Got a weekend to spare? Head over to Catalina Island with an itinerary made for a little R&R and a little adventure.
Catalina Island is often underrated and misunderstood, but even after 3 trips, I still find that there's always something new to do.
Less than an hour away and with ports in Long Beach, San Pedro, and Dana Point, there really isn't a better way to getaway last minute than to the island. Did I mention that Catalina Express is also comfortable, spacious, and sails so smoothly that I fell asleep both ways? True story.
KSOLE and I wanted to relax but also have some fun, so we decided to create a balanced schedule for the weekend. We arrived in the afternoon on a Friday and spent the night unwinding in our room at Hotel Metropole. However, the next morning, we headed up to Zip Line Eco Tours and screamed our lungs out 5 different times. But first, coffee.
1. Get Breakfast at Ben's Bakery
Located inside the Shops at the Atwater, Ben's Bakery offers fresh sandwiches, pastries, and coffees of your choice. We started our morning off with grabbing an almond croissant and sticky bun with an espresso shot and a sweet soy vanilla latte.
After satisfying our tummies, we were ready for some fun in the sun.
Let me start off by saying that I have a fear of heights but I also love a good challenge. This was the second time I zip lined, but my nerves still kicked in once we were strapped up and at the first course.
However, by the second one, you get the hang of it and the adrenaline rush becomes addicting. Our tour guides, Austin and Denny, were funny (warning: lots of dad jokes), encouraging and we had the best time. I felt safe and secure the entire time and highly suggest that everyone does it at least once when they're on the island.
As fun as it was to zip line against a gorgeous mountain backdrop, I have to be honest and say that the aerial adventure was the highlight of our trip. If you ever wanted to pretend you were on Ninja Warriors, this is it. The best part? You can't really fall (all the way down).
KSOLE and I started with an intermediate course, finished it like a pro, and then did an additional course before our time was up. I was so proud that KSOLE finished the hardest course, by himself, because I opted to ease my muscles and end with a beginner course - haha. Watching him struggle through the last few obstacles, I was happy that I passed on it. You certainly need upper body strength to get by, but most of all, you have to really think about your next move beforehand.
We can't wait to go back and do the remaining courses!
It's not a ghost tour, but walking through the dark halls of the casino might spook you a bit. Spend an hour and half with the best tour guide, Frankie. He'll treat you to popcorn before the tour stops, let you bounce around on the bounce chairs, and give you a private organ performance in the theater. Whatever questions you have, Frankie will have the answer.
We enjoyed the tour, learning about the history of the casino and the complimentary glass of wine with the most romantic view of the island. I never knew how much I missed seeing the stars until I looked up from the deck of the ballroom. Breathtaking was the best way to describe the bright lights of the island and the stars.
5. Lounge at Descano Beach Club
After a full day out, spend the next day relaxing. Throw on your swimsuit, grab your towel, a good book, and don't forget the sunblock. Descano Beach Club is where you need to lay for the rest of the day.
Ask for Sarah at the bar, the virgin lava flow and pina colada are bomb dot com. Of course, you can have it the regular way but we skipped the alcohol for the weekend (minus that wine from the casino tour).
You can sit at the bar or grab a chair, as long as you reach a $40 minimum per couple. Pretty easy because the food is so good that we came back for two more orders of their buffalo wings. I also recommend the clam chowder.
6. Dinner at the Lobster Trap
If you're fancying a seafood dinner, ask the locals and they'll point you over to the Lobster Trap. We got seated right away, had great service, and the food was tasteful. Oh and they had a packed house yet still maintained a high quality level of care.
We started with the poke, which was super fresh. KSOLE decided to have the salmon for his entree while I had the shrimp scampi. Both dishes were great, but I will have to say the salmon was a bit better.
Of course, I couldn't pass on dessert so I picked the chocolate lava cake and had no regrets. I mean, can you really go wrong with chocolate cake?
Overall, great ambience, service, and food. Highly recommend trying Lobster Trap out for dinner or lunch.
7. Sweet Treats at Lloyds
Now, if you are craving something sweet during the day, head over to Lloyds of Avalon. Not to mention that it makes for a cute Instagram picture inside. From chocolate to sour candies to ice cream and drinks, Lloyds will certainly make you question your diet.
We grabbed a mango sorbet on a cone to take along with us as we drive around the island in our golf cart. By the way, if you really want to see all of the island, rent a golf cart!
Photography by KSOLE
Catalina Island is one of my favorite weekend getaways because of the fact that I truly feel relaxed, refreshed, and rejuvenated after every trip. I think I got the most amount of sleep at Catalina Island for 2018 (so far). Can't wait until our next trip.
Disclaimer: This trip was sponsored by Catalina Island and Catalina Express, however all opinions are of my own.