Who doesn't love Avalon--on Catalina Island? This is the island of romance. As you arrive by boat into the colorful harbor, you are welcomed by the Green Pleasure Pier, hills dotted with homes, and the iconic Avalon Ballroom, home to the annual Avalon Casino New Year's Gala.
When you arrive, cars are hardly seen on the island, so your best bet for getting around is to rent a golf cart. They are available by the hour and usually available when you arrive. Head on a tour either in your cart, or buy a ticket for one of the island tours, and you'll be glad you got to see the many treasures waiting for you.
One of the favorites stops is the Wrigley Memorial Botanical Garden filled with native plants, and a hilltop tribute to the once owner of the island who deeded most the land to a conservancy to stay in a natural state in perpetuity. What a nice gift!
Scuba and snorkeling, glass bottom boat tours, and now the Zip Line which takes you through a forest with a rush, all are offered on the island. Next to the zip is a private Descanso Beach where you can rent your own cabana for the day, complete with shade, water, and prime beach sand.
When you go: Buy a ticket through Catalina Flyer out of Newport Beach (only makes a trip each way per day -- leaves Newport Beach around 9:30 a.m. and heads back to Newport from Avalon around 4:30 p.m. This boat also sells tour tickets before you head over to the island.
Catalina Express departs once a day from Dana Point, and almost hourly during the peak daylight hours from Long Beach.
The price of the boat trips are about the same, and for those who fear getting sick, not to worry! The boats are high speed Catamarans that are as smooth as glass.