Note: If you’re interested in checking out my entire story featuring details on “How to Spend a Perfect Weekend on Catalina Island” on the CABBI website, click here.
Catalina Island is a fabulous choice for a vacation getaway right off the coast of SoCal. It feels far away from the chaos of the city, and is a destination where visitors can immerse themselves into the world of laid-back “Island Life.”
The largest city on Catalina is called Avalon. Here, there’s a year-round population of just 4,000, but more than one million people traditionally visit, each year. The island itself encompasses just 76 square miles. However, it’s important to note that the majority of the geographical area (including 62 miles of coastline) is protected by the Catalina Island Conservancy and isn’t accessible as a tourist destination.
Most of the island’s main attractions are located in Avalon and another city that’s accessible via boat called Two Harbors. Avalon is the more densely populated of the two cities, and can be reached by the mainland via boat, helicopter, or airplane.
It’s a quaint, seaside village perfect for a visit on a weekend or weekday trip. Avalon feels safe, contained, and friendly.
A trip to Catalina Island can be a fun family vacation, a romantic couples escape, or a girls or boys weekend getaway. I’ve seen all types of visitors of every age and background, from babies to bachelorette parties.
Getting to the Island
The Catalina Express operates a fleet of ships transporting passengers to the island from Long Beach, San Pedro, and Dana Point with more than 30 daily departures to Avalon each day.
Many of the hotels on the island offer great deals on bundled hotel packages that include boat transportation — including the quaint and historic Avalon Hotel, which is where I stayed on my trip to Avalon.
The Avalon Hotel Feels Like Home, Only it’s Better
The Avalon Hotel is a cozy and picturesque B&B owned and operated by island dwelling locals. Upon walking inside, you can tell this property is well-loved. The on-site team and the owners truly care about their visitors and the community of Avalon.
This property is just a short walk from the port along the sparkling beautiful blue waters of the harbor. It feels like every guest room here features sweeping ocean vistas. Most even have spacious private balconies.
There’s a huge rooftop deck with a brightly colored mural and lounge chairs and tables to spend time appreciating the sunshine and gorgeous views of the water.
Best of all, this hotel is centrally located all within walking distance of the harbor and Avalon’s local attractions such as the cute boutique shops, restaurants, and of course — the coveted sands of the Descanso Beach Club.
The Guest Rooms
In each of the guest rooms, there are also personalized touches like candy dishes topped off with locally made sweets.
My room was outfitted with a large French balcony where I could take in the sights of the harbor. I enjoyed a comfy queen-sized bed, a 32-inch flat-screen TV, a cute little work nook with a desk, a microwave, and a refrigerator (for all your delicious local restaurant leftover storage).
I was most intrigued by a special “sanitizing box” where the TV remote was housed. The box killed germs on the remote, in-between guests.
There was a large private bathroom with a tub, and a set of upscale toiletries. One fun feature of the bathroom was a UV blue light that killed germs too!
Another detail I especially appreciated was the hotel’s unique room keys. Our keys featured a real photo taken by a photographer the innkeeper knew, of one of Avalon’s cutest residents: a local baby sea lion.
It is a Bed and “Breakfast,” After All…
In the morning we enjoyed a tasty breakfast featuring all the classics and plenty of coffee, in the outdoor courtyard.
This downstairs courtyard features a koi pond with lots of fishies. You could even feed the fish if you’d like! There’s a fireside wine happy hour in the afternoon from 4-6pm, allowing guests to mix and mingle with each other. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the island from the locals (our generous innkeepers), and the hotel staff.
I didn’t want to leave the hotel — but we were given a list of locally owned must-visit businesses and places on the island we just had to explore…
From the Catalina Aerial Adventure where you’ll swing between a series of obstacles suspended above a grove of eucalyptus trees — to a rugged Jeep adventure of the island’s “interior,” with an expert local guide at Catalina Taxi and Tours, or embarking on a snorkel tour with Catalina Divers Supply in the island’s protected marine reserve, the Avalon Dive Park — there are seemingly endless opportunities for entertainment.
The Avalon Hotel is a perfect place to spend a night on the island where you’ll have the chance to experience the true authenticity of the Catalina spirit.
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