July 25, 2024

The famous Catalina Island is only a boat ride away and offers ravishing landscapes, fun activities and great shops making it perfect for a “daycation” off campus.

The green covered island is lined with sandy beaches and house-covered hills making it resemble beautiful Italian coasts. As this small island is surrounded by beautiful blue water it attracts tourists, adventurers and ocean-lovers alike.

The Catalina Express sails from the port of Long Beach and takes riders on an hour-long boat ride directly to the heart of Avalon, the main city on Catalina Island.

Off the boat launch, there is a 0.7 mile long red brick path leading around the edge of the island to the well-known Catalina Casino & Avalon Theater.

Along this main path are various restaurants, shops, beaches and piers that make Catalina a popular destination.

The main stretch of shops offers restaurants such as Luau Larry’s Bar and Grill, Lloyd’s of Avalon Confectionary and Pete’s Cafe, which serves everything from calamari and chips to street tacos and milkshakes.

Scoop’s Ice Cream, a combination of a creamery and Starbucks, is an island favorite, serving crepes, french brioche ice cream sandwiches and espresso drinks.

Danae Erber, sophomore international studies and history double major, said she would recommend making an ice cream stop during a visit.

“Catalina has some of the best ice cream, and you can always judge a place by how good their ice cream is. 10/10 would recommend if you’re ever on the island,” Erber said.

Though Catalina holds many popular treats, there is more to the island than just the famous food. One way to get around the island is renting a golf cart, which most locals own instead of cars, and touring the island independently.

Cruising around the island’s path will lead to countless stands with activities available on the island for visitors. For the adventure-seeker, ziplining above the trees, climbing a rock wall or working through a rope course is available at Descanso Beach Club.

Reed Woodyard, director of Descanso Canyon Activities, said the main mission of its activities is to provide great experiences for people visiting the island.

“Our mission is to provide a consistently safe, professional and thrilling experience for all guests of beautiful Catalina Island,” Woodyard said.

For the ocean-lover, many stands around the island rent out kayaks, paddleboards and scuba diving gear with student discounts available. 

For sports-lovers, challenge friends to mini-golf at Golf Gardens right off the main street for $12 a game.

Aside from these activities, the island also offers great shops for tourists and locals alike. 

Cole Stillwagon, freshman undeclared major, said his favorite part of Catalina Island is the atmosphere.

“It gives off such relaxing vibes. Everyone is so kind and welcoming, and it’s such a great vacation spot,” Stillwagon said.

The island offers helicopter tours or Hummer tours throughout the terrain.

The island also has a quirky side, housing many fake spraypainted bison around the island to represent the bison herd that was imported to the island in 1924 for filming a silent movie.

As Catalina offers fun activities, restaurants and a small-island atmosphere, Catalina is a prime destination for a daycation that is definitely worth the boat ride and possible sunburn.

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