HELLO HUNTINGTON BEACH & CATALINA ISLAND!
At first, we planned to only stay on Catalina Island but with some research, we thought it might be a little too sleepy at night for a bachelorette party. We ended up staying on the mainland in Huntington Beach which was only about 20 minutes from the ferry to Catalina.
Huntington Beach was great for a bachelorette crew! We stayed at the chic Paséa Hotel & Spa with an ocean view room over the pool. We had a balcony and the hotel delivered 4 mini bottles of champagne upon arrival. There was even a complimentary bottle of wine in the mini fridge. We took advantage of that!
Two bottles of water are also complimentary and are replenished daily.
While there are several hotels in this area, we chose Paséa Hotel & Spa because it has more of an adult friendly vibe, which is perfect for a bachelorette party! This hotel is also centrally located and in walking distance to TONS of restaurants and bars. It has a fantastic restaurant with a patio to dine al fresco in the perfect California weather. There's also a coffee shop with light breakfast bites and a rooftop bar over the pool called The Treehouse. More about this later ;)
We booked flights through Skyscanner and flew into SNA which was only about 25 minutes from the hotel. Flights over Labor Day from DFW were about $400. Flights into LAX were about $300 but LAX can be such a nightmare. It was definitely worth the extra money to fly into the smaller and more convenient airport.
Once we landed, we called an Uber. Super easy.
At booking, I highly recommend paying the early check-in fee of $25 if it's offered. If it isn't, call the hotel after booking and see if you can request an early check-in. I paid this fee and we were able to get into our room as soon as we arrived at 9am! We made a quick change and headed down to the hotel restaurant, Tanner's, for some brunch on the patio and maybe a mimosa or two.
Brunch at Tanner's
Since we were there over Labor Day weekend, the pool filled up quickly. Before we sat down for brunch, we dropped our towels on some chairs at the pool to save our spots.
The pool is beautiful with a view of the ocean. We spent the entire day there and ordered drinks and more food throughout the day. Even though every chair was taken it never felt overcrowded.
You can rent one of the four or five cabanas but, honestly, we felt like it was overpriced, so we didn't do it. Save your money for drinks!
Let's head to Catalina Island ladies!
Day 2 was such a blast and Catalina Island did not disappoint.
We took a 20 minute Uber from the hotel to the Catalina Flyer ferry port in Newport Beach for the 8:30am ferry. Groupon often has deals for ferry tickets!
The ferry ride is about an hour and a half and it can be quite bumpy. TIP: Bring some dramamine if you get seasick! If you do get seasick, you'll want to snag a seat on the upper deck and keep an eye on the horizon. It really helps keep your equilibrium stable and you won't get sick. I have gotten so sick in the past and this trick always works for me.
Boarding began at 8am and we arrived around 8:15 to a very long line. We were still able to get seats on the upper deck, though.
Welcome to Catalina!
The European vibes of this island gave me life. It reminded me so much of anywhere in the mediterranean.
This island is very walkable. As soon as we got off the ferry, we walked into town and stopped for an early lunch at Bluewater Avalon and got a table on the deck with a view of the marina.
Hit the Beach
After lunch, we made our way to the prettiest beach club on Catalina - Descanso Beach Club.
You'll definitely need to reserve your lounge chairs in advance as this is a very small beach club. I booked online and they require chairs to be booked in pairs. Prices vary by the row. I booked a little late and the only row available was row 5 - the last row. Chairs for row 5 were $47.50 per person ($90 for the set) and included a towel and umbrella. Drinks and food were separate.
We walked to the beach club from downtown along the pedestrian walkway. It only took about 10 minutes and the scenery was delightful.
Once you get to the end of the walkway, you'll find Descanso Beach Club along with a couple of restaurants and a free beach.
We found heaven.
You can rent these cabanas but, again, we didn't find the value in it and opted for the loungers.
That's me! I always have my camera on hand.
This is my best bud and bride to be! The bachelorette weekend theme was "Last meow before the vows" - hence the cat ears. Caroline has two sweet cats that she loves :)
Get in the Water
The water was clear and refreshing and the waves were minimal. It is a very rocky beach, though. It would have helped to have some water shoes, but we managed!
We were super sad to leave Descanso Beach Club but we had to rest up for another day of adventures. Ice cream and candy on the way out made me feel better. :)
When we got back to Huntington Beach, we had dinner at the hotel's restaurant, Tanner's. The food was delicious and so convenient to stay close by. I highly recommend the Vegetable Pancit.
Brunch, Bikes, and the Beach
We started out the day with brunch at Bluegold right near the hotel. If you walk out the front of the hotel by the pool or through the restaurant, there is a great walkway along the street that will get you to Bluegold in about 5 minutes.
We had bottomless mimosas (obviously) for $20pp and our waitress took bottomless very seriously filling up our glasses before they were empty. No complaints here!
I had the corned beef hash that was soooo good. The avocado tostada looked yummy too. We all agreed this was our favorite meal of the trip!
After brunch, we walked down to the beach for a bike ride. We went to Jack's which was right across the way from our hotel. Maybe we got there too late or maybe it was because of Labor Day weekend, but all of the single bikes were rented so we ended up renting 2 and 4 seater bikes called a Surrey. These bikes were actually really hard to ride because they're heavier. During our ride, we passed multiple bike shops so if you're not willing to try your hand at some teamwork, just head to the next shop and see if they have regular bikes available. Overall, biking along the beach was really fun and safe. It felt nice to work off those mimosas we just drank. Ha!
Don't let the yoga pants fool you. I'm not athletic. I gave it my best, though. :)
After a good effort, we dropped off the bikes and walked to the pier. Get a picture on the pier - the views over the beach and ocean are pretty. There was a market set up at the end of the pier. I couldn't resist buying a souvenir.
After riding bikes, we headed back to Pacific City, the open air mall/food hall by the hotel, for a light lunch. There is so much to choose from but we settled on sushi at The Backhouse because yum and they had a terrace overlooking the water.
After lunch, take advantage of the hotel's Beach Butler service. They'll drive you down to the beach in a golf cart and set up chairs and umbrellas. It's complimentary but be sure to give your driver a tip.
There isn't any drink or food service so pack snacks and drinks in plastic containers. No glass is allowed on the beach.
Our late lunch held us over and we weren't hungry for dinner so we went down the beach again to sit by a bonfire pit. You'll need to start your own fire, but we found one that was already lit. Score! We brought wine in tumblers and hung out for a bit.
We started to get a little hungry so we hit up the Treehouse Lounge at the hotel and ordered some bar bites. This bar was so fun! They played great music and kept the drinks coming. Next door is another bar called The Bungalow that a couple of the girls went to for a late late night drink.
Time to go home :( We had afternoon flights so we walked to Lemonade for a healthy lunch (much needed!). This restaurant is also at Pacific City and was very affordable. They even had vegan options.
And just like that, our super fun bachelorette weekend was over. We had so much fun celebrating our bride!
As I mentioned before, there is a ton to do in Huntington Beach and Catalina Island. Here are a few more options to add to your itinerary:
- Catalina Food & Walking Tour
- Zip-line in Catalina
- Orange County Beach Tour
- Private Harbor Cruise with a meal & drinks
- Visit the free beach on Catalina Island at the marina or next door to Descanso Beach Club. Go early and bring towels, chairs, umbrellas, etc.
The beach at the marina
The beach at the marina
The free beach right next door to Descanso Beach Club
You're all set! It's time to start planning your trip. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions. Happy planning!
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