Catalina Island is consistently named one of the favorite nearby island getaways for families— and for good reason. With a rich history and laid-back vibe, Catalina is a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Always evolving to entertain visitors, Catalina is celebrating its 125th anniversary with new and improved restaurants, hotels, trailheads, museums and more for your family to explore.
Opened in 1967, El Galleon is an iconic staple to Catalina culture. Acquired by the owners of Blue Water Grill, El Galleon is being renovated for the next generation of Catalina Island visitors. The new owners will continue to maintain the legendary concept of the restaurant with neighborhood happy hours and a lively karaoke bar, but will put a spin on the classic with updates on the interior and to the menu.
The Toyon Grill by Bluewater is another new restaurant opened by Blue Water Grill, this time teamed up with the Catalina Island Conservancy at the new Trailhead Visitor Center. Paralleling the Conservancy’s commitment to sustainability, Toyon offers fresh and local ingredients that pair with spectacular views of the Harbor, Green Pier and the Avalon Casino. Grab-and-go picnic boxes are also available to explore the island.
To celebrate its 125thanniversary, the Catalina Island Company is exhibiting an exclusive narrated tour to explore the early beginnings of Catalina Island. Wrigley’s Catalina includes visits to multiple historic sites built by the Catalina Island Company, with views from the canyons and the ocean. Explore the rich history of Catalina with spots such as the Catalina Country Club and the Catalina Chimes Tower.
The island’s first Grove Island music festival will take place Sept. 27-30. This immersive experience will feature world class artists Andrew Rayel, Chus & Ceballos, Mark Knight, Oliver Heldens, Sam Feldt, Shiba San and more. Once at Groove Island, a whole world of music, sports, culture, and entertainment await, and attendees can curate their own special movie-like experience.
The Zane Grey Pueblo Hotel, originally opened in 1927, has been reopened this summer to offer cliff-side views of Avalon Bay from its 17 rooms. Built by the imaginative writer Zane Grey, the historic Hopi Pueblo style of the original hotel will be maintained while renovating it to 21stcentury standards. The upgraded hotel features expanded guest rooms and windows, along with a swimming pool, restaurant and roof deck. For more information, call 310-510-1520.
The completely renovated Hotel Atwater is located in the heart of Avalon, just a block from the beach. Originally opened in 1920, the hotel was named in honor of Helen Atwater Wrigley, wife of Philip Knight Wrigley. The hotel stays true to its original charm and inviting atmosphere with its “island deco” style.
After the Trans-Catalina Trail opened last year featuring hiking trails along the entire island, the newly built Trailhead by the Catalina Conservancy is the gateway to exploring unique island life. The first LEED-certified green building in Catalina, the Trailhead provides information on campgrounds, hiking and biking permits, trail maps and more. Visit the newly opened
Toyon Grill by Bluewater on the second floor of the Trailhead to watch the Catalina sunset with a view of Avalon Harbor.
Travel to Catalina Island in as little as one hour from ports in San Pedro, Long Beach and Dana Point. Just 22 miles off the coast of Southern California, the Catalina Express offers up to 30 daily trips to and from the island. For more information and to make a reservation, call 800-429-4601 or visit catalinaexpress.com.
Explore hundreds of the island’s land and water activities at catalinachamber.com.