72 Hours in Avalon : Catalina Express

72 Hours in Avalon

Parasailing

Off the coast of Southern California is an island full of adventure and tranquility. With so much to experience in Avalon, why limit yourself to only a day? Extend your getaway by staying at one of Avalon’s inviting hotels and explore the island with various activities that is sure to make for a memorable vacation.

Day 1

Head over to Catalina on one of Catalina Express’ morning departures so you can enjoy every minute of your island getaway. Once you arrive, check in to your hotel so you can store your bags before fueling up on breakfast at the Pancake Cottage.

After indulging in your favorite breakfast treat, it is time for your first activity of the day: parasailing. Venture over to the Green Pier where Island Water Charters will have you soaring 800 feet in the air with the birds and overlooking Avalon.

Once you come back to land, lunch is served with harbor views at Toyon Grill. Dine on hyper local, sustainable fare that celebrates the best of Catalina. The pulled pork sandwich with jicama slaw is always a great choice. They also recently introduced a Buffalo Milk cheesecake that will satisfy your sweet tooth.

people riding on golf cart

Next, become more familiar with the island by renting a golf cart, which is right next to Toyon Grill. The rental company provides a helpful map, so you can visit popular spots in Avalon and see all the best views. Further explore Avalon by taking a stroll down Crescent Ave and visit the local galleries and shops, which have beautiful creations from local artists and fun keepsakes to remember your time. If you forgot anything on the mainland, these shops will have you covered.

Wrap up your first day by enjoying a casual dinner at Coyote Joe’s, which specializes in authentic Mexican cuisine and serves delicious carnitas tacos. If you are still wide awake after a busy day, visit a local favorite called the Locker Room for a night cap, live entertainment, and friendly bartenders.

bagel sandwich

Day 2

After a fun first day in Avalon, it is time to do it again! To start the day off right, stop by Catalina Coffee and Cookie Company for your morning pick me up. With a variety of coffees, teas, breakfast sandwiches and pastries, it is the perfect spot to grab and go as you are off to your first activity for the day.

You can’t leave an island getaway without spending time on the water. Rent a kayak and explore the island’s coastline and coves. The water is so clear you can see the kelp forest as you paddle around. If you don’t want to get wet, the semi-submarine is a great option. It offers passengers the ability to view the marine life up close and remain dry.

zip line

As you start to become hungry for lunch, walk over to Catalina Island Brew House for a casual meal. This restaurant offers a variety of pizza and flights of unique beers with a beachfront view. After lunch, you will have the fuel you need for your next activity: ziplining down Descanso Canyon at speeds approaching 30 mph. The Zipline Eco Tour is a thrilling ride and the knowledgeable guides provide great insight on the plant life around you.  To celebrate this daring accomplishment, cheers with an island-inspired cocktail at Descanso Beach Club and enjoy some more sun time.

Dinner time is here again, and Steve’s Steakhouse and Seafood is calling your name with a delicious steak or a thick cut of fresh fish. Steve’s is known for offering great service and a lovely meal. For an extra special atmosphere, Steve’s serves dinner beachside, which you won’t find on the mainland. If you have room for dessert, their key lime pie is phenomenal.

Jeep Eco Tour
Photo credit: Catalina Island Conservancy

Day 3

On your last full day, you should explore the pristine beauty of the Island’s interior. Over 88% of Catalina is a non-profit land trust to preserve the island for generations to come. Catalina Island Conservancy operates and protects the land and unspoiled beaches which are accessible to the public by hiking, biking or taking an open-air Eco tour. The two-to-three-hour Eco tour will take you all over the island where you have the chance to see wildlife like a Catalina Island Fox or Bison and picturesque views.

After your off-road adventure, enjoy fresh seafood at NDMK Fish House. They offer a variety of options including sushi, poke and grilled fish plate. For those that are not big seafood fans, they have a killer burger and grilled chicken bowl.

Let the stress from everyday life melt away with some spa time at one of Avalon’s spas that offer specialized treatments customized to you. Once you are relaxed and tranquil, take a walk down Crescent and grab a snack before dinner at Lloyd’s that has homemade saltwater taffy, caramel apples and an assortment of popular candies.

The M Restaurant Patio

Enjoy your last night on Catalina with a restaurant that transports you to a little town off the coast of Italy. Relax to the sound of the waves as you enjoy a unique dining experience at The M Restaurant. The menu is full of fresh and simple ingredients, making the meal just as delicious as the view.

Hiking

Before Leaving

As you get ready to leave this paradise, why not experience one last adventure before taking the boat back to the mainland? The hiking on the island is one-of-a-kind. Grab the trail map you bought at the Catalina Island Conservancy Trailhead and select a hike. As you enjoy the spectacular views think about your next Catalina vacation and who you want to bring to experience this local getaway.

As you walk down Crescent towards the boat, grab your Starbucks coffee and a crepe from Scoops. You have just scratched the surface of the fun to be had on Catalina and the Islanders can’t wait to welcome you back to this paradise they call home.

Daily Boat Trips To Catalina Island

Discover paradise on Catalina Island with daily ferry trips to and from the island. More than one million travelers choose Catalina Island as their getaway each year and Catalina Express' large fleet of boats make the trip in about an hour, operating every day, year round from three mainland ports - Long Beach, San Pedro and Dana Point.

Escape To Catalina Island

Leave the hustle and bustle of the "mainland" behind. Catalina Island is the perfect place to take a break from the demands of daily life. With so many activities to choose from, your visit to Catalina Island can be adventure-packed or filled with rest and relaxation. With its year round Mediterranean climate, it's the ideal place to enjoy ocean air and sunshine.