Catalina Island is just an hour off the coast, but it’s a world away from the mainland grind. Studies show that taking an unscheduled day off on Catalina will make you a healthier happier, more productive worker. Okay…so there are no studies. But you have to agree that the idea of playing hooky on a beautiful island paradise is a tempting proposition. Here are just five in a long list of reasons to give in to the temptation and take off for Catalina.

1) Soft sand, warm sun and cool cocktails

Every impromptu Catalina escape should include a visit to hooky heaven, otherwise known as Descanso Beach Club. It’s a great place to kick back and relax in the warm sun, while friendly staff serves blissful beach bites and refreshing cocktails to your ocean-view cabana or chaise lounge. On summer weekends, Descanso Beach Parties offer live music and plenty of barefoot boogying on the sand. Descanso Beach Club is also home to the annual Catalina annual Catalina Wine Mixer, everyone’s favorite end-of-summer classic.

2) High-flying excitement in Descanso Canyon

Did you know Catalina Island has a zip line? Actually, there are five zip lines linked together high above Descanso Canyon. It’s called Zip Line Eco Tour, and it’s two hours of high-flying excitement that will give you a feeling of exhilaration you won’t get sitting behind your desk. And the ocean views are amazing. Descanso Canyon is also where you’ll find the new Catalina Aerial Adventure, a series of ropes courses suspended in the trees that’s sure to challenge the hooky-playing kid in you. After your adventures, don’t forget to cool off at Descanso Beach Club.

3) Wilderness adventure where the buffalo roam

Avalon offers great dining and nightlife options, as well as plenty of sightseeing opportunities, like walking tours of historic Catalina Casino. But if you want to see the real Catalina, head out for adventure into the island’s pristine wilderness. You’ve probably heard that there are buffalo in them there hills, and the best way to find them is on the Skyline Drive a 10-mile journey through the island’s higher elevations that offers spectacular canyon and ocean views. If you’re looking for some rugged, off-roading excitement, climb aboard an open-air Hummer fueled by recycled vegetable oil, and head out on an East End Adventure into the hills above Avalon for postcard views of the Casino, the city and its boat-filled harbor.

4) Scenic coastal cruise to the island’s west end

Two Harbors on Catalina’s west end has long been a favorite destination for boaters, campers and other outdoor enthusiasts, but for the average Avalon visitor on the island’s east end, the Two Harbors experience has mostly been out of reach. . . until now. The new Discover Two Harbors coastal cruise aboard the Cyclone power boat takes you from Avalon to the rustic west end.

5) Off-shore quest for dolphins and sea lions

While you could head west for Two Harbors adventure, you could also go east in search of Catalina wildlife on the Cyclone Seal Rocks Safari  During this fast and fun off-shore adventure aboard the Cyclone, your knowledgeable crew will share interesting facts about the island’s history and geology, while you search for soaring bald eagles, bow-riding dolphins, frolicking sea lions and other wildlife that live in and around Catalina’s coastal waters.

There are so many things to see and do on Catalina Island, you might consider playing hooky on a Friday, and turn your impromptu day trip into a fun-filled weekend getaway. Pavilion Hotel offers a resort-style experience only 14 steps from the beach in the heart of Avalon. From there you can plan your island activities over complimentary hot breakfast in the ocean-view courtyard. Later, you can relax around the cozy fire pit and enjoy complimentary wine & cheese while you reminisce about the day’s adventures.