Years ago, I actually owned an amazing condo on Catalina Island. I used to go over there in the winter months to write big projects – my own books, ghostwritten books, or those massive 20-page sales letters to sell something like a Tony Robbins coaching program.

I loved the pace in winter and it was beautifully green and flowering from winter rains. They would change out the movie at the Catalina Casino about once a month and it didn’t matter WHAT the movie was … all 90 of us locals would line up for tickets on opening night. Even our resident pipe organ player would show up for those nights and it felt like one big private party.

A few years ago, I traveled to Catalina quite often … by 6-man paddle boat in outrigger races. I’m here to tell you … the Catalina Express is a MUCH better option for reaching that spit of an island.

Today, the island is still serene and isolated, but it now offers so many more sophisticated options in dining and hotel renovations. I personally love the Catalina Island Spa, with an outdoor pool right in its center and 2nd-level decks that lounge over the Harbor. And, of course, you have all sorts of dining fun in Avalon, from my favorite Twice Cooked Spaghetti at Antonio’s, the awesome breakfast burrito at the little shack that serves golfers at the putting green in Avalon Canyon (I don’t know the name of it, I just know how to find it), and the Bluewater for a more elegant seafood touch.

“Best of Winter” Packages

The Catalina Express and Catalina Island’s hotels are offering “Best of Winter” mid-week packages and discounts through the end of March. It’s a perfect time to do an after-Valentine get-away when the holiday crowds have died down.

The “Best of Winter” packages include round-trip boat transportation and up to 50% savings at the hotels. From budget to luxury, newly renovated and historic hotels, there’s a deal to fit every pocketbook and taste. Even better, several Avalon hotels offer complimentary champagne on arrival, complimentary continental breakfast and/or wine and cheese hour. You can also find hotels that offer complimentary Glass Bottom Boat tours or free workouts (I’m assuming these take place at the Spa because I don’t think the tiny gym on the backside of the Casino is still  in operation.)

You can even make your plan around two upcoming events, the renowned Annual Avalon Harbor Water Cleanup on on February 22, 2020 (the only time SCUBA is allowed in Avalon Bay); and Catalina Island Conservancy Marathon on March 14

Following is a sampling of winter offerings; a full listing of the Hotel Packages is here.