Mediterranean Resort in the Southeastern Foothills of Catalina Island
The mountains in southeastern Catalina Island are crisscrossed with multilevel hiking and biking trails that wind past rugged terrain speckled with St. Catherine’s lace and prickly-pear cacti. The dirt trails are open year-round, but in 2006 the San Diego Reader recommended attempting them between late October and March when “crystal-clear days…[afford] an ever-changing panorama of the blue ocean, San Clemente Island to the south, and the snow-capped summits of the San Gabriel Mountains on the mainland.” Many of the most popular trails, including the Trans-Catalina Trail that stretches along the entire island, are just a short walk from Catalina Canyon Resort & Spa in Avalon.
The Mediterranean-style resort overlooks the town of Avalon from the foothills of southeastern Catalina Island. The private balconies of some guest rooms open to views of the mountains; others look out onto the resort’s heated pool, set in an outdoor courtyard shaded by towering palms.
In the morning, use your dining credit toward a California-style breakfast or dinner at the Canyon Bar & Grill, also located in the courtyard. At the Spa at Catalina, you can get an organic seaweed body wrap in a candlelit room.
Santa Catalina Island, CA: Desert Foliage and Secluded Coves in the Pacific Ocean
Santa Catalina Island, most often referred to as Catalina Island, is just 22 miles southwest of Los Angeles, but it’s a world away from the crowded metropolis. The island’s unpopulated interior is home to a vast array of desert foliage and wildlife, and its many secluded coves are nice spots to soak up rays or snorkel among starfish, sea urchins, and bright-orange garibaldi. Travel + Leisure called these coves “ready-made for romance,” naming Catalina one of the most romantic islands in the world.
Much of Catalina Island is accessible only by dirt hiking and biking trails, but you can see many of its endemic plants in town at the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden. The memorial, which was constructed with blue flagstone rock from the harbor and hand-painted tiles from Catalina Pottery, is just a short drive or half-hour walk from Avalon, the island’s only major city. To see a little more of the interior, take the all-levels Garden to Sky Hike from here for spectacular views of the island and surrounding ocean.