catalina island, descanso beach // smitten studiocatalina island // smitten studioI’m back with a bit more from our trip to Catalina Island. A few highlights were…

That pretty little hideaway in the first photo, called Descanso Beach. There’s a beach club there that you can hang on the beach without paying (or rent beach chairs or a cabana if you want the full experience), and its also where we rented kayaks out for a couple hours. Our kayak trip was easily the best part of the trip, we rowed past seals and dolphins and loved just drifting around on the crystal clear water. We took a two person kayak because Rupe is a zealous rower and it means I get to take breaks and float along for the ride. 🙂 The woman that worked at the rental desk told us where we could kayak out to see leopard sharks in the shallow waters just past Frog Rock (she assured us that they were harmless so I was in). We thought it would be pretty cool but had no idea how incredible it was when we finally happened on them and suddenly there were literally about 100 sharks swimming around our boat!

catalina-island-casinocatalina island // smitten studiocatalina island // smitten studiocatalina island // smitten studiocatalina island // smitten studiocatalina island // smitten studioWalking around the old Casino, ((top photo in this set) you can take tours of the inside but we didn’t get a chance to. It’s on my list for next time), renting golf carts and touring around to the two high points above the city (middle image & last image), playing mini-golf, and hanging out on the docks on a warm night well past our bedtime were the rest of the high points.

You guys gave me some incredible tips on Instagram before we went and we had a blast checking some things off the list. Next time I want to see the buffalo!

iPhone images by me (more on instagram @sarahshermansamuel)

  • This looks BEAUTIFUL!

    When I was in high school, my best friend at the time had a boyfriend who went to Catalina Island for the summer (from Canada) to work at a summer camp. The distance was torturous on their relationship (and her) BUT it always sounded beautiful and amazing. Seeing these photos brings me back to high school and HEARING about Catalina Island, and this is finally putting ‘a face to the name’.

    Looks like your trip was AMAZING and I love the boats in the last photo–like a boat parking lot. One of the photos looks like Greece, almost (minus the blue roofs 😉

  • Wow! It looks amazing! I’m in the process of planning a California trip for my family and I in September. Can I ask, where did you stay? Thanks!

  • These pictures are gorgeous!

  • Hi there, also wondering where you stayed? We are planning a trip for June and I’m so excited. I’ve done a ton of research and would love your opinion (good or bad, hehe) on where you ended up staying. Beautiful, beautiful pictures!

    • Hi Heather and Morgan, Oh yes! I forgot to mention that, as we booked it literally two days before so only two hotels had space for us, leaving us with not much choice. We ended up staying at the Glenmore Plaza Hotel. It was in a central location, but nothing to really write home about. It was just nice and the beds were comfy but the customer service wasn’t that great, nor the decor.

  • Thanks, Sarah! While there, did you spot any swoon-worthy hotels that you will try to book next time ;)?

  • YAY!!! I’m so happy you had a fabulous experience in Avalon!! I was the girl who suggested a million things for you to do on the island on Instagram;) Catalina is my happy place and to see other people enjoying it is fantastic! Your photos are just lovely!

    Much love,

  • Hey Morgan, I did love the exterior of the Hotel St. Lauren, (thats the pink one up there in the photos) and I’ve heard the Pavillion is pretty nice.

  • Gorgeous post. That last picture makes me crave the ocean!

  • Oh awesome, thanks Sarah!

  • […] Catalina Islands to my ‘places I must visit’ […]

  • Caitlin

    These photos are unspeakably gorgeous!!!

    I lived on the other side of the island for a few months, and daydream about visiting again. Thank you for bringing me this little piece of it – reading about your trip temporarily transported me there from my desk job on the East Coast 🙂

    Thank You!!!

  • Kelly

    Hi Sarah. These photos are beautiful. I’d love one like the pic at the top of your post to hang in my home. Unless you’re willing to share yours via e-mail so it’s print quality, would you know of any photographs that sell their work with images similar to the one at the top of your post? Big ask, I know. Thanks, Kel

  • Love your blog style. I was recently at Catalina, it was so much fun.

  • Wonderful pictures and scenery. It’s always nice to visit Catalina Island and see all the cool things there.

    Thanks for the nice post!

  • Angela Lok

    your article brings back so many memories from my visit to Catalina Island! I went there last year and I left a piece of my heart there – the landscapes, the people, everything was simply outstanding. I especially loved diving at the Casino Point (, such a great day for being underwater it was.
    can’t wait to go back soon!
    P.S.: love your shots, especially the last one with all the boats in the harbour!

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