How Catalina Island Became California’s Island of Adventure

California’s Catalina Island is in the throes of an exciting (and surprisingly action-packed) renaissance. Since the island off the Southwest coast of Los Angeles was purchased by the Wrigley family, the dynasty has invested millions into revitalizing the island, while preserving its history and nostalgia. A big part of that revitalization is connected to outdoors activities, including ropes courses and zip lines, which have helped Catalina Island evolve into a veritable island of adventure for thrill-seeking Californians.

It all kicked into high gear when the island, under the creative control of the Catalina Island Company, started 2017 earlier this year with a new name and logo, billing itself as “California’s Island Escape.” With a long-term goal of outfitting Catalina with new amenities and activities through 2020, the island has already started to fill in quite nicely, expanding interest for visitors and nearby locals alike. New additions and investment are right in line with Catalina Island’s steadily increasing tourism, which has risen more than 45% over the past seven years.

First up, the west end of the island polished off a transformation that saw the opening of Harbor Sands, a beachfront village decked out with rustic palapas and lounge chairs across the white sand beach, along with food and beverage services and new meeting spaces for groups and events.

Amping up its adventurous aspect, Catalina Island unveiled its hotly anticipated Aerial Adventure, with the Descanso Drop Tower due later this year. These join previously existing attractions like the Zip Line Eco Tour through Descanso Canyon, the Catalina Climbing Wall and even the Catalina Falconry Experience. Altogether, it’s the rare island where guests can mingle with falcons, lounge on the beach and soar through the air via zip line in the same afternoon.

The newest feature, the aerial adventure challenges those who aren’t afraid of heights to ascend into the eucalyptus trees near Descanso Beach and navigate a series of challenges and obstacles—think rope ladders, balance beams and log bridges—to move throughout the forest, high above the canyon floor. Don’t worry, you’re securely fastened and connected to the ropes course at all times, so the only thing to fear is fear itself. And maybe rope burn.

Of course, this being an island 22 miles off the California coast, water activities are prominent. In addition to more familiar fare like kayaking, diving, sailing and paddle boarding, Catalina offers adventurous options like flyboarding, which straps thrill-seekers’ feet into a skateboard-like contraption and allows them to jettison themselves into the air off the water.

While looking to the future, equal investment is being poured into the island’s history. One such example is a new evening tour of the olden Casino. Guests will get the opportunity to experience the vintage ballroom in all its grandeur from over half a century ago, all while sipping wine and marveling at the views across Avalon Bay.

For a different, and much more unexpected kind of adventure, the island also offers ghost tours. Depending on how squeamish you are, tours are available during the afternoon, evening or at night, each delving into the paranormal discoveries of Avalon and the island at large. Guides come equipped with some pretty impressive, and slightly intimidating ghost-hunting gadgets to seek out spirits and learn more about the mystical past.

As far as lodging, in addition to hotels and cottages, the island boasts numerous campgrounds throughout the interior, including the especially rustic Black Jack Campground hidden amidst pine and eucalyptus trees near Mount Orizaba. There are even 17 campsites scattered across the cove between Two Harbors and Avalon that are only accessible by boat, ensuring utmost privacy and an intimate nature experience.

In years to come, Catalina Island Company plans to add more shopping and dining concepts, bolstering economic opportunities while honoring the island’s cultural past. The island is accessible via ferry or helicopter from Long Beach, San Pedro, Newport Beach or Dana Point.


Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Bob Ross
20 Bob Ross Quotes That Apply to Business
Pat Brown
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown
Shakespeare
20 Shakespeare Quotes that Apply to Business
Boot Barn
How Boot Barn Became One Of The Leading Clothing Retailers
State of Oregon
How to Apply for Unemployment in Oregon
Outback Steakhouse
Is Bloomin Brands a Solid Long Term Investment?
American Airlines
Is American Airlines Stock A Solid Long Term Investment?
stocks
Is Fabrinet a Solid Long Term Investment?
Lake Merritt
The 20 Best Things to Do in Oakland, CA for First Timers
The 20 Best Hotels in Tucson, AZ
Riviera Palm Springs
The 20 Best Hotels in Palm Springs
Unicoi State Park
The 20 Best Things to Do in Helen, GA, for First Timers
Volvo's Polestar
Volvo’s Polestar May Be the Four-Door Electric Car of the Future
2021 Genesis GV80
10 Things You Didn’t Know About the 2021 Genesis GV80
2021 Hyundai Elantra 2
10 Things You Didn’t Know About the 2021 Hyundai Elantra
2020 Audi Q5 Hybrid
The 10 Most Efficient Small Hybrid SUVs
Junghans Meister Pilot Chronscope Watch Black Dial Numerals 0273590.00
The 10 Best Junghans Watches Money Can Buy
10 Things You Didn’t Know about Moller Watches
The Iconic No. 1 by TID
The 20 Best Minimalist Watches for Men
Brew Watches
10 Things You Did Not Know About Brew Watches
Brooke Baldwin
How Brooke Baldwin Achieved a Net Worth of $1.5 Million
Sam Elliott
How Sam Elliott Achieved a Net Worth of $12 Million
Jake Tapper
How Jake Tapper Achieved a Net Worth of $10 Million
Jared Padalecki
How Jared Padalecki Achieved A Net Worth Of $12 Million