Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

How to Spend a Beautiful Day on Catalina Island!

How to Spend a Beautiful Day on Catalina Island!

Old May 16th, 2005, 09:38 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 20,199
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
How to Spend a Beautiful Day on Catalina Island!

Well, here we are in lovely California!

To celebrate my DH's 50th birthday, I (along with the help of my Fodor pals) planned a fabulous day on Catalina Island.

TRANSPORTATION NITTY GRITTY...
The day began with a 17 mile ride from Redondo Beach (Portofino Hotel & Yacht Club) to the San Pedro Terminal to catch the 8:50 Catalina Express to Catalina. The adult round-trip fare is $49.00/person and you must arrive no later than 1/2 hour prior to departure to guarantee your ticket. Total trip time approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.

I must admit I did block the thought of sea sickness out of my mind when I booked this excursion, lol! amp; It was a very choppy ride with 3 foot wakes. So, I set my eyes on the horizon UNTIL the captain slowed down the ferry and pointed out the blue whale that was surfacing!!!! What a bonus!!!! Now, I can happily say that I went whale watching

THE ISLAND...
In a word, breathtaking!

As northeasteners, we are in absolute awe over the topography of the west coast -- it's just stunning to look at.

As soon as we disembarked, we quickly headed to rent our golf cart (other modes of transportation: feet, bikes, cabs). We rented at the very first vendor near the Terminal. As we later found out, it was the most reasaonable place on the island. The rate was $30 per hour but if you rented for 2 hours, you received the 3rd hour free! So we purchased 4 hours at $120 and received 2 additional hours for a total of 6 hours. Take note: Cash or Traveler's Checks only . And all rental carts are due back by 4:30 p.m.

My husband was in his glory taking me for a spin in the golf cart,lol! We had a blast following the map of the island (twice!) soaking in the picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean. It was soooo very romantic stopping and walking around taking pictures and short video clips with the digital camera.

It's such a different way of life, California...we were amazed at how the homes are built into the side of the moutains -- so different and unique.

WHAT WE DID...
After an early start touring the island(peaceful, quiet, and not crowded), we headed to Descanso beach for drinks and lunch. Fun, fun, fun! We shared a reuben sandwich with fries as well as a wonderful fruit platter -- very good and reasonable! The tropical drinks, toasting my DH's birthday were wonderful.

We leisurely watched the boats (tons of boats -- especially fishing boats)and then headed out to do some window shopping. We did lots of people and boat watching, just soooo relaxing!

We grabbed some ice cream at the Stone Cold Creamery for dessert -- yum, yum!

The only disappointment was our dinner. I should have researched this a little more carefully. We ate at Armstrongs Fish Market -- mediocre at best but were lured by the fact that they were located on the water. The sourdough rolls were very good and our server was very friendly but I think we could have done better. We were so very happy with our day, we really didn't let it bother us.

THE END OF A BEAUTIFUL DAY...
The day came to a close as we boarded the 6:45 p.m. ferry back to San Pedro. I learned a very important lesson...I should eat dinner before I head out onto the open waters, lol! amp; amp; amp;

While the ride back was not quite as choppy, the fog had set in and I had NO horizon to focus my blurry eyes on. So I downed an enormous amount of Tic Tacs in order to prevent re-visiting my dinner, if you get my meaning!

The trip took a bit longer heading back to the mainland because they have to cut the speed down in the fog. I have now forever cured my husband's desire to go on a cruise -- but I would definitely do this trip again!

THANK YOU...
Catalina Island
for a wonderful day! It truly was a memorable experience.





seetheworld is offline  
Old May 16th, 2005, 10:26 AM
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 20,199
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
hmmm...I don't know why my corrections didn't make it into my final report.

I learned a very important lesson...I should NOT eat dinner before I head out onto the open waters, lol!
seetheworld is offline  
Old May 16th, 2005, 11:15 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi seetheworld,thanks for sharing your day on Catalina Island with us.
You brought back beautiful memories for me, my DH surprised me with a day on Catalina Island (I am always the TA in the family). Our day was perfect too, Catalina is a beautiful place to visit.

And I knew that you meant NOT to eat before going on the water! I was fortunate the day of our trip, the ocean was very calm.

But you should have seen me going to Capri, especially with so many other passengers real sick. GAG! It was a wonder I didn't join them, LOL. I could have been dropped off on a desert island and I would have been happy. Anywhere, to get off of that darn hydrofoil.
LoveItaly is offline  
Old May 16th, 2005, 11:18 AM
  #4  
lvk
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 3,265
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
seetheworld,

I'm so glad you enjoyed your day! I'm guessing the a.m. fog burned off out there, since you were able to enjoy the views?

How's the Portofino working out for you so far? I'm looking out my window here and see that you're getting a healthy dose of "marine layer" today. I hope it burns off for you.

BTW, I have been told by my seafaring friends that you should have a full stomach when setting off on a boat. (There's less room for stuff to slosh around.) Go figure!

lvk is offline  
Old May 16th, 2005, 12:20 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,193
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Glad you enjoyed your day on Catalina! No matter how many times I visit the island, I'm always amazed by it. I think the scenery is even more incredible when you go inland (don't even realize you are on an island), but that takes almost an entire day in and of itself. You spent your time wisely!

And yes, it actually is better to go on a boat with a full tummy. Also helps if you are able to position yourself so the waves are not hitting from side to side - that can may you really ill. Still, sorry to hear that things were a bit choppy, but glad to hear it didn't destroy your time!
Chele60 is offline  
Old May 16th, 2005, 12:28 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 20,199
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi LoveItaly -- I know what you mean about wanting to be "dropped off"! But it wouldn't stop me from returning to such a beautiful place
Those memories are priceless, aren't they.

Hi lvk! I have to say, the best thing my DH did was inform the Portofino about the reviews on tripadvisor. They read them and have gone out of their way to make our stay a plesant one. Yes, there are some issues with the property, but the location cannot be beat.

The furnishings are nicely done, particularly in the lobby (shades of green, my favorite). The room's color scheme are calming yellows and blues. Outside our balcony we are entertained by the sea lions and the boat traffic. I would say at this particular moment, the only aggravating issue with the hotel (for my DH) is that they have not provided the requested "wake-up" call in the AM.

The "marine layer" is trying to lift but is hasn't stopped me! To find out more about my trip, check out "Tales of a Tag Along Traveler!"
seetheworld is offline  
Old May 16th, 2005, 08:45 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 20,199
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Chele60: For a brief moment we thought about doing an inland tour but realized we didn't have enough time. If we ever go back, we would definitely do it!





seetheworld is offline  
Old May 17th, 2005, 05:55 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 20,199
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
ttt for Calamity
seetheworld is offline  
Old May 14th, 2006, 01:01 PM
  #9  
P_M
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 25,012
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi, stw.

We're planning to take a trip in either late Sept. or early Oct. At one point we had narrowed it down to either the Pacific NW or New England, but just today we started remembering Catalina and how beautiful it was. Your report makes me want to go to Catalina. <sigh> I'm so confused, but it's a happy type of confusion.

PS stw, please check your email.
P_M is online now  
Old May 14th, 2006, 03:21 PM
  #10  
TahitiTams
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I am so glad you went to Catalina!!
It is such a wonderful place..you must come back and stay either on land or by boat..we take our friends boat from San Diego and stay in the inside harbor and talk about a blast..jumping off the hard top and the water is so clean..summer is packed with tons of boats and dingys and swimming and partying.. it is fun and they have the water taxi service..I personally love to eat at the pier..
Armstrong's is a great location but not a good place to eat..
Buffalo milk cocktails are a must in Avalon and I am glad that you went to Descanso Beach and I hope you did the tour of the Casino..
Next time either stay at the inn at Mt. Ada or the Best Western and if you like to play golf the course is great!
The seas can be choppy at certain times of the year but usually you will see tons of dolphins and whales..
I am so glad you had a blast!!
 
Old May 14th, 2006, 03:41 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 20,199
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi PM, thanks from bringing back such a wonderful memory!!! I can't believe that trip was a year ago, for my husband's birthday. We just celebrated another one this weekend.

Travel decisions can be tough, lol. But I highly recommend Catalina Island -- truly paradise!
seetheworld is offline  
Old May 14th, 2006, 04:27 PM
  #12  
P_M
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 25,012
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Tahiti Tams, how's the snorkeling in Catalina? Will the water be warm enough in late Sept.?
P_M is online now  
Old May 14th, 2006, 04:44 PM
  #13  
trippinkpj
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thanks for sharing Seetheworld. It brought back memories of when we went there in 2001. We went out of San Pedro ourselves. We were winding our way home to San Jose to slow way with 2 nights in San Pedro with the Catalina trip in the day between.
 
Old May 14th, 2006, 08:04 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 17,226
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Does anyone else think of The Dating Game when you read "Beautiful Day on Catalina Island"?
starrsville is offline  
Old May 14th, 2006, 08:28 PM
  #15  
TahitiTams
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hi P_M..
The snorkeling is gorgeous because the water is still warm and water is flat..
I love to walk to Lover's Beach and there is a myriad of Garabaldi (our state fish) that is bright orange and friendly and they look like big oversized goldfish.
Also, off Descanso beach and then go by the Casino but be careful because some people cast there line for fish but not a big deal.. the visibility is usually 35+ and the island has such a great vibe to it.. Mermaids is the classic dive bar that rocks..
The Jazz Festival is in early October and that is a wonderful busy time and they have it at the Casino..
Here is a live webcam of Avalon Harbor which I love to view..
Anymore questions, I will be happy to answer since I have been going there since I was a kid and that was in the 70's..

catalinas.net/livecam1
catalinaconservancy.org
jazztrax.com/jazz/catalina.html

Have a blast and bring your own snorkel equipment and try and stay for at least a night..
 
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
JES
Mexico & Central America
17
Jul 7th, 2007 02:30 PM
Chris_GA_Atl
Africa & the Middle East
10
May 17th, 2006 04:09 AM
calamity
United States
8
May 19th, 2005 04:49 AM
Neal_Sanders
United States
12
Jul 27th, 2004 02:43 PM
cr
Australia & the Pacific
6
Feb 26th, 2003 04:58 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -