If you like visiting the Mediterranean, you will LOVE coming to Catalina Island. Only 26 miles from the Long Beach pier, you arrive within one hour in the magical town of Avalon. If you have never been here, you must do yourself a favor and put it on your Bucket List. I'm always surprised to find that many people are unfamiliar with this destination. I attended a Film Festival there last year and had the opportunity to spend some time with Stan Lee (yes, THAT Stan Lee!) and learned that this was his first visit to the Island. He said he was coming back with his wife because he was so enamored with this place. He lives in L.A. and never took the time to come the 26 miles.
The ferry ride is easy and for an extra $15 each way, you can upgrade to the Commodore Lounge for priority boarding, comfortable seats and complimentary beverage.
Walking distance from the Ferry, you will find the Pavilion Hotel, right in the middle of town. This is a charming property with a lovely courtyard and a view of the ocean. It is a two story property reminiscent of motels we visited with our parents as children. Only much better and totally updated. They have free Wi-Fi, a mini-fridge and coffee maker and the beds are very comfortable. Every evening there is a Happy Hour for the guests with free wine and cheese – everyone commented on how they FILLED your glass and you were able to go back for refills. The morning perk is a free continental breakfast with lots of fresh fruit. There is a fire pit in the courtyard where you can enjoy your wine and great conversation with fellow guests. There is no pool, but right outside your door is the ocean. Also, right outside your door is the “boardwalk” that is filled with shops, restaurants and of course, the ocean.
This is such an interesting locale. It is the only city in California that regulates the number and size of vehicles allowed on the streets. There is currently a 14 year waiting list for a car. Have no fear, you can get around on golf carts – you will find them everywhere you go. I have to say, I really enjoyed exploring the island in a cart and also on foot. There are also taxis and trolleys, so the options are endless.
If you like adventure, there is plenty for you here. You can snorkel, fish, scuba dive, kayak, zip line, hike, bike, golf and search for dolphins.
In case that is too much activity, be sure and catch a show at the phenomenal Avalon Theater. They have first run movies and you will be surrounded by gorgeous art deco murals and feel the spirits of Cecil B. DeMille, Sam Goldwyn and Louis B. Mayer. They used to come here to review their latest films.
As the song says, “26 miles across the sea, Santa Catalina is a-waitin' for me” And for YOU!
You will love the Island and the Pavilion Hotel. Check for Specials.
Website: Pavilion Hotel
May 23, 2013