Discover a magical tropical island getaway with a splash of Mediterranean charm only an hour away from Southern California’s busy shores. Santa Catalina Island, queen of the Channel Islands, beckons… an idyllic escape for romance, family fun, and destination events from weddings and reunions to business conferences. Gentle sea breezes and sky blue waters caress the shores of Catalina known for its wealth of natural and cultural resources and access to an abundance of activities on land and sea. Day trippers, weekenders, sport enthusiasts and retreat seekers will all find holiday perfection on Catalina. Celebrate your birthday with Catalina Express’ Best of Winter Packages, with round trip transportation, hotel, activity options, and special perks and discounts which will make your stay perfection.
Capture the island rhythm and fill your stay with hiking and biking, diving and snorkeling, mini golf and great eateries. Enjoy the beauty of the famed Wrigley Botanical Gardens, glimpse wildlife, including Bison, on trails leading to the island high point, Mt. Orizaba, or plan an Undersea Expedition, sail, kayak, Stand Up Paddleboard, fish, or swoosh on a zip line with amazing views of the island and ocean from above. Finally, treat yourself to a wondrous day relaxing with a massage, facial, and mani-pedi at the Catalina Island Spa, or take in a movie or classic tour of Avalon’s historic circular art deco centerpiece, Catalina Casino (sorry, no gambling here). Memories are made here and generations of families return year after year sharing nostalgic reminders of times gone by and re-discovering the island’s magic for young and old. Where the buffalo now (surprisingly) roam, Hollywood has claimed Catalina’s landscapes and harbors for films from early silent movies to more current box office attractions and it remains a popular haven for stars and star watchers.
With the comfort and convenience of the Catalina Express, high speed, high tech vessels ferry guests from Long Beach, Dana Point, and San Pedro in style with up to 30 daily departures year round. High speed catamarans whisk you away to your island adventure with spacious main deck comfort seating, overhead storage, and expansive viewing windows. The upper deck Commodore Lounge offers upgrades to enhance your speedy voyage, leather trim seats, overhead bins, priority boarding, snack and beverage service. Some vessels offer the further upgraded Captain Lounge which can be a hostess center for large groups with a full service bar serving cocktails, refreshments and snacks. The Catalina Express anchors at the town of Avalon in the south and at Two Harbors in the north of the island. Time flies by with everyone reveling in the holiday atmosphere aboard the ferry. The buzz of conversations sharing plans and experiences fill the decks and anticipation is high as the lovely shoreline comes into view and playful dolphins lead the way.
Pavilion Hotel – Style and Comfort
Disembarking is a breeze as guests are met by the friendly staff of the Pavilion Hotel. They take charge of the luggage and lead the way to the nearby hotel where guests are greeted and introduced to the beautiful tropical gardens and courtyard, its cozy fire pit is surrounded by lounge seating where a complimentary sundowner wine and cheese reception is hosted each day. Relax and enjoy the setting as well as the proximity of Avalon’s delightful restaurant, bar, and shopping scene. The helpful staff will book tickets and reservations for the myriad of island activities. Island chic decor highlights the 71 guestrooms, including two deluxe suites with peek-a-boo ocean views. Many open directly into the courtyard with a semi-private lanai. Guest are invited to start the day with a complimentary hot breakfast that features an egg scramble of the day, applewood smoked bacon and savory sausages, a selection of fresh breads, as well as lighter items including cereal and yogurt. Throughout your stay, you’re encouraged to attend the daily fitness classes at Island Spa Catalina that are included with your Pavilion Hotel stay (you’ll learn more later). Room amenities include your expected conveniences of WiFi, flatscreen TVs with cable, , mini refrigerators, coffee and tea, bottled water, a safe, and toiletries for bathing. Home conveniences include a hair dryer, iron and ironing board.
Portofino Hotel – Mediterranean Charm
Evoking a Mediterranean ambience with white stucco and red tiled roof exterior and spacious sundeck overlooking the Avalon Harbor with breathtaking panoramic ocean views, the Portofino Hotel is awaiting guests with an emphasis on comfort, service, and affordable packages for a perfect getaway. Enjoy a cozy setting for the 37 guest rooms and suites. Known for its prime location walking distance to Avalon’s Casino and Pier for restaurants and shopping, signature Serenity Memory Foam beds for luxurious sleep, spacious ocean view suites with fireplace, king or queen options and double sofa bed in the sitting room, marble bath with shower. Amenities include complimentary continental breakfast, WiFi, cable TV and ocean view sundeck.
Dining Delights Catalina Style
Avalon Grille – Overlooking the beautiful Avalon Bay and the stunning panorama of ocean views, Avalon Grille offers Catalina’s most favored elevated island casual dining experience. The incomparable ambience embraces the vistas from the expansive outdoor dining terrace and exceptional bar to the interior graced with large windows for bay (and people) watching. Known for its fresh California cuisine, curated wine collection, and an array of handcrafted cocktails and top craft brews, Avalon Grille features inspired seafood combinations like Andouille and Lobster Linguine and a divine Seafood Mofongo. Angus beef and premier meat dishes including the island’s #1 hamburger join with freshest Farmer’s Market salads,sides and extraordinary desserts making this your unforgettable island dining experience.
Catalina’s locals and hip and savvy guests–in-the-know can be found at Ben’s Bakery, the island’s favorite grab and go for amazing breakfast burritos, croissants, muffins, pastries, gourmet illy coffee, teas, and fresh squeezed juices. Lunchtime favorites consist of sandwiches, salads, and wraps. On a hot day, stop in for a refreshing smoothie and keep cool. Ben’s Bakery is everyone’s favorite. Parties and picnics, getaways and sleep-ins – no Catalina visit is complete without a visit to Ben’s, located in the Shops at the Atwater
Indulge your sweet tooth where calories don’t count on Catalina Island! Lloyd’s of Avalon Confectionary is an iconic tribute to a heavenly world of sweet pleasures since 1934. Delight in hand crafted confections, the creamiest fudge, pulled salt water taffy, picture perfect caramel apples. Ice cream served in waffle cones, freshly baked treats too. It retains its old fashioned charms with nostalgic jars filled with childhood favorites, bins for scooping and treat bags to fill. Everyone’s a kid in a candy shop.
Catalina Coffee & Cookie Company – An unsurpassed cookie bonanza, super gooey great cinnamon rolls, gluten free cookies and bread, and delicious hot breakfast can be found in this petite gem, a favorite for the discriminating treat taste buds. Serve up frozen yogurt and toppings to accompany the top-notch baked delights and enjoy coffee and dessert or breakfast on the run.
Bluewater Grill – Enticing seafood dishes and a menu emphasizing variety and flavorful presentations beckon guests to California’s favorite Bluewater Grill. Located in the historic waterfront terminal building, casual dining over the water and dramatic views enhance the pleasures of innovative and classically prepared seafood delights. Seasonal shellfish, local catches, and varieties of fish are offered with your choice of preparation. Traditional favorites include Paella Valenciana, San Francisco Cioppino, Fish and Chips, and Rock Lobster tail. Wines to pair, craft beers to refresh, a dynamic cocktail menu to match your mood, and signature oyster shooters – Bluewater Grill is a popular island favorite.
What to Do and Where to Go
Only steps from the beach, Pavilion Hotel provides easy access to the oceanfront shops, restaurants, and myriad of activities. As a guest of the Pavilion, you have access to Island Spa Catalina’s daily fitness classes including yoga and cardio workouts.
Descanso Beach Club shimmers alongside Catalina’s shoreline just beyond the Casino. Here the crystal clear waters splash and sunseekers capture rays while lounging in comfort on the golden sands of the island’s bustling hub. The outdoor restaurant at Descanso Beach Club, the island’s only seaside eatery and bar, serves guests beach side and table side. Indulge and refresh with salty margaritas and sweet piña coladas, specialty cocktails, Cali coast brews and great food. During the summer season, with the beach comes alive with afternoon beach parties: live DJ tunes on Saturdays and relaxed live music on Sundays. At Descanso Beach Club, you can kick back with a drink in your hand and your feet in the sand!
Descanso Beach Ocean Sports invites guests to enjoy all that Santa Catalina has to offer water sport enthusiasts, novices and experts alike. Access great snorkeling and choose from the selection of sit-on-top kayaks along with Stand Up Paddleboards available with instruction included.. Most popular are the guided kayak excursions led by skilled certified kayak guides introducing families, first timers, individuals and groups to the adventure of discovering sea kayaking along the Catalina coast. Guides share their knowledge of Catalina’s history, the original inhabitants, the island’s ecology and the natural wonders of its landscape including marine life, sea birds, vegetation, and other wildlife.
Catalina Island Company, the largest resort operator on the island, hosts more than two dozen activities, including those at Descanso. Descanso is becoming the island’s hub for outdoor adventure with the top-rated Zip Line Eco Tour crossing high above Descanso Canyon with its five lines that push speeds up to 30mph; Catalina Aerial Adventure’s five self-guided, self-paced courses leveled for difficulty, and the 32-foot Catalina Climbing Wall that’s perfect for climbers of almost all ages.
Golf Cart Rentals are the fun way to explore the island, discover the many coves and secluded beaches, or head to your next activity, dining or shopping destination. Taking a spin with Catalina Island Golf Cart is an adventure in itself for families and friends to share the island pace and rhythms.
Catalina Island Undersea Expedition: Discover the spectacular beauty of Catalina Island’s marine life aboard the Sea Wolf. This semi-submersible sea vessel provides a window to the colorful wonders of the world of sea dwellers from the comfort of its spacious cabin. Your ticket to this sea adventure brings you face to face with bat rays, sea urchins, rockfish, spotted calico bass and bright orange garibaldi, curious schools of fish of all colors and sizes. The perfect activity for families and all ages.
Rated top in family fun across generations, Miniature Golf at Catalina Island’s Golf Gardens has been a classic favorite of Catalina for nearly 40 years. Set in a lush garden landscape, its 18 hole design has been recognized as one of the world’s most beautiful and challenging mini golf courses. Promising a memorable day for first timers, novices and experts, miniature golf at the gardens is a must.