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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: CATALINA ISLAND

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Hello everyone! Tommy here again with a special trip report for you! Recently, our friends at Catalina Express and the Descanso Beach Club invited us over for the day to take a tour of Catalina Island. This laid-back retreat is just a few miles off the coast and can be seen on a clear day from some of our local beaches. There are several ways to get here from the Howard Johnson Anaheim, so make sure to speak to the front desk so they can help you plan your trip.

Our boat departed from Long Beach Terminal and were advised to line up early so we could get a better choice of seats. Since there wasn’t much to do in the terminal, we lined up early to get a jump start on our tan! :)

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The trip from Long Beach to Avalon only takes an hour and it was very smooth on the Catalina Express. I get seasick pretty easily but had no problems at all during the short voyage. I’ve been told that the bar on board has the best Bloody Mary around, so if that’s your drink, you should order one. I had to try it just because everyone in line ordered at least two. After one sip, I was reminded of how much I don’t like tomatoes. Don’t give in to peer pressure, kids.

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The city of Avalon on Catalina Island boasts an average weather forecast of 75°F (23.9°C) and sunny year round, so make sure to pack the sun block.

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The moment I arrived on Catalina, I noticed was the abundance of golf carts on the island. With a waiting period of 30 years for a car permit and gas prices nearing $7 a gallon, it’s easy to see why! The city of Avalon is not big at all, so if you’re planning to stay within the city, walking around is a suitable means of transportation.

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Our gracious hosts, Collier and Ryan arranged a tram tour for us to see a little bit more of the island. Catalina was definitely bigger than we thought and the tour took us into the hills giving us the opportunity to see the multi-milion dollar mansions and great views of the harbor.

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After our Tram Tour, we stopped by the famous Casino on the island. What most visitors are surprised by, myself included, is that this “casino” has no gambling in it at all! Our tour guide said that the word casino comes from the Italian word for “gathering place”. This particular venue is where they hold concerts, graduations, and other parties. It is home to the world’s largest circular ballroom. We did not get to go inside, but there are a variety of tours available at the box office of the casino.

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After a short walk from the Catalina Casino, we arrived at the Descanso Beach Club. This was the highlight of the day! The cabanas were comfortable and the views were amazing! The rest of our free time was spent here just relaxing and it was well worth it.

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Here are some other shots I took on our way back to the boat:

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For the more adventurous you can rent a bike, golf cart or Segway to explore the island or join a Hummer/Jeep tour! There are running and hiking trails galore, Zip Line Eco adventures, golf, sea kayaking, snorkeling, glass bottom boat, to name just a few activities. From active exploration to flopping on the beach, there is something for every member of the family to do on Catalina Island.

Well, that should do it for now. If you need help booking a trip to Catalina, swing by the front desk and we can help you out. Our partners at Karmel Shuttle are the best option for round trip transfers to the Catalina terminal and also for the Los Angeles and Long Beach cruise terminals! Find out more HERE.

Until next time!

Tommy Bahama :)

Are you visiting Disneyland and want the perfect family hotel that’s closer to the theme parks than TWO of Disney’s own hotels? Look no further than the TripAdvisor fan favorite, the Howard Johnson Hotel and Water Playground! FIVE time award winner in the category “Top 25 Hotels for Families in the United States“.

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