Catalina Island, just 22 miles off the coast of Southern California, has long been a favorite Hollywood getaway. Stars like Charlie Chaplin, Frank Sinatra, Natalie Wood and John Wayne vacationed here, and a young woman named Norma Jean Baker, who’d become far better known as Marilyn Monroe, lived here with her first husband. The island, accessible by ferry or a 15-minute helicopter flight, has updated its Descanso Beach Club and launched a new spa and Catalina Aerial Adventure; it features both beachfront and ocean-view meeting venues that can accommodate up to 1,000 guests.
At the turn of the 20th century, the oceanfront town of Pacific City, which sat along what would become the Pacific Coast highway, would have been the perfect setting for a western by director John Ford. This photo was taken in 1904, the year the first pier opened and the community renamed itself Huntington Beach in honor of Henry E. Huntington, who brought the Pacific Electric Railway to the coast. Today, Pacific City is the name of a new 191,000-square-foot retail, dining and entertainment destination.