eager to get out on the water, everything from boat rentals to glass bottom boat tours are available. Paddle-boarding and fishing are also popular local sports.

One of the most notable architectural pieces on the island is Catalina’s Avalon Casino. Not a gambling trap, but a “casino” in the true sense of the Italian word: an entertainment hall. Filled with art, a historic movie theater, and a behind-the-scenes tour that takes you back 80 years, Avalon Casino is a must-see.

For relaxation, the Descanso Beach Club should be first on your destination list. Situated on the beach with lounging for sunbathers, this peaceful locale will have you fully recharged in no time. The beach club boasts its own restaurant that will deliver food directly to your lounge chair so that you won’t miss one second of sun and sand. To ensure that you get the most out of your stay, call in advance to book your Cabana or Chaise.

One of the biggest adrenaline attractions is the zip-line eco tour, where you can traverse the entire island through a network of interconnecting zip-lines that give you a birds-eye view of everything that Catalina has to offer. The tours are even popular at night when you can see the lights illuminate the otherwise peaceful island from above. Descanso also has a popular rock climbing wall, access to kayaking, snorkeling, snuba, and even a sea trek.

For an escape on a secluded island, don’t miss their summer beach parties, where DJs bring you the latest beats to mix with your happy hour cocktails. If basking in the sun isn’t relaxing enough for you, the Descanso Beach Club also has a world-class spa. Massages by the Sea will also revitalize your senses, or you can visit Island Spa Catalina, which has nine treatment rooms with services ranging from massages and facials to body treatments.

It isn’t just sun and sand on Catalina however. Athletically-inclined visitors will appreciate the hiking trails that encompass most of the island. To make everything more accessible, Catalina has an app that allows you to plan a hike directly from your phone. Find it on iTunes under EveryTrail or online at

Catalina Island offers many activities from sailing, jet skis, zip-line, kayaking, hiking, biking, and boat rentals. All the above activities can also be set up from most hotels or B&Bs. Activity rental information can be found online at Santa Catalina Island Company.

For a spa experience while on the island, try Massages by the Sea and Island Spa Catalina.

Descanso Beach Club
Delivers food directly to your cabana on the beach, letting the waves lull you during your meal.

Bluewater Grill
Take a seat on their outdoor patio and try their Mahi Mahi. Beautiful views and a colorful menu will satisfy your dining needs without alienating you from the Mediterranean ambiance.

Avalon Grille
For an upscale dining experience, Avalon Grille is a must see on your to-do list. Enjoy the elegant design of its interior and the glass walls that open onto the boardwalk. If you go for breakfast, make sure to give the drink “Buffalo’s Milk” a try, but don’t let the name fool you, there’s no milk included.

Descanso Beach Club
The beach club that keeps on surprising you. Make sure to get there early for the highly-popular happy hour paired with your favorite cocktails.

Avalon Grille
This hip restaurant doubles as a bar, so pull up a chair and enjoy the ocean views while perusing their cocktail menu.

Hotel Metropole
Enjoy all that Hotel Metropole has to offer from its mini oceanfront suites. Rates vary between $385-$709 depending on the season, so be sure to inquire beforehand. You can book a room or take advantage of their full-service packages, including a spa treatment.

Catalina Island Inn
This adorable inn was renovated in 2010 with gracious accommodations including four poster king size beds, fireplaces, and flat screen televisions, as well as private patios with electric awnings that allow visitors to enjoy the sun or shade at their leisure. Suite bookings here range from $491-$982.

Private Yacht Rental
For all you high rollers, why bother with a hotel room when you can rent your own yacht for a mere $1000 a night. Enjoy a weekend on the water while immersing yourself in all the luxuries that a world-class yacht has to offer.