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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Escape SoCal Sprawl on Catalina Island


5. Oddball Day

The bustling seaside strip in downtown Avalon.  

Fill up with a California-style breakfast at Original Jack’s Country Kitchen—fresh avocado and salsa top everything from eggs Benedict ($14.95) to huevos rancheros ($10.95)—before leaving Avalon for less-populated parts of the island. Hop on the Safari Bus ($30, leaves at 10:30 a.m.) for a tour of the interior en route to the other side of the island, ending at tourist-free Two Harbors, a supremely laid-back village that’s like the Montauk to Avalon’s East Hampton. Rent a snorkel from the Two Harbors Dive and Recreation Center ($10 per day; 310-510-4272); they’ll direct you toward the secluded coves surrounding the village, where visibility in the crystal-clear water can be as much as 100 feet. Back at the beach, grab a basket of fish and chips ($8.50) from West End Galley Snack Bar, plus a beach umbrella ($3 per hour) from the Dive Center and laze off the rest of the afternoon on the sandy shore. Head to the harbor office at the end of the pier (310-510-4253) and splurge on a scenic charter ride back to Avalon ($185 for up to six people), sailing past uninhabited island beaches to your right and panoramic views of the California coastline to the left. Most days you can just walk up and book a boat—although you’ll want to call ahead of time if you’re averse to taking the bus back. Spend the evening dining on ahi-tuna sashimi with edamame purée ($14) at the Avalon Grille, the most refined restaurant on Avalon’s tourist-friendly seaside strip, then head a few doors down to Luau Larry’s for a frothy glass of Buffalo Milk, the island’s signature nightcap: a shake of bananas, milk, vodka, dark cocoa, and crème de banana ($6).

Published on May 19, 2011 as a web exclusive.

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