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A Local Island Getaway in Catalina Island, CA

Jim Luttjohann

Featuring: Jim Luttjohann

President & Chief Executive Officer , Love Catalina Island

All the allure of a Caribbean destination and more when you rediscover Catalina Island.

Just off the coast of Southern California is beautiful Catalina Island. We sat down with the destination experts at Love Catalina who shared their favorites experiences and created an exciting itinerary for anyone to enjoy.


What are the best ways to explore the island as an adventure seeker?

Parasailing & Diving

The two experiences I would recommend are parasailing around the island and diving. Parasailing is so quiet and peaceful while you're in the sky, but you still get the rush being pulled through the air. The water beneath you is crystal clear, it’s comparable to the incredibly blue waters you get in the Caribbean. You can see dolphins and other marine life, Catalina Parasailing and Island Water Charters are two companies that offer this option.

Diving for any level of diver and snorkeling are two more of our adventure activities around the island. Lover’s Cove is great for snorkeling and Casino Point Dive Park for both snorkeling and diving. The water clarity makes getting in the water such a great experience


What are your favorite ways to enjoy the island during the evenings?

Dinner & Live Music

I’m grabbing dinner in Two Harbors at the Harbor Reef Restaurant, a beachfront island favorite with a great patio. The evening views of Two Harbors is amazing, the boats all have lights and it’s just a great scene to take in and wrap up the day.

Another great food option is at the Catalina Airport (AVX). There they have DC-3 Gifts & Grill, and their unbelievably delicious cookies. These ‘Killer Cookies’ are a must-have if you are in the area. They do live music up there during the summer and have a great patio to take in the views or watch the small planes coming in and out.

"The adjacent bays on the windward side of the island, Shark Harbor and Little Harbor, and the rocky outcropping that separates them, are a great place to roam, especially at sunset." Jim Luttjohann, Love Catalina Island


Where do you go for visual inspiration and creativity?

Walks Along Casino Way

I like to take my dogs on early morning walks along Casino Way between Crescent Ave and Descanso Bay. The sidewalk is separated from the roadway by a hillside and planter and the path rings part of Avalon Harbor where you can pause to watch the boaters, take in the sunrise and enjoy the salty air.


Where do you bring visitors to show them the authentic side of your destination?

Crescent Avenue

The majority of shops and boutiques are located on or adjacent to Crescent Avenue, known as “Front Street” to locals. Not only can visitors enjoy all the shops, bars, and restaurants on the main street, but they also can enjoy beautiful views of the harbor, beach area, and Pleasure Pier. The blue waters and surrounding mountainous landscape give it a Mediterranean vibe perfect for a nearby getaway that doesn't require the flight.

Follow Love Catalina Island on Instagram for stunning views and insider tips!


Is there anything in your own backyard that is also on your bucket list?

Hiking the West Side of the Island

Our trails on the West side of the island are gorgeous. From Two Harbors you can hike out to Sullivan’s Beach or Parsons Beach. Those are both 6-8 mile out-and-back hikes. From Sullivan’s Beach you also have lightly trafficked Howland’s Loop that gives you some of the nicest views of the island. I would love to see and conquer those when I have time, they are all-day excursions.

The vegetation, the weather patterns, and the winds are different on that side of the island. It gets hit with more rain. You can also set up a custom camping experience through Catalina Backcountry. They provide guided tours, gear hauls, and camp setup services along the Trans-Catalina Trail.

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About the Contributor
Jim Luttjohann

Jim Luttjohann

President & Chief Executive Officer

About The Contributor

Jim is passionate about sharing the beauty of Catalina Island with visitors from around the world.