“Catalina Island”- A close vacation stop from LA. Tips include the Canyon Resort & Spa (10/07)

Looking for a quick get away from the LA area? Catalina Island is just the place.

Only 29 miles off the coast of California, it is an Island destination close to home.

You can take the ferry from Long Beach, San Pedro or Marina del Rey.  The travel time is between 90 minutes to 2 hours depending on where you leave from and which boat you catch.  We left out of Marina del Rey and took the Catalina Flyer. The 2 hour trip costs $75 round trip per person.  For schedules and more information call (310) 305-7250 or go to www.catalinaferries.com.

There are quite a few places to stay in the town of Avalon, but if you are looking for a quiet place nestled in the foothills less than a five-minute shuttle ride up from town, the Catalina Canyon Resort and Spa www.catalina-canyon-resort.pacificahost.com is our recommendation.  The Resort sits on a large property with nice landscaping and a babbling brook that winds its way around. The architecture is Mediterranean and there is a day spa on the property, a jacuzzi and a large heated pool (one of only two hotels on the Island with a pool).  Their restaurant, the Catalina Bar and Grill serves breakfast everyday and dinner on the weekends. They also have a $2 Taco and Margarita night with live music drawing many locals as well as tourists.

The resort is surrounded by beautiful mountains and is just a short walk from the Catalina Country Club, a public facility with golf, tennis and a reputable restaurant.

The Catalina Canyon Resort and Spa is the place to go if you want to get away from the noise and bustle of the crowds in town.  To get up the steep upgrade from town rent a golf cart, take a taxi or have patience with the resort’s free shuttle service. Be aware that the shuttle picks up and drops off at specific locations only due to city rules. Seating is on a first come first served basis.

The Resort has 2 big meeting/conference rooms and free wireless Internet so it is a great spot for business travelers and groups. It is also a great place for families because they have special rooms with double beds and a little kitchen and refrigerator.

You can book packages through their website such as their Valentines weekend package and Murder Mystery Weekend starting on March 21st.  Overall, the Canyon Resort is fantastic and pictured below. It has a lot of amenities and is our top choice if you are not in a hurry to get to town as the shuttles can get busy especially if there is an event going on.

Check the Catalina Chamber of Commerce for a schedule of events going on at the island.  We were there for the 20-year anniversary of Jazztrax at the Casino Ballroom. Check out www.jazztrax.com for their full list of concerts throughout the year.

We had the pleasure of dining at The Landing Bar and Grill www.catalina.com/landing, which is our top choice of restaurants. Located at the edge of town, The Landing has a diverse menu and an outstanding outdoor patio overlooking the beautiful Avalon Bay. This is a great spot for a romantic dinner or a fun place for a meal and drinks with friends. Both casual and delicious this is fine dinning without any stuffiness.  Our favorites dishes were the Sautéed Calamari Steak, lightly breaded and cooked just right, the Creamy Clam Chowder, a house salad with a delicious vinaigrette, a sumptuous Swordfish with rice and veggies and the Seared Ahi Tuna Steak. We ended our meal with a decadent chocolate cake creamy and full of white chocolate chunks-yum!

Check out their website for a virtual tour or call them at (310) 510-1474 for more info.