I spent my 25th birthday on Catalina Island, and it was one of my best birthdays to date. Anyone who knows me knows that I love coupons, discounts and deals. I wouldn’t go as far to say I’m stingy, but I am very frugal and get excited when I hear that something is free. I’m still not really sure this is a quality to be bragging about, but I digress. On your birthday, you get a free trip to Catalina Island on the Catalina Express. So me being me planned a birthday getaway to Avalon, Catalina for myself and my husband (he’s the “buy one” to my “get one free”).
The coolest part about Catalina is that the whole island (which really just consists of two tiny port cities) gets on board and dubs itself the “Birthday Island.” Several stores and restaurants participate by offering birthday promotions for visitors, such as free ice cream and even discount water sport equipment.
WHAT TO BRING //
- Bathing suits
- A good sunscreen that you trust
- A book to read as you relax on the sand
- Snorkel goggles (you can pick up a pair for $15 at Target)
- Walking/Hiking shoes
As usual, our favorite part of the trip was probably the food. Whenever my husband and I return from a trip and people ask us what we did, it is often then that we realize that we spend most of our vacations eating. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, especially because now I can share a list of places for you to check out when you’re on the island.
WHERE TO EAT //
- Bluewater Avalon
- Maggie’s Blue Rose Mexican Cantina
- Original Jack’s for Breakfast
- Avalon Grille
- Catalina Island Cookie and Coffee Co.
- Lloyd’s Ice Cream
In planning for the trip, we spent quite a bit of time on Yelp deciding where we would like to eat. We laughed as we disembarked from the boat and walked towards our hotel, passing each and every one of the restaurants we had read about. Avalon is very tiny, not only are there no stoplights on the whole island, but in order to bring a car over you must be a resident for at least 14 years. Most everyone drives golf carts, keeping the pollution to a minimum and the quaintness to a maximum. Just because the city is tiny however, doesn’t mean there is any shortage of activities.
WHAT TO DO //
- Relax with a smoothie in hand at Descanso Beach Club
- Get out in the water and snorkel! There are so many vibrant and colorful fish in the water and you won’t want to miss them!
- Rent a kayak
- Take a “safari” tour to see the bison of Catalina island
- Go parasailing
- And if you’re feeling brave, check out the ziplines!
- Hike to the Catalina Bell Tower for an amazing bird’s eye view of the harbor
- Play in the arcade (you get $5 worth of tokens free on your bday)
WHERE TO STAY //
We stayed at the historic Hotel St. Lauren. I was initially attracted to this hotel because of its pink exterior, but when I found out that this was the hotel where Marilyn Monroe would stay when she visited the island, I knew it was the perfect place to celebrate my 25th birthday in style. The hotel is not modern, however it is clean and the prices are very fair. They offer complimentary coffee and tea in the mornings until 10 am, which was also a huge perk for me (see what I did there?). But the best part about staying at Hotel St. Lauren was the rooftop balcony that looks out into the harbor.
Looking down at the beautiful city of Avalon was a perfect start to my 25th trip around the sun. I recommend grabbing your morning coffee and going up to the rooftop balcony to start each morning while on Catalina. It definitely helped us get into vacation mode.
I thoroughly enjoyed celebrating my 25th birthday on Catalina Island. It was such a relaxing place to look back at the year prior and set goals for my next year of life. Let me know if you’re planning a trip to Catalina in the comments below. Who knows, maybe you will catch me back on the island for my 26th birthday.