weekend at catalina island.

I’ve wanted to go to Catalina island for a long time. On a good day you can see its outline from Ruby’s in Huntington Beach, and it’s always held a bit of mystique and grandeur for me, so when I was invited to visit along with Marie and Ciaran’s families by the Santa Catalina Island company, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I may have even said, *heck yes!*.

We took the Catalina Express bright and early out of a cloudy Long Beach harbor {the boat is cold so bring a jacket!} ending up at Catalina’s largest town, Avalon an hour-and-a-half later to beautiful sunny skies and clear blue ocean as far as the eye can see.

We walked from the dock to Hotel Atwater where we ditched our bags and headed off to lunch at Coney Island West.

I can’t find the photos but Victor figured Catalina was as good a place as any to teach Pigeons how to eat french fries out of his mouth, to the delight of the children {mine and Momfluential’s}. Nice.

Once everyone was fed we headed out on a bus tour of the island. Catalina is actually a lot bigger than I thought it would be, and there’s a lot of *interior* land for things like a hospital, golf course, houses for locals, and a school for the kids who live there year-round.

I didn’t know this but Ciaran’s son did {who incidentally is the exact same age as C}; there are Bison on Catalina Island. Just another random tidbit learned on the interior bus tour.

After the bus tour we all crashed before dinner at The Lobster Trap with all our families. Chaos at its best.

The rest of the weekend was filled with sand, water, and fun. Catalina has got its own cool vibe going on. It was what I imagine the Greek Isles to be: little houses dotting the steep hillsides, all centered around the cute little town with the ocean lapping at its feet. It’s absolutely beautiful, perfect for snorkeling, kayaking, swimming, walking, and eating. Obviously eating.

I was able to have a *girls night out* with Ciaran and Marie, watching the latest movie at the Casino which is a whole experience in and of itself.

We played at Descanso beach, had a picnic dinner under the stars {something you cannot miss if you go to Catalina}, saw Flying Fish {I told Marie’s husband Jordan “it was an experience on my bucket list I didn’t know I needed to have!}, looked at the California State saltwater fish on the Underwater Boat Tour and the highlight for me? The best of the best? A massage from Deanna Stone. Holy Hannah. I’ve had a lot of massages in my day but hers was so unbelievable I had to hold back tears, no joke.

I had so much fun I can’t wait to go back, and if you ever have the chance you have to go. A big thank you to the Santa Catalina Island Company, we had a ball!

Have you been? Do you want to? Tell me what you’d do if first once you set foot on the island.

{all photos courtesy of Ciaran aka Momfluential and Marie from Make and Takes}.

(Visited 1,191 times, 5 visits today)


Hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!


  1. Leslie :

    man, you seem to be enjoying some serious hookups! we had girls' camp on Catalina one year, and i just remember being terrified of the wild boars. did you see any of those? :)

  2. KJ :

    what wouldn't I do on Catalina Island? I so so need a vacation.

  3. Cat :

    I had the chance to go for a day visit 10 years ago. Since we came in by helicopter, we got to see the bisons from above. Very impressive! I loved the europe flair of the island. The cute houses and the golf carts. It was a quick visit but I have great memories! Thanks for the great post!

  4. Lauren @ SuperMom Central :

    My husband and I zipped over to Catalina for a day while second-honeymooning via the X-Games (yes, I know, very romantic). We immediately rented golf carts and rode around the whole island, getting the lay of things. Not only was the view amazing but once we finished we knew exactly where we wanted to spend the rest of the day exploring.

    Glad you guys had a fun time!

  5. Victor :

    It was, in a word, incredible. It does have a European feel doesn't it Cat? Loved that.

    KJ, next time I go, I think you should come! ;)

    It has been quite the summer, one trip after another!

    Glad you had fun while you were there, I can't wait to go back.