UPDATE: Catalina Express’ Birthday Ride promotion ended its six-year run on December 31, 2017. On its 30th anniversary in 2012 Catalina Express launched its “Birthday Ride” promotion and its “Birthday Island” partnership. Since then, the ferry company has continued the promotion for six years, which has resulted in nearly 500,000 registrations and 200,000 round-trip voyages. The Birthday Ride program provided visitors a novel way to celebrate their birthday with friends and loved ones, with nearly 60 percent of birthday celebrants being first time visitors to the island. While many visited for the day, a large percentage also spent one night or more, and now come to the island to celebrate other special occasions too. Catalina Express will continue to offer many other promotions and contests, providing more reasons to visit the island year-round, including boat and hotel packages, holiday gift card program, the Ship and Zip package, and more to be announced. The popular birthday promotion — which introduced many new visitors to the wonders of Catalina ended on December 31, 2017.
Greg Bombard, President/CEO, says, “Catalina Express wishes to thank its more than 45 island partners who participated in the Birthday Island program over the past six years, offering discounts, perks and value-added products and services for birthday celebrants. This program made visitors’ special day on the island even more meaningful with other visitors, residents and business owners wishing them a happy day. We launched the program not only to celebrate our 30th anniversary, but to provide an incentive for visitors to get a ‘taste’ of the new Catalina, which has grown and evolved with the opening of new attractions, restaurants, culture and entertainment.”
Catalina Island Birthday Freebies
Catalina Island has been one of our annual trips for the past 4-5 years. This year I got all excited because my birthday landed on Spring Break, and I got to ride the CATALINA EXPRESS for free as well as experience firsthand the Island birthday freebies. Most people already know about them, and the tricky part is you can only get them on the day of your birthday (not the week of or the month of). They will want to see proof. With an hour and half boat-ride away from Orange County, paradise awaited us! Here are five birthday island freebies you may or may not have known about in Avalon, California…
Free Cup of Coffee or Tea at Catalina Coffee & Cookie Company
If you love pastries and good coffee, CATALINA COFFEE & COOKIE CO. offers a range of treats from baked goods and frozen yogurt to breakfast sandwiches. I tried their “Best Brownie Ever” and it is one of the best brownies I have ever had. While you are there, you must try their cinnamon rolls warm, and my favorite cookie – their Eclipse. It is a chocolate cookie dipped in white chocolate. If it’s your birthday, you get a free cup of 12 oz. gourmet coffee or tea. They’ll want to see your Catalina Express Birthday ribbon and a valid ID. They’re located in the Metropole Marketplace. (310) 510-2447 www.catcookieco.com
Free Scoop of Ice Cream at Lloyd’s of Avalon.
Who doesn’t love a sweet surprise? Stop in at LLOYD’S OF AVALON on your birthday for a free scoop of ice cream. Other sweet deals include: Buy one pound of Catalina Salt Water Taffy, Get a complimentary 1/4 pound OR Buy any iced coffee drink or smoothie, Get a second of equal or lesser value 1/2 off. Show ID to prove it’s your birthday. (310) 510-7266 www.catalinacandy.com
Free Game of Miniature Golf With Purchase
CATALINA ISLAND GOLF CART – Golf Cart & Bike Rentals. Buy one hour, get 1/2 hr complimentary. Experience Catalina’s charm in your own golf cart! Complimentary 1 hour bike rental with a one hour rental or 1/2 off a daily rental. Must show proof of birth date! 310.510.0369 • CatalinaIslandGolfCart.com
MORE BIRTHDAY SPECIALS
Other birthday perks include a 10%-20% discount for hotels (some do a little extra and will give you a complimentary bottle of wine, a box of chocolates, tickets to the museum, or give you a spa discount). Some retailers will give you a small gift with purchase. There’s also specials for attractions like bike rentals, free admission to the Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Garden, half price on kayaking, 2 for 1 snorkeling, helicopter rides, 2 for 1 parasailing, and much, much, more!
I had a wonderful time on Catalina Island celebrating my birthday with daily waterfront dining and scenic walks along the bay. The air is clean, the ocean views are magnificent, and Avalon is a really cute town. Everything is within short walking distance so you’ll want to pack comfortable shoes and dress in layers. (I tried to run every morning to Descanso Beach and back.) If you’re only coming in for the day, bring a backpack. Staying overnight and not sure what to pack? Pack it all and if you forget, there is a neighborhood Von’s Grocery Store. Keep in mind too that many of the birthday perks are available on your birthday only and requires proof of ID. Wear your birthday button proudly because some of them are trained to look for it. I’ll share more in detail of every place that I visited in the next coming weeks so watch out for my Travel Tuesday featuring more of Catalina Island! Meanwhile, you can also download a list of birthday island offerings here and start planning your birthday: www.catalinaexpress.com/birthday-island.html