One of Southern California’s favorite getaways is only an hour boat ride away. Catch a ferry from Los Angeles and spend an adventure-filled weekend on Catalina Island. This guide will help you plan where to stay, eat and what to do while you are there!
Where to Stay
Surrounded by palm trees on a hill above Two Harbors, Banning House Lodge was built in 1910 as a summer home for the pioneering Banning brothers. It has been artfully restored and transformed into a charming, Craftsman-style bed and breakfast offering sweeping views of the Isthmus and Catalina Harbor.
This charming boutique hotel captures the atmosphere of early 1900s California. Relax in the tranquil courtyard during the day and join other guests for wine and cheese socials every evening.
Experience the finest in style, sophistication and service at Mt. Ada, the former island escape of William Wrigley Jr. and his wife Ada. You’ll be treated like royalty in this one-of-a-kind inn, which offers six en suite guest rooms, each beautifully appointed to reflect a bygone era.
The former home of Wrigley and his wife, this intimate B&B features just six guest rooms. Book a stay at the Mt Ada Bed and Breakfast to have a quiet getaway with your special someone.
Where to Eat
The Avalon Grille offers fine dining with a relaxed upscale atmosphere overlooking the Avalon Bay. The Avalon Grille features new American cuisine and regional dishes with a seasonal approach, paired with a world class selection of wines, micro-brew beers and specialty cocktails. This unique ambiance is found nowhere else in Avalon and is the perfect setting on the bay with large windows offering open air dining, high ceilings, a spectacular bar and a large patio for outdoor dining.
Grab dinner and drinks at the Avalon Grille. I recommend their famous Wrigley Martini. Head there on the weekend before 3PM to partake in their amazing brunch menu.
Generous portions, friendly service, casual island atmosphere and a large harbor view patio make Harbor Reef Restaurant a favorite gathering place for campers, boaters and locals alike. Enjoy a hearty selection of appetizers, salads, burgers, steaks, ribs and chicken. We also feature daily specials, including line-caught local swordfish during the summer months. If the swordfish flag is flying on the pier, then swordfish filets are cooking in the kitchen.
Visit the Harbor Reef during happy hour for fantastic deals on beer and wine. Their bar menu is a great place to grab a small meal in between island adventures.
What to Do
Santa Catalina Island’s charm and history are mirrored by the Catalina Island Golf Course, the oldest operating golf course west of the Rocky Mountains! Originally built by the Banning Brothers in 1892, this scenic, 2,100-yard course has nine challenging holes, two sets of tees for 18-hole play, and is the former home of the Bobby Jones Invitational Tournament.
I love to play golf and wish I had more time to do so! Golf lovers can get their fix on the Catalina Island nine hole golf course. The course winds its way through a beautiful canyon and offers golfers a view of the ocean.
The Island Company has launched Catalina Island’s first-ever destination resort spa. Reflecting Catalina Island’s rich history and relaxed seaside vibe, Island Spa Catalina offers a variety of thoughtfully selected treatments and rejuvenating therapies with intrinsic island botanicals.
For those really wanting to unwind on the island, the Island Spa Catalina offers treatments featuring local flora. Choose from treatments that range from ocean-inspired facials to hot sand therapy.
This beautiful cove and beach is located just beyond the Casino. It is one of the last private beaches in California with public access. The pristine water beckons, promising the best swim of your stay.
Make the most of island life by spending the day at the Descano Beach club. I recommend renting a private cabana that can serve as your home base while you enjoy sand and sea.
A great way to explore and experience the beauty of Catalina Island is by getting out on the water. The sparkling ocean surrounding the island is filled with dolphins, whales, sea lions, and an array of fish including the California flying fish and the Garibaldi, the bright orange fish that is the official marine fish of California.
Whether you want to catch local fish or just see them in their habitat, Catalina offers plenty of places to rent a boat or charter a tour. Book a boot to Lover’s Cove Marine Preserve to see plenty of remarkable marine life.
There are lots of weekend getaways within just a few hours of Los Angeles. Be sure to check out my other recommendations here.