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Venice Beach

Stephen from Venice Beach asked

Looking for something cool (and cheap) to do for an afternoon.

I'll have a day on Catalina, wondering about not-so-normal things to see or do, something unexpected. Not looking to spend a ton of $.

Catalina Island (California)

2 Answers
top answer by
Erin from Avalon

There are a lot of great hikes & walks you could do for nearly no cost (just a $3 hiking permit from the Catalina Island Conservancy) - Hermit Gulch and the Wrigley Botanical Garden are a beautiful area up the canyon.  You can also head out to Descanso Beach - they offer 1/2 priced happy hour drinks Sunday - Thursday from 5pm - 7pm.  They are located just outside of town (a short walk along the water, which is just gorgeous).  Look for sea lions playing in the ocean and deer playing up in the canyons.  

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Catalina Island Conservancy (attraction)
  2. Hermit Gulch (hotel)
  3. Wrigley Botanical Garden (attraction)
  4. Descanso Beach (attraction)
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answered first by
Rob from Zama, Kanagawa

I would suggest two "side trips", and I write that as they aren't the usual water or eating/drinking locations.  Try a hike to the Wrigley Memorial & Botanical Garden.  Admission is low ($7) and the grounds have wonderful native plants as well as information about the natural history of the island.  At the top of the hike is the Wrigley Memorial, the former resting place of William Wrigley, Jr.  From the top, it was a wonderful view of Avalon Bay and the grounds below.  It's historical as it was designed by the same folks who did Chicago's Buckingham Fountain, but incorporates materials found on the island.

The Catalina Casino itself has a day tour available as well.  It provides wonderful access to a great building that many only see from the outside.  You can visit the giant ballroom and balconies up top where many "Golden Age" radio stars performed live on CBS, as well as the art deco theater below.  Fun fact, the Casino Building can also be used for civil defense at one point housed enough emergency food supplies to feed Avalon for a week.

If snorkeling is your thing, rent or bring gear...personally I find the water too cold, but Lovers Cove is the place to go, just a bit further east of the boat landings.  The tourist boats go there and leave behind food that attracts many varieties of fish and sea life that we can see for less than the boat tour coast.

Comments (1)

Great ideas. We went last week and hike up to the Wrigley Memorial -- uphill all the way, but well worth it! Nice collection of cacti and succulents in the garden, which looked a bit tired, but nice nonetheless.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Wrigley Memorial & Botanical Garden (attraction)
  2. Catalina Casino (attraction)
  3. Lovers Cove (attraction)
comments (1)
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