When life’s stresses and strains get too much for you, head over to Catalina Island and you’ll find a peaceful retreat that’s bound to have you relaxed in no time. The island, is only approximately 22 physical miles from the mainland, but in terms of lifestyle and sheer population, it’s a lifetime away. With only 2 ports on the island, one into the main town of Avalon, and the other into the more secluded side of the island at Two Harbors, and only two ways onto the island, via the water or helicopter, there’s very little noise from vehicles. Relatively few cars exist on the island and most visitors either get around on foot or bicycle.
Despite being such a small island, there are things to do here on the days when you feel like doing something a little more energetic than watching the sun move around, and when you first arrive on Catalina Island you should visit the local Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau which will give you all the information you need about what’s on, where to find it, and of course ideas of where to stay and eat if you haven’t already made reservations. In the peak months however, you should always at least reserve your room before venturing across to the island. Although you may be lucky to arrive and find a room free, it’s not likely during high season because of the limited amount of accommodation available.
Two of the most popular places to visit on Catalina Island are the Catalina Island Museum which charts the history of the island through it’s various stages from the more recent history through the Hollywood era (the island was one of the first main Hollywood film sets) right back to the Native Americans. Just about 2 miles out of Avalon you’ll find the Wrigley Botanical Gardens which will delight anyone who has an interest in flora and fauna. William Wrigley (as in the chewing gum empire) once owned the island and you could even stay in his mansion which is now converted into a bed and breakfast establishment.
Catalina Island may not sound very exciting when compared with the attractions of Los Angeles and San Francisco, but for anyone needing to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, it’s a perfect beach oasis.