Catalina Island was popular with Old Hollywood. William Wrigley purchased control of the island in 1919 and the Chicago Cubs called it home for spring training from 1921-1951. Marilyn Monroe once lived here and Natalie Woods mysterious death occurred here. Catalina was once a popular filming location. Over 300 motion pictures have been filmed on the island, including Jaws. Fun fact, 14 bison were brought to the island for a film in 1924. They were left behind by the crew and there are now around 150 freely roaming. Don’t leave the island without trying Catalina’s signature cocktail Buffalo Milk at Luau Larry’s.Today, Santa Catalina Island is a popular day trip from Los Angeles. Getting to Catalina involves a simple one-hour ferry ride from Los Angeles traveling 22 miles into the Pacific Ocean to the resort town of Avalon. Catalina is a small island, it is only 22 miles long and 8 miles wide with a population of 4,100. Avalon is set on a seaside cliff full of colorful homes with a harbor of anchored boats below. It’s clear blue water is full of colorful fish, dolphins, seals and leopard sharks. The climate is sunny and 75° with a laid-back beach vibe. Avalon is known for its mosaic tiles, watch for them as you wander the town. There are few cars in Avalon but no worries, the town is only one square mile.
The Best Things to See, Do and Eat on Catalina Island
Rent a golf cart for a two-hour DIY ride around the island. Rental comes with a map and incredible views. Have breakfast at the Mansion on the Hill; the Inn at Mount Ida was once William Wrigley’s home and the patio has great views of the island. Or, hop on the trolley to Wrigley Garden and Memorial. Ada Wrigley’s garden is now 37 acres of extremely rare plants. Take the path leading to some amazing views of the ocean before walking back down the hill. Consider stopping for a game of mini golf along the way.Walk along the harbor to Catalina’s Casino… this is a gathering place, not a gambling hall. Step back in time with a tour of the ballroom, theater and museum. Continue walking along the water to the Descanso Beach Club’s secluded cove. Rent a chair and lie in the sun or have lunch seaside and sip on one of their signature cocktails.Check out the shops along Crescent Ave for souvenirs. Be sure to stop at Lloyd’s to watch the salt water taffy being pulled. Walk across the street for lunch at Eric’s on the Pier, try the mango daiquiri. Then, walk to the end of the pier and purchase a cup of fish to feed the seals and watch them play in the water below you.Catalina is well known for its kelp forest. Scuba diving, snorkeling, paddle boarding and kayaking are all popular activities. Not prepared to get wet? No problem, take a glass bottom boat or semi-submersible tour. Adrenaline junkies can go zip-lining across Catalina’s canyons or off-roading in search of bison.
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