Catalina Island

Oct 1st, 2003, 08:50 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 18
Catalina Island

Hi There,
I'm thinking this may be the destination for my fiance and I to spend our honeymoon. I believe we will need to fly into LAX and then fly or boat to the island. What's to do there and where's the BEST place to stay, bed & breakfast, rented condo, luxury hotel, etc.??? Also, any activities like dinner cruises, helicopter tours??? Lastly, we are getting married in Jan 2004, so kinda want to make sure where we go will be relatively warm 70's and up. Is this feasible for the region during Jan? Any info you can provide would be helpful.
ChiTricia is offline  
Oct 1st, 2003, 09:58 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,193
First, best wishes on your upcoming nuptials!

You can fly into any airport in the Southern California area. To get to Catalina Island, you take a boat from either the Long Beach area (including San Pedro) or Dana Point. However, for the time of the year you will be going, the Dana Point port will be closed. It takes approximately 1 hour to get to Catalina.

I've stayed at the Vista Del Mar, and was very happy with it. It's right on the main road that circles the beach and was an absolutely delightful place to stay. I know that others have recommended the Metropole, which also looks nice. Basically, any place along the beach front is highly desirable. There are a couple of places that are a couple of blocks inland that looked nice as well - and some even have honeymoon packages. You can look them up on the internet to find which ones offer the best value for the price. One place I would personally stay away from is the Best Western. It's a nice facility, but far from the beach (considering Avalon is one mile square), and it is not close to anything. The walk to town is all downhill, and the walk back is all uphill.

Keep in mind that there are very few cars on Catalina, so you will most likely be walking throughout Avalon. You can rent a golf cart, but they only rent by the hour. Most of the luxary places that I saw were either up in the hills or way outside of Avalon. This requires either a long walk or a water taxi just to get back and forth between town and I don't think it would be worth it, unless you only stayed at the hotel.

There are lots of things to do on Catalina, but you did given any indication of the length of time you will be there. It's not really a place to stay for a whole week - not quite that much to do! Some things that miht be of interest considering the time of year: an inland tour, glass bottom boat ride, Casino tour. There is a very nice dinner cruise which is a bit pricey, but sounds very romantic. You would need to check availability during the winter, though. It takes you from Avalon to Twin Harbors and back.

Catalina is very casual. There are many fine restaurants on the island, but really none where you must dress up. When I went, I took my boyfriend out to dinner for his birthday at the Channel House and we were not disappointed. It was a bit more upscale than most, but still relatively casual.

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee on the weather. January in So Cal can be cool and rainy, warm and sunny, or very hot from some left over Santa Ana winds. Catalina is an island some 22 miles off the coast and really does have its own weather - which can be very different from what is going on in LA. I would suggest planning on it being cold. If you are looking for "beach weather" you likely won't find it on Catalina in the winter. You may even find fog, especially inland.

However, winter means lower rates for hotels and such and less people. I've been to Avalon when it was overcast and it might look a little dreary (this was in March), but can still be a lot of fun. The last time I went (this past May) it was cool but comfortable.

Oh, and just a note: the waters in the channel between Avalon and LA can be a bit choppy in the winter months which might mean a bit of a rough crossing. This may or may not bother people, depending on how sensitive they are to motion. If you are sensitive, you might want to get some Dramamine (they now have less drowsy formula, not sure how well that works) or something else to help ease any discomfort.
Chele60 is offline  
Oct 1st, 2003, 10:16 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 480
I concur that Catalina is only good for a several night stay at most. It's quaint in some respects but also pretty touristy to cater to the cruise ships. And almost everything closes down by 9:00 pm. Also, the weather will be "iffy" at best.
If you have your heart set on Catalina, you could split the vacation and spend several nights there and several nights at a nice resort hotel in a beach community near LA like Santa Monica or Laguna Beach. Santa Barbara is very charming, and it is only a little further away, which shouldn't matter if you rent a car.
mscarls is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2003, 05:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,018
The Inn at Mount Ada would be perfect for your honeymoon.

But the above 70 degrees will be a problem. It's more like in the 60's in January (although last Jan. it went up to 75, but that was a fluke).

Catalina, at least to me, is more of a summer resort because most of the activities are outside and are water-oriented. But at any time, it's a neat place to explore.
Surfergirl is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2003, 11:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 415
I would agree with the previous posters. It will likely be a bit chilly. And, because it is not tourist season, 1-2 days on the island and you will be bored.

I went for a winter weekend a few years ago and most shops were actually closed.

That said, if you choose to go, I would recommend the second-floor, ocean front room at the Hotel Metropole. Huge bathtubs and a great view.
Alisa is offline  
Oct 4th, 2003, 04:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,558
I agree with Surfergirl on this one. We enjoyed our one day outing on Catalina. We were checking it out for a future stay. It's definitely a summer destination and in that case I would wholeheartedly recommend the Inn at Mount Ada. It's far enough from the huge tourist crowds that come in by the boatload hourly. We did the Jeep ecotour of the island, which was great.

If you want warmer temps, the only place on the mainland during that time would be south Florida, perhaps the Keys. How about Little Palm Island?
Maggi is offline  

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