Catalina Island - A charming break from the city.
Safe to say that Catalina Island is one of the most underrated destinations in Southern California. I say this because I am celebrating my 3 years here in California and its my first time - whether you live here or visiting the West Coast, the island is worth the visit. Consider this your charming break away from the city. 26 miles off the coast of Southern California to be exact. The island is rich with history, amazing views, scenic roads and quaint towns, and the only place where Bisons are Hollywood stars.
Scarf headband/bandana from @centinelle
Backless dress from Forever 21 and bag from a local store in Hawaii
If you’ve been looking for a sign to visit Catalina Island, this is it. Keep reading for tips to plan your weekend in Catalina island and for the best things to do while you’re out there!
HOW TO GET THERE
The most common and easiest way to get there is through the Catalina Express which is about $80 roundtrip and a 2 hour trip from the mainland. The ride can be bumpy but still pretty comfortable. There are 2 levels, the top one is where the view is, but don’t wear any hat or head accessory, the chance of it flying away is high. Mask required at all times.
Note: The boat only does 2 trips in a day - morning and afternoon. So make sure be on time to not miss your ride! Overall the transit going to Catalina Island is convenient and easy.
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed at Bellanca Hotel located in Avalon city. Avalon is a charming 1 square mile town full of colorful homes, shops, fine dining, boutique hotels, and fun outdoor activities to enjoy.
(skincare by Osea Malibu)
Bellanca Hotel is this modern Mediterranean-style boutique hotel. It’s intimate with 40 rooms and a roof deck that has the best pacific ocean views. The rooms are spacious, beach themed, great lighting, cozy and have all the essentials. (The Naughty Fox was closed during our stay and didn’t get the chance to try it.)
Pro tip: - If you plan to spend more time exploring the town then I highly recommend getting the room without the ocean view since as mentioned, there’s the roof deck! This will help you save some $$
- One of the best things about Bellanca Hotel besides its prime location is that staying there gives you free access to rent their bikes, beach chairs and towels, yes you heard me FREE. They allow you to borrow them for 4 hours.
AROUND THE ISLAND Catalina is an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city while you set your clock on island time. With it’s great weather year-round, fresh seafood and friendliest folks - just remember face coverings and masks are still required inside most stores.
Sandals from @BlowfishMalibu
THINGS TO DO Cruise around the island with a golf court - This is the best way to get around the island. It's so commonly used that you will see parking spots sized for a golf cart. A 4 person cart is $55/hour.
Don’t worry about booking ahead, there are plenty of golf carts for everyone to rent. They’ll prep you with the do’s and don’t in the island and even highlight the scenic route for you! Following the scenic golf cart path will take you a little over an hour to complete. During your ride, you will go through the charming town and up around the hills for some breath-taking views.
Pro tip: The island does not have the best cell service, I highly recommend downloading offline google maps ahead of time and the Bison Hummer Tour is worth it.
The tour is $80 per person for about 2 hours with no pee break! So make sure you’re good to go before starting the tour. We had the best tour guide and crowd! We didn’t only see the Hollywood Bisons but also the local fox which is smaller than the usual fox.
Why are they called Hollywood Bisons? It’s because back in 1924, Catalina island was known to be a famous film spot for movies and one specific film crew decided to bring 14 bisons from the Great Plains with the intention of eventually bringing them back home. But they never made it off the island which makes the island even more interesting.
This is experience is definitely one for the books. Highly recommend this for your birthdays, anniversaries or any reason to celebrate.
WHERE TO EAT
Upon arriving, you are definitely going to be hungry so make a quick stop to your hotel, drop off your stuff and go make your way to NDMK Fish House, and order yourself the freshest seafood such as oysters, sushi and poke.
Start your day early and have breakfast at Pancake Cottage. If you don’t know what to get, waffles is always a good idea! I also recommend sitting on the tables outside, to enjoy the view.
After walking around grab a bite to eat at the local favorite - Earl & Rosie’s Seafood and order the famous fish and chips - and probably order two, trust me its that good! The burger definitely hits the spot too!
End your night by having dinner at the Blue Water Avalon where you’ll find everyone eating so make sure to come a bit early. But you know what they say, if there’s a line and a wait, that just means it’s that good that people are willing to wait. Something to think about.
Pro tip: Order the catch of the day!