Happy Thursday eve, everyone!! Today, I am finally going to tell you all about my Catalina trip (If you follow me on Insta, then you know I've been home for a week, but still post trip photos like crazy lol). As the school year is coming to an end, I've been busy with tests and work, so I really wanted to take the opportunity to shoot. My first day here, I wore four different outfits (yes, you read that correctly), so needless to say, I came home with a lot of content! In this post, I'm going to share more of those pictures with you as well as where we stayed, ate, and did for fun in case you ever find yourself on the island!
Just so you have a little bit of background, Catalina is an island 22 miles from the Southern CA mainland. You can take the express boat from Long Beach, Dana Point, or San Pedro (shoutout to my hometown). We left from Long Beach via the Catalina Express which took about an hour and ten minutes. You can also fly to Catalina via helicopter.
There are two sides of the island you can visit, Avalon and Two Harbors; we stayed in Avalon. Avalon is the more popular of the two which means it can get pretty busy during spring break and summer time. Luckily, our break was a week before most, so the island wasn't crowded at all. There are plenty of things to do in Avalon with the beach, pier, numerous restaurants, spa, golf course, and a movie theater. Two Harbors is more for the outdoors type with plenty of hiking and great views. It's smaller, more rural, and definitely quieter. I've been to this side a few times throughout my childhood since I grew up across the way. When I first came to Avalon two years ago, I was surprised to see that it was actually a town with PEOPLE because I was so used to the untouched Two Harbors! You can also do many of the water activities here that you can in Avalon such as snorkeling and scuba diving.
Where We Stayed:
My family and I stayed in an AirBnb at the Hamilton Cove Villas. Catalina is a very small town and you can walk from the boat to most places. The Villas are in a bit of a more secluded area, so we had to take a taxi (even then, the ride was a mere 15 minutes). I loved staying here because we had access to our own private part of the beach, a gym, a tennis and croquet court, and a small park. It's also quiet here and free from many people, but still a short drive to the main part of the town! You can find multiple villas at this location available on AirBnb, but there are plenty of cute cottages and hotels across Avalon too. If you do wish to stay at a home, I would highly suggest getting one with a golf cart. In the past, we always rented them and you must pay by the hour and return them at the end of the day. Having our own made our trip so easy plus we could explore the places that are hard to walk to without worrying about a time limit!
Where to Eat:
One benefit of having a kitchen is that you can save a lot from not having to eat out. Since I was last here two years ago, Catalina opened a full-sized Vons (the only grocery store on the island) Before that, it was a small, market-sized Vons with no parking lot. However, if you feel like eating out, we did go to three restaurants that I can tell you all about:
Mi Casita: This is a cute little Mexican restaurant where we went to eat our first night. There are plenty of large booths for big families, each with a glass top that past visitors placed dollars underneath with personal messages. My family came to celebrate my sister's birthday, so we left a few ripped bills to commemorate the weekend. We are all pescatarian, so Mexican food is always easy! We had cheese enchiladas, bean and cheese burritos, shrimp tacos, and a few strawberry daiquiris all of which were delicious!
Pancake Cottage: This restaurant is very popular among tourists and locals, so it's always busy when we come, but definitely worth the wait! You leave your phone number at the front, so you can always visit some of the shops right next door and come right back. Trust me, the food is amazing! This was my second time here and I loved it more than the first! I ordered chocolate chip pancakes (because I'm a child) and they made sure to go overboard by sprinkling some on top and placing a good amount in a cup on the side. You can also order a little bottle of champagne and make your own mimosa (which I preferred because I liked that I could pour mostly orange juice and barely any champagne (CHILD). But seriously, come here. You won't regret it!
Antonio's Pizzeria & Cabaret: There are two Antonio's on the island, one up a street and one on the water. Original Antonio's is more of a small cafe with a walk-up To Go window. The pizzeria is the traditional restaurant version. Go to this one! It's right on the water and perfect for sitting outdoors on a warm day. This is a fun restaurant with quirky decor, funny wall signs, and PEANUTS EVERYWHERE. Upon arrival, you get a free basket of peanuts and you are encouraged to throw the shells on the floor which my sisters and I love because we. are. CHILDREN (I'm sensing a pattern here...) We mostly threw them at each other and I'm pretty sure there were shells in my hair when I left. Anyways, we had pizza and fries and the cheese was stretchy, gooey, and delicious. Need I say more?
What to Do:
There are many things to do in Avalon from water activities to relaxing activities, and of course there are the more strenuous ventures. In the past, I've gone ziplining, pedal boating, and snorkeling with angel sharks all of which you can still do! We did not snorkel this time around (and honestly I'm too old to think the ocean is anything less than terrifying anymore lol), but I know there are specific months to visit if you want to see certain sea life. I highly recommend you do some research before booking a trip, so you aren't disappointed! The same goes with dolphin and whale watching tours which are best from January to March. My sisters went paddle boating and kayaking which they loved! I stayed safely behind on the beach with our stuff and far away from that (seriously how did I ever?) They all capsized at some point and I was glad to not be a part of it! You can rent each from Descanso Beach located at the far end of the island. This is the one true beach on Avalon with a long stretch of sand for visitors, cabana rentals, a bar, small gift shop, and an ice cream parlor open during the summer!
There are also many streets with cute little gift shops and boutiques. You can also find Catalina Wine Mixer hats and Boats N' Hoes T-shirts from the iconic Step Brothers movie at many of these shops. You'll want to find Green Pleasure Pier to book many of the island excursions (it's pretty hard to miss and, you guessed it, bright green. From here, you can parasail, rent pedal boats, kayaks, or book a submarine or boat tour (be mindful that not all of these activities are available year round). We took the glass bottom boat tour which was a relaxing ride actually and we saw plenty of bright Garibaldi and one giant shadow of something that freaked me out.
There's also hiking, buffalo tours, and ziplining for the more adventurous! Like I said, I've gone ziplining in the past (I included an old picture below) and it was so much fun! You get an amazing view of the island and the wildlife below and I would definitely go again. If you look at the first picture below, you'll see a white, circular building with a brown top; that is an old casino and also Catalina's only theater. It plays one movie nightly for a few weeks, and we were able to catch Dumbo (so freaking cute). It's an old theater with plenty of history and murals surrounding the screen and walls. On our final days, we rented bikes and rode along the coast and played a quick game of mini golf tucked away in a lush garden.
I hope you enjoyed this post and congrats for making it this far haha! If you're curious to know where my outfits are from, I always link them on my Shop My Instagram page. Thanks for reading (: