New Palapas Debut at Two Harbors on Catalina

Shady cool and lounging loveliness await on the island sand.

DISCOVERING YOUR OWN PALAPA, a shade-spectacular sitting area that A) happens to be adjacent to an amazing body of water and B) is also covered in the traditional fronds or other natural materials? It can feel as perfect as a perfectly azure ocean where each new lapping wave is gentle, burbly, and beckoning. But coming across a palapa isn't simply as easy as sauntering along your favorite stretch of coast; you have to know where to go to find a line-up of lovely thatched structures, the kind that offer a little respite from the sunshine and a lot of access to the ocean. Catalina Island is becoming known for its pretty palapa scene, one that recalls some of Mexico's most spectacular beaches and all of those classic palapas that stand along the sand. But where to find such a sweet place to spend a sweet spell just off the California mainland? Best board a boat and make for Harbor Sands at...

TWO HARBORS, which is now home to several picturesque palapas. Isthmus Cove is the place, you're not far from the Harbor Reef Restaurant, and if you happen to be in a palapa on a Saturday or Sunday, around the middle of the day, you can enjoy food and drink service. "Our rustic-style furnished palapas are roomy enough for small groups, yet intimate enough for couples to enjoy a peaceful, relaxing day at the beach," says the site, so invite your sweetheart or seven of your closest pals (the palapa seats up to eight). Bottled water is included, as are watermelon slices, Monster Pops, and towels (both of the dry-off beach variety and the cool-down assortment). More details on this terrific addition to Two Harbors, the smaller and perhaps get-away-ier of Catalina's exceedingly charming villages? Click.

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