• California Adventurer

Daycation: Catalina Island


Happy Monday, everyone!

This past Friday, we embarked on a day trip to Catalina Island as a surprise adventure for my boyfriend’s 30th birthday, and let me tell you, it was a day we will remember for a long time.

We departed from Balboa Pier in Newport Beach on the Catalina Flyer at 9am. I would highly recommend using them for a few reasons: 1) they have competitive pricing and what I paid was more than reasonable for round-trip fare and 2) if you are looking to just spend the day on the island, the timing is perfect in terms of when you arrive in the morning and depart that afternoon. You have just enough time to spend there during the day without feeling rushed. The boat ride is around an hour and 15 minutes from Newport to the port of Avalon, so we arrived around 10:15/10:20am and headed straight for the main town. We walked along the water all the way down to the old Casino building, which is a great place to take photos, sit by the water and take in the scenery.

From there, we headed back into the main town area for lunch at Bluewater Grill on the patio overlooking the water. I cannot recommend this enough! Coming to an island means you better be eating somewhere with an ocean view. I was surprised to see so many people indoors and at bars. You can have a cocktail indoors anytime! Bluewater Grill has a ton of seafood, sandwich and salad options – I opted for the Mahi Sandwich that came with a great jalapeno aioli and crispy onions. HELLOOOO cheat day!

Next stop, was my favorite thing of the day. Picking up our golf cart! We rented from the Catalina Island Golf Cart company which has two locations in Avalon. I reserved our cart in advance which I would HIGHLY recommend if you want to be sure you get a cart. It turned out that there was a cruise ship in town the day we went, so the standby lines were crazy and we wouldn’t have gotten a cart if we hadn’t made a reservation. Thank goodness for my crazy planning nature far in advance! We got the 2-hour rental, which is the perfect amount of time to ride around, make stops and see much of the town that you wouldn’t see without this kind of transportation. We made tons of stops and checked out the Nature Center, stopped to watch people zip-lining (nooo, thank you!) and really enjoyed our time stopping at the Catalina Island Botanic Garden and Wrigley Memorial. The Memorial honors the memory of William Wrigley Jr. who played an instrumental role in the history of Santa Catalina Island. Fun fact, he was responsible for bringing public utilities, new steamships, a hotel, the Casino building, and extensive plantings of trees, shrubs and flowers on the island. The Wrigley Memorial is the centerpiece of the Botanic Garden. Shout out to my Dad for being the best tour guide around the island!

After riding around for a few hours, captivated by all of our stops, time spent together and of course, the scenery, it was time to return the golf cart and make our final loop around town. Our final stop in town was at Big Olaf’s, which in my opinion, is the best ice cream on the island. We got the olaf, which is your choice of ice cream, 1 topping choice, topped with chopped peanuts, whipped cream and a cherry, oh AND a waffle cone….did I say, HELLOOOO, cheat day? In our defense, we didn’t eat dinner that night! Highly recommend stopping here if you’re on the island for the day.

Alas, it was time to make our way back to the boat for our return trip. I must say again, the Catalina Flyer team was great. Everything was prompt and organized and I was very pleased with our overall experience from start to finish. It was a truly memorable birthday surprise day for my boyfriend, and one that we will all surely cherish for a long time!

I also have to give a major shout out to Made by Mary for my incredible new lace choker and custom Reborn necklace! I wore them for the first time on our trip and they are absolutely stunning. Stay tuned for another post this week about these beauties! They complimented my casual/nautical outfit perfectly.

Until next time.

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