Ever since I was a child, I have been visiting Avalon, Catalina Island (much like my husband Wiley has grown up visiting Laguna Beach). My family has a house there so we’ve been many times as both children and adults. Despite being only a short 1 ½ hour boat ride away from L.A., I am always surprised how many Southern Californians have yet to visit the “island of romance”!
Our trip begins with a misty boat ride complete with card games, Bloody Marys (even though they’re from the modest little boat bar they are SO GOOD), and our own private wild dolphin show that the Captain was kind enough to slow down for. I cherish the ride over so much because I can literally feel the stress melt away as the city becomes a speck in the distance.
Family greets us at the dock ready to load our luggage onto a golf cart – which is what everyone drives on the little island streets. After checking in to our adorable rental cottage, we walked down the famous green pier to Rosie’s for our long-time favorite island lunch – fish sandwiches and coleslaw. Directly after eating Henry dragged us to the mini golf course. We quickly learned exactly what chaos we had put our parents through all those years ago doing the same thing – mini-golfing with toddlers is for lack of a better word – a “shit show”.
Over the next few days we went to all our usual dining spots – the upscale Avalon Grille for a perfectly timed Cesar salad and glass of Rusack Pinot Noir while the girls slept in their strollers, Antonio’s for pizza and pitchers of cheap beer (I love it for their kid-friendly, throw-your-peanut-shells-on-the-floor type atmosphere), the local favorite Sand Trap for dollar tacos, ice cream at Olaf’s, and pasta night at The Buffalo Nickel (so much fun).
When we weren’t on a submarine tour of the cove or mini golfing we were usually either at the Descanso Beach Club for an afternoon of piña coladas, sunbathing, and swimming in the ocean or we were cruising around town on my Opa and Oma’s golf cart checking out the good view spots while my dad told us stories of the island’s history.
The trip was so much fun (though also at times exhausting with a 4 year old and 18 month old) and I am already looking up cottages for next summer.