I am considering a C25 for similar uses but on the west coast. I spent a lot of time on the Gulf and the weather is a lot more unpredictable there though than the West Coast, I would keep in in ICW during the convective season.
I like the Catalina for all the reasons FullKeel7 mentioned. Also there are so many made the parts readily available and prices for them are very reasonably priced comparatively. I do not think that is a great price though. I have been looking for boats in the $5-6k range for less with trailer. Do you have a big truck? Hang out a month and offer less.
I am aware of the wood in the keel in Catalinas but read about that for the 27s not sure if the 25s suffer the same design flaw. Read here for more details of design issues and what to look at for in purchasing.
Catalina - Capri - 25s International Association
Good luck in your search.