by Sherel Purcell
On a recent trip to Catalina Island, 22 miles off the coast of Los Angeles and an hour via the Catalina Express ferry (free trip on your birthday!) we stayed at a Catalina Island Vacation Rental property. The huge, two-story, two-bedroom, two-bath villa overlooked beautiful Hamilton Cove.
The sandy beach was well-equipped with volleyball nets, basketball hoops, a swing set and picnic tables with barbeques. Further up the hill, a perfectly heated pool and hot tub, croquet lawn, elaborate mini golf course and tennis courts provided extra leisure activities.
As well as being an extremely peaceful and beautiful location, an additional benefit of staying in Hamilton Cove is that it included a motorized golf cart to make the 1.5-mile scenic trip into the main town of Avalon.
Although our rental was completely outfitted with a large, open-concept contemporary kitchen and dining room, we headed for the Bluewater Restaurant right on the waterfront in the center of town. We did however, enjoy breakfast on our sunny patio overlooking the ocean.
The Bluewater is THE place to eat on Catalina especially for seafood lovers and those into creative appetizers. Reservations are recommended as it fills up with locals and visitors alike dropping in for afternoon drinks and staying for dinner.
On our drive into town, we passed the new zipline operated by Catalina Island Zip Line Eco Tour. Perched on a cliff, the zip line provides thrill seekers with unparalleled views of the Palos Verdes Peninsula and Long Beach from heights of 600 feet above sea level.
Closer to town, we passed the local cinema (the movie changes once a week) housed in an art deco rotunda – the famous Catalina Casino, which is also the home of the Catalina Island Museum containing 8,000 years of human settlement history.
Two other attractions deserve special mention: Jeep Eco Tours are a hair-raising way to explore the surrounding mountains while supporting the conservation efforts of the Catalina Island Conservancy, which protects 88 percent of Catalina Island, including more than 62 miles of deserted beaches.
Underwater, Catalina Ocean Expeditions allow visitors to come face-to-face with Catalina’s abundant marine life in their semi-submersible boats.