Five Perfect Hours in Catalina

Old Mar 30th, 2004, 09:34 AM
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Five Perfect Hours in Catalina

I am staying in Dana Point in April and want to take a day trip to Catalina. I believe there is only one ferry a day - lv 9:45a - return 4:30p. What would be the best way to spend the 5 hours there? (No kids, just two adults). Also, I have heard the 1 1/2 hour ferry ride can be quite rough -- will this be a Dramamine Experience??
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 10:59 AM
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I took the Catalina Express from Long Beach and I was concerned about getting seasick too. However, the ride was great and I was fine. I went during the month of August and I don't know if that had anything to do with the water and the ride. I suggest renting a golf cart to take your own self guided tour so you can stop and go when you please. After that you can take the tour of the art deco casino and theater. From there you can have a late lunch or early dinner along the waterfront. There are several restaurants to choose from. That should use up your five hours.
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 11:04 AM
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You'll have plenty of time to walk around, look at the Casino, eat. Walk up to the Botanical Gardens. Avalon is very small. Rent a golf cart for a short drive up the hill above town, they give you a map for a tour that takes may be an hour, gorgeous views if the weather is good. You may not have quite enough time for an island tour, but you could check. The island is very green and pretty in April. As for the crossing, you'll have to check the weather. Could be glassy, could be choppy. Worse chop in the afternoon.
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 02:05 PM
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Good time to go--less crowded and the weather's usually nice. Last year when we went, we also took the Catalina Express from Long Beach, even though Dana Pt. would have been much easier. They told us that the boats out of LB are quite a bit larger and have stabilizers that make a smooth ride and Dana Pt.'s don't. 1 hour ride from LB, instead of 1 1/2 and more boats out of LB, so you have more options. I wore Sea-Bands on my wrists, just in case and had no trouble. But you might be more adventurous and like Dana Pt.

In Avalon, the Inn at Mt. Ada is a beautiful mansion and former home of the Wrigley (chewing gum) family. It sits at the top of the hill, overlooking it all. Usually just open to guests, they will allow 3 tables of non-guests (maximum 4 per party) for lunch on either their verandah or their dining room, your choice. The views and the house are both exquisite. A simple deli lunch is served: hamburgers, salads, meats & cheeses, dessert. This is a very pricey inn, so it's fun to be able to be there and enjoy the beautiful rooms downstairs, the sunporch and terraces without having to pay the hefty price of a room. Lunch is served 12:30 to 2:00 and is $25. and you can stay until 3:00. Here's the trick: in order to get there, you have to take a taxi a short distance, they buzz you in and the taxi takes you to the door. The hill is really too steep to walk. So, this will cost you more, but it's such a beautiful experience, unlike any you'll have in Catalina. You must reserve well in advance. To view the inn, Phone: (800) 608-7669

Do take the golf carts for an hour or two. The longer time will allow you to make more stops, see more things. The Casino is beautiful, worth seeing, and the tour takes less than an hour and is inexpensive. Most of the little shops I could do without, but a few are interesting. Hope this helps--have a great trip!

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Old Apr 3rd, 2004, 09:23 AM
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Be prepared for a possible rough crossing on that ferry. I never get seasick so I thought it was fine, but over half the passengers were very ill. This must not be uncommon because the crew had an entire routine for distributing bags. Don't mean to scare you, but be prepared.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2004, 06:17 PM
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I love Catalina. They offer glass-bottom boat and submarine tours, which I found fascinating. The water there is so much more clear than off the mainland.

We also enjoyed the short (couldn't have been more than two hours), narrated bus tour up to the airport and back, to see all the wildlife and learn about the history of the island.

If you have more money than time, there is a helicopter service to and from the island which was much quicker than the ferry (and smoother, I'm sure). I don't know where they leave from, though. Check out

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Old Apr 3rd, 2004, 08:39 PM
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Sitting outside on the upper level is better than traveling inside. You don't feel the rough waters as much that way. You can take a bus tour around the Island, see the Casino and have some good Italian food.
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Old Apr 4th, 2004, 05:30 AM
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Last April when we went over, our ride was very rough. We had taken dramamine just in case, and were glad we did as many people looked sick. I would take it just in case, as getting seasick can ruin your whole day.
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