Ranch & Coast Magazine

June 2022

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Our Cabana King room was just the right size for our mother-daughter getaway (though the window between the shower and guestroom could use an opaque finish for more privacy), complete with its own little patio that sat along the adjacent side street. Vacationers wanting all the views have options for ocean-facing suites that make the most of the hotel's beach frontage. However, all guests can — and should — take advantage of the rooftop deck, whether to observe the bustle of the day or the beautifully peaceful sunset-without-the-sun (you are facing east, after all). Much of the island retains the historic charm I remember from my first visit more than 30 years ago. Lloyd's of Avalon, the candy shop famous for its pulled saltwater taffy, has pride of place at the center of Crescent Avenue. Nearby, Luau Larry's continues to serve its Wiki Wacker cocktail, complete with the crazy straw hat that lets everyone know you got your "Wiki Wacked." e Wrigley Mansion, now luxury bed and breakfast Mt Ada, sits regally atop its namesake mountain (named for William Wrigley Jr.'s wife), overlooking Avalon and the bay below. Golf carts and bikes remain a great way to get around, with e-bikes now also an option. And the famous Catalina Casino still sits proudly on the waterfront, a masterpiece of art and architecture. It no longer shows movies as it did on my first visit (1990's Flatliners, featuring Hollywood's newest "It Girl," Julia Roberts), but visitors can now appreciate it in all its stunning, art deco glory through daily tours. Just beyond the Catalina Casino is the Descanso Beach Club, a destination for an elevated beachfront experience at a protected cove perfect for swimming and a sandy beach for lounging in the sun. Here, you can grab a drink and a bite to eat, sip a cocktail as you watch the tiny waves lap the rocky shore, and even rent a luxury chaise lounge or a cabana, complete with your own butler. If adventure is on the to-do list, this is also base for the Catalina Zip Line Eco Tour — hands-down the highlight of our trip. It's comprised of five lines that zigzag the canyon from the ridgeline, and the enthusiastic tour guides are just as much fun as the actual ziplining. A trip to Catalina wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Catalina Museum for Art & History, located in the heart of Avalon just a block off of Crescent Avenue. e permanent collection, e History of Catalina Island, is easily worth the price of admission, chock full of fascinating facts about the island ranging from its indigenous people to its maritime, sports, military, and Hollywood past. I couldn't help but be astounded by how this little dot in the Pacific Ocean has such rich roots in so many different worlds. Whether for a day visit or a quick island getaway without the multi-hour flights, Catalina remains a uniquely Southern Californian destination for those seeking a slightly different beach view, with a healthy dose of nostalgia to boot. bellancahotel.com, visitcatalina.com, catalinaexpress.com ranchandcoast.com @ranchandcoast RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE JUNE 2022 93 The Catalina Zip Line Eco Tour is a thrilling way to take in stunning views from Catalina's ridgeline down to the ocean and beyond Descanso Beach Club's cabana and chaise lounge reservations include a personal Beach Butler

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