Santa Catalina Island vacation rentals
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Your guide to Santa Catalina Island
Welcome to Santa Catalina Island
Santa Catalina Island (just Catalina to those in the know), a 76-square-mile piece of land located 22 miles off the Southern California coast, has had a few lives. Humans have lived here for some 8,000 years. A chewing gum magnate bought the island in 1919 and turned it into a swinging hotspot for Hollywood elite who frolicked on the sunny beaches and spent their nights in a swanky Art Deco ballroom and theater. Today, the port town of Avalon oozes retro charm and boasts streets lined with candy-colored bungalows and locals tooling around in golf carts. The Catalina Island Conservancy, a private land trust, oversees 88 percent of the island, and maintains 62 miles of undeveloped beaches. You can start your day with a hike on the more than 165 miles of trails, and be on the sand with a drink in your hand by sunset.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Santa Catalina Island?
During summer, Catalina is a sunny beach paradise, and the island buzzes with visitors who flock to the area’s vacation rentals. The warm temperatures usually continue into early fall, after which they begin to dip. Winter is the coldest season, and January the wettest month. Springtime is great for hiking, and February through May is wildflower season. Nights can be cool year-round, so layers are a good idea.
What are the top things to do in Santa Catalina Island?
Opened in 1929, the stunning Catalina Casino is an Art Deco landmark that, despite its name, has never featured gambling (casino is Italian for “gathering place”). This destination houses a massive ballroom and an ornate movie theater, replete with black walnut paneling, a 50-foot domed ceiling, and pipe organ. Nine colorful murals designed by a famous artist who also decorated Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, appoint the lobby. Its owner, the Catalina Island Company, conducts daily tours of the building.
Wrigley Memorial & Botanical Gardens
Located about 30 minutes’ walk from Avalon town center, this pretty garden pays homage to the chewing gum magnate who helped shape modern Catalina, alongside California flora. The memorial, which includes a reflecting pool and terraces topped with a grand 80-foot tower, is crafted from rock and blue flagstone sourced from the island. (Wrigley’s body once resided in the monument, but it was moved to the mainland in 1947. ) The nearly 40-acre garden showcases exotic succulents and desert plants, including some that only grow on Catalina.
Garden to Sky Loop
This moderate four-mile hike begins in the Wrigley Memorial & Botanical Gardens, carries you uphill to sweeping ocean views and then downhill through a verdant canyon before returning you to your starting point. You’ll travel portions of the Trans-Catalina Trail, a 38.5-mile journey that takes most hikers three to four days to complete.