An island oasis– just an hour boat ride away from LA!
I may have not been able to take a tropical vacay this summer, but that wasn’t going to stop me from trying to find some local tropical vibes! Luckily, I was able to find it just 22 miles off the coast in sunny Catalina!
Since I have been pretty busy this summer with friends & work, a fun-filled day with the family was definitely in order. We decided that since most of us haven’t been to Catalina for almost half a decade, it would be the perfect outing to explore something new together & close the summer in an eventful way. But really—I only went to get some of their famous frozen bananas (of course, food would be what I am most excited for).
Below is a guide to how my family & I decided to do Catalina. If you’re looking for one last hooray before school starts (ugh whyyyyyy) – then don’t hesitate, book this trip now and sun soak up every last Vitamin D & sea!
After a 6 am wake up call & a much needed chai tea latte, we headed to San Pedro Port to depart on the Catalina Express. The Catalina express is the popular way to travel for tourists because it is a quick hour long ride & has about 30 departures a day. The boat ride is $72.00 round trip, but if you go on your birthday…. it’s free! (hint hint for future birthdays coming up).
The boat itself is pretty cool because it looks like a giant speedboat, but on the inside it’s very generic looking. To me, it looks like the inside of an airplane with its seating arrangements, but then again who really cares. The travel time felt super quick and it was definitely nice to have the open ocean as your surrounding views. But, be prepared for a rocky trip! It was more like a hurricane harbor water ride then a nice leisurely boat ride. Then again… if it was meant to be leisurely it would be called the Catalina Stroll and not the Catalina Express.
THINGS TO DO:
A day getaway in Catalina has everything you need from land to sea activities. When I first came to Catalina about 5 years ago, I was a little disappointed with how little there was to do (especially for the price I just paid to get over here!) However, over the last few years they have totally revamped the island while still keeping the old time classic beach vibes.
As you step off the boat you are immediately immersed in the harbors beauty of numerous yachts, fishing boats, garibaldi fish, & clear aquamarine water. It is the perfect scenery to give that everlasting welcoming impression of the island.
The best part about Catalina is everything is in walking distance. Beach, boardwalk, restaurants, and rentals… are all at your convenience since Avalon from start to end is only a 15 minute walk. Pretty nice huh?
So, since I mentioned it was a family trip… imagine 7 adults and 1 four year old trying to figure out what to do first. It is always a little chaotic in the beginning trying to please everyone and their preferences (especially in my crazy family), but we were able to all agree on renting a few golf carts to kick start the day. Tip: golf carts get booked extremely fast! Being that the island is fairly small, golf carts have become the most efficient way to travel—plus they’re fun so why not?
We rented the golf carts for 2 hours and drove along the right side of the island to a hill that leads you to the most stunning view of Avalon Harbor. Views that look like paintings…. there is nothing more breathtaking.
After taking in the view and my sister FINALLY getting the right angle for the picture (life of a blogger’s sister), we definitely worked up an appetite. When I say “we” I obviously mean me because I was the only one complaining that I needed to eat or bitchy Shay Shay was about to make an appearance…
For food we headed to Descanso Beach Club—the place I was most eager to go to! I researched a little about Descanso Beach before coming and found out that this is the place to go if you’re looking for drinks, beach, music & an overall good time. Obviously this place has my name written all over it.
As we traveled passed the boardwalk and the famous Catalina Casino, we were in complete aw of the tropical feels we were getting. Lush palm trees lined the island coast, yachts were docked in the distance & the water was getting blue-er by the minute.
Descanso beach was everything I had hoped for. The beach was lined with people at the bar, bright colorful umbrellas, & an array of animal floaties. The Descanso resort was so beautiful and classic looking with its white painted walls & perfectly detailed landscape. It is that “pinch me, I am in heaven type of moment”.
Since we were hungry (more like starving), we decided eating and pulling back some drinks first would be the best thing to do. We got a table right on the edge of the patio that overlooked the sand & shore. The food was great, the drinks were refreshing, and the environment was impeccable. But, don’t forget that places like this definitely come with a price! There is not a fee to enter, however if you’re looking to rent chairs or cabanas, depending on the month, they can range from $200-$400! It’s the price you pay for leisure!
To add in a little physical activity (besides the heavy arm lifting of pina colada drinks ;)),we were game to try some paddle boarding! I have paddle boarded one time before, but only in the open ocean. Paddling in a harbor is a whole different ball game. A much easier and relaxing ball game, honestly.
I didn’t have to worry about waves crushing me to my death, but I did have to worry about being run over by a fishing boat haha. For $15 an hour we rented from the pier and enjoyed the last bit of sun we had left before we headed back to the boat. I even took a quick dip in the ocean because you can’t go to an island with beautiful blue water and NOT go in!
With the summer drawing to a end, Catalina was the perfect escape to create that lasting impression of Summer 16. (Especially since it will be my last summer as a college student!)