Written by Mary Anne Been
Los Angeles has so many opportunities for people to get away. It’s easy to forget what is available.
A recent trip to Catalina Island for work brought back so many memories of childhood and family that going back for a local “staycation” with the family will be an easy decision. From the moment the Catalina Express ferry leaves Long Beach for its destination of Avalon, there is an overwhelming sense of relaxation.
Catalina isn’t the sleepy little island community of a few decades ago. The island offers so many activities that it’s impossible to be bored. Last year the Santa Catalina Island Resort Services Company launched the five-part Zip Line Eco Tour from the top of Hog’s Back through Descanso Canyon, and almost reaching the beach. An eco tour wouldn’t be complete without an education about the island’s flora and fauna and its transformation over the years, and the guides are entertaining and informative. The tour takes a little less than two hours and is thrilling from beginning to end. The Santa Catalina Island Resort Services Company also offers other interesting activities like rock climbing, and for those less-adventurous folks, lounging in the sun on the beach with a drink.
For watersports, stop by Descanso Beach Ocean Sports and rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard. If group activities are more interesting, perhaps join in on one of their kayak tours and see the Mediterranean-looking coastline of the island from the water. Scuba Luv is another adventure company that offers the thrill of being in the water. Not being SCUBA-certified isn’t a problem– there’s always SNUBA, a combination of snorkeling and SCUBA diving. An experienced guide gives a very detailed explanation of SNUBA takes divers out into the water with an inflatable raft that holds the air they breathe. It’s a fantastic way to experience the incredible underwater world of Catalina’s coastline.
There are as many options for places to stay as there are things to do. Choose a vacation rental or stay in any of the island’s hotels. The Aurora Boutique hotel on Marilla Avenue is a favorite. Aurora offers a great complimentary continental breakfast, as well as coffee and tea in the lobby all day, every day. The room amenities include free Wi-Fi, a refrigerator, complimentary bottled water, coffee and tea, and robes. Some rooms feature microwaves and Jacuzzi tubs with aromatherapy oils. The hotel also has a rooftop deck for sunset cocktails and an onsite spa.
There is so much left to write about, perhaps another post is needed to cover the rest of the island’s features…