Catalina, a sunny island, is a Mediterranean-style paradise that’s far away from the traffic and full packed Los Angeles, located 20 miles off the coast of Southern California.
When it was acquired in the early 20th century by industrialist William Wrigley, the island was unoccupied, who set about transforming it into a world-class resort island. He brought his Chicago Cubs first, for spring training and then he put up resorts and infrastructure to attract his wealthy and celeb friends from Los Angeles.
At Avalon is where the ferries dock, is the island’s main village. A little town but it’s a gorgeous with a sheltered harbor, casino, shopping, bars and several attractions. All the places are reachable just by walking and it only takes a few minutes to do so, but for those who wanted a ride, bicycle rentals are available.
The first stop on a nice weather for travelers has to be the beach. Just off Crescent Avenue is Avalon’s main beach, is a very nice place, but during high season, it can get quite crowded. As the club is located on its own private cove and offers a restaurant, several bars, private cabana rentals and sea kayak rentals, the Descanso Beach Club provides a luxurious option.
The Grand Casino is another attraction in Avalon, which is accommodated in a beautiful art-deco building and harkens back to glamorous Jazz Age perfect place for artists. The building is somewhat of a misnomer, is not a casino and is instead a ballroom and cinema. Travelers can tour the place and be in awe of its circular design and waterfront location or even take in a movie.
The Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Garden is a few miles inland, a peaceful retreat that exhibits indigenous flora and offers fantastic views of the island from its advantaged location.
Travelers should venture out of Avalon and into the island’s pitted interior to really get the most out of one’s visit to Catalina. The scenery consists of rolling hillsides, canyons, and intimate coves, completely isolated from human intrusion, as it is owned by the Santa Catalina Island Conservancy.
Cars are not allowed in Catalina, so golf carts are the most locals form of transport. A better way to explore the countryside is by foot but visitors can rent the golf carts as well. The Trans-Catalina Hiking Trail nearly 200 miles of trails on the island, crosses the entire island in 37 miles, but the options are unlimited.
Before heading out, hikers must pick up their free hiking permit and trail maps from the conservancy office in Avalon. Hikers beware! While hiking, keep an eye out for buffalo! Its kinda off to see buffalo on the island, it’s because it is. The buffalo has since become a figure on the island as brought to the island in the early 20th century as film extras.