A Long Weekend in Avalon, Catalina Island, California

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Curated By

Karen Rose

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  • California

  • Avalon

  • Active Travel

  • Arts & Culture

  • Long Weekend

  • Island

  • Sightseeing

  • Relaxation

View of the hillside of Avalon, Catalina Island, with rows of houses, a boardwalk and water
Curator’s statement

Santa Catalina is an island located off the coast of California that offers stunning panoramic views and a wide range of thrilling water activities. My affection for Catalina Island began during my teenage years when I attended a summer camp there. Throughout the years, I have continued to visit the island repeatedly, drawn to its captivating landscape, its proximity to my hometown and the enchanting atmosphere it exudes. If you're seeking a delightful long weekend escape, Catalina is an ideal destination.

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay in Avalon, Catalina Island, CA

Mt Ada

Mt Ada is a picturesque hilltop retreat offering breathtaking views of the Avalon Bay, where guests can indulge in luxury, relaxation, and impeccable service on California's Catalina Island.

The Avalon Hotel

Coastal beauty, seaside charm and luxurious accommodations on Catalina Island.

Fora Perks
  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Hotel Vista Del Mar

A seaside oasis offering breathtaking ocean views and luxurious accommodations.

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Things to do in Avalon, Catalina Island, CA

The Wrigley Memorial & Botanical Garden in Catalina.

There is an activity for everyone to enjoy on Catalina Island. You can indulge in exciting activities like parasailing and scuba diving or simply relax at the luxurious Island Spa Catalina. Immerse yourself in the island's rich history with educational tours and marvel at the breathtaking landscapes through land, ocean and air tours. Explore the charming town of Avalon by renting a golf cart or e-bike, or join a walking tour. Don't miss the chance to visit the famous Catalina Casino, encounter bison on a thrilling jeep tour, play a round of golf, unwind at the Descanso Beach Club and appreciate the picturesque Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Gardens. You can even enjoy a mermaid photoshoot on the beach, solve a pirate-themed escape room challenge or rent a surfboard! Advanced reservations are always recommended.

Places to eat & drink in Avalon, Catalina Island, CA

Outside dining with a water view. Four person table with food and drink.

Avalon is home to a wide variety of fantastic restaurants, ensuring that everyone can discover their favorite. Here are a few of my personal favorites:

Bistro at the Atwater

Located next to the historic Hotel Atwater, it offers a grab-and-go breakfast menu with a variety of options, as well as coffee, tea and specialty drinks. They also serve sandwiches, salads and more.

Original Antonio's

A 50s-style pizzeria and deli near the bay. They have been a local favorite since 1977, offering crispy pizzas, pasta, salads, soups and sub sandwiches for lunch and dinner. Outdoor seating is available.

Blue Water Grill

Situated on the site of the old SS Catalina Ferry dock, it provides stunning waterfront views of the beach, harbor and casino. They specialize in sustainable seafood and offer an extensive outdoor patio and pet-friendly area. Don't miss trying their unique twist on the White Russian cocktail, the Buffalo Milk.

Descanso Beach Club Restaurant

Located in Descanso Canyon, this beachside restaurant and bar offers a wide range of appetizers, regional favorites and classic cocktails. You can enjoy ocean-view patio seating, reserve a private Cabana or Chaise Lounge or join the lively beach party scene during the summer months with DJ tunes and live musical performances. Reservations are recommended for Cabanas and Chaise Lounges.

Maggie's Blue Rose

Known for its exceptional Mexican cuisine and waterfront location, Maggie's Blue Rose offers a delightful ambiance for patrons to enjoy a range of creative dishes made with fresh ingredients. Don't forget to try their delicious margaritas.

Avalon Grille

Avalone Grille offers a unique dining experience with a menu featuring premium meats, local fish, and farmstand produce. Their chef-inspired dishes are artfully crafted for delicious California coastal cuisine. The restaurant's central bar serves world-class wines, craft beers, and signature cocktails. The restaurant is really pretty and guests can choose to dine al fresco or enjoy indoor seating with ample distance between tables. Note: The Famous Wrigley Martini, originally created in 1950s Chicago by Philip K. Wrigley, is now exclusively available at Avalon Grille and Descanso Beach Club.

Luau Larry's

Located just steps from the beach, Luau Larry’s offers breathtaking views of the harbor in a lively, fun, tropical setting. They offer an extensive menu including shellfish appetizers, fresh fish plates, pizza, burgers, and sandwiches. The tropical island-themed cocktail menu is fantastic!

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Miguelina Abreu’s guide, Catalina Island: Hidden Paradise in Sunny Southern California.

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Travel Advisor

Karen Rose

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to California.