Catalina Island: A Day Trip 6 Years In The Making

Since moving to California six years ago, I've dreamt of going to Catalina Island.  It's not a huge trip in terms of distance, but pre-kids we never made the time for it and post-kids we had naps and other logistics to deal with.

Now was the time and honestly, we're already itching to go back.  We bought our tickets over the phone Sunday morning  (probably better to do in advance but we got lucky), hopped in the car and drove about 45 minutes to San Pedro where we caught the Catalina Express.  The dock has a small cafe as well as folks on hand to answer questions or hook you up with tours on the island.  

Once on the boat, we moved around from the air-conditioned inside to the sun deck to the back by the motor where the kids marveled at the waves.  All together the trip to Avalon, which was a bit over an hour, was smooth and we got to see all types of birds as well as schools of dolphins along the way which was pretty incredible.  

We didn't have much time since by this point it was noon and we were heading back at 3 so we really had to maximize our time.  Ethan and Jamey took a submarine ride where they got to see and learn about all types of fish.  Ethan was even armed with a button which released food so the fish would come up to his window in droves.

Mira and I stayed on the beach which was calm and easy to navigate so she was able to run around with abandon. You can walk the entire area of Avalon in about 20 minutes, so post swimming we were able to get in some window shopping before meeting the guys for brunch at the Pancake Cottage.  

Following some ice cream which made the day feel all the more like a vacation, it was time to go but knowing we had another boat ride to look forward to made our goodbyes a bit easier.  Next time, we hope to make a weekend out of it and stay at one of the quaint hotels on the island like the Metropole or if you're into camping, there's Two Harbors Campgrounds.  We also learned that you can take the ferry for free and get a special ribbon to wear on your birthday which for the kids, makes it all the more special.