Insider’s Guide to Catalina

The Tig Archives 10 / 16 / 2015

I was about ten years old when I first ventured to the island of Catalina off the coast of Los Angeles. With its small town charm, rich folklore, and history of being the backdrop for many a Western film, it’s a perfect jaunt from the hum drum of Hollywood. With ferries or helicopter rides at the ready to whisk you away for a day or two of escape, its accessibility for LA locals makes it a kitsch favorite.

So who better to guide us through this idyllic isle than actress, mommy, wife, and curator of blog perfection, Happily Eva After, the very lovely Eva Amurri Martino. Our paths have crossed in good old La-La Land from auditions to mutual friends, and my recent sit down with her mom (cough – Susan Sarandon – cough) for dim sum in Toronto. The world gets smaller by the minute, and how happy I am to reap the benefits of its wee size that helped me connect with this absolute gem of a woman. Eva, how I can’t wait to see you back at home. Drinks on me, m’lady!

From Eva


Coney Island West — The best burgers and dogs in town. A beachside classic!

Avalon Grille — The “nice” place in town, this restaurant has delicious food and a selection of excellent cocktails. The Wrigley Martini (named after the Wrigley Gum family, who own Catalina Island!) is a must.

Fish And Chips on The Dock — This stand has light and crispy fish and chips, pints of beer, and even daily specials like an Ahi Poke bowl.

Big Olaf’s Ice Cream — This island has an ice cream shoppe on every corner, but Olaf’s is the local favorite.

Luau Larry’s — Get your “Wicki Whacked” at Luau Larry’s– it’s a yummy tropical cocktail that comes with a straw novelty hat!


Pavilion Hotel — It’s perfectly central, and the rooms are cozy and clean. They have a great (free!) wine and cheese hour every evening where guests spill out in to the gardens with goblets of red and white wine.


CC Gallagher — This is the best boutique on the island, hands down. It offers an array of chic little gifts, beautiful jewelry, and even local wines! Grab a seat at their in-store bar and taste a glass of Catalina’s own “Rusack” Chardonnay. It’s smooth with notes of fruit and vanilla.


Descanso Beach Club — Rent a cabana at this super cool beach club, and feel like you’re in Capri for the afternoon!

Ziplining — Right behind Descanso Beach Club, you can sign up for a ziplining eco tour! The views are breathtaking, and the guides have so much information on the island if you’re interested in learning more.

Island Spa Catalina — This is Catalina’s first destination resort spa. It recently went through renovations and is more beautiful than ever. Enjoy a glass of wine on the picturesque roof deck in between treatments.

Catalina Island Conservancy — Take this Jeep tour and learn more about Catalina’s amazing nature preservation. Hundreds of wild Buffalo roam freely on the 88% of Catalina that remains protected land.

Catalina Casino — This beautifully preserved Casino was the first skyscraper in Los Angeles County! Norma Jean roamed the halls here before she became Marilyn Monroe, and they still show movies daily. You can book a tour twice a day.