Catalina is quickly becoming my favorite quick getaway in Los Angeles. Just a 70 minute ferry ride away and it’s like you’re in a whole new world! I love how small and quant the island is, it’s a refreshing change from the hustle and bustle of LA.
The town is very walking friendly but if you don’t feel like walking the whole time and if you want to see some sights from higher up on the hills then I recommend rending a golf cart. Catalina does not allow cars on the island and in fact there is a 18 year waiting list for people who even live on the island so you will see most people traveling around in gold carts. There are multiple golf cart rental places once you get off the ferry.
The first time we went to Catalina it was high season and the area where the Beach Club is located was packed and blasting music. It looked like so much fun! This time we came during off season so it was quieter which honestly is more my style. But we didn’t even realize last time that this was a sit down and eat place. The food was so nice and it’s right on the beach so the view is gorgeous. Get the crab dip if you go!
I kept calling this place the Sandlot, I think I had the movie stuck in my head for some reason, but it was recommended by a local so I trusted it! We just felt like Mexican food that day and we were told this was the best on the island. It did seem more authentic and the margaritas were really good. It’s a little bit of a walk so get the golf cart ready if you can!
We also had the best clam chowder at little restaurant on the pier. It’s a small little booth by the parasailing dock. The whole pier is painted bright green, you can’t miss it.
Luau Larry’s is a little bungalow style bar where we got really delicious pina coladas. We were there off season as I mentioned so I can’t speak to the crowd as it was pretty quiet in there. But this was another place recommended by a local which is always the best!
Both times we’ve visited the island was for adventure. There are many water activities you can do and it’s definitely an outdoorsy type of setting. There are multiple places where you can rent kayaks and go parasailing. I recommend doing the kayak tour via __ if it’s your first time to the island. It’s very informative and you’ll have an expert with you if you’re a little nervous on open water. We did see two seals and a sea lion while out at sea which honestly scared me but they were far away enough that they didn’t bother us. There is also zip lining on the island. We haven’t tried it but heard great things about it.
If you befriend a local with a car you can also go to other side of island which we were told is where all the hiking trails are and the nicer beaches. We haven’t been adventurous enough to try this yet.
Catalina is definitely a place you can visit in one day but If you want to stay overnight, we stay at Hotel Metropole and it was the CUTEST hotel. I live for hardwood floors ( I hate hotel carpets) and we even had our own balcony and fireplace. There is also a small hot tub on the roof with a beach view. The hotel had so much character I immediately fell in love.
You can watch my Catalina Travel Diary if you want a more in depth look into Catalina! Also the ferry and activities are free on your birthday so if you plan a trip you should plan it around your b-day!
Catalina is definitely on repeat in my quick getaway list!