Catalina Island – A SF Weekend Trip

We had some travel credits that was expiring on JetBlue. Before we let that go to waste, we took a quick hop to LA and went “island hoping” in the Channel Islands. First stop was Catalina.

1. Arriving

There are 2 major arrival ports on the Island. One – close to Avalon, the island’s only incorporated city. The other by Two Harbors, where you get access to the starting point of the island’s many backpacking trails. Because this was our first time and we couldn’t stay longer than 1 night, we chose to explore the “city” portion and took off early in the morning.

Joy being a stereotypical asian tourist heading off to Catalina

The boat ride was a short 1 hour. During our research, we hear you can often see dolphins during this ride. However, it was not our lucky day. (If you are looking to see dolphins, it is more likely on the ferry over to Anacapa. When we went on those ferries the next day, we encountered dolphins both on the way there and back.)

Arriving in Avalon – a beautiful view

2. Exploring

First things first – we had to get the iconic view from the hillside behind Avalon. You can get there either by renting a golf cart or on foot and following Wrigley Road. The view that you get on top was breathtaking.

Next we went snorkeling in Lovers Cove. The water was very cold when we initially got in, but we quickly adapted. The Garibaldi (orange fish) swarmed around us and made this snorkeling session one of the highlights during this trip.

If you are looking to dive or snorkel, there is also a spot closer to the casino. We also checked that spot out. You can see great marin life at both spots. However, Lovers Cove was less crowded for us and a more tranquil experience.

The waterfront walk to the Casino is also worth a stroll. Nevertheless, don’t make the same mistake that we made by not checking the tour schedule in advance. Because the art deco Casino in Avalon is no longer in operation, you can only check it out by attending one of their tours at set times during the day. Due to snorkeling being prioritized higher on our list, we had to make the sacrifice by not checking out the inside of the Casino. Nevertheless, if you can make time for it during your trip, we heard great things about this tour.

3. Eating

As the sun set over the Pacific, we got a seat on Bluewater Grill’s patio for a nice sea food dinner with a great view. Objectively, the food were dry and over cooked. But you go for the view and ambiance. Therefore, we thought it was worth it.

Next, we went to Luau Larry’s to fill the time before our ferry boarding time. We can’t rave about it more. Although it was not on the waterfront side, they have 2 large open windows where you can still feel the ocean breeze and people watch. I wished we got the food here instead. AND if you get the Wiki Wacked drink, you get a free hat!

We very much enjoyed our time here on the island away from the hustle & bustle of the city. We hope you got some good ideas from our experience and inspired to check it out yourself!

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