If you go
THE BEST WAY TO CATALINA
By sea: Catalina Express offers frequent daily trips of about one hour from Long Beach and San Pedro to Avalon and less frequently from Dana Point to Avalon and from San Pedro to Two Harbors. Round-trip adult fare is $72.50, $2 more for the Dana Point trip. (800) 481-3470, http://www.catalinaexpress.com.
Catalina Flyer (out of service until May 8) makes one round trip daily between Newport Beach and Avalon, departing at 9 a.m. from Balboa Pavilion and returning at 4:30 p.m. It's 75 minutes each way. Adult round-trip fare is $70. (800) 830-7744, http://www.catalinainfo.com.
By air: Island Express has 15-minute helicopter flights daily from Long Beach and San Pedro from 8 a.m. to sunset. The adult fare is $250 round trip. (800) 228-2566, http://www.islandexpress.com.
WHERE TO STAY
Many Catalina accommodations require a two-night stay on weekends in-season.
Hotel Metropole, 205 Crescent Ave.; (310) 510-1884 or (800) 541-8528, http://www.hotel-metropole.com. Some waterfront views; most of the 52 rooms have fireplaces and balconies. Doubles in season from $249.
Pavilion Hotel, 513 Crescent Ave.; (310) 510-1788 or (877) 778-8322, http://www.visitcatalinaisland.com. Rooms are small but well-appointed at this recently renovated bayfront motel. Wine bar, fire pit and garden. Doubles in May from $164, in-season from $310.
Vista del Mar, 417 Crescent Ave.; (310) 510-1452 or (800) 601-3836, http://www.hotel-vistadelmar.com. Interesting upstairs hotel has 14 nicely decorated rooms, two with waterfront views and balconies. Doubles in season from $250 a night.
WHERE TO EAT
Avalon Grille, 423 Crescent Ave.; (310) 510-7494, http://www.visitcatalinaisland.com. Contemporary, upscale restaurant with a knockout location across the city pier. Entrees, $23-$38.
Steve's Steakhouse, 417 Crescent Ave.; (310) 510-0333, http://www.stevessteakhouse.com. Beef and seafood share top billing at this longtime Avalon favorite. Dinner entrees, $18-$35.
Pancake Cottage, 615 Crescent Ave.; (310) 510-0726. Giant breakfast portions at this waterfront cafe that's become a traditional stop for arriving visitors. Breakfast and lunch only. Breakfast, $5-$16.95. Lunch from $9.
TO LEARN MORE
Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, No. 1 Green Pier, Avalon; (310) 510-1520, http://www.catalinachamber.com