Last week we visited Catalina Island. This was a trip that I’ve been wanting to take for a long time – we were supposed to travel about 3 week before our first son was due but we canceled at the last minute as I was told that he might be born early – and he did, exactly 2 weeks earlier than the due date.
More than 3 years later, we finally got on the ferry and visited the island for one night. Overall, it was a great trip. Catalina was in the middle of a beautiful ocean and hosted a cozy little town called Avalon. Since they do not allow cars from visitors from the mainland, most visitors either joined various tours offered there, rented a golf cart or bicycle to get around, apart from walking. Since we were with our two toddlers, our options were limited. I wanted to do a tour with a glass bottom boat, but unfortunately it wasn’t offered during our stay. We settled for a tour called “Insider Adventure” which took us to the heart of the untouched nature of the Island. About 20 minutes into the bus tour, both our sons fell asleep. Their nap time created relatively quiet and relaxing tour experience. Later that day, we strolled around the main street of the city and eventually found a place to have dinner after which we returned back to the hotel.
Our kids had a wonderful time getting on a ferry, watching the seagulls and other local birds flying near the ferry. They had the opportunity to watch a group of scuba divers preparing for a dive from the shore, and a bunch of small crabs scurrying around the rocks. They also had the chance to throw (attempted skimming) small pebbles into the ocean, which was relatively calm on that side of the island. On the 2nd day we decided to visit this landmark called the “Casino” (despite the name, this place was not for gambling). After that short visit, we didn’t have any other plans to see anything else, and since it was a little bit early for lunch, we decided to just rest in this plaza that was blocked off from cars and golf carts and geared only for pedestrians. While we stopped and pondered what to do next, our kids started running around a fountain in the middle of the plaza, chasing each other and joyfully screaming each other’s names and playing hide & seek. It was great fun for us to watch them entertain themselves when there was really nothing around there to play with. We realized that they really didn’t need much (e.g. toys or playground) to have fun – they had each other and an open space where they can run around freely. Later in the afternoon, when we were boarding the ferry returning back to Long Beach, our younger son fell asleep in my husband’s shoulder. A few tourists waiting in line with us commented that they had seen our kids running around chasing each other in the plaza earlier that day. It dawned on me that since it is such a small town and there really was not that many ways to get to the island, we were bound to run into people again and again throughout our stay, and our kids might have offered some entertainment (hopefully) for them as well.
So overall, it was a pleasant, quick, and enjoyable trip. But I have to confess – although the food on the island was good, I thought the best food we had on this trip was the ramen noodle at Santoka at Mitsuwa in Costa Mesa, which came with a bowl of rice and natto. Our kids loved it too.