Catalina Island is one of my favorite places to visit. I took my mom and Camilla recently and we had a beautiful adventure. What I love about Catalina is that its kid friendly, beautiful and quaint. Camilla can roam the streets freely. This time around I took a different approach, more of a do as we please kinda mood. So nothing was planned, only the hotel was booked ahead of time. It was my first time bringing a toddler, so I had to be prepared for that. Meaning Camilla gets a little motion sickness. The way over to the island was hard for her, but I figured it out on the boat ride back on what works for her. Which was taking her outside for a bit and just distracting her. We take the Catalina Express, I suggest purchasing the Commodore Lounge tickets. Only because it makes your hour ride easier, a free drink voucher is offered, guaranteed indoors, and you are able to board before everyone. The best part, if you travel on the Catalina Express on your exact birthday, your trip is free, round trip!
I always do my research on the Visit Catalina Island website. For events going on, packages, hotels and more. We decided to stay at the St. Lauren Hotel. The hotel is super cute, the staff was amazing and it was only a bit up the hill, walking distance away from the beach. Walking is a must the minute you arrive. Everything is walking distance so no need to worry about renting a car or golf cart should I say.
Catalina is more for food, relaxing and adventure. The shopping they offer is more of a souvenir type and some local merchandise. I'm proud to say no shopping happened during this trip, but tons of eating did. Maggie's Blue Rose, has a great happy hour and great Mexican food. The service was a bit off at the end but I'd still recommend it. Plus it has some cute patio seating and fun atmosphere. Interesting fact about Catalina Island, is that it doesn't have any fast food chain restaurants. Another easy idea is to stop at the Von's Market and purchase snacks and food for the kiddos to make it easy. On our last day there, we had a delicious breakfast at Original Jack's Country Kitchen. It gets super busy in the morning, about a 20 minute wait, but worth it.
The only must I recommend is taking a tour or booking an adventure, wether its diving, zip lining or a boat ride. We usually book a tour by the Catalina Island Company, also on the Visit Catalina Island website. I found out some tours don't allow kids under five for safety reasons, make sure to ask. The 50 minute, Skyline Drive Tour, does allow children under five and it was perfect for little Camilla. She loved every minute of it and got involved in the action buy participating with everyone and our guide. There is a whole another side to the island, more for camping for those whom enjoy the wilderness.
Some quick tips I suggest for making this mini-getaway easier, especially with children.
1. Pack some snacks, everything is more expensive in the island
2. Bring a light jacket for you and your kiddos, it gets cool at night
3. Bring your walking shoes, no need for cars here
4. Pack light, since there is more walking, you'll thank me later
5. Have fun