CIVR Blog: Catalina Island walks

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Wrigley Memorial on Catalina Island

Wrigley Memorial on Catalina Island

Catalina Island abounds with secrets — Secret spots, secret history and secret stories. In our latest series of blog posts, we’ve been sharing some of our favorite Catalina Island secrets.

Walking in Avalon is the perfect mode of transportation. While many visitors are intrigued with the fun and convenience of our ubiquitous golf carts, leaving the wheels parked and getting going with your own two feet is the ideal way to experience this quaint Catalina Island town. Walking’s slower pace and quiet atmosphere provide a chance to experience more of Avalon’s charms.

Whether it is walking to town from Hamilton Cove, strolling along the Avalon waterfront or taking on a challenging hike on the Trans-Catalina Trail, walking is the secret key to Catalina Island transportation. Everyone who lives on the island has their own favorite Catalina Island walk, but one of our favorites is the walk from town up to the Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden. This casual stroll takes you up Avalon Canyon along the Catalina Island Visitors Golf Course. The walk lasts just over a mile from Avalon and culminates at the garden, where visitors can learn more about the island’s native flora.

CIVR Blog: Hamilton Cove Villas

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Hamilton Cove Villas on Catalina Island

Hamilton Cove Villas on Catalina Island

Living and working on Catalina Island is privilege that none of us take for granted. Surrounded by the sea and shaded by Santa Catalina’s stunning hillsides, we’re enveloped by natural beauty in a way that no one else on earth is. Avalon’s quaint streets and scenic waterfront are part of our everyday life and the many activities on Catalina are something we get to enjoy every day.

Working at Catalina Island Vacation Rentals provides its own series of benefits. Every day, we get to make vacation dreams come true. Our guests arrive excited and eager and go home relaxed and refreshed, renewed by a Southern California island paradise. We love hearing about how much fun they’ve had and how much we were able to help them.

Thanks to the enthusiasm of those guests, the Hamilton Cove Villas on Catalina Island that we manage have recently been awarded a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor. As the world’s leading hotel review site, millions of people around the world rely on TripAdvisor for vacation travel advice. While we’re proud of this award, we’re even more proud of the experiences that inspired the reviews. Knowing that we’ve been a part of creating wonderful vacation memories makes our jobs even more rewarding.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Summer Activities

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Summer is just around the corner on Catalina Island and that means a return of some of our favorite family activities. While the Summer Concert Series is a widely popular new addition to the summer calendar, summer in Avalon brings several more activities that are fun for everyone.

Each Wednesday beginning June 24, the City of Avalon Recreation Department hosts a Kids Fishing Derby. With awards and accolades for biggest fish and strangest fish, this tournament is all about having fun and getting the kids excited about the outdoors. The fishing starts at 7 a.m. at the end of green Pleasure Pier. Call (310) 510-1987 for details.

The City of Avalon is also responsible for one of Catalina Island’s most enduring – and endearing – family fun traditions. Each Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m. the city hosts Beach Bingo at the South Beach lifeguard stand. Bingo cards are only $1 and winners receive some great local prizes.

As the organization responsible for protecting nearly 90 percent of Catalina Island, the Catalina Island Conservancy has some interesting stories to tell. Learn more about the island the efforts needed to protect its unique ecosystem at one of the Conservancy’s guided hikes, only available in the summer.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Island secrets

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Catalina Island played a strategic role during World War II

Catalina Island played a strategic role during World War II

Catalina Island abounds with secrets. Secret spots , secret history and secret stories. In our latest series of blog posts, we’ll share some of our favorite Catalina Island secrets.

Catalina Island played a pivotal role in World War II and much of that history can still be found scattered around this Southern California Channel Island. A wide variety of personnel trained and prepared on Santa Catalina, including Merchant Marines, Army soldiers and frogmen from the Office of Strategic Services, which would become the Central Intelligence Agency.

With its strategic location off the California coast, Catalina Island served as a prime spot for surveillance and gunnery emplacements were established on several key promontories. For several years, these emplacements were manned with soldiers who spent countless lonely hours watching the Pacific for a Japanese naval incursion and the skies for an attack by air.

While the heavy guns and soldiers are long-gone, the emplacements remain, concrete bunkers that stand in mute testament to the greatest generation. The most accessible of the bunkers is far off Catalina Island’s beaten path, but intrepid hikers will discover this secret spot on the promontory between Cottonwood Cove and Ben Weston Beach. The two large underground bunkers occupy prime real estate, with the windswept cliff commanding endless views of the Pacific.

CIVR Blog: Summer Concert Schedule

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The schedule for the popular Catalina Summer Concert Series has recently been released

The schedule for the popular Catalina Summer Concert Series has recently been released

Catalina Island’s popular summer concert series debuts next weekend with a can’t-miss line-up of family friendly concerts. Sponsored by Catalina Island Vacation Rentals and Catalina Island Real Estate the performances are sure to get everyone in the family dancing – or at least singing along. Catalina Island family vacations are even planned around the popular shows, which are free and begin at 8 p.m. at Wrigley Stage in the heart of Avalon. An over-21 beer and wine garden will be open from 7 p.m. until the end of each concert.

This year’s schedule brings some new performances to Avalon and brings back some crowd favorites, like the tributes to Woodstock and ABBA. With eight concerts scattered through the summer, the Summer Concert Series provides several reasons to plan a trip to Catalina Island. For more information, visit the official Xcptional Music Summer Concert Series website.

May 24 – the Xceptional Sirens

June 13 – Roadhouse Rock

June 27 – The Xceptional Tribute to Motown and the Supremes

July 9 – Catalina All Stars

July 25 – Xceptional HD High Energy Dance

August 8 – The Xceptional Tribute to Woodstock

August 22 – The Xceptional Tribute to ABBA

Sept. 6 – Xceptional Vinyl to Digital

CIVR Blog: Catalina wine festival

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The beach at the isthmus will soon be filled with wine fans.

The beach at the isthmus will soon be filled with wine fans.

For 14 years, June has been wine time at the island’s West End. The Summer Wine Festival in Two Harbors brings together dozens of wineries as well as live music and complimentary appetizers. With sand beneath your feet, the Catalina wine festival is arguably the most atmospheric wine event in the state, taking place on Isthmus Beach on Saturday June 6. Tickets are limited at this popular event, reservations are essential.

The festival also includes a silent and live auction and is a fundraiser for the Avalon Rotary, one of Catalina Island’s most active service organizations. Each year, the Avalon Rotary raises tens of thousands of dollars, supporting a variety of local projects and programs both on Catalina and as part of Rotary International’s nationwide programs.

Catalina’s remote West End is an ideal destination for a getaway anytime of the year. With an off-the-beaten path atmosphere unparalleled in Southern California, Two Harbors offers great hiking, exciting adventures and dramatic natural beauty. Catalina Island Vacation Rentals offers the only vacation rental properties in Two Harbors. Casa Santa Cruz and Casa Santa Rosa offer all the comforts of home combined with spectacular ocean views and the unique surroundings of the island’s West End.

CIVR Blog: Top 3 Things To Do

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THe Catalina zipline is one of the hop things to do for adventure seekers

The Catalina zipline is one of the hop things to do for adventure seekers

Catalina Island abounds with things to do for all ages and interests, from leisurely afternoons on the beach to adrenaline-fueled adventures sure to thrill. With its dramatic natural beauty and proximity to the Pacific, activities around Santa Catalina can fill a lifetime of Island vacations. Our top three Catalina Island things to do for adventure seekers provide a peek at some of the many exciting activities available on the island.

The Catalina Island zipline has become a must-do for adventure seekers. With five zips stretching down Descanso Canyon, this high-octane thrill ride reaches speeds in excess of 45 miles per hour. The recent addition of night-times zips adds a whole new level of excitement.

Catalina Island scuba diving is world renowned. Sunlight dappled kelp forests, wrecks and an fascinating array of marine life provide the perfect backdrop for this adventure, which is available to anyone who can swim through Discover Scuba experiences.

The Trans-Catalina Trail is the pinnacle of Catalina Island hiking. With challenging elevation changes and breath-taking views, the trail can be experienced in short day hikes spread over several Catalina vacations or in a multi-day hiking expedition that will test even the most seasoned hiker.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Island travel

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Travel is everything on Catalina Island

Travel is everything on Catalina Island

Living on an island completely dependent on visitors means that we celebrate travel – and travelers – every day of the year. The rest of the country, however, celebrates National Travel and Tourism Week the first full week in May.

First celebrated more than three decades ago to bring attention to the economic importance of the travel industry, National Travel and Tourism Week is an opportunity to celebrate one of the country’s largest industries.

On Catalina Island, nearly every job is wholly dependent on the tourism industry. Tourism funds our school, our first responders and our infrastructure. It provides money for utilities, subsidizes our stores and is the reason businesses can afford to hire employees. Without travel and tourism, Catalina Island would look much like the rest of the Channel Islands – occupied either by the military or the National Park Service. Instead, at the turn of the century the Banning Brothers; and later the Wrigley family, saw Catalina Island travel as Avalon’s future. Thanks to their hard work and investment as well as the hard work and investment of thousands of other residents, Catalina Island is the tourism mecca that it is today.

This year’s theme for National Travel and Tourism Week is Travel is ________. On Catalina Island, it’s easy to fill in that blank, because here, Travel is Everything.  Happy traveling.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Island Soccer Camp

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Avalon will be home to a soccer camp hosted by the LA Galaxy

Avalon will be home to a soccer camp hosted by the LA Galaxy

Soccer has become one of the most popular youth sports in America. Every weekend, leagues from coast to coast converge on playing fields as boys and girls learn sportsmanship, teamwork and perseverance while having a great time playing the world’s most popular sport.

Thanks to all those kids playing soccer, soccer camps have also exploded in popularity and Catalina Island is no exception. This year representatives from the LA Galaxy, Southern California’s Major League Soccer team, will be visiting the island to host a Catalina Island soccer camp May 8-10. Kids will learn new skills, improve techniques and have a good time for three hours a day over three days. Cost is $150 and the camp is open to boys and girls from ages six to 18.

Got a soccer fan in your household? Catalina Island Vacation Rentals is the perfect place to stay while your future Beckham builds his or her skills. Ideal for families, our Avalon Condos, Hamilton Cove villas  and Avalon homes and cottages provide all the comforts of home including full kitchens, living areas and the space to relax and enjoy your Catalina Island vacation.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Island Classic

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Catalina Island Classic

Catalina Island Classic

With steep hills rising from a gentle valley, Avalon offers a perfect spot for a town. Those dramatic hills frame the flats, offering great views and providing Catalina Island’s only town with an unforgettable atmosphere. Once a year, those hills also become a magnet for hundreds of the country’s best downhill skateboard racers.

The Catalina Island Classic, organized by Riviera Skateboards, is now in its fourth year and continues to grow in popularity. Racers take on Wrigley Road, starting near the Inn on Mt Ada and racing downhill to the flats. The Classic will feature downhill racing on May 2 and 3 as well as additional skateboard events throughout the weekend. Sunday’s race is expected to attract some of the world’s fastest racers who will be competing to share a $10,000 purse. Last year that purse was divided between mens and womens categories, with AJ Haiby from the USA taking the top spot for the men and Elena Corrigall from Canada claiming the womens top spot. Additional American skaters include Zak Maytum, Alicia Fillback and Marisa Nunez.

Skateboard fans won’t want to miss Catalina Island Classic weekend, which has developed into one of top downhill events in the country.