Catalina Island, CA

I’ve been spoiled with gorgeous weather, the ocean breeze and warm sunshine from being born and raised in southern California. In addition, my family has always owned a boat but recently my dad traded in the speed boat for a 40-foot yacht. My parents have the yacht slipped near the Port of Los Angeles, one of the busiest ports in the world. Boats of all sizes, cargo ships, tankers, and cruise ships come through the port daily on business and to pick up passengers. When my family can find the time, we like to plan a trip to a place located about 22 miles west of Los Angeles, across the Pacific Ocean... a place known as Catalina Island!

I have only been to Catalina twice in my life and it has always been one of the most relaxing family trips for the Sloan family. Many boat owners like the weekend getaway and reserve a spot at one of the mooring balls for boats located in any one of the coves of Two Harbors or Avalon, the two popular cities on Catalina Island. We usually stay at Two Harbors’ Isthmus Cove, where we lounge on our boat and take the dinghy (our mini transport boat) to land. As a family, we like to hike the hills along the coves, lay out in the sun and swim in the bright blue ocean water (something we need to do more often!). Catalina Island is a great place to take a vacation with family or friends.

There are many different coves around the island but my top three favorite coves in Two Harbors are:

  1. Isthmus Cove: Isthmus Cove has 249 moorings and more than 100 anchorages. It is the mooring area for the romantic village of Two Harbors.
  2. Cherry Cove: Cherry Cove has 99 moorings and no anchorages. On shore there is a Boy Scout camp and up the nearby canyon are large groves of Catalina cherry trees and Ironwoods. A point of land, called Lion’s Head, protects this cove from the afternoon winds.
  3. Emerald Bay: West of Howland’s Landing is beautiful EmeraldBay. It has 100 moorings and anchorage for five to 10 boats. There is a long strip of natural sandy beach. The Corsair Yacht Club and a Boy Scout Camp have facilities here.

How to get to Catalina Island:

  1. Catalina Express: Daily port departures from Long Beach, San Pedro and Dana Point to Avalon and Two Harbors.
  2. Catalina Flyer: Daily boat departures to Catalina Island from Newport Beach on the largest passenger catamaran on the West Coast. 
  3. Island Express: Fastest transportation. Landing pads in both Long Beach and San Pedro.

Some important things to bring during the summer on Catalina Island:

  1. Sunscreen: the weather is usually sunny and hot.
  2. Swimsuit: you’ll be surrounded by the ocean… go swim! (usually only during the summer)
  3. Camera: cherish the memories.

Taking a trip to Catalina Island is something I always look forward to when I come home to California on my holidays from school. I enjoy the mini vacation at any time of the year (yes, even when its freezing during the winter!) because the "island life" is a fun life to live, even for a brief moment in time.

What's your next weekend getaway?