Boarding the Catalina Express at Dana Point, we have the feeling we're going to escape Southern California traffic and congestion in VERY short order. We are right. Within minutes, we're "at sea" in the channel between L.A. and Catalina Island – no horns honking, no crawling along the freeway and no worries.
We're on our way to Avalon, the picturesque little town A couple frolicking on the Catalina Island beachbuilt near the southern tip of Catalina Island. It's just a 75-minute ride from the dock at Dana Point, and even a shorter distance from other points closer to L.A. Our slight trepidation about potential seasickness quickly evaporates as we see how well our sleek craft cuts through the moderate waves on what will become a perfect sunny day.
Everyone knows about California beach vacations, but Catalina is where you take your Southern California vacation experience one step further: This is an island vacation.
Catalina Island Lodging
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The new Pavilion Hotel, formerly the Pavilion Lodge, is now open. Upgraded comfort abounds just 14 steps from the beach in this 71-room, 2-story hotel. The elegantly landscaped garden includes a large fire ring and an open air ocean-view lounge area near the front lobby. There is also a new indoor lounge area/hospitality room where guests will find their complimentary continental breakfast in the morning and the complimentary wine and cheese tasting in the afternoon. New amenities also include HD flat screen TV's, upgraded in-room coffee/tea, iHome MP3 players and complimentary use of Apple's new iPads. Packages are available.
1/2 block from the beach the historic Hotel Atwater was built in the 1920s and offers a wide variety of room types from Economy Rooms, Standard Rooms to Suites. This hotel fits any budget and is perfect for active couples, families and large groups. Complimentary storage for dive gear, bikes and luggage is available as well as baggage service to and from the Avalon boat landing. All rooms are on the second and third floor of the property and accessible by stairs only. Money-saving packages including boat transportation, lodging, tours, and other activities are available.
As Avalon's premiere boutique hotel we have designed an environment of understated elegance, where luxurious bedding, unique artwork and hand-crafted hardwoods and tile combine to create an enchanting experience. Whether you are relaxing in your room, taking in the spectacular view from our roof-top deck or spending a quiet moment in our garden patio, you'll be able to savor your Catalina vacation. With a distinctive Craftsman style and unique accents designed just for the hotel, the surroundings of The Avalon create an enticing accommodation. Complimentary continental breakfast.
With a crisp, modern design, the Aurora Hotel provides Catalina's overnight guests with a sleek haven of relaxation and style. Its sophisticated, contemporary look is unprecedented on the island and inspires the spirit with a palette reflecting the beauty of Southern California's natural wonders. Created by the hotel partners who crafted the popular Avalon Hotel, Aurora features the same attention to detail and meticulous service as its sister property while maintaining its own identity. Aurora's clean lines and intimate hospitality appeal to both adventurous and romantic travelers.
More than one million passengers set sail to Catalina Island each year on board Catalina Express, Our fleet takes you to or from Catalina in just over an hour with up to 30 daily departures year round from Long Beach, San Pedro, Dana Point, Avalon and Two Harbors. The fleet consists of eight high-speed vessels including four catamarans. The largest vessel in operation, the Catalina Jet has the capacity to carry nearly 500 passengers across the channel. Catalina Express partners with more than 20 hotels on the island to offer the best prices on getaway packages.