With its Mediterranean climate, palm trees, fountains, charming shops and plentiful outdoor activities, this harbor village is equal parts small town island community, quality cultural resort and model ecological town.
Having not visited Catalina before, and being that it was December and the water is too frigid for our warm bodies, I decided the best thing to do would be to explore the little town of Avalon. We had a few choices: golf cart, trolley, bike, or walking.
I kept reading about how walkable the town is and we are young enough, so I decided to go that route. If we had our toddler in tow, we might have opted for another option.
Since we had little idea what was around and google maps can only tell you so much about a place, I decided we would sign up for the walking tour with a Catalina Naturalist. I’m so glad we did! It wasn’t too expensive and Michael was so nice and so informative. He even ran a little over our tour time, but that was fine with us. He checked first to make sure no one had a second tour to catch. He led us around town and we got a history of the island and he pointed out the points of interest.
After the tour we were able to walk around ‘front street’. We found Catalina Island Brew House, a coffee shop that also serves beer! They have 8 taps with local Southern California craft beer. A great find for us local San Diegans. We spent quite a bit of time there. They had great selections from Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. We shopped a little in the shops on ‘front street’ and got back on the ship for a much needed nap.
Provider: Carnival Cruise Lines
Catalina Island *** - Avalon Scenic and Botanical Garden - Nice overview of island. Wished we could have returned the same way so the people on the other side of the bus with could see the scenery. Botanical Garden was desert terrain. As stated on the ticket, trolley dropped us off about 10 to 15 minutes walk from the ship. For a while, we weren’t sure we were going right direction. Wish they would either given us the option or dropped us off at the ship. Purely a mechanizing ploy on their part, because we saw another bus at the ship picking up another bunch.
Provider: Celebrity Cruises