If you haven’t jumped on the Catalina Express and gone to Catalina Island for a weekend away, you’re seriously missing out. Did you know that just an hour from Long Beach is a GORGEOUS island in the middle of the ocean with a quaint downtown, hiking, boating, zip lining and more? Well there is and we’ve done the research on what to do, where to stay and where to eat so you don’t have to. Check out our recommendations for a weekend in Catalina below!
Where to Stay
Located on Avalon Bay, The Pavillion Hotel is a cute spot with island vibes and a really great happy hour. The rooms are decorated with vintage Catalina Island posters, the beds are comfy and the location is literal perfection. Breakfast is included every morning (hello omelette bar!) and we really can’t think of a better way to enjoy it than staring out at the bay. And don’t forget to head down to wine and cheese hour from 4:30-5:30pm every night. Good wine, great views. You really can’t go wrong.
This property brings with it the history of the island, as it was formerly the residence of the Wrigley family, who purchased Catalina in 1919. It has great views of the island, and comes with a complimentary golf cart during your stay. This is a great way to explore the island and get around town.
It’s surprising to see it, but there is in fact a Holiday Inn on Catalina. This is a good budget friendly option for those who don’t care as much about the views and just want a place to lay their head for the night.
What to do
If you’re looking for adventure mixed with history about the wildlife and ecosystem of Catalina Island, this tour is for you. Starting at 600 feet above sea level, you will zip line your way down the island with views of the ocean and the mountains that you just don’t get anywhere else. It’s a GORGEOUS year to do this too because all of the wild flowers are blooming. So fun.
You can rent kayaks from Descanso Beach Club and tour the island for a couple of hours in the beautiful waters that surround you. It’s a great way to get some exercise in during your vacation, and also get to see the island from the water side!
2019 marks the centennial celebration of the Wrigley family purchasing Catalina Island, and with that comes some special activities that are new this year. You’ll learn about Avalon’s historic sites and attractions, and get some incredible views for great pictures along the way. A definite must for anyone who loves learning the history of where they are traveling.
When you’re on vacation, it’s time to relax and there is no better way to do that than with a day at the spa. The Island Spa offers traditional treatments, and gorgeous amenities that will surely send you straight into vacation mode. Don’t miss the eucalyptus steam room. It’s magic!
There are SO many adorable boutiques right on the bay. Everything from souvenir stores to surf shops, to art galleries and candle stores, there’s really something for everyone. Support the local economy and grab something to remember your trip with!
Where to eat
While you are on the island, you should treat yourself to a nice night out at the Avalon Grille. The ambiance is perfect for a date night or a girls night out for drinks. The food is delicious, the drinks are just as good and with views of the bay, it really makes for a lovely night out. Plus, instead of bread they start your dinner with Tajin and lime flavored popcorn. So cute! If you’re in the mood for seafood (which we were because duh. We’re on an island!) order the salmon. You won’t regret it.
It’s hard not to crave a margarita when you’re surrounded by nothing but water so we headed over to Maggie’s Blue Rose for another delicious dinner. The drinks were flowing, the guacamole is on point, and it was a great way to end the day. Order the fajitas with a Maggie’s margarita and you are set for the night.
If you’re looking for beach, food, and great vibes, this is the spot you need to hit when you are ready for lunch on the island. The tables are nearly on the sand, reggae music sets the tone, and the staff are clearly ready to help you have a good time. Not only is there a restaurant and bar to get you in the mood to relax, but you can rent chairs, kayaks, and more. It’s definitely a place you can get lost in for an entire afternoon. Plus, the views! It’s right in a cove so you are surrounded by mountain while having your toes in the sand. If you have a larger party, consider renting a cabana which includes a private butler and can host between 6-8 people. Now THAT’S the good life.
Craving something sweet after dinner? Then you need to stop at Lloyd’s of Avalon for a treat. Whether you want ice cream, fudge or candy, they’ve got it all and its delicious. We ordered the cookie dough ice cream and grabbed a chocolate covered apple to go. Fun fact: before Marilyn Monroe became the iconic actress she was, she worked at Lloyds! Yup. Norma Jean Anderson scooped ice cream at this local spot.
Catalina Island is truly a great escape from the chaos of the city, without having to travel too far. The ferry ride is around an hour, but you will feel like you are a million miles away. Book a trip this year to be part of the centennial celebrations, and make sure to really soak it all in. There’s so much history to that little island off of Long Beach, and it makes for a perfect trip for a weekend away.
This post is in collaboration with Catalina Island Company but all opinions are my own. Thank you to all our sponsors who continue to support The LA Girl!