Catalina Island offers new restaurant and island spa this summer

Catalina Island, increasingly popping up on lists of “best” little known islands to visit, including Sunset Magazine, USA Today, and CBS Early Show, will not disappoint new and returning visitors this summer.

Now through Dec. 31, Catalina Express gives travelers a free round trip ride on their birthday (up to $76.50 round trip) plus hundreds of dollars of savings with its Birthday Island specials.

Whether travelers are going for a day in the sun or spending a weekend or more experiencing true island culture, there are events galore, a new restaurant and a new spa that appeal to young, not so young, couples, families and adventure seekers.

Golf carts, new electric bikes and walking are preferred modes of island transportation. Below is just a sampling of the openings, events and activities in which visitors can partake this summer.

Maggie’s Blue Rose: Award winning restaurateur Steve Bray and his wife Margaret have just opened Avalon’s newest restaurant. This duo has been working side by side for the past ten years establishing Steve’s Steakhouse as the number one restaurant in Avalon. Overlooking the Bay and Crescent Avenue, Maggie’s Blue Rose features authentic Mexican cuisine paired with an extensive margarita selection and wine menu.

Island Spa CatalinaOpening July 2014, the Island’s first-ever resort spa will feature nine treatment rooms with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, an Island Spa Café, a spa marketplace, a salon, an ocean view relaxation deck, a spa courtyard complete with a uniquely designed soaking pool and luxurious chaise lounges for guests to relax before and after treatments.

Reflecting Catalina’s rich history and seaside atmosphere, Island Spa Catalina was designed to complement the graceful architecture of the famed El Encanto Building, originally built in the 1930’s. The spa will offer relaxing, healing and therapeutic treatments and rejuvenating body therapies.

Exploring Catalina Island on foot is a great way to experience nature and rekindle your spirits.” The Catalina Conservancy established and maintains the trails through the wild lands as part of its mission to restore and protect the invaluable natural, cultural and recreational assets of Catalina.

Hiking maps can be downloaded from the Conservancy’s website or purchased in the Explore Store in Avalon. Hikers can also explore Catalina with the Conservancy’s new iPhone and Android apps, which offer a GPS-driven map of some of the most popular trails.

One of the more popular trails out of Avalon is the Garden to Sky Hike. It starts at the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden and leads to Divide Road from the top of Avalon Canyon.

The entire round trip hike is 2.5 miles and can take up to two hours or so to complete. A sign at the top reads, “You Made It,” but the spectacular view is the real reward.

From here, hikers can see both sides of the Island. For more information about hiking on Catalina, please call 310-510-2595, ext. 108. To obtain a permit online, please visit

A full listing of Catalina Island events can be found here:

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