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26 Miles Across the Sea Santa Catalina is Waitin’ for YOU!

Explore Santa Catalina Island without the Summer Crowds

By Françoise Rhodes, Travel Blogger, Host of Traveling With Françoise Television & Radio 

Some of you might remember the hit 26 Miles released by the Four Preps in 1957.  The song began with “Twenty-six miles across the sea Santa Catalina is a-waitin’ for me, Santa Catalina, the island of romance, romance, romance, romance.”

Sixty two years later the island is still filled with romance, and also a million tourists a year!

I spent many summers moored in Avalon Harbor on my sail boat, and what a fun time it was. The boater’s where king and also the major source of revenue for the many local businesses.  Most visitors arrived on the “cattle boat” as referred to by locals (actually the SS Catalina, a retired military transport steamship ferry) that made a daily 90 minute run to the island dropping the tourist off for day and back to the mainland at night.

However, today much has changed in regards to the idyllic summer months, especially now that many cruise lines have included Catalina Island on their itinerary.  All of this got me thinking that perhaps spring and fall are perfect months to visit Catalina if you’d like a more relaxing experience without the summer hype, crowds, parties and waiting in line.  Yes, the weather will be cooler, and there might be a few attractions not open during the week, but factor in no crowds, better pricing on lodging with still plenty to do and see, it’s a win – win for everyone.

How to get to the island. Unless you own a boat the Catalina Express goes several times a day from Dana Point, Long Beach and San Pedro.  The boats are sleek, fast, comfortable and affordable and make the trip in about 45 minutes. 

So what is there to do on the island?   For the adventurer, get your heart pumping with a visit to the Zip Line Eco Tour, try diving or the island eco tour. For a slower pace, visitors to Catalina Island can enjoy a laid back time of shopping, soaking in the spectacular views and a trip to the spa. Some of the other Catalina Island things to do include golf, hiking, biking, art & museums, and water activities on the island include fishing, scuba diving, jet ski rentals, parasailing, paddle boarding and more.

The fun thing about Catalina is you can easily set your own pace, downtown is closed to cars (in fact most islanders use golf cars to get around) and almost everything is either across the street from the beach or within walking distance to the beach.

If you are spending a few days the accommodations on Catalina Island are as diverse as the locale’s scenery and terrain. From plush hotels to quaint Bed and Breakfast Inns, you’ll find a great place to stay. From tent-site camping or cozy beach-front cabanas and family-friendly inns, to well-appointed condos, charming cottage vacation rentals, and elegant 4-star country inns, Catalina Island has you covered.

So don’t wait, pack some casual and comfy clothes and experience Catalina Island during the off season, because you can always go during the summer! To help plan your trip visit catalinachamber.com.  For more info about Traveling With Françoise visit travelingwithfrancoise.com.

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