Santa Catalina Island
Long Beach-adjacent island worthy of an entire weekend
The trip to Catalina begins with a ferry ride from Long Beach, which is always a winning start, and ends with a day on a beautiful island, which is always a winning finish. Since it’s an island, the beach is essentially in every direction, and you have prime real estate to set up shop anywhere and just lie on the sand. The Descanso Beach Club is a primo beach lounging spot, with rentable cabanas and a full bar. There’s plenty of more active stuff, too, like zip-lining with Zip Line Eco Tours, helicopter tours with Island Express Helicopters, and of course, dolphin-searching boat tours with Ocean Runner Dolphin Tours.
Know before you go: The ferry heads to and from Catalina Island about 30 times a day, and each ride lasts about an hour. If that sounds long to you, change that perspective: the ferry ride is actually great, and there’s nothing quite like standing on the deck of a boat with a drink in your hand (there’s a full bar) and ocean breeze in your face. An adult round trip will run you about $75.
Where to eat/drink: Mt. Ada was once a palatial retreat owned by the Wrigley family, but now it’s been turned into a friendly little B&B; spend the night, and you’ll have access to a fully stocked butler’s pantry with wine, beer, Champagne, hard liquor, and more. Oh, and you can’t consider your Catalina trip a success unless you’ve had some Buffalo Milk, which is sort of a Catalina icon (it’s basically just an alcoholic milkshake). Find ‘em at the Descanso Beach Club, or basically anywhere else.