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 dining

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Restaurant week returns to Avalon on Catalina Island

Restaurant week returns to Avalon on Catalina Island

Catalina Island restaurants offer a buffet of options for hungry Avalon visitors. Whether you are looking for culinary creativity or quick bites – Catalina Island dining has it all, including burgers, fresh seafood, great steaks and much more. Once a year, Santa Catalina visitors have a convenient way to experience nearly all the dining in Avalon.

This year, two Catalina Island dining events will be combined into one week of culinary fun. On Wednesday, May 13, the 11th Annual Taste Around Avalon will kick off the Third Annual Avalon Restaurant Week. During the Taste Around, visitors can try a bite or two at more than a dozen local eateries and vote for their favorites. Nearly all of the participating restaurants will also offer libations –of either the alcoholic or non-alcoholic variety — for voting as well. Voting cards will be available from Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce prior to the event, which takes place from 5 to 9 p.m.

Avalon Restaurant Week gives visitors several days to sample Catalina dining options. Nearly a dozen participants will offer prix fixe lunch and/or dinner menus that often include several courses and some special selections. Reservations are appreciated, especially on the weekends.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Chimes Tower

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Chimes Tower will have a new lease on life.

Chimes Tower will have a new lease on life.

Catalina Island is home to a number of iconic buildings and one of the most melodic is getting a new lease on life. Whether you’ve seen it up close and personal or not, every visitor to Avalon has heard the Catalina Chimes Tower, which tolls the hour and plays every 15 minutes. On special occasions, the iconic peals are supplemented by the artistry of Islander Jani Eisenhut, who plays special tunes on the historic Deagan Westminster Chimes.

A gift to the city of Avalon from Ada Wrigley, the wife of William Wrigley, Jr. the chimes have tolled since 1925 and are still in solid working order. The tile-roofed building that houses them, however, is in need of extensive renovations. Thanks to Ada’s descendants, a new foundation has been formed to do just that. The Catalina Chimes Tower Foundation is 501(3)c charged with repairing and maintaining the tower. Matching donations up to $100,000 will help ensure the foundation has a solid start on its fund-raising.

Residents and visitors alike are invited to help the new foundation in its mission. Tax deductible contributions may be sent to The Catalina Chimes Tower Foundation at P.O. Box 677, Avalon, CA 90704. For questions and comments please email info@catalinachimes.org.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Island summer camp

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Catalina Island Marine Institute is one of many Catalina Island summer camps on the leeward side of the island.


For millions of kids, going to summer camp is a rite of passage. With a week or two – or three – away from parents and everyday life, summer camp is a chance to learn new things, have new responsibilities and grow up just a little. Santa Catalina Island has been home to a number of summer camps for decades. Whether kids are looking for a religious-based camp, a science-based camp or just a fun-based camp, they can find it on the island.

Several different organizations operate a number of Catalina Island summer camp facilities in many of the coves on the leeward side of the island. These camps take advantage of Catalina Island’s spectacular natural beauty and dramatic coastline to offer a wide range of activities, including hiking, swimming, snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, archery and much more. Some camps also offer specialized instruction and activities, such as scuba diving and rock climbing.

With the kids off at Catalina Island summer camp, parents can look forward to a getaway all their own. Avalon, with its spas, dining and shopping, offers a perfect option for those who want to be close – but not too close – to their summer campers. Parents can also easily transform a romantic getaway for two into a family vacation by spending an additional week on the island once camp concludes. Catalina Island Vacation Rentals offers an array of choices, from exclusive Hamilton Cove condos, to quaint Avalon homes and cottages and unique Avalon condos.

CIVR Blog: Volunteering on Catalina Island

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Removing non-native plants is a key element in preserving the island's native ecology

Removing non-native plants is a key element in preserving the island’s native ecology, volunteers learn more about efforts to preserve native plants during Mornings at the Nursery.

Catalina Island offers a wealth of experiences and adventures that take a lifetime to completely explore. While Avalon’s quaint charms, intriguing shops and picturesque waterfront appeal to nearly every traveler, the interior of the island offers a wellspring of natural beauty, including spectacular seascapes, dramatic terrain and flora and fauna found nowhere else on earth.

Seeing the interior of the island should be part of every Catalina Island vacation, but many island visitors never explore beyond the tiny town of Avalon, California. Several tours take visitors to the interior – ranging from bus tours to high-adventure off-road expeditions. Guided hiking trips, kayaking adventures and more are also available.

One great way to see the interior and help preserve Catalina Island at the same time is by joining the Catalina Island Conservancy on one of their volunteer expeditions. Every Thursday, Mornings at the Nursery offers transportation to the interior and the chance to learn more about Catalina Island’s unique flora. The trip leaves at 7:15 am and volunteers spend several hours at the James H. Ackerman Native Plant Nursery before returning to Avalon around noon. Advance notice is necessary, call the Conservancy at (310) 510-2595, ext. 12.

CIVR Blog: Avalon Rubber Ducky Derby

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Photo credit: http://shire2011.blogspot.com

Photo credit: http://shire2011.blogspot.com

Avalon Harbor on Catalina Island is home to a wide array of creatures. Bat rays and spider crabs hunt the bottom; calico bass and opal eye cruise placidly and schools of bait fish occasionally churn the water. Gulls bob at the surface, greedy for a tossed French fry, while sea lions frolic and forage. Catalina Island’s human residents and visitors have their own impact, with vessels large and small plying the harbor and children and adults alike playing on the beach.

While most of the sights in Avalon Harbor are an everyday occurrence, once a year a unique flock of invaders takes over the harbor. On Sunday, April 12, hundreds of bright yellow rubber duckies will be dumped into Avalon Harbor on Catalina Island, to race valiantly toward the shore. Frequently helped by the Avalon Harbor Department and their trusty firehoses, the duckies will battle ferociously as they bob to the finish line. The Avalon Rubber Ducky Derby is a fundraiser for the local children’s theater troupe, Kids at Play, and also includes a corporate race and decorated duck competition. Adopting a duck – or a flock of ducks – is open to residents and visitors alike and includes the satisfaction of supporting a good cause as well as the thrill of cheering your duck to the finish. The fun all starts at noon on Avalon’s South Beach.

CIVR Blog: Hollywood stars on catalina

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The Catalina Island Museum will soon be moving from the Casino Building

The Catalina Island Museum will soon be moving from the Casino Building

With its enviable location just 20-odd miles off the Southern California coast, Catalina Island has long been both backlot and playground for Hollywood. The island has been stand-in for dozens of locations – from the South Seas to the eastern seaboard, from tropical paradise to quaint small town. Every once in awhile, the island even gets to play itself.

Location scouts haven’t been the only ones who’ve had a Hollywood love affair with Catalina Island. The island’s proximity to work and home have made it a perfect getaway for the stars for generations. Many Hollywood stars continue to getaway to Catalina, appreciating both the island’s charms and the nonchalant way they can expect to be treated, but it was during Hollywood’s golden era that Catalina really earned its reputation as a getaway for Hollywood’s elite. Charlie Chapman, Johnny Weissmuller and John Wayne were regular visitors, as were Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn and many more. Marilyn Monroe lived on the island for a time, back when she was Norma Jean Dougherty.

Hollywood’s love affair with Catalina Island is the subject of the Catalina Island Museum’s current exhibition, Escape to Catalina: Hollywood’s Biggest Stars on Catalina Island, which is currently on display. This exhibit is the last for the museum’s historic location in the Casino Building – in the summer of 2015, the new Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building will open on Metropole Avenue.

The Catalina Island Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the ground floor of the Catalina Casino. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and free for everyone 15 and younger. Annual memberships are available at a variety of levels.

CIVR Blog: Catalina island wildflowers

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Catalina wildflowers

While Catalina Island’s mild winter storms have not provided enough water to end the island’s drought, they have been successful in nourishing some of the island’s more colorful residents. Wildflower season is in full swing on the island and a rainbow of blooms has erupted.

The red and yellow of introduced geraniums and broom are readily visible from Avalon, but discovering the full breadth of the Catalina Island wildflower season can only be done by exploring further afield in the island’s interior. Intrepid explorers will find shooting stars and blue dicks, California poppies and blue larkspur along with lupine and monkey flower and much more.

The Catalina Airport in the Sky is a great start for a wildflower hike, as is Little Harbor, on the island’s windward side. The Catalina Conservancy offers the Wildlands Shuttle for transportation to the interior – don’t forget your hiking permit. Several tour companies also offer interior tours and the Conservancy’s Jeep Eco-Tours are a popular way to explore the interior, learn more about the island’s ecology and support the conservation of the island at the same time. If getting to the interior is not an option on your next spring Catalina trip but you would still like to explore Catalina’s wildflowers, visit Avalon’s Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Spring Fest

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Catalina Spring Fest

Catalina Spring Fest

Celebrating spring comes in many different forms. Warmer waters, green hillsides and emerging wildflowers are just a few of the ways Mother Nature celebrates spring. On Catalina, spring also means busier days, more visitors and more fun.  Avalon, Catalina Island’s only city, celebrates spring with a community-wide festival.

Organized by the City of Avalon’s Recreation Department, Catalina Spring Fest invites local organizations to set up along Crescent Avenue from 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 23. Those organizations provide food and fun – while doing a bit of fund raising for their cause. Carnival-style games, live music and more will provide fun for the whole family.

Avalon’s picturesque waterfront and long twilight provide the perfect backdrop for Spring Fest, which brings together locals and visitors alike. The evening’s many food vendors will offer snacks, meals and desserts – or take a break from the fun at an Avalon restaurant. Strolling among the booths gives visitors an entertaining insight into many of the community organizations the support the town and its residents.

This year, Springfest will also include Earth Day celebrations and local environmental organizations will have information about how you can reduce your impact on the earth.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Conservancy Ball

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The Catalina Island Conservancy Ball will help support efforts to the protect the Catalina Island fox. Photo by Jack Baldelli, Courtesy Catalina Island Conservancy.

The Catalina Island Conservancy Ball will help support efforts to the protect the Catalina Island fox. Photo by Jack Baldelli, Courtesy Catalina Island Conservancy.

Catalina Island’s unspoiled natural beauty has intrigued generations – and thanks to the Catalina Conservancy, it will continue to offer a respite from the unbridled development on the mainland. Charged with preserving the island in its natural state in perpetuity, the Catalina Conservancy is responsible for nearly 90 percent of the island.

Supported by grants and donations, the non-profit Conservancy is also the beneficiary of the one of the most elegant events on the island. Each year, the Catalina Conservancy Ball fills the Casino Ballroom with tuxedoes and ball gowns for a gala event that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars. This year marks the 20th Catalina Conservancy Ball and organizers are celebrating with an emerald theme and a tagline of Leaping Lizards.

With more than $4.5 million raised over the last two decades, the Conservancy Ball is one of the organization’s most important events. The first ball was co-hosted by the Corsair Yacht Club, and this year the club will reprise its role. The evening will include dinner and dancing as well as a silent and live auction. The fun begins at 6 p.m. on April 11. Invitations may be requested here.