Located only 30 miles south of Long Beach, CA, Catalina Island is a popular tourist attraction for many reasons. The locals know it well, but many who visit come for the history, the romantic excursions and, of course, to enjoy everything Catalina has to offer.
For those looking for a quick getaway or family vacation spot, Catalina is the perfect destination. A 90-minute ferry ride from the coast, it offers something for everyone. Here are five of the best reasons to visit Catalina Island.
1. Discover a Gem of History
One reason many people love Catalina is because of its rich history and charming location. This beautiful island has been a popular destination since the 1880s, when it was opened for homesteading by George Shatto, who bought up all 176 acres of land. Shatto began selling off his parcels of land to wealthy Californians looking for a place to spend their summer. While most of the original buildings and homes have been destroyed over the years, many charming hotels continue to offer guests an escape to another time.
Visit the Catalina Museum for Art & History to experience the best in art and history, music and dance, film, and more.
From the Museum website:
The only organization to present the history of Santa Catalina, the Catalina Museum for Art & History celebrates the island’s unique and vibrant history, featuring detailed collections of Catalina artifacts, photographs, the island’s connection to the Chicago Cubs, its role in World War II, and more. In addition to the permanent collection of Catalina Island history, the museum presents a variety of exhibitions, events and activities for all ages. Catalina Museum for Art & History is a museum for Catalina locals, as well as the visitors who want to experience and enjoy one of America’s most beautiful islands.
2. Breathtaking Views
Catalina provides visitors with spectacular coastal views. Whether you take a boat tour around the island, drive around in a golf cart, or hike your way around Catalina’s perimeter, you’re bound to catch a glimpse of some spectacular sights. With stunning vistas in all directions, prepare to be enveloped by the majesty of nature. The natural landscape is one of the best reasons to visit Catalina Island.
To enjoy the views, we recommend trying out these fun activities:
- Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Gardens – a 30-minute stroll with gorgeous views
- Renting a golf cart and driving all around the island
- Renting bicycles and riding around the island
3. Romantic Getaways
Is Catalina Island a good vacation spot for couples? Absolutely! Just ask the thousands of honeymooners and lovebirds who vacation here each year! Many visitors come to the island looking for that romantic getaway or honeymoon, and find exactly what they’ve always dreamed of. For couples in search of an intimate setting, Catalina will not disappoint.
Obviously we can’t think of a better place to stay than Hamilton Cove! Our villas are the perfect romantic getaway with gorgeous accommodations, wonderful amenities, and stunning views of the island.
4. Fine Dining Opportunities
Those looking for a meal with a view need look no further than Catalina Island. With fresh seafood and creative cuisine, visitors can enjoy everything from casual beachside eateries to fine dining and romantic candlelight dinners on the water. Wondering if Catalina Island is a good vacation spot for food tourism? You won’t have any doubts after your first bite at one of the area’s many local eateries.
Here are some of our favorite restaurants:
- Antonio’s Pizza
- Naughty Fox
- M Restaurant
- Avalon Grill
- Maggie’s Blue Rose
- Blue Water Grill
- Mi Casita
- Buffalo Nickle
5. Outdoor Fun for Everyone
Catalina offers visitors abundant outdoor activities like kayaking, boating, and hiking. It’s the perfect place for an active getaway that will leave you feeling refreshed, relaxed and rejuvenated.
Catalina Island is a unique destination with many things to do, in addition to its history, natural beauty, and romantic atmosphere. You can go fishing in the marinas or charter your own private boat for some quality time out on the water. Catalina has plenty of restaurants and boutiques for those who like to shop and spend the day exploring their surroundings.
Some of our favorite outdoor activities include:
- Falconry experience
- Swimmming and relaxing on the beach (and enjoying a Buffalo Milk cocktail, if you’re over 21) at Descanso Beach Club
- Take a zipline tour
- Descanso Canyon Ropes Course
- Snorkeling – Catalina has some of the best snorkeling around!
- Renting kayaks
- Avalon Harbor (South Beach) has an inflatable obstacle course in the water – so much fun for kids to play on!
- Bison expedition
- Scuba diving
- Miniature golf
- Catalina Country Club
- Cyclone – a speed boat that goes to the rustic village of Two Harbors for the day
Escape to Catalina Island today!
With beautiful scenery and activities for everyone in your party, Catalina Island is the ideal escape for the entire family. Book your trip to this California oasis today with Catalina Dream Vacations!