WHEN LIVING IN LA, SOMETIMES THERE IS NOTHING BETTER THAN A WEEKEND RETREAT TO THE BEACH TO UNWIND. CATALINA ISLAND OFFERS YOU AN ISLAND RESORT THAT IS JUST A BOAT RIDE AWAY.
The Travel Diary: Catalina Island
I started out on the journey with The Hip Traveler Essentials. Of course this includes my iPod full of travel playlists, my iPhone full of digital books and my MacBook Pro so I can organize my thoughts, photos and videos. I was so excited to be able to finally finish the last thrilling book of the Stieg Larsson trilogy on the boat ride over. I popped on some Goldfrapp, opened up my Kindle for iPhone and settled in with my little Shiba Inu puppy to escape into another world just as the boat left the shore. This was already a very good beginning to the weekend.
From the Descanso Beach Club’s Massages by the Sea to the Ghost Tours of Catalina, there is always something to do. Of course, you have all of the usual suspects from Parasailing to Zip Line Eco Tours that you expect at this type of destination, but Catalina does offer a few surprises. I was really impressed by the Catalina Island Conservancy and some of the services it offers to those who are passionate about the environment. They offer hiking trails and give you information on being an eco-conscious traveler while enjoying the many natural beauties of the Island. Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Garden is one stop you have to make. Put on your Reetones and take a hike up to this hidden gem. Five dollars will pay your entry fee and you will be on your way to experiencing 37 lush acres of endemic plants and Island natives, some of which grow only on Catalina. The Memorial built in 1933 offers a spectacular view of the gardens and of Avalon Bay. Small pets are admitted but must be kept in their bag to protect the gardens.
LIVE LIKE A LOCAL & STAY IN ONE OF THE VACATION RENTALS FOUND ALL OVER TOWN. ANOTHER LOCAL HABIT IS THE USE OF SCOOTERS AND GOLF CARTS THAT REPLACE THE CONVERTIBLES & SUVS YOU FIND IN L.A.
M Restaurant & Bar was my favorite place to eat. Located in the Metropol marketplace and a part of the Hotel Metropol, you will find an upscale environment with an amazing organic menu. Take a seat on their oceanfront patio and listen to a live band while you sip on a selection of great wines in your flip flops. Very casual chic.
There was also plenty of pizza and seafood spots in the downtown area. If you travel down to Descanso Beach Club, you can also order cocktails and Veggie burgers (or regular burgers) on the beach deck.
For those of you that can’t shake the shopping habit while you are vacationing, there are a few shops that will satisfy your craving. Search out the cool jewelry stores in Catalina where you can find Bohemian style statement rings and necklaces set in Sterling Silver with semi-precious stones. My kind of souvenir.
THE HIP TIPS:
- Don’t forget to bring sunscreen.
- As always, make friends with some locals. I was offered a free parasailing trip and got access to some of the best live shows in town.
- Bring your Sneaks or hiking shoes and be ready to do some walking.
- Bring a pet carrier if you are bringing a small pet. There are some pet restricted areas.
- If your looking for a real beach getaway with minimal crowds, take a Shoreboat neighboring coves. We recommend Two-Harbors and Emerald Bay.