Posts Tagged ‘Catalina Island’

Last Friday, I happily said “Au revoir” to 40.

But this time, I was excited to grow another year older because…(and feel free to sing along it if you know the words)…

“26 miles across the sea, a Birthday Island was awaitin’ for me!”

You see, my hubby and I wanted to do something fun (but without the hefty price tag), so we decided to take advantage of Catalina Island’s “Birthday Island” promotion consisting of discounts and freebies for the birthday girl or boy to enjoy!  BRING ON 41!

Birthday Island

When you check in with Catalina Express in Long Beach, they will give you a stylish “Happy Birthday” ribbon to wear throughout the day to score your birthday freebies/discounts and to enjoy VIP treatment…

oh…and to hear “Happy Birthday” from complete strangers!

Birthday Island

The biggest perk for celebrating a birthday was getting a FREE round trip ride from Long Beach to Catalina on the Catalina Express!  That’s a savings of $74.50!  SCORE!  To earn this freebie, you must leave from Long Beach ON your birthday.  We chose an 8:30am departure to make the most of the day.

Catalina Express

View of Long Beach

Leaving Long Beach

After our arrival around 9:30am,  we strolled down Crescent Avenue until we reached the Metropole Market Place where we discovered our first stop – Catalina Coffee & Cookie Co.  As soon as I entered the store, the associates greeted me with “Happy Birthday!” and automatically handed me one FREE 12oz. cup to fill with their wide selections of gourmet coffee!

Catalina Coffee & Co.

Free Coffee!

Around 10:30, it was time to head over to Parasail Catalina to partake of my FREE parasailing flight!  We registered online a few days earlier, so once we arrived, we were ready to go!


This offer DOES require that you fly tandem, so either find someone on the boat who is solo but wants a partner, or bring a friend or date who doesn’t mind paying the $65.00 (600′ flight) or $75.00 (800′ flight).  Or if you’re feeling generous, split the cost so you can both enjoy the savings!  I let my “date” pay his way 😉



Parasailing800′ here we come!

ParasailingJen approved.

ParasailingHubby loved it too!

After enjoying our amazing flight over the bay, it was time to satisfy our hunger with a picnic lunch.

A few days before my birthday, a free $10 birthday voucher from World Market appeared in my email inbox.  It pays to be a part of their rewards program!  We took advantage of this gift and stocked up on picnic supplies for Catalina – from salami, gouda cheese, crackers & grape leaves, it was the perfect meal to enjoy while overlooking the ocean view by the Avalon Theater…and it was FREE!


Part of the fun of Catalina is to just walk around and explore the island!  We came equipped with our cameras and practiced our photography to our heart’s content!






Descanso BeachDescanso Beach



After enjoying the island, it was time to cool off with a FREE ice cream cone at Lloyd’s of Avalon!


After scanning the flavors, the choice was clear…

Lloyd's of AvalonDouble Fudge Brownie!  Oh sweetness!!!

It was heavenly and the ideal treat for this warm day.  On your way out, they will stamp your ribbon because yes, there are people who have taken advantage of the freebie, and some have even come in multiple times on their birthday pretending that they didn’t know it was a ONE time offer!  Tisk, tisk…

If you’d like to take in a museum, enjoy a FREE 30 minute walking tour of the historic Avalon Casino.  I didn’t get a chance to do this due to time constraints, but next time for sure!

My hubby showed interest in doing the Under Sea Garden Glass Bottom Boat Tour, so for $15.00 a person (no freebie here), we enjoyed watching the ocean’s wildlife play and swim under the boat.  It was an interesting and fun journey out to Lovers Cove.



IMG_3453The fish became quite animated when food was tossed their way.


Before we knew it, dinner was upon us consisting of yet another FREEBIE, this time at Buffalo Nickel Restaurant.


Near Pebbly Beach, this low key, out-of-the-way restaurant served a nice selection of Mexican and American food.  There was a birthday menu to choose from, and I decided on the tasty and satisfying Tostada Salad.



A shuttle van transports you to and from the restaurant since it’s too dangerous for pedestrians to walk there.  Not bad for a birthday meal!

We closed the evening with enjoying ocean breezes, taking in gorgeous views of Avalon Harbor and chasing the sunset as the Catalina Express took us home.

Catalina Express

If you’d like to do something completely different and fun (without the hefty price tag) for your birthday, then “Birthday Island” is the place for you!  Check out this complete list of all the freebies/discounts you too can enjoy as you welcome in another wonderful year!

And for those of you who’d like to learn about the history of Catalina Island, please check out my friend Rob Rhein’s new book “Catalina A to Z: A Glossary Guide to California’s Island Jewel.”

What’s been your favorite birthday getaway?


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Catalina Dreamin'

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Catalina Island
26 miles across the sea…Santa Catalina is waiting for me!”

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