The MINI Maniacs are set to embark on an unique one-day adventure, June 9, to Los Angeles County’s hidden paradise — Catalina Island. This rocky piece of land, home to about 4,000 residents, has remained relatively unchanged despite its proximity to metropolis.
“Catalina is so close, yet so far away,” says SCMM Events Director Craig Williams. “It really is a hidden treasure in our backyard, and an easy day-trip by boat.”
You can get to Catalina Island by ferry from four mainland ports in Southern California – San Pedro, Long Beach, Newport Beach or Dana Point – and the ride is only about an hour by boat or 15 minutes by helicopter. Helicopter services are available from Long Beach, San Pedro, Burbank Airport and John Wayne Airport/SNA.
Groupon offers discount fares from Newport Beach. Click HERE for Groupon.
Although its 22 miles long and 76 square miles in size, the majority of Catalina’s population lives in the 2.8 square miles of Avalon, the island’s only incorporated city.
The modern history of Catalina is based on tourism. The original resort community was nearly destroyed in a 1915 fire that wiped out six hotels, several clubs and half of Avalon’s buildings.
In 1919, William Wrigley, Jr., purchased the controlling interest in the Santa Catalina Island Company, and invested millions to rebuild the city, including the construction the iconic Casino Ballroom, which stands today as Avalon’s most recognizable feature. From 1921 to 1951, the Chicago Cubs (also owned by Wrigley) held their spring training on Catalina. During World War II tourism was halted and the island was used as a military training facility.
Hollywood elite vacationed here and motion pictures were filmed, including Zane Grey’s 1925 film The Vanishing American, which is responsible for the island’s bison herd. The original 14 bison that were brought to the island for the filming, were left behind to roam the interior, and today the herd numbers around 150 animals.
Depending on the length of stay, visitors enjoy a variety of activities such as the Zip Line Eco Tour, scuba or snorkeling, fishing, jet ski rentals, parasailing, Hummer or Jeep tours, hiking, golfing, paddleboarding, shopping, dining and much more.
“We’re looking forward to a fun day on the island,” says Williams. “This is truly a unique event in which most of our time will be spent away from our cars.”