California travel expert Veronica Hill of http://www.CaliforniaTravelExpert.com tours Catalina Island in this episode of “California Travel Tips.”
The second largest of the Channel Islands, just 22 miles from California’s coast, Catalina makes a great family weekend.
Our kids had a blast on the hour-long ferry from Dana Point to the island, where we spotted sailboats, kayakers, and a pod of frolicking dolphins.
Once you disembark in Avalon Bay, grab a golf cart for a tour around the island, and then take a stroll along Crescent Drive, Catalina’s main boardwalk, and check out the Catalina Casino (Avalon Casino).
Here, kids can enjoy a treat of spun taffy, ice cream or caramel apples at the old-fashioned confectionary Lloyds of Avalon — — or enjoy a few video games and skee ball at the Metropole Marketplace arcade.
A trip to the island isn’t complete without a stroll along the Green Pleasure Pier, where you can grab some fish and chips at Eric’s restaurant and then go for a cruise on the bay.
The Undersea Tour aboard the Starlight and Emerald semi-submersible vessels is a must-see.
During the voyage, you’ll explore the clear waters of Lover’s Cove and a protected kelp forest where you’ll come face to face with bright orange garibaldi, spotted calico bass, and opaleyes — among many other types of marine life. The 45-minute tour is also offered at night.
To explore Catalina’s rugged interior and native wildlife, hop aboard the Classic Inland Motor Tour, which follows the 1800s stagecoach route. In Middle Ranch, you’ll meet Tachi, an endangered Santa Catalina Island Fox who acts as an educational ambassador for her species. You’ll also see a herd of wandering bison, native woodpeckers, and perhaps a bald eagle or two.
At El Rancho Escondido, the Wrigley family’s Hidden Ranch, you can enjoy an Arabian horse demonstration and then spend about 45 minutes walking through the ranch. Pet the horses in their stables, play with a wandering kitty, or watch a short film on the ranch’s history. A small museum displays Bohlin saddles, carriages and family memorabilia.
After your tour, the Golf Gardens are just steps away. Known as one of the world’s most challenging and beautiful miniature golf courses, the lushly landscaped grounds offer 18 holes of family fun.
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More info on Catalina Island – California Travel Tips
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How to get to Catalina Island - Catalina Chamber & Visitors
Getting to Catalina Island. Catalina has many transportation options for visitors when traveling to and from the island. The most popular are the regularly scheduled passenger ferries available in Long Beach, San Pedro, Newport Beach and Dana Point.
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Catalina Island Seacrest Inn. Set in the former Victorian home of the Banning Brothers, Catalina Island Seacrest Inn (seacrestcatalina.com) offers romantic rooms with canopy beds and private bathrooms, most of which have a whirlpool tub.
Snorkeling at Catalina Island, California | USA Today
Catalina Island, California, offers some of the best snorkeling in the state, thanks to relatively warm, clear waters. This island, which sits only 22 miles from Los Angeles, has options for experienced snorkelers wishing to go it alone, as well as guided snorkeling excursions for various skill levels.
Catalina Island, CA - SmarterTravel
Santa Catalina Island's picture-perfect setting off the coast of California has enticed settlers for nearly 7,000 years. Today's visitors will find plenty of things to do in Catalina.
Catalina Island Guide| Fodor's Travel
Just 22 miles out from the L.A. coastline, across from Newport Beach and Long Beach, Catalina has virtually unspoiled mountains, canyons, coves, and beaches; best of all, it gives you a glimpse of what undeveloped Southern California once looked like.
If you go: Catalina Island travel tips - Los Angeles Times
Catalina Flyer makes one round trip daily between Newport Beach and Avalon, departing at 9 a.m. from Balboa Pavilion and returning at 4:30 p.m. The trip is 75 minutes each way; passengers have about six hours to explore the island. Adult round-trip fare is $70. (800) 830-7744,