Travel Destinations

Friday, June 13, 2014

Travel the World's Itinerary for an Active Catalina Island Getaway

Catalina Island is a great weekend or mid-week getaway.  Romeo and I joked while we were there that Catalina Island is Hawaii-lite; many benefits of an island getaway, but easy to visit for just a couple days.  Catalina Island appeals to many types of travelers.  Want to lie in the sand, soak up the sun, and have a cocktail or two?  You can do that on Catalina Island. Would you rather learn about Catalina’s history?   You can do that too.  But what some don’t realize is Catalina Island is the perfect destination for active travelers.  During our recent trip to Catalina Island we took the active route and were never at a loss for things to do.  I have created this sample itinerary based on our trip to help you get the most out of Catalina Island's adventure activities on your next trip.  When possible, book ahead, including transportation on the ferry, as tickets and tours can sell out.

For more in depth information about many of the Catalina Island activities listed below, read the following articles: 
Exploring Catalina Island’s Deep Blue Sea
Catalina Island: Six Degrees of Separation from Hollywood

Day 1: A Dive and a Zip

Avalon Catalina Island California
Visitors to Catalina Island usually arrive by ferry from one of the ports in Orange County or Los Angeles, though it is also possible to arrive by helicopter.  Try to arrive early on the island so you can make the most of your day.  We stayed at the lovely Pavilion Hotel, just steps away from the water.  If your room is not ready, the hotel will hold your luggage while you start your adventures.

Start your first day on Catalina Island by taking a self-guided tour of Avalon either by foot or golf cart.  After a quick lunch on the Green Pier at Earl & Rosie's Seafood, board Catalina Adventure Tours’ semi-submersible Nautilus to view Catalina Island’s fish life and kelp forests.  Then head over to the Descanso Beach Club for some zip lining with the Zip Line Eco Tour.  Grab a cocktail on the beach at the Descanso Beach Club, or try Catalina Island’s signature drink, Buffalo Milk, at Luau Larry's or Antonio's Pizzeria.  Or play a round of miniature golf.  Then sit down for a fresh seafood dinner with a view of Catalina’s harbor at Bluewater Avalon.  Bluewater’s chef takes pride in his food and only serves the freshest seafood.  Check the menu for the day’s fresh fish.  I suggest sides of sautéed spinach and scalloped potatoes, and be sure to order the seared ahi tuna appetizer and a cucumber mojito.

Bluewater Avalon Catalina Island California

Day 2: Water Adventures with a Side of History

Day two starts with a guided kayak tour through the Catalina Channel looking for leopard sharks and sea lions.  On the way back to the Green Pier, stop in at the Catalina Island Museum for a Catalina history lesson steeped with Hollywood glamour.  After lunch at Maggie's Blue Rose, hop aboard a rigid inflatable boat and head out into the ocean on a quest for dolphins. Have a glass of wine and some cheese at the Pavilion Hotel’s wine hour before cleaning up and going to dinner at the Avalon Grille next door.

Catalina Island Casino California

Day 3: Exploration of Catalina Island’s Interior

Day three is all about exploring Catalina Island’s interior on the Cape Canyon Adventure.  Join an off-roading tour of the interior in an eco-Hummer, visit the Airport in the Sky, and look for bison and other island animals.  Eat a lunch of sushi by Chef Mark Lu and play a round of island style bowling at Three Palms Avalon Arcade.  Then it’s time to head home on the ferry and start planning your next trip to Catalina Island.

Sushi by Chef Mark Lu at Three Palms Avalon Arcade Catalina Island California

Thank you to the Santa Catalina Island Company and Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau for hosting our trip to Santa Catalina Island and making this post possible.  As always, all opinions are my own.

Travel the World: Travel the World's itinerary for an active vacation on Catalina Island.

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Katherine Belarmino and Romeo Belarmino are the authors of Travel the World, a travel blog for the everyday working stiff. They work full-time in non-travel related jobs, but take every opportunity they can to travel the world during their limited vacation time.