Catalina Island, California
Santa Catalina Island has been inhabited for more than 7,000 years, ever since the Pimungan tribe settled there, attracted by the island's rich marine life. Yet Catalina's true popularity dates from 1919, when chewing gum tycoon William Wrigley purchased the island development. Overnight Catalina secured its reputation as a playground for wealthy magnates and movie stars.
Since 1975, the Santa Catalina Island Conservancy has held most of Catalina in trust. Buffalo, imported for a 1924 movie, roam the island's arid uplands. Offshore, kelp beds shelter brightly colored Garibaldi fish, barking sea lions and playful seals. Gray whales pass on their annual migration, and dolphins are a frequent sight. With all this natural beauty, it's no wonder the home to America's oldest fishing club still woos yachtsmen, deep-sea fishermen and divers, as well as weekend tourists.