Catalina’s enchanting charm has attracted Tinseltown for decades, serving as the backdrop for classic films that include The Ten Commandments and Ben Hur, for example, along with actors simply in need of a serene escape, such as Charlie Chaplin, James Cagney, John Wayne, Clark Gable, and more. And let’s not forget Marilyn Monroe, who spent some time on the island with then-husband James Dougherty just before she rose to fame.
When you venture off for your island getaway, there’s an easy number of options and accommodations. Just 22 miles off the Los Angeles coast, the short sailing experience will begin with Catalina Express’ luxury service, which ferries over one million passengers annually in just under one hour. And if you’d like to live like a celebrity and upgrade your experience, the high-speed vessels feature a Commodore Lounge on the upper deck, with leather-trimmed seats, overhead storage, priority boarding, and a beverage and snack service that houses a must-have Bloody Mary. They also graciously offer a free ride on your birthday, which will save you nearly $76 that can later be used for many other on-island activities, such as a Segway ride (a personal favorite), golf carting, zip lining, a behind-the-scenes casino tour, an inside look at the beautiful botanical gardens, and a window into the sea on board a glass-bottomed boat.
When you arrive in Avalon, continue to channel the island’s charm with your choice of the perfect stay, which can be found at the Catalina Island Inn. The beautiful, nautical-inspired decor, approachable staff, and contemporary outdoor balcony provide an elite experience with a boutique feel. The Inn also generously offers flat screen televisions, an iPod dock, mini-fridges, fireplaces, and a private patio, but since it overlooks Avalon Bay and is situated in the center of the action, you’ll likely find yourself easily entering and exiting during your daily excursions. Be sure to grab some complimentary coffee and breakfast muffins in the lobby before you start your day, but save some room for a yummy meal at The Lobster Trap. If you’re like me and you’d like a more private vacation with far less foot traffic, book your stay during the off-season and save some money using the Best of Winter Package. There’s no time like the present, and the Catalina Island Inn is the perfect way to pamper yourself.