Deal: Free boat ride, mini golf, ice cream when you visit Catalina Island on your birthday

The dock at Avalon harbor on Catalina Island.

The dock at Avalon harbor on Catalina Island.

(Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)

My friend Mary Pickert of Highland Park recently visited Catalina Island for the first time to celebrate her birthday.

“Because it was my birthday, I got a wealth a freebies -- from the boat ride there and back, to a visit to the botanical gardens, a hike (of course), free ice cream and a free round of mini-golf,” she shared with friends on Facebook.

The deal: Catalina Island really lays on the birthday freebies, dubbing itself Birthday Island.

First off, Catalina Express offers free round-trip rides from San Pedro, Long Beach and Dana Point if you visit on your birthday (it has to be the exact day). This promotion will continue through 2016 for the fifth year -- and you get a birthday sash too.


Next, check out cool things to do for free on your birthday. The 2015 offerings in Avalon include a round of miniature golf at Golf Gardens, a free scoop of ice cream at Lloyd’s of Avalon and at Descanso Fresh, a free cup of coffee at Catalina Coffee & Cookie Co. and a free meal at Buffalo Nickel Restaurant.

There are lots of 2-for-1 offers and discounts on your birthday too, including on hotels and activities like a Kayak Eco Tour, snorkel rentals and the Descanso Climbing Wall.

When: The Catalina Express freebie is good through 2016; other offers are good through the end of the year (though many may be renewed next year too).

Details: You save $74 to $76 on the Catalina Express round-trip boat fare alone. Make sure you follow the directions on how to register for your free birthday trip.

Info: Catalina Express, (800) 481-3470; Welcome to Birthday Island