Banning House is a beautiful, rustic inn (the town’s only one) atop a small hill looking over Two Harbors. Rooms with views of either side of the tiny isthmus (or if you’re lucky, both) are scattered along the property, around a main building which houses the kitchen (feel free to store food here for lunch and dinner), breakfast room, patio and great room, which feels a lot like another era, with deer mounted on the walls, board games and a giant working fireplace which the staff will light for you on chilly evenings. The rooms are lovely—there’s a bit of a lodge/camp feel, but the beds are big and luxurious and gourmet cupcakes are there to greet you when you first check in. Breakfast is complimentary and served in a sunny, charming room overlooking town. It’s just a quick, five minute walk to the main drag of Two Harbors from the hotel, but a complimentary shuttle will take you up and down the hill if you prefer.
If you’re looking for a more adventure-driven stay on Catalina, consider the northern town of Two Harbors. Much smaller and quieter than its sister town of Avalon, Two Harbors boasts just under 300 permanent year-round residents, and has a sweet, nostalgic summer camp-y vibe. There’s one bar, one restaurant, one general store and lots of open space and water. It’s where the buffalo roam, where the hiking and biking is best, and where campers flock to sleep outside and backpack (or kayak) to remote hilltops or beaches. If Avalon comes off a little Disneyland-ish, Two Harbors is the laid-back alternative—it’s the difference between a town meant for tourists and a town meant for travelers.
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