The kids loved this. We took a walk on the pier and came across people feeding the seals. There was a guy selling bags of small fish to feed the seals and we purchased a bag for my duaghter.
The seals swim around waiting for the fish to be thrown into to the water.
It was fun seeing my daughter get all excited about this.
Favorite thing: This picture was taken on a glass bottom boat. I seen tons of these fish, which know they are going to get fed by tourists. I was amazed at how clear the water was under the surface because it looks dark above the water line. I was just as amazed at the seaweed growth, which is said to grow up to two feet a day.
Getting to Santa Catalina Island is most often done by boat or cruise ship. Once there, you usually dock at Avalon, the only town on the Island. Looking around and you see the quaint homes on the hillsides. Looking up to the south hills and you spot this pointed roof house, Queen Anne style of classic Victorian architecture, that stands out sitting on a rock promontory.
This is the "Lookout Cot" built in 1890 by a retired engineer from Pasadena, Peter Gano, as a private residence. The name is rumored to be a shorten version of "Lookout Cottage" that the piece of wood used had carved on it but was too big for the home. It later became known as the Holly Hill House. You can still see the name "Lookout Cot" over the front entrance. It is still a private residence and the present owner replaced the pointed top over the third floor lookout turret after a fire.
Fondest memory: There are many homes that are either famous or unique or just plain different or avant garde. Walk the back streets, take a trolley ride, or go for broke with the $$$ golf carts and tour around to see these very unusual homes. They are still "home sweet home" to the residents.
They have links of maps for:
Catalina Island Reference Map (PDF)
Catalina Island East Map (PDF)
Catalina Island West Map (PDF)
Airport Area Map (PDF)
Windward Beaches Map (PDF)
Catalina Island Bike Map
Courtesy of the Catalina Island Conservancy
Fondest memory: Sitting on the deck above our little bed & breakfast during sunset. Although it was overcast and a bit on the chilly side, it was really nice. My boyfriend and I sat there watching the water, sipping on some chardonnay and having some cheese and crackers. It really doesn't get any more relaxing than this!
Favorite thing: Go on a hike!!! We did the Hermit Gulch trail which takes you all the way up to the top where you can see Avalon on one side and the waters on the other side of the island! It is about a 3.5 mile hike that is ALL uphill so make sure that you have a pair of good shoes and are in good shape!
Fondest memory: There are a lot of little funny things about Catalina that make it so fun. This is a picture of a tow truck on Catalina Island. There is a limit to how many full-size automobiles are allowed on the island, so most locals drive golf carts as their means of transportation around the city. Since there is only one inhabited city on the island, Avalon, the golf carts as transportation pose no logistical problem. In fact, they are the smartest way to get around. Tourists may rent these from many shops on the island. (Click on the picture to enlarge so you can see the towing gear!)
Climb on the rocks out to the water. It is beautiful and great for pictures. Also scuba dive. The bay is full of cool things to see and find.
Fondest memory: Walking along the break wall out to the middle of the harbor, taking pictures and playing in the holes inbetween the rocks. It was so much fun to be there with my friends because they are what make everyplace i visit fun.
A highlight of my trip was taking the bus tour (more info to read on transportation link), guiding by a well-knowledgable Avalonian named Starr. Ask for her if you arrive here. She is a fantasic guide who tells about the history of Avalon and Catalina island. Here's a fact that I learned: Before it was officially named Avalon, the town was known as Shatto, after a businessman, George Shatto.
Avalon has a nicer, more dreamy sound to it, doesn't it so?
Fondest memory: Overall, I will miss the "small town with lots-to-do" feel of Avalon. Avalon itself is only a 9 mile stretch but there are so many fun and entertaining activities for everyone- dine, shop, hike, swim, sail, kayak, etc. What was best was that even on a weekend, there were no huge crowds. Surely, many people arrive to the island off the boat but when walking around , one does not bump into another like one would in popular destinations in mainland California. Some room to roam is always welcomed!
There are too many 'favorite' things to list...but one you should definitely plan for is......REST! Because the city is so small we've made the mistake (twice!) of plannin' too short of a vacation here. Some tours are a must to see the Bay from above...add that to the very interesting Casino tours and wonderful shops and you'll run out of time before you know it! We had hoped to just 'lounge' one whole day...but ran out of time! :( Plan accordingly!!!
Fondest memory: I miss the view of the Bay. The colorful boats moored in the Bay and Avalon's Green Pier are just beautiful and the view of the colorful hillside makes you feel your continents away.
No, it really does look like DisneyLand, you will find no Trash on the ground, everything is in pastle colors but you wont find any rides or Mickey Mouse.
I really find it all a bit false. For a day trip I liked it but for any long stay I would go out of my mind.
Favorite thing: The yellow submarine doesn't actually go under the water. It rides at the level seen in the picture, allowing passengers an even better underwater view than the glass bottom boat.
Fondest memory: Just an area with a bunch of shops, but then again the whole area is touristy shops. You'll be lured by a waffle cone smell in this area, as fresh waffle cones are made and filled with ice-cream.
Favorite thing: It's just an hour's boat ride away! If you have an opportunity, don't wait as long as I did to visit this charming island!