Looking for a memorable way to celebrate your birthday? Want to have a day where you’ll feel special, get free stuff, and have an epic birthday story?!?! If you say no we all know you’re lying through your teeth! And if you said yes then hop on the Catalina Express to celebrate your birthday on Santa Catalina Island.
How To Get To Catalina Island
Catalina Island is part of the Channel Islands located southwest of Los Angeles. It’s 22 miles from mainland California. You can take a ferry to the island from a variety of location in Southern California including; Long Beach, Newport Beach, San Pedro, and Dana Point.
The ferry takes about an hour, depending on water and weather conditions. The boat can drop you off at one of the two communities on Catalina Island. Either the city to the south known as Avalon, which has less than 4,000 residents. Or the more rugged village of Twin Harbors, to the north, with a population of 400. We opted to visit Avalon, which is roughly 1 square mile of city!
Currently the Catalina Express offers a free ferry ride to and from Catalina, on your birthday! To get the free trip a full priced ticket must be purchased by another member of your group. (You must travel together.) And the birthday boy or girl must begin travel on their actual birthday, but can return anytime within 30 days of the departure date.
What To Do on Catalina Island
If you’re the birthday boy or girl make sure you print out a copy of island birthday deals. (Image below.) This way you can go around getting all the birthday discounts and freebies. Also if you’re wearing your birthday pin a lot of places will give you discounts. I basically went around the island getting as many birthday deals as I could and I’m going to be sharing them with you. I mean the island does have the nickname the “Birthday Island“. Let’s get to the good stuff!!
Catalina Coffee and Cookie Co.
I started my day by visiting Catalina Coffee and Cookie Co. The birthday treat here is one complimentary cup of 12oz gourmet coffee or tea, up to a $3.00 value and birthday person must be wearing their birthday pin.
Next it was time for lunch. Using my handy dandy birthday list I opted for Ben’s Bakery where my birthday lunch was half off! With a full priced purchase of one salad or sandwich the birthday person gets their lunch time sandwich or salad for half price.
With a belly full from lunch and my free coffee, I decided it was time to get some exercise in. Golf cart or bike rental were my options? I figured bike rental was the way to go. A bit more of an exercise and a great way to explore the beautiful island. I headed to Brown’s Bike were the birthday treat was you and a companion pay for two hours of bike rentals and get the rest of the day FREE. (Till 5pm when they close up shop.)
They have options for bikes as well. Beach cruiser, tandem bike, mountain bike, and electric bike. I went with the beach cruiser and headed out with my map in head to explore more of Catalina Island!
Catalina Island Conservancy
The first stop I made on my adorable beach cruise was the Catalina Island Conservancy. I was treated to a couple birthday goodies upon my arrival. First up was complimentary admission to the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden. The admission is normally $7.00 for adults. I was also given a Hiking Catalina Map for free. Score!
Just a note: The Catalina Island Conservancy was founded in 1972 and their mission is to educate visitors to the island and also conserve the land. They have programs that help to protect and restore endangered species and threatened habitats. They also provide visitors with recreational activities like hiking, camping, and Jeep Eco Tours.
Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden
After the short visit it was time to put my free admission to the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden to good use. We took the bikes up the Avalon Canyon Road to start our adventure. It was roughly a 2 mile ride from the Conservancy to reach the entrance to the memorial and gardens.
Once at the front gates I decided to explore the lovely Botanical garden for a bit. Then it was on to the short hike up to the Wrigley Memorial. The memorial was completed in 1934 and is to honor William Wrigley Jr. When constructing the memorial a lot of Catalina’s natural resources were used from local stone in the concrete construction to the red terra cotta used in the roofing.
Then it was time for a short hike. I had heard a lot of good things about the Garden to Sky Hike and it’s starting point was very close to the Wrigley Monument. It’s a very popular hike on Catalina Island. You can access the trailhead just to the right of the memorial. It’s a short hike at 2.4 miles out and back but it boasts beautiful views with Avalon looking so small in the distance. The elevation gain is about 650 ft and the hike is ranked as moderate. There is a steady gain through out. And I found a ton of beautiful wildflowers on the trail!
Lloyd’s of Avalon
We then returned our bikes, roamed the city, purchased a birthday souvenir, and finished the day with my final birthday treat…ice cream! No birthday is complete with out it am I right?!? The birthday deals at Lloyd’s is buy one scoop get the second free, for the birthday person! (It is said that Marilyn Monroe liked to visit Llyod’s for their candies and treats.) So I sat by the beach, looking out at the ocean and enjoyed my final birthday treat. What an amazing birthday. Let’s do this every year!
Catalina Island Tips
- Here is the information for registering for your FREE Birthday trip!
- When using your FREE birthday trip make sure you have your id present to verify.
- Wear your Birthday Pin, it’s fun to have everyone wish you a Happy Birthday!
- Download and Print your Island Birthday Offers
- Looking for deals? Off season is generally November to March. Hotels can be up to 60% during this time period.
- Thing to do on Catalina Island from We Like LA.
- Day Trip to Avalon brought to you by California Thru My Lens
- Camping Catalina
Catalina Island Fun Facts
- There is not one stop light on the island.
- The Chicago Cubs held their Spring training on Catalina Island from 1921-1951.
- Catalina has been used as a film location over 500 times.
- Marilyn Monroe live on the island for a year.
- Catalina Island is 21 miles long and 8 miles wide
- The island is home to the Catalina Island Fox, who is the smallest fox in North America and can only be found on the island.
- There are roughly 150 bison roaming the island.
Enjoy your birthday celebration on Catalina Island. Adventure awaits!