Green + Eco-Travel

Clean Getaways

by Sarah Tuff


Leave from: Los Angeles

The jaunt: Hey, hybrid owner: Congrats on the new Prius. But you still can't bring that virtuous vehicle to Santa Catalina Island, where residents have to wait ten years (yep, years) to bring a car onto the island. Everyone tools around by golf cart or on foot anyway. That's because nearly 90 percent of the 48,000-acre, Mediterranean-feeling island is protected by strict environmental regulations: Permits are even required for hiking and biking through the island's peaks and valleys. But the best way to travel is by kayak, so you can see the rugged landscape from the water and get up close and personal with the flying fish and sea lions. Descanso Beach Ocean Sports offers rentals and day tours for both first-time and experienced paddlers that take you to the base of 2,000-foot peaks, remote beaches, and bluffs studded with cherry trees. If you want to go it alone, the shop can also point you to the island's best backcountry spots to set up camp. Your only company: fox, deer, and bald eagles, without a hint of smog in sight.

Your chariot: The Catalina Express ferry has at least seven daily departures right from Long Beach.

Check into: Room 301 at Catalina's Avalon Hotel; a wraparound balcony returns paddling-weary guests to the pleasant bustle of the harbor

Descanso Beach Ocean Sports
Tel: 310 510 1226
From $32 per person for tours; from $68 for multiday rentals

Catalina Express
Tel: 800 481 3470
$67 round-trip from Long Beach

Avalon Hotel
Tel: 310 510 7070
Doubles from $295; room 301 starts at $495

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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