Catalina Island Museum Events
Credit: Catalina Express
Catalina Island Museum Events
Credit: Catalina Express

From the Catalina Wine Mixer to a European-Inspired Beach Club, These Are the Top 5 Reasons We’re Heading to Catalina Island

From New Exhibits at Catalina Museum to Endless Water Activities, There’s No Better Place to Spend Summer

Catalina Island is a serene island oasis that is a mere 1-hour boat ride from the Southern California mainland with ferries operating out of San Pedro, Newport Beach, Long Beach and Dana Point. From snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters to embracing Catalina’s culture at the Catalina Museum for Art & History, there is no shortage of fun to be had on this island paradise! Here’s what we’re looking forward to this summer on the island.

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New Museum Exhibit 

Skirting Issues Exhibit at Catalina Museum

Catalina Island Museum Events
Credit: Catalina Museum

Dive into some serious island history with the Catalina Museum for Art & History’s latest exhibit, “Skirting Issues: Hula Moves Stateside.” This curated collection explores the rich history of hula and Hawaiian culture and the ways it’s migrated and been adopted into mainland US culture since the late 1800s. This enlightening showcase doesn’t shy away from the realities of the true historic Hawaiian experience—it gives an engaging account of the hundreds of years that have led to such an iconic cultural touchstone. So while soaking up the SoCal beachy vibes, allow yourself to be transported across the Pacific to learn about the complexities and misconceptions of American ideas of island living. This is a lesson they didn’t teach you in school that you certainly don’t want to miss.


Live Like Step Brothers 

Catalina Wine Mixer

As if you needed another reason to hit up Catalina, the Catalina Wine Mixer is right around the corner. Get ready to uncork two days of nonstop fun and let loose at the ultimate party of the year. This is not your parents’ wine tasting—it’s the perfect weekend getaway with all your favorite tunes bumping and drinks flowing day and night. Based on the Catalina Wine Mixer from “Step Brothers,” this year’s event features beer and spirit tastings, unlimited wine tastings and live entertainment from artists like Presley Aronson and SPLYCE. With plenty of party options to choose from, live out your “The OC” dreams while rocking out to Phantom Planet (back from a 10-year hiatus) live at Descanso Beach Club .



Transport Yourself to Europe 

Descanso Beach Club

Catalina Island Museum Events
Credit: Catalina Island Company

Descanso Beach Club is the ultimate beach destination for those seeking luxury, relaxation and adventure. Nestled on a picturesque cove on the island’s stunning coastline, the club is the perfect place to soak up the sun and imagine you’re on a European getaway. Rent a chaise lounge or cabana for peak relaxation, complete with a personal attendant to tend to your beachside needs—food and drinks and optional bottle service. Every Saturday this summer, Descanso will be a hub for seaside entertainment with Summer Beach Party DJ sets at this sandy paradise. Let your beach butler hook you up with some adventurous activities, such as a zip line tour, ropes course or falconry experience. There’s something for everybody here!


Explore More Exhibits 

Tall Tiki Tales Exhibit at Catalina Museum

Credit: James Kao

The history of Catalina was largely molded by its critical role as a filming location during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Catalina holds a near-mythical place in the minds of Californians, so it’s no surprise that it had its own impact on pop culture. Starting in the 1930s, Catalina was critical in shaping the American obsession with South Seas tiki culture. Head to the island’s Catalina Museum and immerse yourself in the adventure stories that transformed Catalina into a tropical movie set; Tall Tiki Tales delves into how Catalina contributed to the explosion of tiki-themed establishments across the States. The artifacts and artwork leaves guests yearning for a South Seas getaway—or at least a tiki bar!


Soak Up the Sun 

Water Activities Around the Island

Credit: Catalina Express

Paddle your way around the island’s clear waters and explore hidden coves, beaches and sea caves. Rent a kayak and set off on your own adventure, or join a guided tour to learn more about the island’s fascinating history and marine life. For a more fins-on day, grab your mask and dive into the cool Pacific waters to see an array of colorful fish, sea stars and other marine creatures. Some of the best snorkeling spots on the island include Lover’s Cove and Descanso Beach. For those looking for high-flying excitement, try parasailing to get a bird’s-eye view of the island as you soar high above the water. The views are truly breathtaking, and it’s an experience you won’t forget anytime soon.

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Allie Lebos graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2017 with a BA in Communication. While in school she was a staff writer at The Daily Nexus for nearly two years. Since graduating she has written for The Palisades Magazine, as well as Hidden Hills Magazine. Currently living in Santa Monica, Allie loves to indulge in good food, hot yoga, and daily walks along the beach; writing articles on travel, special events, as well as features on local businesses and individuals.

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