Catalina Island is a picture perfect paradise and a world apart from the hustle and bustle of the mainland just 22 miles away. The air is refreshing, the water is clear, the adventures are abundant, the food is delicious, the community is casual and friendly, and there’s not one traffic light on the whole Island. With the support of Catalina Tours, who helped custom a full day tour, I planned a Catalina island bucket list day, including sightseeing, adventure, dining, and transportation. Our day started at 6 am and finished at 8 pm but it was worth every spectacular second.
Catalina Island Bucket List Day
Catalina Express – Catalina Express took us to Catalina Island in just a little over an hour. Boats depart ports in Long Beach, San Pedro, and Dana Point. We began our journey from the Long Beach Port. Parking was $17 for the day and there were plenty of spots available. We opted for first-class treatment at sea with a $15 upgrade to the Commodore Lounge. It gave us priority check-in and boarding, comfortable seating in a more intimate lounge environment, and a complimentary beverage with packaged snack served by cabin attendants.
Arriving on Catalina as the sun comes up is a spectacular way to start the day, but admittedly I was rather tired. The fix – Catalina Coffee and Cookie Co.. With homemade and fresh baked original cookie recipes and ample coffee options, as well as Avalon’s only Fresh Fruit Fro-yo Bar and a prime location, The Catalina Coffee & Cookie Co. is a must when visiting Catalina, especially when you need a caffeine fix. Their cinnamon buns are famous and I coupled one with a Coffee Toffee Crunch Ice Blended Coffee for plenty of energy to kick start my day.
Getting Our Bearings
With fully bellies and a jolt of caffeine, we took some time to wander the streets and take in the sights. There is a tourism office on the pier with maps and friendly staff so we stopped by to take a look at other possible activities and experiences. I still felt like we had the best-of-the-best but there were lots of options for our next visit.
Our first activity of the day was SNUBA diving with Catalina Scuba Luv. SNUBA is a perfect introduction to the vast underwater world without the strict requirements of scuba diving. It was was favorite Catalina Island adventure.
After a 15-minute orientation, our SNUBA guide accompanied us on an underwater tour that was safe, easy, and enjoyable at our own level of comfort. All of the necessary gear was included and the experience took a total of 90 minutes. All we needed to bring was a swimsuit, towel, and a sense of adventure.
I’m addicted to the underwater world and I’d love to return to Catalina Scuba Luv for PADI Open Water Certification.
We were only on the island for a day, but we wanted to try the best foods and drinks that it has to offer. The Taste of Catalina provided a sneak peek into six different restaurants and specialty food shops as we strolled through Avalon. All of the locations featured various critically acclaimed entrees, desserts, and beverages for us to indulge. I enjoyed the history, culture, and company during the tour as much as the food. Our guide filled our brains with tales about the charming island and provided insights into the food being served, the history behind the people who prepared it, and the location. She piqued our curiosity to further explore Catalina.
During the ziplining tour, we traveled nearly three quarters of a mile over five consecutive zip lines at heights of 300 feet above the canyon floor at speeds pushing 40 mph. Does it sound too intense? Don’t let it scare you. Children as young as five years old can enjoy the tour by riding tandem with another participate at least 18 years of age. A five year old girl was part of our tour and she zipped with a huge smile on her face and adventure in her heart.
Beginning at the Hogsback Gate, high in the hills near Avalon and descending through Descanso Canyon, we paused at several eco-stations along the way before continuing on our journey. At each station, our guides gave a presentation on some of the unique and interesting aspects of Catalina, its wildlife, and history. Our zipline journey lasted about two hours and the views alone were worthwhile.
Cheers to Catalina Island
We had just enough time left in the day to have a drink before returning to the Catalina Express. Our Catalina Island bucket list day included experiences for all ages and adventure levels. It gave us a taste of the culture, food, activities, and sights on the island and it left us planning to return again soon for more of the bucket list lifestyle on Catalina Island.