CIVR Blog: Two Harbors, Catalina Island

3:46 pm


Most visitors to Catalina Island experience only a tiny portion of this Southern California resort destination. For the vast majority, Avalon is the only vision of this Channel Island that they will see – and while this quaint village has many charms, it’s only in exploring the rest of the island that Santa Catalina truly reveals herself.

Besides Avalon, the most visited portion of the island is Two Harbors, the picturesque community located near the West End of Catalina Island. So named because of the twin harbors that create the isthmus of Catalina, Two Harbors is an adventures’ nirvana. While you can get a glimpse of remote outpost on either a bus or boat tour, the only way to truly experience the isthmus is to spend a few days soaking up its unique atmosphere. With less than 200 year round residents, Two Harbors is arguably the remote and isolated community in Los Angeles County. During the winter, that makes it an ideal destination for those looking to get away from it all. In the summer – and when the weather makes it feel like summer – the population at the isthmus swells to several thousand, with boaters, campers  and adventurers all eager to relax and enjoy hiking, snorkeling, mountain biking, scuba diving, kayaking, stand-up paddling and much more.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Island gift certificates

4:24 pm
The gift of Catalina Island will last a lifetime. Photo Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce

The gift of Catalina Island will last a lifetime. Photo Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce

The gift of Catalina Island can be one that lasts a lifetime. Cherished memories are born here. Time spent exploring Catalina’s interior, relaxing on its beaches and strolling its charming streets is a gift that will be remembered forever.

There are many ways to give the gift of Catalina Island, but one of the most effective is by giving the gift of Catalina Island Vacation Rentals. Gift certificates are available in any amount, so you can either contribute to a weekend getaway or, if you’re feeling particularly magnanimous, you can give a yearly getaway for the entire family. Whether you are looking for a romantic gift for that special someone or an ideal present for a family, a gift certificate from Catalina Island Vacation Rentals will let you outshine Santa.

Catalina Island Vacation Rentals offers a wide range of Catalina Island accommodations, including Hamilton Cove Villas, Avalon homes and cottages, Two Harbors casas and Avalon condos. Properties are available for every Catalina getaway, from cozy cottages for two to expansive vacation homes that sleep up to 12. Click here for more information about how you can give a holiday gift that will last a lifetime.

Guest Blogger: A Stay at Hamilton Cove

12:34 pm
Hamilton Cove Villas are one option for a longer stay on Catalina Island.

Hamilton Cove Villas are one option for a longer stay on Catalina Island.

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.


CIVR Blog: 3 Tips for A Great Catalina Island Vacation

1:03 pm
Hamilton Cove Villas are one option for a longer stay on Catalina Island.

Hamilton Cove Villas are one option for a longer stay on Catalina Island.

Three tips for a week on Catalina Island

Spending a week or more vacationing on Catalina Island provides an ideal opportunity to relax, recharge and discover all that this island paradise has to offer. While your vacation priorities are up to you and your family, here are our top three tips for getting the most out of your week in this Southern California vacation hot spot.

Be flexible: if you’re vacationing on the island for a week or more, you’ve got enough time to explore Catalina on your own terms. Don’t try to schedule every moment, let your vacation have enough room for spontaneity and unexpected discoveries. Whether it’s getting back for another meal at that great restaurant or stopping to spend more time hiking that trail you saw from the tour bus, your Catalina experience will benefit from flexibility.

Get out of town: While Avalon’s quaint streets and picturesque harbor attract more than a million visitors a year, Catalina Island has a wealth of intriguing discoveries just waiting to be revealed. Fascinating history, spectacular vistas, unique hikes and flora and fauna found nowhere else on earth are yours to discover when you take the time to explore Catalina Island’s interior. Take a tour, rent a bike or hike the Trans-Catalina trail – however you choose to discover Catalina Island, the time it takes to experience the world outside of Avalon is well worth the investment.

Stay the way the locals do: When you spend a week or more on Catalina Island, you want the chance to live island life like the locals do. Separate bedrooms, fully-equipped kitchens and an array of entertainment options from televisions to board games will give you the chance to be at home while you’re away from home. Catalina Island Vacation Rentals has Avalon condos, cottages and homes as well as Hamilton Cove villas that allow you to relax and unwind.

CIVR Blog: Adventures at Two Harbors

11:28 am
Isthmus Cove at Two Harbors on the Island's West End.

Isthmus Cove at Two Harbors on the Island’s West End.

Catalina Island travelers looking for an experience off the beaten path can find just what they are looking for at Two Harbors, at Santa Catalina’s West End. A beautiful pair of bays creates the isthmus and gives the community its name. Isthmus Harbor, on the island’s lee side; and Cat Harbor, on the island’s windward side, both invite exploration, with hiking trails and walking paths, calm waters perfect for paddling and a wealth of marine life. Two Harbors, CA beckons travelers both those looking for adventure and those eager for relaxation.

Catalina Island is one of the top spots in North America for scuba diving and Two Harbors sports several beautiful dive spots in the many coves on the front side of the island. Those spots are also spectacular for snorkelers with amber kelp forests, curious fish and crystal clear waters. Above water adventures are prevalent at the isthmus, including kayaking, stand-up paddling and big game fishing. Not ready to get wet? The hiking around the West End is some of the best on the island, with dirt roads, hiking paths and the Trans-Catalina Trail all beckoning to be explored. Sound a little too strenuous? Relax with a good book and soak up the rays – or just take in the beautiful views.

Catalina Island Vacation Rentals offers Two Harbors travelers the perfect Isthmus lodging option with two luxurious casas.

CIVR Blog: Avalon Condos

1:01 pm
Avalon has several condos available for your next vacation.

Avalon has several condos available for your next vacation.

Avalon condos provide convenient home base for exploring Catalina Island

Avalon features a wide range of accommodations options, ranging from quaint cottages to luxurious Hamilton Cove villas. One of the most convenient property choices are Avalon condos. Several condominium complexes offer vacation rentals and Catalina Island Vacation Rentals can help you decide which complex fits your Avalon vacation needs. Many condos, including Sol Vista and Bahia Vista, offer community swimming pools and other facilities, other Avalon condos offer ocean views or other popular amenities.

Avalon Condos, which have one, two and three bedroom options, are an ideal choice for a romantic getaway, family vacation or a group of friends. Like most Avalon vacation rentals, condos on Catalina Island have televisions, full kitchens and living areas as well as many other amenities to make them an ideal alternative to traditional Catalina Island lodging. Several properties may be available in the same condo complex, making them a great choice for planning Catalina Island accommodations for a family reunion, corporate retreat or friendly gathering. Catalina Island Vacation Rentals website and friendly reservation staff can assist you in determining which Avalon condo will provide an ideal base for your next Catalina Island getaway.

CIVR Blog: Hamilton Cove Villas

11:10 am


Hamilton Cove villas on Catalina Island offer luxurious accommodations

Hamilton Cove villas on Catalina Island offer luxurious accommodations

Hamilton Cove Villas offer luxurious Catalina Island accommodations

Catalina Island’s most dramatic accommodations option is located just outside of Avalon. Easily recognizable as visitors approach by boat, Hamilton Cove features an intriguing array of amenities and accommodations with one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom villas all available.

An ideal Catalina lodging choice for romantic getaways, family getaways and reunions of every type, Hamilton Cove villas offer spectacular ocean views, golf carts and tasteful decor. While the villas themselves are sure to exceed your every expectation, it’s the amenities at Hamilton Cove that really thrill our guests. This gated community features a secluded beach complete with volleyball, barbecues and a playscape for kids. Its refreshing pool is complemented by an expansive sunning deck, both of which overlook the ocean. Just below is a large hot tub perfect for relaxing and a fitness room ensures that your exercise routine won’t take a vacation when you do. CIVR guests have the complementary use of croquet sets, which can be checked out from the security gatehouse. Tennis courts and an 18-hole putting green round out the property’s amenities.

Catalina Island Vacation Rentals offers more than 50 villas at Hamilton Cove and they are consistently some of our most popular Avalon vacation rental options.

CIVR Blog: Avalon Homes and Cottages

4:51 pm
Avalon's streets are filled with quaint homes and charming cottages

Avalon’s streets are filled with quaint homes and charming cottages

Staying in an Avalon homes or cottages is like living on the island

Every wonder what it’s like to live on Catalina Island, California? Living on this island is an adventure, filled with natural beauty, unique neighborhoods and a complete escape from the pressures of the mainland. Everything is within easy walking distance and the sounds and scents of the sea provide an atmosphere that will live with you forever.

Avalon’s quaint streets and picturesque hillsides are home to hundreds of charming cottages and comfortable homes. Luckily, many of those Avalon homes and cottages are available for rent, making getting a taste of life on the island as easy as perusing CIVR’s website or visiting with one of Catalina Island Vacation Rentals’ friendly reservationists.

Staying in an Avalon home or cottage is ideal for families large and small, groups of friends and couples looking for a romantic Southern California getaway. All of our Catalina accommodations include full kitchens, DVD players and telephones. Many also feature ocean or hillside views or romantic fireplaces. Visit us and start planning your Catalina Island vacation today.

CIVR Blog: Catalina honeymoons

12:12 pm


Avalon is filled with romance

Avalon is filled with romance

Honeymoons on the Island of Romance

Santa Catalina Island received its nickname as the Island of Romance for good reason. When the Four Preps first sang their iconic song 26 Miles in the late 1950s, Catalina was world renowned as a spot to kindle the flames and light the spark of passion. Proposals, weddings and vow renewals happen on a daily basis and the island is a magnet for couples looking for a romantic getaway.

Catalina Island, CA, is also the perfect spot to begin a new marriage. After the trials and tribulations of wedding planning and the pressures of the big day, the island offers a magical respite where both relaxation and romance beckon. Whether you and your new spouse are looking for adrenaline-pounding adventures or decadent spa treatments you’ll find them on the Island of Romance, along with great dining, intriguing shopping and unmatched natural beauty.

Wondering where to stay? Catalina Island Vacation Rentals offers a number of perfect accommodations for honeymooners. Quaint Avalon cottages, relaxing Avalon condos, Two Harbors casas and spectacular Hamilton Cove villas all are ideal for a post-nuptial Catalina getaway. Dramatic ocean vistas, fireplaces and fully equipped kitchens, perfect for whipping up breakfast in bed, are just a few of the many amenities you’ll enjoy on your Catalina Island honeymoon. Visit Catalina Island Vacation Rentals today and start planning your post-wedding island escape.

Can’t wait for your Catalina Island honeymoon? A great way to start planning is by setting up your own honeymoon registry. It works just like a traditional wedding registry and lets your guests share in your celebration.

5 Reasons to Visit Catalina in the Off Season

10:25 am
Photo credit Roger Meadows.

Photo by Roger Meadows

Catalina Island will take a lifetime to reveal all her secrets, but one of the best ways to learn more about this fascinating island is to visit in the slower winter months between November and March. The Catalina off season experience provides a unique vacation, whether you are looking for peace and quiet or pulse-pounding adventure. Here are just a few of the many inducements that Avalon offers in the off-season.

Nature: Whether you are looking to spot breaching gray whales or soaring bald eagles on your Southern California vacation, Catalina Island is the place to do it. Dappled with wildflowers in the early spring or greened by winter rains, the natural wonders of the island are much easier to appreciate when you are here, when everyone else isn’t.

Projects: Do you have a novel just waiting to be written – or read? How about a craft project that you’ll finish Some Day? Maybe you have an annual report to put together and need to eliminate the normal office distractions. A Catalina getaway may be just the inspiration you need to get it done.

Events: Catalina Island events are intriguing and varied throughout the off season. Endurance events dot the calendar in November, January and March. An air show and a swing dance festival bring late fall to life. The holiday season brings plenty of Christmas cheer at Shop at Home night. In the early spring you won’t want to miss the treasure hunt atmosphere of the Avalon Harbor Underwater Clean-up or the black tie elegance at An Evening With Oscar.

Peace and romance: Winter on Catalina Island brings with it a slower pace of life that invites you to relax and unwind. Curl up with a good book, get a massage or cook an intricate meal, no matter what you do in the off season you’ll be able to do it at a pace that reminds you what’s truly important in life. Speaking of which, if you’re looking for a chance to reconnect and rekindle the romance, a Catalina Island getaway is one of the most romantic things to do in Los Angeles County.

Weather: Catalina Island weather is rarely severe and when it is, you don’t want to miss it. Periodically, Santa Ana winds blow through Southern California, pushing water before them across the channel. By the time they reach Avalon Harbor, that power has been transformed into high surf that crashes into town in a spectacular display of nature that must be seen to be believed. Winter also brings rainstorms that are perfect for a fireplace and a good book as well as crystal clear air that showcases the snow on the Southern California mainland.