Catalina Island & LA Area (2019)

DSC_1092Finally, I’m all caught up on travel blogging, and I don’t even have a huge trip coming up soon – just a long weekend in the White Mountains for fall break, and no huge trips until January after that! We are almost at the end of our first term, and while people are starting to worry about final exams and such, I think my philosophy has been to just coast by, learn as much as I need to be useful for my life, and not worry about exam grades so much. I’m really cognizant of being intentional with my time, and as such am just focused on doing things I deem useful for my personal life or that I’m passionate about – starting up the first AAPI organization at school, helping all the 1st years recruit for Bain (literally, the amount of time I spend on this is probably more than the amount of time people take to recruit in a given week, although obviously the stakes are much different), and learning about the intersection of the public sector & private sectors (helping run the FEMPire conference, etc). This is one of those last golden years where I can selfishly do whatever the heck I want to, and I’m taking full advantage of it! I think because I’ve been used to going so hard for work the past few years, it’s so different having a decent amount of free time. I need to think about the best way to utilize all this time.


This blog post is about the tail end of our California roadtrip earlier this summer. We spent a full day on Catalina Island, a day at Disneyland (the best place on Earth), and a day in the LA area.

Catalina Island


The ferry tickets for a day trip in the summer are quite expensive (around $75 pp round trip), but the ferry is extremely comfortable and if you upgrade to the Commodore’s Lounge you get free drinks and a great view. The ferry ride is a little over an hour long and arrives in Avalon, which is the center of all things. We only had 8 hours, but it was a full day and we really got to explore the island. Some of our favorite things were:

Snorkeling & Beaches


There are some nice rocky coves with parrotfish. This isn’t the best snorkeling in the world, obviously, but still fun to hang out at the various beaches.

Biking Around the Island


Get an electric bike (expensive, at around $50 a day but worth it)! There are really wonderful, mountainous roads with beautiful views. The electric bike was a game changer in getting around. You can also rent golf carts, but we felt that the electric bike was more agile. We stopped by the Wrigley Botanical Garden (although we were too lazy to go in), and just had a few wonderful hours zipping around the island and taking in the views.

Exploring Avalon


Full of cute boutique shops, restaurants, ice cream, and even MINI GOLF, this cute little town reminded me a lot of Capri in Italy, except everyone was much nicer!


We got a park hopper for Disneyland and California Adventure. I think Disneyland is not as immersive or magical as Disney World, but you really can’t compare anything to the Magic Kingdom. Disneyland is great because the ride lines are really short, and the weather is never too hot and muggy like in Orlando. The downside is that the hotels in the area don’t feel as magical, but it’s nice to be able to walk from the hotel to Disneyland. We loved California Adventure for the more adult-friendly rides, like the awesome Incredicoaster!

Los Angeles


I’d been to LA a few times at this point, but it was M’s first time and I wanted him to like the city as much as I do! I think since we had seen the beauty of the rest of California leading up to LA, it wasn’t as impressive, but I still love visiting SoCal on vacation.



We absolutely loved Malibu. We had a blissful sunset romp in El Matador Beach and enjoyed the views. Unfortunately we lost M’s shoes, but we were so giddy from beauty that we didn’t really care!

LACMA & Hollywood


Argh, much of LACMA was closed for renovation when we visited, and we still had to pay the full admission price! The City Lights sculpture outside is always a good place to take some photos though. We also visited Amibo records store in the Hollywood area, and had some surprisingly great Thai food.


Griffith Observatory


It’s so hard to find parking here. But the sunset views are worth it, I suppose. We were so tired by then that we didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the first few times; next time perhaps we’ll actually hike the Hollywood Hills.


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