Avalon Harbor on Catalina IslandFor a refreshing and relaxing addition to your Los Angeles or California group itinerary, consider a day trip to Catalina Island and the community of Avalon.  This community is a great group destination and works just as well for a romantic getaway.

{mosimage}Sun and fun off the coast of California

For a refreshing and relaxing addition to your Los Angeles or California group  itinerary, consider a day trip to Catalina Island and the community of Avalon. Your day will likely begin at the Balboa Pavillion in Newport, California as you board the Newport Flyer, a large catamaran vessel that ferries you and your group to the island across an hour and a half of open ocean. The views as you leave and arrive in the harbors are picturesque and worth the trip by themselves. Consider suggesting that your group's members take motion sickness medication prior to boarding, or at the very least move to the open air top floor of the boat if you begin to feel seasick. You may also want to bring a sweatshirt or a coat as it can get very chilly over the open ocean even in the middle of July.

Upon arriving in Avalon you have a choice of many activities. There are many beaches within walking distance of the arrival pier, and each of these beaches has its own share of shops where you can rent snorkling gear, kayaks, and other beach equipment. Group prices for these rentals are very reasonable. You can even rent scuba equipment and motorized boats. I highly recommend Joe's Rent-A-Boat on the green pier in Avalon for some very good deals and friendly service with snorkling, fishing, or any other rental needs.

If you know that you want your entire group to do the same activities call ahead and reserve a block of equipment for your participants.  Group prices for these activities are often far below what the individual prices are.  If you are using a travel agent to plan your trip be sure to ask how flexible they are with what the group members can do.  The best agents can provide you with a list of activities to choose from and allow each member to select their own activity. 

As for dining in Avalon, Steve's Steakhouse is just a few feet from the beach and the main pier. Steve's serves the most incredible burgers and steaks at prices that compare to most sit down restaurants. Meals range from $7.00 on up depending on your taste. Be sure to ask for a table near the windows so that you can take in the view of the harbor and beaches while you dine.

Other activities in Avalon that are perfect for school groups or for individuals include underwater wildlife tours in a “semi-submersible” boat called the Nautilus. Trips in this craft can be reserved from their station on the tip of the pier.

The only downside to a day trip to Catalina Island is that one day is simply not long enough to enjoy all that it has to offer. The ferry arrives on the island around 10:30am and leaves very promptly at 4:30pm. There is always the option to stay overnight at one of the island's many hotels, but be sure to book in advance.

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