Santa Catalina Island, most often referred to as ‘Catalina Island’ or just ‘Catalina’, is a rocky island off the coast of Long Beach. The island is 22 miles long and 8 miles across at its greatest width. Fun facts: the Chicago Cubs trained on Catalina Island from 1921 to 1951 and Avalon’s golf course was first built in 1892, making it the oldest course in Southern California. If you are wondering where to stay and what to do while you are there, we can help with some ideas.
Popular activities: Enjoy the beach and numerous water activities, zip line eco tour, Cape Cod Canyon expedition, helicopter tour, undersea expedition, Airport in the Sky, miniature golf (hardest course you will ever play), Avalon scenic tour and the Avalon Theater. The list goes on to include the Casino which is a 12-story high architectural wonder that epitomizes everything glamorous about Catalina Island. And the grand-daddy of all activities is the Trans-Catalina Trail; 37.8 miles that features huge ascents and descents while taking you from the beautiful shores of Avalon on the east end of the island to rugged Starlight Beach on the west end. You need a permit from the Catalina Island Conservancy to hike the trail; the permit is free and the wildlife and views from the trail are truly amazing.
Where to stay: Catalina Island has more than 80 beach house rentals from California Island Vacation Rentals (CIVR), Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO) and other companies. They also have fabulous resort-style hotels like Hotel Mac Rae, Snug Harbor Inn, Hotel Metropole, Pavilion Hotel, Portofino Hotel, Holiday Inn Resort Catalina Island and Hotel Vista Del Mar.
American Bison, also called Buffalo, roam Catalina and were first imported in 1924 for Zane Grey‘s western film, The Vanishing American. We mention this because the island has its own specialty drink called ‘Buffalo Milk’. Locals liken it to “a white Russian gone island crazy.” Here’s one version of the recipe served in a hurricane glass: half shot creme de cocoa (dark or light), half shot kalua, half shot creme de banana, one shot vodka. Fill rest with half and half, ice and blend. Top with whip cream, sprinkle with nutmeg and a couple slices of banana. To make it a ‘Buffalo Bowl’, add a floater (half shot) of patron cafe.
The Beach Team and Locals Love many things about Catalina Island. Tell us about your experiences on Catalina and what you like best about the island.
Article prepared by John Rudy, Realtor®, Coldwell Banker Coastal Alliance: 562-940-5440 – [email protected]