A common question amongst Southern Californians. Located just 22 miles from Long Beach – a trip to Catalina Island is practically a staycation.
Maybe You Know...
Fishing is big here. By the looks on the fishermen’s faces as they proudly carry their poles walking aboard their boats, they mean business. If I had gills, I’d be scared. To sample some of the fresh fare, check out Armstrong's for some locally caught killer grilled salmon. Killer as in taste, yea…
In 1924, 14 buffalo were brought to Catalina for a movie shoot. When filming was over, the buffalo continued the roam. By 1969, there were about 400 of them on the island until the Santa Catalina Island Conservancy began monitoring. Today the buffalo population hovers around 150. Walk amongst them or take a tour of their stomping grounds. Watch out for poop.
Golf carts! Sure, you can cruise around in them on a golf course, but that's so predictable! Besides bikes, golf carts are actually the only mode of transportation here. Though, rental isn’t cheap - $80 for 2 hours. If you’re sticking around Avalon, the port town, you really don’t need one, but they're convenient for activities further away like the Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Gardens.
Maybe You Don't Know...
William Wrigley Jr. (chewing gum king and owner of the Chicago Cubs) bought Catalina Island for a cool $3 million in 1919. So from 1921 – 1951, Catalina was home to the Cubs’ spring training. (Hence, all the Cubs gear available for sale.) Before Wrigley, the island was undeveloped. He attracted tourists to Catalina by building hotels, sewers, streetlights, and the Avalon Grand Casino - which isn't what it sounds like. It gets it's name from the Italian word "casino" which means 'gathering place.' Disappointed? Check it out anyway. The building is historically beautiful and right on the water, and functions as a movie theater and ballroom for weddings and events. Tours of it are offered daily.
|The Catalina Cubbies. Something don't sound right.|
|Top: Aurora's lobby and sleek hotel room // Bottom: Gorgeous view from the room's balcony|
Catalina can be an active vacation or a relaxing getaway. If your adrenaline is looking to get pumped (that's weird, sorry), check out the Zip Line Eco Tour at Descanso Beach Club. Alex and Lorenzo were our guides along the 5 zip course. They not only made us all feel safe with their knowledge of the gears and ropes, they had our group seriously laughing the whole time. The first 2 tallest runs are terrifyingly awesome. After that they're "I can't stop smiling" awesome. You can even bring your camera along for the ride to capture the awesome aerial shots and to document how awesomely badass you are!
Though Catalina Island is a close vacation destination for Southern Californians – it can do major damage on the checkbook. Expect to pay more for all imported goods – that means everything. Food. Drinks. Tourist traps. If you are on a budget, camping is a great economical alternative and bike rentals are available around Avalon at a fraction of the price of a golf cart rental.