If you're staying in Catania, please set aside a day to visit the beautiful Taormina.
I had heard so much about Taormina and its Isola Bella. You'll arrive at the train station outside of town which is famous for being in The Godfather (are we surprised?) and take a quick bus to the entrance of Mendolia Beach. From there you can walk down a steep staircase to the public beach, Lido Mendolia Beach Club, or to Isola Bella. Lido Mendolia Beach Club (€25/pp) was great because we had a place to leave our things, free wifi, and a place to eat and change at the end of the day. Unlike Mondello Beach near Palermo, Mendolia Beach is a rock beach with lots of seaweed-covered rocks and jellyfish near the shoreline.
Mendolia Beach and Isola Bella easily rival their more famous counterparts in the north on the Amalfi Coast. Tourists haven't infiltrated Taormina (yet) so it's cheaper and calmer than beaches you'd find in the Gulf of Naples but just as breathtaking. See for yourself:
I could have spent all day in the shallows by the Isola Bella entrance chasing fish, playing with the floating pumice stones, and people watching. We ended the day with gelato at a shop in front of the bus stop (whose bus (of course) did not arrive in time) and were ready for a cold shower and a satisfying dinner back in Catania after a long day spent at the beach.