Act fast! It’s August -- in just a few weeks summer will be over. Now is the time to make the most of the season on Catalina Island before the days begin to shorten. Here are five things you should do before the summer ends.
1. Wake up before dawn.
Watch Avalon Harbor go from blood-red to orange to gold, then pink and finally blue as the sun rises. On the mainland, you can see a nice sunset over the Pacific, but you can't watch a sunrise over the water. In Avalon, which faces east, you can see glorious sunrises reflected in the water because the sun rises in the east.
2. Bliss out on the beach.
The kid-sized stretch of sand and water along Crescent Avenue is great for children because there are no waves. But you might want to splurge before summer's end and rent a lounge chair or, better yet, a cushy cabana at lively Descanso Beach Club, just beyond the Casino. As they say at this well-maintained private beach, "put a drink in your hand and your feet in the sand." Reserve: 310.510.7410.
3. Take a do-it-yourself tour.
Whether you're visiting Avalon for the first time or the 100th time, the hillside community's scenery is memorable -- and very Instagrammable. Take a golf cart scenic tour to get above it all, where you'll find great views of the harbor, Casino and city. Call Catalina Island Golf Carts, 310.510.2493.
4. De-stress with a massage.
Spend an afternoon soothing tight muscles and jangled nerves at Island Spa Catalina, Avalon's first destination spa. This 15,000-square-foot facility offers a soaking pool, vista deck overlooking the sea and a cafe. Try a Catalina Classic massage and top it off with hot sand therapy, which envelopes the body to relieve joint and muscle pain. Call 877.778.6454.
5. Taste something new.
Smoothies and pastries: Wow your taste buds at two new shops that opened in the past month in Avalon. Both have decadent desserts that you'll remember long after summer has passed. For starters, visit the smoothie bar at Ben's Bakery, in the Shops at the Atwater, for a red berry or cashew-date-maple smoothie. While you're drinking it, take a long look at the fantastic homemade cakes and pastries. Ben's is a chocoholics paradise. Call 310.510.7414.
Spiked ice creams: Your next stop for a fun dessert should be at Descanso Fresh at Descanso Beach Club, just beyond the Casino. Coffee, espresso, juices, smoothies and other beverages, plus crepes, are on the menu. Take a close look at the ice cream list, which includes several over-21 items, including Bourbon Strawberry Lemonade Sorbet, Bailey's Espresso and Doughnuts ice cream, and Buffalo Milk ice cream, named after the island's favorite multi-liquor beverage. The alcohol content in these confections is significant enough for you to be carded to buy them. For the under-21 crowd, there are some fun flavors, too, such as Ultimate Candy Bar and Salted Carmel Crunch.
By Rosemary McClure