Consistently named one of the best island getaways by media outlets nationwide, Catalina Island, located just 22 miles off the Southern California cost, is a unique blend of laid back vibe, rich and historic past, features water and land activities to suit any taste and modern-day amenities and services for every budget.
The island is constantly evolving to offer visitors the best experience, whether it’s to relax and rejuvenate or rev up the action. Following are a few of the new happenings on the island this year. What do you say? C’mon and visit!
Ahoy…me hearties! Feel free to dress and talk like a pirate at Catalina Room Escape, one of two new Escape Rooms to open on the island. The Pirate Challenge allows participants one hour to solve a variety of riddles, discover clues and escape from the room. Info: 310.510.2777. CatalinaRoomEscape.
The rules are much the same at Escape Room Catalina. You and your group of two-to-eight confidants have one hour to crack the code, solve the mystery and escape the room. Room themes change with the season, so the company promises they always have fresh puzzles to solve. The company can set up a challenge at their location, or at a hotel room or vacation rental. Info: 310-510-8575. Escape Room Catalina
Catalina Aerial Adventure is flying high. Be sure to try it to get your adrenalin pumping. The new ropes-and-planks course weaves through a grove of towering eucalyptus trees deep within Descanso Canyon. Other adventurous activities nearby include Zip line Eco Tour and Catalina Climbing Wall.
You haven’t seen the real Catalina if you just visit Avalon. Take a hike into the backcountry on the new-and-rehabbed Trans-Catalina Trail, part of a 165-mile system of recreational roads and hiking trails on the island. Catalina Conservancy has added 27 miles of new trails, refurbished restrooms and is eradicating non-native plants. In other big news for the Conservancy, the Catalina Trailhead Visitor Center, being built in downtown Avalon, is expected to be completed in late 2018 or early 2019. Info: 310.510.2595 CatalinaConservancy.com
More good news for hikers and backpackers: Catalina Backcountry is operating a concierge service for outdoor enthusiasts. The company will take a load off your back by transporting supplies and equipment. It also offers a naturalist-led hikes, can set up comfort camping or create an adventure expedition. Info: 310.510.1212, Catalina Back Country
Yes, there is a second city on the Island of Catalina. Two Harbors, at the island’s West End, is known for being low-key and rustic. But it has undergone a face-lift, with a new sandy beach, plush palapas, lounge chairs, a group gathering place, food and beverage service on the beach and a small business center. You can take a Catalina Express ferry from San Pedro to Two Harbors. Info: 800.613.1212 Catalina Express; 310.510.4205 Visit Catalina
Hope on an eco-friendly bus to tour the island. The all-electric buses are operating on Catalina Island Company tours of Skyline Drive and on Inland Expedition tours. In addition to eliminating the need for diesel or gas, the buses have huge windows, air conditioning and quiet, smooth rides. Info: 877.778.8322, Visit Catalina
Located 22 miles off the coast of Southern California, Catalina Island is accessible by boat from three ports via Catalina Express: San Pedro, Long Beach and Dana Point. Catalina Express offers up to 30 daily departures and year-round service to Avalon and Two Harbors, transporting nearly one million passengers annually. It offers comfortable airline-style seats and grouped table seating. Traveling to Catalina Island in as little as one hour, each vessel was designed and built/purchased specifically for comfort and speed. Catalina Express is an unparalleled resource in Southern California, and one of the world’s most respected ferry fleets. For information and reservations call 800.429.4601, or visit Catalina Express
Catalina Island’s clear blue waters and Mediterranean climate and ambiance are a Shangri-La. The laid-back island town is chock full of places to eat, drink, shop. Catalina has a wealth of natural and cultural resources, unique animals and plants found nowhere else on earth. Sightseeing opportunities are numerous and varied from escorted tours around town, adventure rides into the interior, jeep eco tours, hummer rides, to zip lines, rock climbing and undersea adventures. Independent activities are plentiful, such as camping, hiking, snuba, to diving, snorkeling, kayaking, spa treatments, as well as beach lounging, golf, motor boating, parasailing, fishing, boat rides down the coastline and more.