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February 8, 2017

Travel Guide: Weekend on Catalina Island

First trip of 2017 under my belt and now I have wanderlust like whoah! Who am I kidding, I always have wanderlust. If you followed our trip on IG then you know we did ALL. THE. THINGS. As one person commented "you pretty much did everything but ride a bison!" which btw, you can't do!

If you are interested in planning a trip to Catalina then you are in the right place. So happy to bring back my travel guides and this is probably the most comprehensive because, well, you'll see:

Last weekend was actually my 4th time visiting Catalina, however, this was my first time staying for a few days as an adult. It's truly the perfect weekend getaway, especially for those of you that live in LA. Can you believe it's only a hour boat ride away? Avalon is about 2.9 square miles; the community is very intimate but it has so much to offer in terms of food, activities, and fun. As long as you are staying somewhere near the main drag, Crescent Ave., you will have access to everything! It's all walking distance.  So how did we spend our 3 days in Catalina?

Day 1

Andy and I took the early boat out of San Pedro on my birthday (btw, the Catalina express is 2 for 1 on your birthday!) and arrived in Avalon around 10:15am. I was honestly so happy that the waters were calm because when I visited in high school almost my entire class got sick on the boat!

Once we got there we checked our bags at the Aurora Hotel which to me is like a little modern B&B. We instantly became bff's with the front desk staff who were beyond helpful in giving us suggestions and tips for navigating the island. 

After we got settled we picked up a golf cart to explore the island. I really suggest doing this on day one so you have a grasp of how big yet small the island really is. It's built pretty far back in the mountains but it's mostly residents, a few hotels, and a golf course. A 2 hour rental is really all you need to get a lay of the land.  

For my birthday dinner we dined at Bluewater Grill which was sooo delicious. Andy is obsessed with crab cakes and we decided that Bluewater has the best crab cake we've ever tried. I got the prawn pasta which was very yummy; the portions are huge, so I got to take some home for a midday snack the next day.

Speaking of birthdays, aside from the 2 for 1 on Catalina Express everyone on the island treats you like a princess. There's a ton of great promos like free ice cream that make it such a special day!

Day 2

The island is pretty sleepy (at least it is in the winter time), so we ended up going to bed pretty early and getting up early to explore more. We grabbed a coffee and walked the via Casino; a beautiful beachside path that leads to Descanso beach. 

Descanso Beach Club is the sh**t - the weather wasn't so much in our favor last weekend but the two day trips I've taken to Catalina have all been to go lay on the beach at Descanso Beach Club. Think of it like any beach club: lounge chairs, cabanas, drinks, and good food. If you're going in the summer definitely reserve a chair or cabana ahead of time! 

After a little exploration we did the Taste of Catalina Food Tour which was incredible. I highly suggest the tour if you like food (everyone!) and are interested in learning more about the island. We went to 6 different restaurants and cafes and tried the best things on their menu (I'll list them at the end). We also got a serious history lesson on Catalina  - did you know Marilyn Monroe lived there before she was MM? 

I was really hoping to get some beach time, but since it was pretty chilly we decided to check out the Island Spa Catalina which feels like a tranquil Spanish paradise. The spa was the perfection solution to my "I just want to be in a bikini" because they have a pool and jacuzzi. A few glasses of champs and a steam room later... I was one happy girl. 

You'd think we couldn't eat anymore after our food tour but Luau Larry's was calling our name. I'd heard from many people that it was a fun spot to grab a drink and dinner and it didn't disappoint. The crowd was lively, music hopping, and the tiki drinks were DELICIOUS. Andy ended up moon walking for some older ladies at some point - it was hilarious! And that wasn't the craziest part. Our server was the SAME server from Bluewater Grill the night before. Yup, how nuts? That's how small of a town it is!

Day 3

I woke up Sunday feeling like I could stay in Catalina forever. Like any vacay, the only decisions to make are "what should we eat?" and "where should we play? " but there's also something about the island that's so peaceful. The only way I can describe it is simple. Life just seems simple there and in the most positive way. 

Anywho, on Sunday we were scheduled to go parasailing but it was pretty rainy and cold, so Andy and I chickened out. Instead we walked down Crescent Ave. to check out the little stores and boutiques. We found ourselves at the Catalina Museum which is a beautiful building with so much history inside. They've laid out the history of the island in really cool visual timeline that brings it to life. Honestly, from the museum and the food tour I now feel like a Catalina expert! 

To round out our trip, we joined a bunch of football goers to watch the Superbowl at a local bar. Followed by a 1 hour trip back to reality on the Catalina Express!


Bluewater Grill - delicious seafood spot on the water. I would definitely consider it the fanciest eatery in town but keep in mind everything there has a very casual, island vibe. Get the clam chowder and crab cakes. 

Mr. Ning's Chinese Garden - potentially the only Chinese food on the island and it's delicious. Get the crab and cream cheese dumpling.

Maggie's Blue Rose - bomb margaritas and mexican food! Even though we just had a teaser of this on our food tour, I am craving it like no other. Get the coconut margarita and chicken quesadilla. 

The Lobster Trap - yummy seafood lunch spot. They have some exclusive beers on tap that you can't get anywhere else and an awesome seafood selection. Get the yellowtail! 

Luau Larry's - tiki bar vibes. All around fun place to get a little tipsy (or more)! 


Descanso Beach Club  - beach day the fancy way! If the weather is nice, definitely plan to spend an afternoon a whole day vegging out at the beach club.

Island Spa - beautiful and peaceful spa. Definitely hit the spa up if you're there with your significant other. Ask about half day deals! 

Catalina Island Museum - super informational about the history of Catalina. It really provides perspective on the island that you can't get anywhere else. Also a great "rainy day" activity! 

Golf Cart Rental - it's a no brainer! The perfect and only way to fully explore the island. 

We had the most amazing time and now I'm dying to go back when the weather warms up a bit! I have a Catalina photo diary and some more info coming next week! Stay tuned. 

Wanderlust got your brain? Check out more of my travel guides: 

1 comment:

  1. What a great plan, I will save it for my bucket list <3

    xoxo, Cool men fashion


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