View of Avalon from Golf Cart PathView of Avalon from Golf Cart Path
California Travel

Catalina Island – Weekend Getaway

Living in Orange County, Catalina Island is only a one-hour ferry ride away.  Since mine and Taylor’s birthday are only one day apart, we decided to take a trip to Catalina Island this year to celebrate.

Know Before You Go: 

  • FREE round-trip ferry ride on your birthday – with the purchase of one round-trip ticket so bring a friend
  • Check Groupon before purchasing ferry tickets sometimes there are deals
  • If all else fails, it’s roughly $75 round-trip

Catalina Express Ferry
Boarding the Catalina Express from Long Beach

What to do on Catalina Island?

Golf Cart Rentals

Golf Cart
Exploring Catalina by golf cart

The first thing we did after dropping our luggage off at the hotel was rent a golf cart and explore the island.  In Avalon, there are two main companies that rent golf carts: Catalina Island Golf Cart Rental and Tours and Island Rentals – Golf Cart Rentals.  Rental prices are the same at each company, $45 for an hour.  We rented our golf cart from Island Rentals – Golf Cart Rentals because they give you an extra 30 minutes for free when it is your birthday!  In order to drive around the entire town of Avalon you will likely need more than one hour; it took us about an hour and a half.  Luckily golf cart rental is prorated in Avalon so you only pay for what you use.

Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden

If you have time, check out Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden.   However, don’t expect a lot of flowers, think more of a garden of cacti!  Wrigley Memorial is the memorial of William Wrigley Jr, who is best known for inventing chewing gum but he also had a major role in the development of Catalina Island.

Wrigley Memorial is the memorial of William Wrigley Jr, who is best known for inventing chewing gum.  On our trip to Catalina, we also learned he also had a major role in the development of Catalina Island after buying almost every share of the Santa Catalina Island Company.  Descendants of William Wrigley still own the shares of Santa Catalina Island Company and continue to carry on his vision for the island of Catalina.

Wrigley Memorial
Wrigley Memorial
On top of Wrigley Memorial
On top of Wrigley Memorial

Garden to Sky Summit Hike

Garden Sky Summit Hike
Panoramic View of Catalina Island at the top of the Garden Sky Summit Hike

At the base of Wrigley Memorial is the trail head to Garden to Sky Summit.  Garden to Sky Summit is a 1.2-mile hike that scales up the summit.  Once you reach the top you can see a panoramic view of both coasts of the island.  The trail itself is a pretty steep incline but well worth it since the views are completely breathtaking!

Rent a Boat

Catalina Island Exploring off the boat

Joe’s Rent a Boat, on the Avalon Pier, offers both 20 and 15 horse-power engine boats that seat up to six people for $60 to $70 per hour.  We rented the 20HP boat and zipped around the eastern side of Catalina Island checking out the different cliffs and beaches.  The views are fantastic and if you bring a speaker, you can have a party out at sea with your own food and drinks (there’s an anchor aboard)!

View of Avalon Homes
View of Avalon homes with ocean views from the ocean

Where to Eat and Drink?

The town of Avalon is very small but not to worry you will NOT go hungry.  There are plenty of bars and restaurants on Crescent Ave, the main strip along the ocean to choose from.  Taylor and I went to several bars on the strip during the day.   For lunch, we ate at Catalina Cantina where we had delicious nachos and “bowls” of margaritas.  To celebrate our birthdays we decided to go to dinner at Bluewater Grill for sunset. The restaurant is right on the water and a great place to settle down for drinks and/or a meal outside.

Other Things to Do:

  • Scuba Diving
  • Snorkeling
  • Golf
  • Adventure Tour (Explore entire Catalina Island on 4WD Guided Tour)
  • Check out a movie at the Casino (Not a gambling casino)


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