Santa Catalina Is California's Most Romantic Island Getaway - SAN DIEGAN (2023)

The romantic island of Santa Catalina is a perfect getaway. It's only 22 miles up the Southern California coast from Dana Point, and getting there is half the fun!

Most people arrive on high-speed luxury cruise ships from Dana Point, Long Beach, Newport Beach or San Pedro with up to 30 departures per day from the mainland. Others arrive on their own yachts and moor just offshore in the quaint Avalon Harbor. They then go ashore in a water taxi. Others arrive by commercial helicopter or private plane.

With a year-round population of less than 3,800 and transportation limited to golf carts and tour buses for sightseeing in the surrounding regions, getting to know Catalina Island is a lot of fun. So when world-famous dignitaries, including American presidents, kings and movie stars, have set out to visit the romantic Santa Catalina Island, so should you.

Catalina is a wonderful all-or-nothing vacation destination that offers an abundance of water sports including swimming, snorkeling, parasailing, and boating. They also offer an exciting downhill zip line tour, hiking, golf, shopping, spa treatments, sunbathing on the beach, a fine ocean view restaurant, and many attractions. And if there is a wedding in your future, Catalina is a perfect place.

WHERE TO SLEEP

For up-to-date information on romantic Santa Catalina Island, including where to stay, contact theCatalina Island Chamber of Commerce (34)(310-510-1520) [catalinachamber.com]. Once there, you'll find the Visitor Information Center is ideally located at the foot of the Green Pleasure Pier in the heart of Avalon, right on the pier. An online events calendar is available at [catalinachamber.com/events].

Another great source of information on the island is atSanta Catalina Island Company(877-778-8322) [visitcatalinaisland.com], owner of this 22-mile-long, 8-mile-wide paradise. Yes, Catalina is a privately owned island! They have a wonderful website full of amazing photos with lodging and activity deals and can help you find the perfect place to stay for as little as $129 a night. Prices are always estimates and are subject to change without notice.

There are more than 30 hotels, motels and romantic bed and breakfast inns and romantic cottages overlooking the harbor, as well as private homes and condominiums. And if you love the outdoors, there's a good selection of camping sites in the foothills. Here is a selection of accommodation with basic prices Monday to Friday as a guide, and of course, prices are subject to change without notice.

Das Avalon-Hotel (49), 124 Whittley Ave. Avalon, Catalina Island (424-226-3610) ($199-$590). Rated excellent by 384 of 435 hotel guests. It is a boutique hotel with beautiful views and cool breezes. Credit cards: AE, DISC, MC, VISA.

Holiday rentals in Catalina Island (42), located at 119 Sumner Ave. Suite B, Avalon, Catalina (877-686-9984) [CatalinaVacations.com] Email info@civr.com offers nearly 200 private homes, cabins and condos in Avalon and luxury villas in Hamilton Cove overlooking the Pacific. They also offer two casitas in Two Harbors. Private houses are a great alternative to have the best family vacations with accommodations for every lifestyle and budget. Credit cards: AE, MC, VISA.

Pavilion-Hotel (50), 513 Crescent Ave., Catalina by (877-927-5214). ($245-$350) Rated good to excellent by 701 of 751 respondents on tripadvisor.com. Credit cards: AE, DISC, MC, VISA.

The Inn on Mount Ada (30), 398 Wrigley Rd., Avalon (310-510-2030) or (877-778-9395) or [visitcatalinaisland.com] with prices ($480-$830). Rated excellent by 102 or 108 TripAdvisor respondents. If you're eager to discover the magic that makes Catalina so special, then you must stay at, or at least visit, this charming and world-famous hilltop bed and breakfast. It's second to none.

This beautifully restored mansion was built in 1921 by bubble gum billionaire William Wrigley for his wife Ada. It is ideally located on top of a hill overlooking Avalon Bay. In fact, it is the old Georgian mansion of the owner of this island. Yes, you will be staying at the world famous William Wrigley Mansion.

You don't have to be a world traveler to know what First Class is when you stay at the elegant Wrigley Mansion overlooking stunning Avalon Bay on Catalina Island. The sunrise and sunset views from this hilltop mansion are breathtaking. It is definitely the most romantic island getaway in Southern California. This four-star mobile travel guide winner really lives up to its highest rating.

With its beautiful antique furnishings and inspiring views, it takes no imagination to see what a stunning home you're staying in. This elegant colonial-style mansion offers magnificent views of the sea, comfortable queen-size beds, some with fireplaces, and a delicious breakfast each morning and a delicious lunch on the terrace.

So what's so special about Wrigley Mansion and Catalina Island? In a word it is: romance.

As the story goes, after Wrigley bought the island without being seen, he took his wife Ada 22 miles across the sea from San Pedro Harbor to view his recent purchase. The next morning, early in the morning, she told her husband from the window of her hotel room that she wanted to live here. To put that statement into perspective, they already owned three magnificent world-class mansions in Pasadena, California, Scottsdale, Arizona, and Chicago, Illinois.

Why was she so impressed with Catalina's magic? Well of course you should come to Catalina Island and see for yourself.

This charming hilltop retreat is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, another indication of how special an evening or lunch on the terrace overlooking the harbor can be. Stepping into history and filling yourself with elegant furniture is only half the story. They've thought of everything, including an afternoon wine and appetizers happy hour set against spectacular views of yachts moored in Avalon's tiny harbor. They receive children older than 14 years. However, they do not allow pets or smoking in the house. However, they do offer unlimited use of a golf cart during your stay at the inn. Since only commercial vehicles are allowed on the island, a free golf cart is a huge plus. The going rate for a golf cart in Avalon is $40 per hour.

So unlimited use of a golf cart is a huge plus. In Avalon you can not only take the time and look at everything more than once, you can also take advantage of it when you play a round of golf.

A stay here is also a great opportunity to gain an insider's perspective of what it must have been like when the Wrigley family entertained the rich and famous, including US Presidents, dignitaries, and even royalty. So stay at the home of bubblegum millionaire William Wrigley.

William Wrigley also owned the Chicago Cubs baseball team. And he was a great guy, he even brought his baseball team to the island for spring training every year.

He also built the first golf course in California, here in Catalina. So what to do in Catalina will never be lacking.

GET TO CATALINA

The magic begins long before you reach Catalina. This is based on the fact that less than one percent arrives on the island by air. The rest arrive on their own luxury yacht or aboard a sleek, high-speed powerboat built for speed and luxury, offering airplane-style seating, drinks and snacks while you sit back and enjoy the hour-long cruise. The base fare, depending on whether you are a senior or not, is ($65-$75) per person, round trip. Rates are subject to change without prior notice.

The cruise line of choice for Dana Point isCatalina Express(800-481-3470) [catalinaexpress.com]. This cross-channel airline also offers hotel and round-trip transportation packages, aptly named "paradise packages." Some packages include sightseeing tours, transportation service, and more.

If you want to travel first class, you must opt ​​for a return flight in your own cabin called a cabin.The captain's lounge. From Dana Point it costs more ($120 or $160) per group and can accommodate up to 8 passengers. Includes four free drinks. Best of all, you'll have a luxurious private cabin all to yourself, filled with great views. Also, when boarding, you will be the first to board and a steward will escort you to your cabin before other passengers can board. Now that is a first class treatment!

Although there are four ports of departure from the mainland, the best port of departure for San Diegans is the port of Dana Point. The other departure ports are San Pedro, Newport Beach and Long Beach. You can google easy-to-follow directions from your front door to the loading dock for this hassle-free boat tour. After parking in the nearby parking lot, you'll be taken aboard this passenger boat for the one-hour trip to Catalina Island (800-618-5533).

When you arriveCatalina Harbor (31)You'll find a handful of taxis and hotel shuttles waiting there at the pier to greet you. It only costs about ($15) with a tip to take you to one of the nearby hotels. Many hotels face the Avalon Harbor. So if you know where they are, you can go there.

However, if you've decided to indulge like royalty, a shuttle service awaits to take you to the former Wrigley Mansion, now called The Inn on Mt. Ada (30) at 398 Wrigley Rd.

TRANSPORT

For the largest selection of golf carts and more, go toCar and bicycle rental Catalina (35)at the corner of Crescent Avenue and Metropole Avenue (310-510-1600). They also rent bicycles, mountain bikes, mountain bikes and electric bicycles. But the preferred form of transportation for locals and visitors alike is golf carts. It costs ($40) per hour to rent a golf cart from one of two companies. And yes, they accept all major credit cards.

With no traffic lights on Catalina Island and virtually no cars aside from golf carts and a few SUVs, the pace is particularly slow. So almost immediately you'll settle into a casual atmosphere that locals commonly refer to as island time.

The good news is that the resort town of Avalon is only one square mile. So you can rent a golf cart and see everything you want to see in a few hours and then walk back. So don't be surprised to learn that the best mode of transportation, other than a golf cart ride, is to walk the streets with your partner holding hands. Catalina is truly a lover's paradise.

FUN THINGS TO DO

In addition to strolling and exploring the waterfront shops or touring Avalon in your golf cart, here are some popular things to do with your time.

Golfers will be pleased to know that William Wrigley also built California's first golf course, right here on Catalina Island. It is a fun but challenging executive course calledCatalina Island Golf Course (38)(310-510-0530) [visitcatalinaisland.com] They also rent clubs and a wheelbarrow for ($70) on the weekends and ($60) during the week. If you want a golf cart and who doesn't, it costs ($11 per person). Also, it's a good idea to call ahead for a tee time. This 9-hole golf course is well known for its first tee, where golfers tee off over towering eucalyptus trees and cross a busy road onto a long fairway 50 meters away. The golfers then hop in their golf carts and head down the fairway to find out where their ball landed. It is a fun and challenging course for the average golfer.

A striking Catalina landmark not to be missed is the famousCasino Ballroom (48)where for many years it has been the scene of live jazz concerts and seasonal dances. Despite its name, it was never a casino.

it's a wonderful discoveryWrigley Memorial and Botanical Gardens (39). Admission is ($7) for adults, ($5) for seniors and veterans, and ($3) for children ages 5-12. It's a two mile hike from Avalon Bay to Avalon Canyon, but well worth the hike. You can also get there by bus or rent a golf cart. Here you will see an extensive collection of plants from around the world, as well as the impressive Wrigley Memorial.

One of Avalon's big draws is a downhill thriller that is advertised in theZip-Line-Öko-Tour(800-626-1496) [visitcatalinaisland.com]. This downhill descent taut cable gets rave reviews from thrill seekers who dare to drop 4000 feet from 500 feet above sea level to the water's edge. The cost per person is ($125).

Sport fishing has been a major attraction since the late 19th century and continues to attract sports enthusiasts today. Notable anglers that have fished the Catalina waters include author Zane Grey, who also lived on the island, movie magnet Cecil B. De Mille, actor John Wayne, and even Sir Winston Churchill.

One of the main sport fishing companies isAfishinado-Charter (3)at 203 Crescent Ave. in Avalon Harbor (888-613-7770) [afishinados.com]. This is a great activity for adults and families. They have four boats so prices vary depending on the number of people and the boat.

With Catalina's waters so clear, it's no wonder underwater adventures abound here, too. Everyone raves about their glass bottom boat tour of the island. Also popular is the yellow submarine that takes you on an underwater adventure. The company specialized in underwater adventures isAdventure Tours in Catalina (35)(877-510-2888).

Catalina Diving Supplies (35)(310-510-0330) [catalinadivesupply.com] is an established dive shop that has everything you need. They also rent diving equipment.

It's just as fun, easyRent a boat for sightseeing and fishing..Green Paradise Dock (34)It's your home for all things water-related, whether it's boating, fishing tackle, or scuba diving. The types of boats they rent include motor boats, kayaks, pedal boats, and paddle boards.

Offshore parasailing is a popular activity to see and try. You'll also get a panoramic view of Avalon Bay and the beautiful hillside homes along the shoreline. It is best to take off and land directly from the ship.Catalina Paragliding (33)reachable at (310-510-1777).

WhatCatalina Island Sanctuary (12)administers the interior of Catalina Island. You can see it on an eco-friendly jeep tour, hike, bike with permit, or take an informative, air-conditioned indoor bus to Avalon Canyon/Airport-In-The-Sky. The airport is said to have one of the most challenging runways in the world. The airport is about 13 km from Avalon.

On the way to the airport, you are likely to see an actual live bison (sometimes called a buffalo) roaming the interior of the island. His ancestors on the island were once extras in cowboy westerns for a movie filmed here on the island. When filming ended, it became too difficult to put them together. They have become a Catalina Island attraction that visitors never tire of glimpsing inland from a tour bus.

The most adventurous should take a spectacular helicopter tour over Catalina Island. The company also offers a 15-minute helicopter ride from San Pedro, Santa Ana, Burbank, or Long Beach, which is the fastest way to get to Catalina. This established business celebrates over 25 years of service to Catalina.Island Express Helicopters (51)Available at (800-228-2566) [islandexpress.com].

WHERE SHOULD WE EAT

You will not be disappointed with the excellent restaurants here. Most of the restaurants offer romantic harbor views.

Definitely the most recommended seafood restaurant in AvalonBluewater Avalon Fish Restaurant (44)at 306 Crescent Ave. (310-510-3474). This restaurant with capacity for 250 diners is open every day for lunch and dinner from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. You'll no doubt agree that the delicious taste of fresh seafood and stunning harbor views make dining here an unbeatable combination. Their commitment is to serve only the freshest and most sustainable fish available. The daily updated menu features fresh fish, sourced from their own boats, ensuring you're eating freshly caught local seafood. There is nothing better than that. They also have continental restaurants in Coronado, Temecula, Newport, Tustin, Redondo Beach, and Phoenix, Arizona. Credit cards: AE, MC, VISA. See restaurants.

For a tempting Italian meal, a great recommendation is to overlook Avalon's little harbor.Villa Portofino Restaurant (29)at 101 Crescent Ave. (310-510-2009). You can dine inside or on the terrace.

Yes, you can also find a good Mexican restaurant here. ThisMi Casita Mexican Restaurant (36)at Av. Claressa 111. (310-510-1772). It is only half a block from the waterfront on Avenida Claressa. It's a festive and fun place to eat!

After visiting the romantic Catalina, he will discover that one visit is never enough. With a fleet of speedy cruise ships and helicopter transportation, getting to romantic Santa Catalina Island is fun and easy.

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