Leslie Birkland Catalina

Island Express helicopter ride

Santa Catalina Island, California

I own a vacation home in Southern California and have only now starting to explore what this beautiful state has to offer. Last weekend, my good friend decided to treat me to a mini holiday trip to Catalina Isle. Kidding-ly, I said I would only go by way of
a helicopter and before I knew it we were up in the sky on our way. Catalina is about 30 miles from Long Beach which made for a quick 15 minute flight. Island Express Helicopters made the pre-trip preparations simple and reassuring with their professional, yet casual attitude. The spectacular view was a sight to behold, that one could not fully appreciated by boat. Although, the boat ride is very nice.

From the Heliport we taxied to the town of Avalon. It’s hard not to notice everyone having fun. Avalon is in one word, “Quaint.” Quaint with a lot of activities for all ages to enjoy. Boating trips, swimming and playing on the blow-up obstacle course are just a few of the easily ready things to do. All levels of dining are available, including indoor and outdoor restaurants.

Catalina Island Pier
Catalina Island Pier

We enjoyed lunch at a local fresh fish restaurant directly on the beach and sipped on a couple Pina Coladas before heading to our hotel. The Aurora Hotel & Spa is a modern boutique hotel. It truly was my Cup-O-Tea. Charming, yet roomy with all the amenities you might expect from a 4 plus star hotel. I recommend that you book your hotel through Booking.com or Hotels.com or a similar site to get the best discount. Our room was simply lovely with amazing views of the yacht filled pacific ocean. The terrace temperature was a cool 15 degrees below Los Angeles. The gentle breeze made it even more refreshing.

It didn’t take us long to discover that everyone at some point rents a golf cart. The rates average about $45.00 per hour. The first day was fun to explore the town on foot. However, by the second day we decided a golf cart was just what we needed.

Catalina Botanical Gardens
Catalina Botanical Gardens

Once we had our (limited speed) golf cart, we were off to the Botanical Gardens. At first, I thought, “Wow lots of Catuses here.” But, soon discovered that there are many varieties of Cacti and they are all unique and beautiful. Just remember, when the sign says do not touch, I strongly suggest you take heed. As, you wander further to the top, you will see an Immense memorial honoring William Wrigley Jr.. Yep, the gum guy. The memorial itself is breathtaking and the views unsurpassed.

All in all, I give Santa Catalina Island a solid ten. Especially, if you and your special someone are looking for a romantic getaway.

Leslie Birkland in front of Catalina Memorial.
Leslie Birkland in front of memorial.