Mediterranean-Style Resort in the Southeastern Foothills of Catalina Island
Hiking and biking trails crisscross the mountains in southeastern Catalina Island, winding past rugged terrain speckled with St. Catherine’s lace and prickly-pear cacti. Many of these trails, including the popular Trans-Catalina Trail, are just a short walk from Catalina Canyon Resort & Spa, a Mediterranean-style resort overlooking the town of Avalon from the island’s southeastern foothills. While the dirt trails are open year-round, the San Diego Reader recommends 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.”
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. Those who choose Option 1 or 2 will be welcomed to their rooms with champagne and chocolates. At the Spa at Catalina, you can get an organic seaweed body wrap in a candlelit room.
Catalina Island, California: 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 the sun or snorkel among starfish, sea urchins, and bright-orange garibaldi. Travel + Leisure called these coves “ready-made for romance,” naming Catalina one of the world’s most romantic islands.
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.