So many families come to Catalina for fun in the sun, days at the beach, and nights strolling through the charming town of Avalon. Boaters come for the beautiful harbor views and relaxation. Cruise ships bring shoppers, diners, and tourists, seeing what island life might be like for the day. But one fabulous part about Catalina is its storied history. From the first people on the island to the iconic Casino building to the island’s ties to Hollywood, the Wrigley family, and the Chicago Cubs baseball club, Catalina is chock full of history. Read on to learn more about how to create a custom Catalina tour for history fans.
Pimu. Catalina has been inhabited for thousands of years. The Pimu’gnans—part of the Tongva and Chumash people of the Channel Islands—are believed to be the first Native American people that lived on Catalina; they called the island Pimu. Some of their history is depicted throughout Avalon. On a city tour of Avalon, make a stop to walk along Casino Way to observe some of the beautiful work done in reproduction Catalina tile. There, you’ll find an image of the Bay Of Seven Moons, a display of tile art that shows Native women on the shore of Catalina. Take a private city tour with Catalina Taxi and Tours, which gives you the freedom and flexibility to see historic sites like this throughout Avalon.
Art history. If you like the Via Casino Way murals, you’ll love the tile work that can be found all throughout Avalon. The Catalina Tile Company was once a great manufacturer of tile. In the 1920s and 30s, Catalina tile—hand-glazed and decorative—can be found throughout the island. Visit the airport, check out the storefronts, look at the fountains, and even see some patios around Avalon. These bright and beautiful Catalina tiles are truly a part of the island’s history. On a private Avalon tour with Catalina Taxi and Tours, your guide will show you what makes Avalon so special.
Yo-ho, yo-ho. It’s not hard to imagine the pirate’s life on Catalina Island. There are treasures and ships galore—even to this day. Before it became a great travel destination, Catalina was a place for smuggling, hunting, and mining. The town of Two Harbors celebrates Buccaneer Days in early October. A 3.5-hour Jeep tour with Catalina Taxi and Tours will take you all the way to Two Harbors (with some stops at Airport in the Sky and Rancho Escondido along the way).
European Explorers. When you first step off the boat in Catalina, consider Cabrillo—Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo—who sailed to the island for the Spanish in the 1500s. He claimed the island for Spain, but in 1692, Sebastian Vizcaino arrived and renamed the island in honor of Saint Catherine. On a Catalina Custom Tour, you can imagine yourself as an explorer, checking out the most beautiful views, coves, and sights all over the island.
Catalina’s Gold Rush Era. Some prospectors set up little mining expeditions on the island in the 1800s. Then, in the early 1900s, there was a rumor that $30,000,000 in Spanish gold was buried somewhere on the island. Supposedly, someone has hidden the treasure trove on the seaward side of the island. When Spanish galleons sailed the waters around Catalina. There was plundering, pirating, and possibly, hiding of treasure somewhere in the island’s coves by Ben Weston beach. Take a Jeep or Custom tour to do your best treasure hunting on the other side of the island.
War time Island. In 1942, the United States Army Air Forces took over the airport on Catalina Island. Back then, the airport was called Buffalo Springs, and it was used to support military activities on the island throughout World War II. You can go see the Airport in the Sky on a 1.5-hour Jeep tour that also makes a stop to catch some gorgeous views at the Summit Overlook. Learn more about the Island’s history as well as some flora and fauna at the Nature Center.
The island of romance. In 1958 the Four Preps made 26 Miles a famous song about finding love on Catalina. It reached number 2 on the Billboard charts! Make your own romantic moment by booking a Toast to Catalina Tour. Celebrate your loved one at a beautiful overlook on this romantic Jeep tour for two.
Whether you’re in need of a taxi service to your hotel, or you’re looking for a fun tour while you’re staying on Catalina Island, reach out to Catalina Taxi and Tours for all your transportation needs. From private tours of Avalon to open-air Jeep tours to the island’s interior, there are so many ways to explore some fun history of Catalina. Call a taxi at 310-510-0025, or reach out to Catalina Taxi and Tours main office at 310-510-0342 to book an unforgettable island experience.