Your Weekend Guide to Catalina Island
Our Exclusive To-Do List for a Mediterranean-Styled Getaway
Some travelers are always on a quest to find a new travel destination that offers a unique experience without breaking the piggy bank. And it’s even better when it’s also a vacation spot that’s easily accessible or doesn’t require an exorbitant amount of time to get there.
Well, if you’re looking for a weekend getaway with a Mediterranean feel, Vacation recommends a trip to an island located off the coast of California. Catalina Island – rated as “one of the most romantic islands in the world” by Travel + Leisure – has breathtaking views of the ocean, rocky cliffs and Avalon Bay. This makes it a perfect place not only for a weekender, but also for a destination wedding or honeymoon.
Before you decide on where to go for your next long weekend away, you may want to consider Catalina Island, especially after you take a look at our quick three-day guide on what you should see and do when visiting this island for a romantic getaway.
At just one square mile, Avalon, Catalina’s main port, is easily navigable to cover the sights over a leisurely day.
Morning: Meander around Avalon’s toytown streets of brightly colored cottages. Don’t miss the house constructed from a ferry on the corner of Descanso and Third, or Marilyn Monroe’s first apartment at 310 Metropole.
Noon: Cars are strictly limited on the island, but it’s possible to rent a golf cart. A 10-mile circuit around Avalon – past beaches, up cliffsides and around the town – takes around an hour, and guarantees spectacular views.
Night: Toast the sunset with a drink at Bluewater Grill, a seafood restaurant with two terraces cantilevered out over Avalon Harbor. Expect garibaldi, sand dabs and even bat rays in the water below.
Start by delving a little deeper into Catalina’s glittering history before venturing to the island’s remote West End.
Morning: Take a guided tour of the Casino, an extraordinary Art Deco structure with a lavish theater and a spectacular ballroom (there’s no gambling here). The museum downstairs takes a fascinating look at Catalina’s star-studded history.
Noon: Two Harbors is Catalina’s other town, but sitting on the remote West End of the island it’s a 90-minute bus ride or a 45-minute ferry from Avalon. The pristine waters and unspoiled landscape are worth the journey.
Night: Possibly the island’s most sophisticated restaurant, Avalon Grille’s contemporary American menu features the best of California – from sustainable seafood and grass-fed meat to organic produce from Hollywood farmers’ markets.
Back in Avalon, there’s time for beach and backcountry, before a night out in a unique Californian destination.
Morning: Nestled in a canyon on the outskirts of Avalon, the Botanical Gardens collect desert succulents and plants exclusive to the island, capped by a grand memorial to original island magnate William Wrigley.
Noon: Kick back at Descanso Beach Club, a sprawling complex including a sandy beach, bar and restaurant, zipline and open-air massages. For a quieter afternoon, try a swim at pebbly Lovers’ Cove.
Night: The Casino’s ballroom has one the world’s largest circular dance floors and hosts monthly big band events. Or try a movie in the gilded theater downstairs – the original Wurlitzer is played every weekend.
Inspired by this article and want to speak with a Vacation travel agent about how you can plan a romantic weekend getaway to Catalina Island? Let one of Vacation’s on-call travel experts connect you with an experienced travel agent to plan your next vacay.