Catalina Mini-Moon & Photo Diary
As most of you know, Ashley and I got married almost two weeks ago! Can you believe it!? I can’t believe how quickly the day came and went. As per usual, post wedding comes honeymoon. Since our official honeymoon isn’t until the end of the month, we decided to take a domestic mini-moon, if you will, with the same rules in play: somewhere neither of us have ever been, and adventure must be part of the itinerary. We opted for beautiful and sunny Catalina Island, about 20 miles off the California coast. Not many people know about this little hidden gem, that upon arrival, instantly transports you to a quaint European village, or South of Italy even. 3.3 miles of Avalon Bay, Catalina sit along the water where you can see families walking the pier, boats docked, and golf carts galore- golf carts are the primary mode of transportation on the island.
There are a few options of getting to Catalina. You can a) take a ferry from the San Pedro or Long Beach dock which takes about an hour, or b) take a quick, fun, and scenic 15 minute helicopter ride. We opted for the latter and rode with IEX helicopters which had comfortable leather seating and wood grain panels. Upon arrival, we were picked up in a Catalina classic golf cart, and escorted to the Pavilion Hotel for check-in. When booking a vacation, I usually like to make sure a few perks are included to stay on budget with the Mrs.. The Pavilion offers complimentary hot breakfast, as well as a wine and cheese reception each evening, which is perfect for pre-dinner relaxation.
After checking in, we took to the town to explore. The blocks were lined with colorful houses, mom and pop restaurants, and touristy shops for attire, magnets, and sailor hats. We were instantly hooked! We walked back to the hotel to grab our camera, and began snapping away. Later in the afternoon, after a stop for cookies and coffee, we freshened up for the wine and cheese reception at Pavilion followed by dinner at Avalon Grille. This dinner was my favorite on the island full of rich flavors and local produce and fish. The chef’s made us a seasonal salad that was just out of this world! I would go back to Catalina just to dine here and catch a movie at the iconic Catalina Casino.
The following day, we took a day trip to Two Harbors were we basically had the island to ourselves. Two Harbors is about an hour drive from Avalon on the other side of Catalina. We reserved a palapa to enjoy the signature Buffalo Milk cocktail and amazing lunch from Harbor Sands. Make sure you order the calamari appetizer. It’s not your ordinary curly calamari, but a panko breaded steak rather. It was cooked in a butter garlic sauce and topped with capers– ahh, i’m salivating thinking of it! The day trip is definitely worth it, but I would probably save it for Summertime when the sun is blazing and you can just walk from your comfy palapa to the water. It seriously feels like you’re on an island far from home. Vacay vibes 100!
Our last day was by far our most adventurous. We decided to try the Catalina Aerial Adventure which is basically an obstacle course suspended through the trees. It’s completely safe and a ton of fun. I’m so glad Ash and I did it together so we could give each other tips on how to get through each section. The aerial adventure is a test to your mental and physical strength. It has a beginner, 2 intermediate, and an advanced level. We tried to beginner to get the feel of the courses, and then completed both intermediate courses. We had such an amazing time and the weather was perfect. We went around 10am which I suggest to avoid the heat beating up on you because you will be sweating! It’s such a great workout. Our last but definitely not least adventure was the Zip Lining tour. OMG! What a thrill. We had lunch at Descanso Beach to recover from the morning activities, then walked back down to the park to begin the zip line course. You zip through 5 lines in the hills of Avalon and Descanso Canyon. Our tour guides were so funny and informative giving us tips and facts about the island at each stopping point.
After an adventurous few days on the island, we decided to close it out by a relaxing massage at the Island Spa and lunch at Mt.Ada. Mt. Ada is actually a six bedroom b&b that used to be the home of William Wrigley Jr., who bought Catlina Island in the 20’s, and restored it to the beauty it is today. Mr. Wrigley brought attention to the island by bringing his Chicago Cubs for Spring training in Avalon for about 30 years. The Wrigley family is still very involved with Catalina and established the Catalina Island Company which offers a complete resort destination experience like the experiences Ash and I shared over the weekend.
Hope you enjoyed this informative post, and I will link all of our activities below. I hope you guys make it over to beautiful Catalina, if even for a day trip. You won’t regret it! Oh, and the ferry ride is free on your birthday!
Our Catalina Adventures:
- IEX Helicopters
- Pavilion Hotel
- Avalon Grille
- Two Harbors
- Catalina Casino
- Harbor Sands
- Catalina Aerial Adventure
- Zip Line Eco Tour
- Descanso Beach
- Island Spa
- Mt. Ada
What I wore:
Shop My Island Style:
I want to extend a huge thank you to the Catalina Island Company for making this trip so wonderful for my wife and I. We can’t wait to be back!
Ashley T. Estrada
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