Santa Catalina sits on a coast southwest of Los Angeles, California. A very laid back cozy town with its surprising quirky vibe of a small European riviera. It is quite a hidden gem in California. It is a popular tender for cruises from all over the world which we have been part of on two occasions. One with Carnival Cruise and the other with Oceania Cruises. The latter is part of the new tradition that me and my husband has started, the Holiday Getaway.

Its coastal breezy feel brings a romantic vibe and even perfect for retirement near the beach. C-shaped coast has a phenomenal appeal looking through the top by Mount Orizaba’s zigzaggy roads that is accessible with ATVs or the most common vehicle in the area, golf carts. Catalina Casino is also a great historic landmark which in itself becomes the town’s cultural center, museum, once a library, and many more.

How to Get Around

As a tourist with less than 24 hours to see this place, there are several options to choose from. From bicycles, ATVs, golf carts, and 4×4 tours. We opted for an hour rental of a 4-person golf carts ($40). You may want to rent it for 2 hours or more if you want to see it all for the first time. The rental shops give you a map with numbered stations from viewpoint to viewpoint making it easy to explore the island.


We did not go to any of the restaurants but if you wish to try local seafood, there is plenty of dining by the beach while enjoying the view. While driving with golf carts, we noticed that most cruise crews go to a $1 Taco place in the hidden area of the island called, The Soundtrap. Not able to try it since we were timing our little island road trip.

The quaint little coastal town of Santa Catalina is a perfect escape from the daily grind. I can imagine how the retired people enjoy the island and snowbirds enjoy their home as we did. Let us know what you think if you have been to Santa Catalina or after you’ve been. I’d love to hear how you enjoyed it. Did you like Santa Catalina? What is your favorite spot on the island?

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