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Planning a family vacation on Catalina

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With lives full of work, school and the numerous after school activities, many families don’t have time to just be together. Leave the paperwork and homework behind this Spring Break and reconnect on Catalina, where “Island Time” is the way of life. Here are some activities that will keep the kids (and the kids at heart) entertained for your next family vacation.

Sightseeing on your way to Catalina
On your way to Catalina, grab a window seat and keep your eyes open! The Catalina Express crew is always on the lookout for a possible encounter with Pacific Ocean’s marine life and will stop for a photo-op when they spot our fishy friends. The team has seen orcas, humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins and swordfish on the journey over to Catalina.

Get up close with wildlife
Catalina is home to unique plants and wildlife that can’t be found anywhere else. Take the Catalina Island Conservancy Jeep Tour. To save some time, rent a golf cart and sightsee more of the Island. The Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden is truly one of the most romantic sights to see as you walk up the stairs to the top of the monument and take in the beautiful view. You can set up a picnic on a bench or space along the way and just enjoy the peace and serenity.  

Score a hole-in-one
The Golf Garden will keep the whole family entertained as you see who will be the next Arnold Palmer. At this 18-hole mini golf course, no tee-time is required. Just walk up ready to score a hole in one.

Do you want to build a sandman?
Stroll for 10 minutes past the Catalina Casino to Descanso Beach for some fun in the sun. Spread out your beach towels or rent a couple of beach chairs, and enjoy building a sandman or sand castle as a family. Jump into the crystal clear ocean for a refreshing swim or rent snorkel gear from Descanso Beach Club Ocean Sport to explore.

Zip over Catalina
You and your family will have the bird’s-eye view of Catalina with the Zip Line Eco Tour as you propel down 5 separate lines at 600 feet above sea level, kids and adults alike will enjoy the ride of a lifetime soaring over the canyons. Kids are required to be over 5 years old for this activity.

Explore under the waves
Meet with some of your fishy friends from Finding Dory in a Semi-Submersible tour. Your family will come face-to-face with Catalina’s famous orange Garibaldi, Opaleye, Calico Bass and possibly a sea turtle.

We all scream for ice cream
Whether it is an afternoon snack or after dinner treat, there is always time for ice cream on vacation. Make a quick stop at Big Olaf’s in the center of town for everyone to indulge on a scoop of their favorite flavor with various toppings in the classic waffle cone.

Game time!
For a little time out of the sun, stop by Three Palms Arcade for some family fun competition. Vintage and modern video games, Skee-Ball or air hockey, the arcade has a game for everyone to earn the best score. They also have a unique four-lane mini-bowling alley that doesn’t even require bowling shoes! Kids and parents will have a blast trying to beat each other while creating memories.


by Amanda Bombard

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