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CATALINA ISLAND: The Comeback Of A California Gem

October 21, 2014 by @VanessaRivers

Santa Catalina Island, better known as just Catalina, is a rocky island off the coast of California in the Gulf of Santa Catalina. I’ll be the first to admit – Catalina has a few trashy areas, which have deterred upscale tourism tourism over the last decade. There are some hotels, restaurants, bars, and some tourists in the small town of Avalon that I would rather not experience again. However, on the flip side, the island is a gorgeous 76 square mile gem, most of which has been preserved in the Catalina Island Conservancy thanks to the Wrigley family. And now, thanks to their Santa Catalina Island Company, the island is making a comeback with the opening of the Descanso Beach Club and a new high-end eco zip line tour. In addition, to this there are also dozens of amazingly fun activities to do on Catalina, and a handful of good restaurants (Blue Water Grill for lobster!) and a few nice hotels in Avalon.

Catalina is the perfect place to go on an adventure escape with your friends or family. And the best part? It’s only a 1-hour ferry ride or 15-minute helicopter ride from Long Beach…


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Touchdown in Paradise! I was pleasantly surprised to find that Avalon was even prettier than I had remembered it and the water more clear and blue. On my first visit, I was eleven and too cool for everything. I following behind my family with headphones on, listening to Ace of Base the entire trip. I definitely did not realize how lucky I was to be in such a beautiful place!


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Despite coming to the island with no hotel booked, only to find there was not one, but two big events going on (Buccaneer Days and the Catalina Air Show), we somehow scored the last room at The Avalon Hotel

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Very clean rooms with updated bathrooms, complimentary cheese and wine tastings, continental breakfast served on their lovely patio, and killer views of Avalon harbor from the rooftop deck, make this one of the nicer hotels on the island. Plus they have friendly staff and friendly Koi Fish!  




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I was super excited to go parasailing with Island Water Charters. An absolute must do when visiting Catalina. Go 800ft and spend the extra $20 on photos!


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Sadly, it’s human nature to take for granted things in life that are easily accessible or seem to be constant. But the only thing for certain in life is nothing is for certain. So you have to take time every day to appreciate your friends and loved ones and the beauty in your own backyard. 

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  • Reply William Karngar October 6, 2017 at 1:09 am

    Love your info.. I visited catalina in February & just love.. It was my 1st visit so i couldn’t relate your ” the island is making a comeback ” statements but everything else you stated was similar to my experiences.. Much more success as you explore this awesome planet..

    • Reply Vanessa Rivers October 8, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      Hi William! Thanks for reading and commenting! Glad you enjoyed your time on Catalina! It’s such a fun island! And thanks for you kind words! I wish you much success on all your endeavors too! X

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