Thanksgiving Holiday in Big Bear Lake

Thanksgiving Holiday + Big Bear Lake=Good Times

Courtesy of Big Stock

Courtesy of Big Stock

Spending Thanksgiving in Big Bear is a perfect way to start your holiday season. Cool days and chilly nights. Snow tubing and night skiing. Turkey Trot and forest hikes. Football and family time. Twinkling lights and Santa nights. It’s all here in Big Bear Lake.

Let’s Talk Turkey. Several Big Bear restaurants will be serving a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Make your reservations early because they book up fast every year. If you want to stay in your cabin and have a great meal without all the work, you can pre-order the entire feast from Barnstorm Restaurant for pick-up Thanksgiving morning. Another option is hiring Chef Allan, a private chef, to come to your cabin and prepare a gourmet holiday meal while you relax with family and friends.

Before the Feast. Run in the 5th Annual Big Bear Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. Costumes are encouraged, but not required for this fun turkey day event. 3-mile, 6-mile, or 9-mile runs for all ages on fairly level terrain.

Take A Hike. The whole family can enjoy a morning hike in the forest. Big Bear has hiking trails with everyone in mind, from paved paths along the lake to challenging hikes up the mountain for spectacular lake views.

Not Black Friday. Avoid the holiday crowds and check out The Village shops where you’ll find unique gifts, chic mountain clothing and the latest winter sports gear that you will not find off the mountain. Stop by one of the local eateries or coffee houses for a quick bite or brew. (You can always hit the Cyber Monday sales online when you get home.)

Friday Night Lights.  Santa’s Grand Entrance and Tree Lighting in The Village is an absolute must. Bundle up for a festive night as carolers stroll through The Village spreading holiday cheer while awaiting Santa’s Grand Entrance.

 

 

Snow Tubing. Some of the best fun on the mountain is when you take the kids snow tubing. Choose your inner tubes and ride the ‘magic carpet’ to the top of the hill. Hear the sounds of belly laughter as the kids race each other down the slopes. Snow tubing areas are open for night tubing on Fri. and Sat. 

Outdoor Adventure Tours. Big Bear Jeep Experience, Action Zipline Tours and Helicopter Big Bear offer a variety of top notch tours for those who want to add a little adrenaline to their visit.

More Mountain Fun. Big Bear Alpine Zoo is fun for the whole family. Go horseback riding or visit the petting zoo at Baldwin Lake Stables. The Bowling Barn is a great place for large groups to gather for some indoor fun.  

 

Ahhh…Relax. Get ready for the busy holiday season by treating yourself to a hot stone massage, aromatherapy session or a custom facial this holiday weekend. Check out the local yoga studio schedules for sessions that will help relax you and  balance your energy.

Holiday Lodging.  Whether you are planning a large family holiday or a romantic Thanksgiving getaway for two, we can help you find the best lodging in Big Bear. Plan your Thanksgiving getaway at BigBear.com

Stop Here First. Big Bear Visitors Center is located in The Village at 630 Bartlett Road. Pick up maps for hiking and The Village along with other area information from our friendly guest services staff.

Time for a Road Trip this Autumn Season

Cooler weather has settled in and warmer weather is on the way out, indicating fall is on its way to Big Bear Lake. Now is a great time to take a road trip to see what Big Bear offers this time of year. Big Bear is a true four season alpine resort and calls us in year round with the tree tops soaring high into the clouds, the bountiful fresh lake and the crisp, clean air that are all inviting to the senses.

Mountain Biking Alpine Pedal PathPerhaps you want to make this trip more than just a drive or as a casual passerby to the scenic route. It doesn’t matter if you’re from San Diego or Las Vegas, taking a weekend get-a-way and turning it into the ultimate road trip, makes it an experience to remember!

From experience, a road trip can start off several ways. It can be planned and well mapped out with lengthy travel itineraries or, it can be an impromptu journey, far from home to your destination of choice, with little planning and just enjoying everything along the way. A road trip to Big Bear can be satisfying, and depending on the time of season, taking in a little of the unknown. In summertime and the fall, cruising over to the mountainscape of Big Bear Lake typically means lots of selfie and photo breaks, roadside cafes, amazing views and a fully loaded itinerary with the usual must haves: an activity for the whole group, a history lesson, a unique dining experience and a relaxation motivator, nature and some decent lodging for the weekend of your road trip. Getting there may take sometime, but arriving is where all the fun’s at!

Planning ahead vs. the Unknown
You are likely to have friends or family that run the gamut of different personalities. Sometimes, it can be hard to please everyone and to be on the same page. Even just getting to your destination of choice can bring on a migraine. It’s best to take a list and check it twice, just to be sure some essentials are on board (or at least in the trunk) such as music, sunblock, proper clothing, gum and lots of snacks. Knowing when and where you’ll need lodging is also apart of the unknown or planning ahead category. Since you’re heading to Big Bear Lake, the site bigbear.com makes it a snap to locate lodging at home or on-the-go. Make sure to discuss with friends or family beforehand what matters to them most in their accommodations. Big Bear offers PLENTY of choices from B&Bs to private homes rentals, hostels, condos, resort cabins, hotels and motels. If your group can get on board and pick a place, you’ll start out a step ahead of the game!

Food!
Depending on where you are traveling from, you will find yourself stopping at the convenience store for snacks, food truck or travel-friendly diner. Since Big Bear is a short drive away, I recommend to wait until you arrive and enjoy one of Big Bear Lake’s restaurants. They go above and beyond casual food fare and serve everything from gluten free to sushi to T-bone steaks. We like to think there is a little something for everyone, and you’ll get it at 7,000 feet!

History, Interrupted
A relaxing summer and fall road trip to the mountains with your kids or with your best girlfriends means you can choose to learn a lot or a little! Big Bear Alpine Zoo is perfect for both kids and adults, where everyone can take in the sight of a Grizzly Bear or a cute, harmless owl. Admission supports and benefits animals whom have been danger or wounded in the wild, and everyone loves a good cause! If you’re an educational sponge, soak up some nature knowledge at the Big Bear Discovery Center, where you can learn all about this majestic valley. Even if you have young kids in your party, they will have fun outside in the Adventure Zone built just for them to crawl, climb and jump around in.

Take a hike or Take a tour
You may be itching to stretch those legs after the couple of hours spent in the car but someone in your group keeps complaining that they want to see more than just the flora and fauna side of things. Well, maybe you can agree to disagree? While some of your friends take a hike – Woodland Trail, Cougar Crest, Pine Knot – just to name a few, the others in your group may want to soar above it all with a outdoor tour from Helicopter Big Bear or take a rough and tumble four-wheel-drive experience with a Jeep Tour. Big Bear Lake is famous for its lake with 22 miles of shoreline, so why ride a jet ski, paddle activity or take a chance at fishing? Even if your idea of a vacation is to sit back, you can do that too, just by visiting the downtown Village and have a spa day finished off with a beer or mimosas at one of the many rustic, welcoming breweries, bars or pubs.

If your destination is Big Bear this summer and fall, then there are loads of different ways to see and experience the Great Outdoors. Driving around, flying around, walking around, swimming around and biking around are just some of the many ways to connect with nature and your friends and family on a road trip to one of the best destinations in Southern California. There are various events and competitions every weekend, including concerts and fall festivals. I hear the Oktoberfest is soon to arrive! If there ever was a time for a road to Big Bear Lake, it should be now!

Elevate Your Skills – High Altitude Baking Tips

Snowy landscape. Mountain cabin. Baking in Big Bear. The higher the altitude, the lower the air pressure. While this is an excellent environment for training athletes, it can be a challenging one for baking. Sitting at over 6500 ft. above sea level, there are a few simple things to know to bring your A-game to the mountain kitchen.  

Oven temperature – Increase 15 to 25°F; use the lower increase when making chocolate or delicate cakes. (Since leavening and evaporation proceed more quickly, the idea is to use a higher temperature to set the structure of baked goods before they over-expand and dry out.)

Baking time – Decrease baking time by 5-8 minutes per 30 minutes. (Baking at higher temperatures means your goodies are done sooner.)

Sugar – Decrease sugar by 1 tablespoon per cup. (Increased evaporation also increases concentration of sugar, which can weaken the structure of what you’re baking.)

Liquid – Increase by 2 to 3 tablespoons at 6,500 feet. Increase by 1 1/2 teaspoons for each additional 1,000 feet. You can also use extra eggs as part of this liquid, depending on the recipe. (Extra liquid keeps products from drying out at higher temperatures with faster evaporation rates.)

Flour – Add 2 more tablespoons per cup at 6500 feet.  For each additional 1,500 feet, add one more tablespoon. (Additional flour helps to strengthen the structure of baked goods.)

Baking Powder and Baking Soda – The higher your kitchen, the lower the amount of leavening. At 6500 ft. 1 tsp. becomes ¼ tsp, 2 tsp. becomes ¾ tsp, and 3 tsp. becomes 1 tsp.

When baking a recipe that calls for both baking powder and baking soda plus an acidic ingredient, like buttermilk or sour cream, try switching to all baking powder and sweet milk.

Cookies – Because cookies bake for a shorter amount of time than bread or cakes, and are relatively low in water and high in fat content, they’re much less susceptible to the changes of high-altitude baking.  Increase the water slightly, to help the dough come together, and decrease the amount of baking powder and baking soda used.  Bake at slightly higher temperature, with a shortened baking time.

Just want fresh baked goods without all the work? Check out Sister My Sister Bake Shop , west of The Village, for some delicious freshly baked treats.

10 Great Picnic Spots in Big Bear Lake

Enjoy your next picnic lakefront or surrounded by the scenic beauty of the forest. Whether it’s breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, spending time with family and friends in the great outdoors is a perfect way to create memories of Big Bear Lake that will last a lifetime.

All of the picnic areas are available year-round. Colorful wildflowers and budding trees in the spring with great trout fishing at most locations. Lazy, lakeside summer days with star-filled nights. Autumn brings warmer colors and cooler temperatures and the skies are crisp and clear.  When the snow flies, these areas are great for building snowmen, having an epic snowball fight or making snow angels. Top it off with an outdoor BBQ in the snow. Bundle up and make sure you have dry clothes for little ones to change into when your day is done. Sunscreen should be used in all seasons at this elevation.

 

Lakefront city park with spectacular views of iconic Boulder Bay. Picnic tables, gazebo, fishing pier, lake access, public restrooms and parking lot. Grassy area to spread out a blanket and enjoy the day. A concrete walking path makes this accessible for wagons, strollers and wheelchairs. Kayak rentals and general store within walking distance.

 

Shady forested picnic area. Discover the beauty of tall pines dotted with wildflowers and historic cabins along a small creek.  Picnic tables, bear-proof trash cans and a paved walking path make it easily accessible for wagons, strollers and wheelchairs. Parking is on the west end of the Big Bear City Hall.

 

This shady, forested picnic area is a day use area only. There is a community fire ring, picnic tables, BBQ’s, parking and public restrooms. You can access the Pineknot Trail from the picnic area if you want to do some hiking. Pineknot Trail is a moderate to difficult trail. This picnic area requires a $5 Adventure Pass for parking. Adventure Passes are available at the Big Bear Visitors Center or the Discovery Center.

 

Small lakefront park near the Village. Picnic tables, benches, grassy area to spread out a blanket for a picnic or just relaxing and enjoying the views. Small playground for children and public restrooms on site. Park in the Bartlett Parking Lot in the Village and head towards the lake.

 

Small lakefront park with limited picnic tables and benches just steps away from the Village.  Grassy area to spread out picnic blankets and enjoy the views. The paved walking path makes it accessible for wagons, strollers and wheelchairs. Parking is next door in the Community Church parking lot. Public restrooms are on site.  

 

Lakefront city park with fishing dock, tennis courts, volleyball court, horse shoes, 2 lighted ball    fields, playground, group picnic pavilion, picnic grove with tables, BBQ’s and public restrooms.  Plenty of parking available and there is even an enclosed ‘Bark Park’ for your furry family members.

 

This picnic area is on a knoll above the lake. Picnic tables and BBQ’s under shady juniper trees with a short, slightly rocky path down to the lake for swimming. Alpine Pedal Path runs between the parking lot and the picnic area and is a perfect place for walking, running or biking. Easily accessible for wagons, strollers, bikes and wheelchairs. Pit toilets are in the parking area. This area requires a $5 Adventure Pass for parking. Adventure passes are available at the Big Bear Visitor Center or the Discovery Center. (Great area for sunset views.)

 

Shady, well-forested area with picnic tables, BBQ’s, restrooms and parking. Great location across from Serrano Campground. Easy access to the lake for swimming. Nearby kayak, paddleboard and bike rentals at Paddles & Pedals so you can enjoy water sports or cruise along the nearby Alpine Pedal Path and enjoy the scenery. Accessible for wagons, strollers, bikes and wheelchairs. This area requires a $5 Adventure Pass for parking. Adventure passes are available at the Big Bear Visitor Center or the Discovery Center.

 

Shaded picnic tables, BBQ’s, restrooms, parking and nearby lake access for swimming. Close to Captain John’s Marina for boat, paddleboard, kayak or canoe rentals. Also, the home of the Tarzan Boat which is like a giant playground on the water. Great family fun!

 

Lake view picnic area with BBQ’s, picnic tables restrooms and parking. Stunning mountain views across the street from Grey’s Peak Trail for hiking. This area requires a $5 Adventure Pass for parking. Adventure passes are available at the Big Bear Visitor Center or the Discovery Center.

Let’s Go Camping in Big Bear Lake!

marshmallows-fire-SS-580x400Spring is here and summer is just around the corner so it’s time to make your reservations for camping in Big Bear Lake. Mild temperatures on the mountain make it perfect weather for fishing, hiking and mountain biking. Each campsite includes a picnic table and a campfire ring for roasting marshmallows and keeping warm on cooler nights. Firewood is available to purchase at each campground. For the ultimate hassle-free experience, Big Bear RV Rentals can have everything ready at your site.

Serrano Campground is on Serrano-Campground-Signthe North Shore just steps from the lake. With more than a hundred sites for tent and RV camping, this is definitely one of Big Bear Lake’s most popular camping locations. A couple dozen sites provide full
utility hookups for RVs and a dump station is located within the campground. Showers and restrooms are available to all campers. Paddles and Pedals is nearby and offers bike rentals, paddleboard rentals and kayak rentals. The Alpine Pedal Path and Cougar Crest Trail are nearby and provide access to the Pacific Crest Trail.

 

 

Pineknot Campground is nestled in a dense forest of fir, pine and oak trees. This campground is a favorite for all levels of hikers and mountain bikers who want to explore the mountain trails. Buy a ticket for the Scenic Sky Chair at Snow Summit right next door for a ride to the top with some of the most panoramic views in the valley. This campground offers 47 tent and RV sites with no hook-ups.

Hanna Flat Campground copy_edit2Hanna Flat Campground is off the beaten path. This campground is on the North Shore, just under 3 miles from Fawnskin. A portion of the road to the campground is dirt but the roads are paved within the campground. Over 80 campsites are available for tent and RV camping, but there are no hook-ups. Popular for the seclusion and the dense pine forest in the campground, you can easily hike over to Gray’s Peak where you can view the lake from the top of the mountain. If you want to rent a boat, kayak, canoe or paddleboard, just drive over to Captain John’s Marina in Fawnskin.

For year-round RV camping in Big Bear, try Holloway’s Marina and RV Park. Lakefront location with boat rentals, kayak rentals, canoe rentals and home of the Big Bear Pirate Ship Tour.

The Great Escape: Camping and Rock Climbing in Big Bear

Blog post and photos by Mr. and Mrs. Adventure

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You ever get that urge to get away and disconnect? There is only so much typing on a computer, texting with miniature buttons on a miniature screen and being reachable 24/7 that one can take before going mad – at least that how we felt this past weekend. So, in an attempt to disconnect from technology and reconnect to ourselves and nature, we decided to go camping and rock climbing in Big Bear – ah the great outdoors. I can already breathe more easily just thinking about it.

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After taking care of a few last minute things on our “to do” list, we drove over Saturday afternoon and finally arrived to Big Bear around 5:30 pm. Once at the lake we had about 30 more minutes to go until we were at our destination for the evening, Holcomb Valley’s South Lot Campground (google maps here and extremely detailed and helpful directions here).

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Photo Credit: SoCal Climbers MeetUp

As we drove along the bumpy dirt road, we passed Wilbur’s Grave on our left (mentioned in the driving directions linked above). Wilbur was apparently one of the early miners in the area, but nothing else about his life is known (random right?). His grave always seems to be decorated with one or more American flags and it’s a tradition to add random trinkets and decorations to it whenever passing by:

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While there is a number of campgrounds in Big Bear, the Holcomb Valley South Lot is our favorite. Not only is camping here completely FREE, but you can pitch your tent wherever your heart desires and you don’t need an adventure pass to park! The only downer is that you can’t have a campfire, but we had our portable propane powered grill and JetBoil so we were set. After scoping out the area, we settled upon a cozy little nook situated between some rocks and pine trees, providing us with our own little outdoor getaway – check out Drew looking so satisfied:

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It was now time to sit back, relax and watch the golden, summer sun slowly sink below the pine tree caked mountains, and as the night came upon us, the absence of our computers, television and phones became evident in the most peaceful and present sort of ways. With nothing to update, nothing to post, no one to answer to, we enjoyed each other’s company and began our slow evening of grilling, laughing and snuggling under the stars

holcomb valley campground, best campsites in big bear, big bear camping, rock climbing in big bear, holcomb valley pinnacles, free camping big bear, campfire, cookout, mrs adventureThe weather in Big Bear during the summer is absolutely incredible. Mid-80’s during the day with a cool mountain breeze, and low-60’s at night. If you have the right gear, it’s just warm enough to leave the cover off the tent. There’s something so right about sleeping under the glow of the moon and waking up warm under the rays of the fresh, new sun.

With sleeping bag hair and squinty eyes, we rolled out of our cozy tent and prepared breakfast tea and morning oats – fueling up for the day’s adventure of climbing rocks 🙂

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The Holcomb Valley Pinnacles is a moderate mecca with 75% of its 300+ sport climbing routes being 5.10 and under in difficulty (helpful scale explanation here). With classics like Gold StandardBye Crackie and Coyotes at Sunset, to name a few, there is no lack of epic routes to scale.

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We spent the majority of the morning brushing up on our lead climbing skills and luckily found the perfect shady spot to do so – Lizard’s Head, located on Motherlode‘s North face, is a playfully long 10-bolt climb which earned its name for obvious reasons:

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As you can see, I was seriously into it:

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About 5 hours in and our arms had turned to jello. It was time to throw that hammock up and enjoy a signature triple-decker PBJ:

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Transitioning from a morning of climbing to a hammock induced siesta, we decided to spend the rest of our afternoon relaxing by breezy Big Bear Lake:

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Sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, jet skiing, ferry riding, sport fishing, mountain biking, etc. – there are an absolute ton of activities to choose from when visiting Big Bear in the summer. For once in our lives, we opted to relax and parked along side the lake where we were able to take a small path down to the serene beach:

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It was beautiful. The sun was shining, the ducks were bathing, the pirates were sailing… wait, what??

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A few years ago, the mock pirate ship shown below, named the Timed Bandit, sank to the bottom of Big Bear Lake in a storm. Today, she is fully restored and back in business, offering 90-minute tours to visitors each summer ($19 for adults and $12 for children).

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I’m not sure if it was the pirates or the shimmering crystal blue waters, but soon enough Drew was inspired to jump into chilly Big Bear Lake. I on the other hand, opted to stay on land for survival purposes 😉

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Fulfilled by our weekend of disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with each other, we drove back home grateful for the much needed escape. Next weekend? Camping in Malibu!

Check out the whole blog post from Mr. and Mrs. Adventure here.

Spring is Around the Corner

Growing up in Los Angeles, I never appreciated the change from one season to another especially springtime.  Sure, at school there was Spring Break and there seemed to be an overabundance of lighter food and daylight started to last longer but, it wasn’t until I took a visit to Big Bear Lake, did I actually feel what spring was.

In this region of mountains and lakes, life sprouted up from all around the area -flowers, pine tree needles, grass and wonderful gems in nature I did not yet have a name for. This was spring, a world of new beginnings! During spring, Big Bear Lake is an inspiring place to be around and enveloped by. There are endless places to visit, hike around or swim to. My spring adventures have continued decades later, and as spring rises in Big Bear Lake, I continue to be surprised and amazed at the wondrous beauty all around.

snowboarding lessons in Big Bear

Snowboarding lessons at Snow Summit Resort for kids.

You don’t notice spring in the city like you do in the mountains or countryside, where new life is blooming all around you among wide, open skies and not stifled by the city limits. When it comes to activities and choices, Big Bear Lake is high on my list of entertainment value, a place where I can take my kids or my parents to enjoy the events and fun or just to relax and take in the scenic byways. The advantage of spending springtime in Big Bear Lake also means snow but in warmer Southern California weather than typical ski resort areas. Where else can you experience both major seasons in one beautiful place? In most temperate zone locations, spring months are March, April and May. Typically in Big Bear Lake, snow in one form or another exists until the end of April when the two major ski resorts – Bear Mountain and Snow Summit – tend to close their doors and prepare the grounds for their summer hiking and bike park. But fear not, there are plenty of fun activities to do and be seen in Big Bear Lake this spring!

I’ve spoken about Big Bear’s hiking trails before but, let’s explore them a little more! If you’re looking for a view to end all views than look no further than “Castle Rock” – situated at the top of boulders and tall pines, you can see EVERYTHING this gorgeous mountain-top city has to offer, including the lake the small town is named after. You can get directions and a map to these hikes from the local Visitor Center at 630 Bartlett Road in the Village area.

Biking on the Alpine Pedal Path

Biking on the Alpine Pedal Path

If you’re looking for a trail with a little less exertion, you will want to look at taking a walk along “The Alpine Peddle Path” or “The Woodland Trail” which will bring you up close to nature but not so out-of-breath. You can even bring a stroller or wheelchair along the paved Alpine Path so everyone of any age can enjoy the surrounding beauty. Here’s a tip: Try going at sunset and bring your camera! The colors that play off the water are gorgeous all year round.

Another exciting way to see and enjoy Big Bear during Spring is by taking a helicopter tour. Located at the Big Bear City airport, “Helicopter Big Bear” is the #1 aerial touring agency in town. You can choose a trip starting at 15 minutes or more – and if you have a fear of heights – it’s worth having your heart jump into your mouth for this spectacular view! You’ll experience the excitement of a life time from prices starting only at $35 per person. Your family and friends will definitely be able to witness the way Spring sprouts up among the Valley from views you can only find at this very unique and liberating Big Bear Lake attraction.

Something the kids will love and enjoy beyond springtime, is the “Gold Rush Mining Adventures” located in the heart of Big Bear Lake. This enjoyable little adventure for young and old-er is likely to be the new favorite spot in town and on your next itinerary. You’ll have the chance to mine for gold, gems, rare fossils and geodes during your mining adventure with an expert guide – and you even get to keep your treasures! The shop even includes a wooden water-wheel and sluice. Some minerals are large enough to have cut and primed into your very own jewelry!

kids spring activities Big Beara

Kids mining for treasure in Big Bear.

If you want to see nature bloom and springtime pop with new colors, look no further than taking a tour on a zip line! Action Tours are located in the heart of Big Bear Lake and offer various tours depending on the time of season. In spring, their zip line tours prove to be the most popular and more scenic adventures around. Participation on a tour requires general training and spending 2-3 hours suspended on a zip line among the trees and pines in the San Bernardino forested areas. The tree colors and flowers in nature will never look better up close and personal during a zip tour as you suspend high in the air and bounce from track to track. As you make your journey, your helpful guide will teach you the history of nature as you explore the beauty that Big Bear has sprung during this up close and personal tour.

The Discovery Center is a forest institution that upholds the wildlife and nature statistics from years past and for years going forward. The Big Bear Discovery Center offers a hands-on approach to teaching future generations the importance of preserving and respecting the beauty of Big Bear Lake’s forests and the nature worldwide in an effort to keep the earth healthy and plentiful for generations new and old. That being said, the Big Bear Discovery Center offers a children’s play and learning park, free nature walks, guided outdoor tours and a in-door mini museum for anyone whom passes through the doors. They take donations that will help support Big Bear’s Spring and other seasons, along with helpful guides to help map out your forest adventures.

Those beautiful shores of Big Bear Lake will be calling to you! Before the summertime hits and the popularity of fishing blooms, take advantage now by grabbing or renting some gear and start fishing! Spectacular views are not your only treat – without a larger amount of fisherman occupying the shoreline means there’s a better chance that you could catch a bass or trout. If you don’t care to fish there’s still the popular snow sports available! Not only does the Springtime weather give you a boost from the city heat, but at cooler temperatures, you can also enjoy skiing and wearing minimal gear to stay warm – I’ve even spotted a tourist our two snowboarding in a t-shirt before! Spring weather is just so great – and if you are up visiting for a day of hiking – keep your eyes peeled for the blooming wildflowers and animal life throughout your forest adventure.

Big Bear Lake is one of my favorite places to visit – during springtime or otherwise – and I hope it’s yours too!

25 Things to Do in Big Bear Lake with Kids in the Summer

by Jayme Kennedy

August 1, 2018

 

If you’re anything like me, you typically think of winter when it comes to Big Bear Lake—skiing at Snow Summit, snowboarding at Bear Mountain and drinking hot chocolate. But, guess what: Big Bear and Big Bear Lake really come to life in the spring and summer. My family and I had the chance to visit the area recently and we were blown away by the bustling mountain town and all it has to offer—think water slides, ziplining and pirate ship tours. Plus, the weather was perfect, the people were lovely and the kids slept soundly every night after days packed full of adventure. If you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway (or even a day trip!), look no further than Big Bear Lake in California—it’s only two hours from Los Angeles. Here are 25 things to do on your family’s trip.


1. While at Magic Mountain, make time for go-karts and mini-golf. The go-kart track is small, but you get plenty of spins around the asphalt. And the mini-golf course is surprisingly difficult!

2. It was in the mid- to high-80s when we were in Big Bear Lake (those summer temps are perfect for outdoor activities!), so obviously we had to take a few turns down the water slide. Located at Magic Mountain, the Alpine water slide is the perfect way to cool down on a hot day. Two twisty slides take riders through turns and dips, before they splash into a heated pool at the bottom.

3. Try the Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain! Ride a mini sky chair up to the top of the hill, then settle yourself into a bobsled and careen down the cement track as it winds its way down to the bottom. You control the speed of your own sled with the control handle. The sleds can fit two people, so they’re perfect for parents to ride with their little ones.



Bluff Lake Reserve


4. Fly through the trees on a zipline with Action Tours! The three-hour zipline tour starts with an off-road safari Jeep ride and includes nine different high-speed ziplines.

5. Fill up those hungry bellies with a stop at Saucy Mama’s Pizzeria in the Village. They have delicious hand-tossed pizza for the kiddos and ice-cold beer on tap for the parents.

6. Rent a kayak or canoe and paddle out to see Boulder Bay. The park has bathrooms, picnic tables, and a fishing dock.

7. If it’s thrills you seek, head to Snow Summit and take a mountain bike down one of their downhill bike trails. Bikes are available for rent if you didn’t bring your own. And there are beginner trails for youngsters, too.

8. Get up close and personal with mountain wildlife at the Big Bear Alpine Zoo. You’ll see everything from arctic foxes to black bears, and they even have a reptile house!



Bluff Lake Reserve


9. Head over to Paddles and Pedals and rent some bikes for a nice family ride along the conveniently located pedal paths. They even have kids’ tow trailers for small children who can’t ride on their own.

10. Or rent a stand-up paddle board and float around Big Bear Lake! The shop is located right by the shore, providing easy access to serene lake floating.

11. Stop in at Ben and Jerry’s in the Village for an ice-cold treat after a day outdoors! Ben and Jerry’s stores are the only shops that test each batch of their delicious ice cream for pesticides and chemicals, so you know that every bite and lick is pure and natural.

12. Looking for some fun on the farm? Look no further than Bear Valley Farms, which offers horseback riding, a petting zoo and tractor-pulled hay rides.

13. For an authentic souvenir to take home, hit up Gold Rush Mining Adventures and make the kiddos work for their treasures! They can strike it rich (in memories) with everything from gold to gems and geodes.



Bluff Lake Reserve


14. Head out onto the water in a pontoon from Holloway’s Marina. These easy-to-drive water boats can seat up to 14 people and lounging on one is a great way to spend an afternoon on Big Bear Lake.

15. If you’ve got some water sports lovers, consider renting a jet ski or two from Holloway’s. They have jet skis and WaveRunners that fit one to three people.

16. Have a beach day in the mountains at any one of the great swimming spots along the shore! We loved wading in the waters around China Island (Garstin Island). Thrill-seekers can climb up the rock formations and jump into the cool waters below.

17. See Big Bear from a bird’s eye view on the Sky Chair at Snow Summit. This leisurely ride takes you a mile up to the summit at 8,200-feet elevation and the views will take your breath away. Don’t forget to purchase a lunch voucher for a gourmet Mediterranean or BBQ lunch at the top of the mountain.

18. Once you disembark the chair on the summit, head to the right and take the Mountain Loop hiking trail around the top. This easy trail is perfect for beginners and little legs (my eight- and four-year-old hiked it in sneakers!), and the views on the lookouts are worth it.



Bluff Lake Reserve


19. For a delicious meal on a cozy patio, hit up Nottingham’s Tavern, located next to the Robinhood Resort. Go for the prime rib if you visit on the weekend.

20. Of course, no visit to Big Bear Lake would be complete without a stop at the North Pole Fudge and Ice Cream Company! Lines can get long, but the salty-sweet fudge is worth the wait.

21. Speaking of lines, breakfast can get a bit crazy in the Village, and the early birds really do get the worms! Make it a point to stop at the Teddy Bear Restaurant and Grizzly Manor Café. The huge portions at Grizzly Manor will get your day started right. My crew is still dreaming of the brown sugar bacon from Teddy Bear!

22. Once your kids’ bellies are full, let them burn off some energy with rock-wall climbing or bungee-jumping at the basecamp at Snow Summit. Don’t worry, the bungee-jumping isn’t off a cliff.

23. You must take the littles on a pirate ship tour of Big Bear Lake. The Time Bandit does regular jaunts around the lake, with the Captain telling his passengers all about the rich history of Big Bear. This was my kids’ favorite adventure of our weekend!



Bluff Lake Reserve


24. Hook a big one on a fishing excursion with Big Bear Charter Fishing. The licensed, professional guides will help as much or as little as you need, and all gear is provided.

25. See Big Bear from a different point of view on an off-road excursion with Big Bear Jeep Experience. Guests drive the vehicle and follow the guide along trails and roads and over rocks and crevices! They have trails suitable for beginners that can be completed in about an hour and a half.

 

Original Post can be found here: https://www.mommynearest.com/edition/los-angeles/article/25-things-to-do-in-big-bear-lake-with-kids-in-the-summer

 

15 Reasons to Plan a Group Trip to Big Bear, California

photo: Treehouse Vibes

While Southern California is known for its year-round sunny weather, cool waves and palm trees swaying in the breeze, it’s also home to one of the only places in the country where a two hour drive inland will bring you from a beach to a beautiful snowy basin. Big Bear is a charming alpine town, nestled neatly in the San Bernardino mountains, once a gold mining mecca and now a quick getaway from it all. It’s been a sleepy, nostalgic throwback of a town, perfect for remembering and reliving a longed for era while enjoying plenty of skiing and snowboarding fun, but recently, it’s been given new life by the efforts of some extraordinarily stylish folks.

Here’s 15 spots to stay, places to eat and things to do proving Big Bear is the perfect place for your next family or group getaway.

Reporter: Katie David                 

              

Photo: Treehouse Vibes

Stay at Treehouse Vibes

Big Bear Lake, California

 

This mid-century modern-inspired cabin boasts the National Forest as it’s backyard, giving it those as-advertised “treehouse vibes.” It’s also tastefully decorated and upgraded with modern mid-century furniture for you and all your friends to relax and enjoy.

 

Photo: hannahjoyyyy

Grab Quick Bites at Big Bear Local or Amangela’s Sandwich

Big Bear Lake, California

If you’re looking for an “island state of mind” in the mountains, you’ve come to the right place at Big Bear Local. Surfer Sanoe Lake and her husband invite you to cruise thru and enjoy California island style grinds in the heart of Big Bear. Order fresh caught poke bowls accompanied by a “Tropical Gangster” and followed by a sweet treat like the “Tiki Bread,” a royal Belgian waffle topped with house made coconut amaretto whip and coconut mac nut syrup. If you’re craving a sandwich, you will find a beautiful array of delicious sammies and homemade bread at Amangela’s Sandwich and Bagel House. Pro Tip: Take them ‘to-go’ for hiking, picnic or skiing adventures.

 

Photo: Noon Lodge

Stay at Noon Lodge With a Group

Big Bear Lake, California

 

Noon Lodge is a historic mountain retreat from the 1950’s featuring a collection of cabins and given new life by striking a delicate balance between vintage charm and modern design. There are fifteen cabins dotting the nostalgic property, ranging from cozy studios to spacious three-bedrooms, making this a perfect spot for large groups. It also boasts Big Bear’s largest swimming pool, making this a perfect winter or summertime retreat choice with your pals.

 

Photo: Tim Melideo

Eat Breakfast at Grizzly Manor Café

Big Bear Lake, California

 

Sometimes things are exactly what they seem. And thank goodness for that. Grizzly Manor Café is hearty, straightforward and straight-up delicious Americana fare. Tuck into a sweet spread at this rustic, local hotspot before hitting the slopes. Try the Fat Pat, the biscuits are buttery perfection

 

Photo: Rachael Lunghi

Stay at Bear Bitch Manor with Friends

Big Bear Lake, California

 

San Diego floralist Rachael Ann Lunghi of Lace and Likes and Siren Floral Co. decided to take her serious styling capabilities alongside her best friend, Betsey Ginn of SMIDTHAT to design the cabin of their dreams, Bear Bitch Manor. The best part? You can stay here. It’s what you’d expect from a professional stylist, creative director and florist – sweet corners, cozy nooks and a perfect balance between modern amenities and chic flea market finds perfect for a super fun friendcation.

 

Photo: jim_nomz

Eat Dinner at Saucy Mama’s Pizza or Masala Craft

Big Bear Lake, California

 

Boasting a beautiful brick facade and great-grandmother’s recipes, Saucy Mama’s is a special pizzeria making their own dough and sauce by hand each and every day. Stop by for a slice or two, cold beer on tap and a warm, welcoming outdoor patio. If you are in the mood for Indian food, head to Masala Craft. Located in the Village, this spot is a great go-to for those with dietary restrictions. They have an entire vegan menu which isn’t easy to come by in a small mountain town.

 

Photo: @han_lyons

Walk, Run, Skate or Bike the Alpine Pedal Path

Big Bear Lake, California

 

The Alpine Pedal Path is an easy 2.5 mile meandering asphalt path that wanders along the north shore of Big Bear Lake, starting at Stanfield Cutoff and ending at the Solar Observatory. This trail is perfect for those looking to have a group bike, run or skateboard adventure. It is also excellent for families that want to take a brisk stroller walk with a dose of serene scenery.

 

Photo: kadin_godwin

Stay at Eureka House with a Small Group

Big Bear Lake, California

 

We’ll save you the “Eureka!” jokes and get right to the point, this 1960’s Tom Yeager-designed cabin is filled to the brim with Eames, Nelson and Baughman furniture. The furniture surrounds a wood-burning fireplace looking out vaulted ceiling windows to Big Bear Lake. It’s nostalgic, rustic chic with modern amenities making for a great getaway in the woods with views to dream about. There are two cozy bedrooms making this an ideal spot for family travel or small groups.

 

Photo: O KOO RAN

Shop at O KOO RAN

Big Bear Lake, California

 

From that perfect Big Bear enamel souvenir mug, to California cool mix-and-match pieces, O KOO RAN is your one-stop Big Bear boutique. O KOO RAN is the phonetic spelling of the French adjective, “au courant.” Translated to English, au courant means up-to-date, fashionable, and well informed. Since 1988, this boutique has been offering a curated selection of on-trend clothing, shoes, accessories and gifts that represent a unique mountain resort aesthetic.

 

Photo: Sarah Ayon

Cocktails & Apps at 572 Social Kitchen & Lounge

Big Bear Lake, California

 

With twinkling lights, an expansive patio, warm, crackling fire pit, live music, delicious food and cold beer on tap, all you need to bring are your best friends. 572 Social Kitchen has the perfect recipe for a night out in this lovely alpine town. Nosh on the poke tacos, washed down with a rotating list of cold beers on tap and enjoy the lovely strains of live music during Wednesday’s “Local’s Night” where apps are half priced, pizza is $7 and martinis are $5.

 

Photo: @antonb887

Hit the Slopes at Snow Summit & Big Bear Mountain

Big Bear Lake, California

 

For many, a visit to Big Bear means skiing and snowboarding at one or both twin properties, Snow Summit and Big Bear Mountain. Snow Summit is a family-friendly 240 acres of skiable terrain and 31 trails of all ability levels with the option to ride at night. Bear Mountain is the bigger brother to Snow Summit with award winning terrain parks and 748 permitted acres. It’s also home to Southern California’s only halfpipes. Regardless of your age or ability, there’s snowy fun to be had for everyone.

 

Photo: @carolineartime

Go Hiking

Big Bear Lake, California

 

There are a ton of hiking and biking trails for both intermediate and more advanced hikers. The trails range from .6 miles to over 15 miles. If you and your crew are looking for an easy trail with lots of nature, start with the 1.5 mile Woodland Trail and take the self-guided tour where you will learn about botany, geology and the wildlife of this woodland area. For an intermediate hike try the 5 mile Cougar Crest Trail, where you will have a gentle uphill climb that will end at the juncture of the world-famous 2,600-mile long Pacific Crest Trail. Pro Tip: Buy an adventure parking pass, be prepared with hiking shoes and pre-plan plan your hike using this handy guide.

 

Photo: Big Bear Alpine Zoo

Visit the Big Bear Alpine Zoo

Big Bear Lake, California

 

The Big Bear Alpine Zoo is a rehabilitation facility offering injured, orphaned and imprinted wild animals a safe haven while they heal or permanent home if they are unable to survive on their own. Located next to a steep mountainous area of Big Bear Valley, its an adventure in and of itself. It’s a wonderful place for children to learn about animal rehabilitation or simply wile away an afternoon donating to a worthy cause. 90% of the animals at The Big Bear Alpine Zoo are released back into the wild after healing.

 

Photo: Grace Johnson

Get a Sugar Fix at OJ’s Donut House

Big Bear Lake, California

 

Is there anything more comforting or satisfying than a warm, buttermilk donut on a cold, snowy day? Make your donut run to OJ’s Donut House, where warm, sugary confections and cheesy, buttery croissants will alight your senses for an indulgent morning

 

Photo: OC Mom Blog

Go Tubing at Big Bear Snowplay

Big Bear Lake, California

 

What was once a ski hill known as Rebel Ridge, lies a wonderful tubing and sledding park for all ages. Take a “magic carpet” to the top of the hill (yes, that means no hiking) and race your pals down one of the high-speed snow tubes. It’s certainly a place that brings out the childlike snowy wonder in us all.

 

 

 

Author: The Venue Report

 

 

 

Bass Fishing in Big Bear Lake

Spring is here and is it time to get out on beautiful Big Bear Lake. Most people who have been up here and fished the lake know that Big Bear is a great Rainbow Trout lake. What a lot of people do not know is Big Bear Lake is also a great Bass fishery. Big Bear gets overlooked by most bass fishermen because they think it’s a trout lake and does not have big bass in it, well they are missing out. Bass Boat The bass on this lake do not see as much fishing pressure as other Southern California Lakes so you get more bites and opportunities to catch some. We have two species of bass in the lake, the northern strain of Largemouth and Smallmouth. Both species handle the cooler water temperatures well and are doing great in the lake. The largemouth average size is 2 to 4lbs and it is not uncommon to catch a 5 to 6lber. The smallmouth average 2 to 2.5lbs and every year that average is going up. The bass fishing is good in April through November but the spring is when it is at its best. Here are some quick tips for bass fishing on Big Bear Lake this spring.

When the water temperatures get to 45-50 degrees the bass start moving out of their deep winter hiding spots and start looking for warmer water and food. I focus on two things in the spring; docks and rocks. During the warm spring days the docks and rocks retain a lot of warmth from the sun and are attractive hiding spots for the bass.

Location on the lake is also important, the fish will start moving shallow on the main part of the lake and as the weather and water warms they will start moving back into the bays. All the bass don’t move at the same time and will be in different stages in different parts of the lake.

Many different lures will work this time of year but here are my top two choices: Skirted bass jig and a drop shot with a finesse worm. For colors, browns with orange or red work great this time of year and my favorite soft plastic color is green pumpkin.

SONY DSC

Smallmouth Bass

Bass like shallower water which makes it easier to target from the bank but if you want to get out on a boat and cover more water Big Bear Charter Fishing provides guided bass fishing charters. You can find more information on their trips as well as current fishing reports at http://www.bigbearfishing.com/ or call 909-866-2240. Big Bear Charter Fishing also hosts bass fishing tournaments on Big Bear Lake, tournament dates and results can be found at BigBear.com.

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass

Please remember to catch and release when bass fishing. The lake does not get stocked with bass so by practicing catch and release you allow the fish to get bigger and reproduce. This is very important in maintaining the bass population in Big Bear Lake so everyone can enjoy catching them. The bass fishing is the best I have seen in years so head up to Big Bear and I will see you on the water.

New Year’s Resolutions

Keeping promises to yourself. Here are a few ideas to help you maintain your New Year’s Resolutions while you’re visiting Big Bear.

Get to the gym. Gyms all over America have a surge of well-intentioned sign-ups starting the first week of January each year. If you are visiting and want to stick to your workout schedule, you can get a day pass at several of the local Big Bear gyms like Body Tek Fitness, Wolf Total Fitness, Mountain Yoga, Big Bear Yoga or Big Bear Pilates.

 

Hit the slopes! What better way to get outdoors, spend time with family and have a great workout. Big Bear Mountain Resort

 

Go ride a bike. Bear Valley Bikes has year-round rentals, parts and repairs available. Road bike and mountain bike rentals are available most of the year and fat tire bike rentals are there for snow-covered trail rides.

 

Take a hike. Beautiful trails with varying elevation gains offer you the choice of a peaceful walk through the woods, or a more strenuous trek up one of the steeper “booty buster” trails.  

For healthy eats while you’re on the mountain, check out the delicious menu options at The Local. For fresh salads, sandwiches (gluten free options) and smoothies check out Amangela’s Sandwich and Bagel House. The Himalayan has a full menu of Indian food offering several vegetarian options and a couple of Paleo-friendly items.

 

Bring your latest read. You can curl up in front of the fireplace or find a quiet spot in the forest to dive into that novel you’ve been neglecting since Christmas. Need help choosing a book? NY Times Top Ten Bestsellers

 

Travel Local. Everyone would love to travel more. We all have big ideas about faraway places we’d love to go explore, but there is so much beauty here locally. Come visit Big Bear for a truly beautiful getaway that’s close to home.

 

Focus on family. Helping create lasting memories for your family is what we are all about. Big Bear Lake is a family friendly vacation destination. We encourage families to try new things or build on existing skills while skiing, hiking, fishing or just exploring Big Bear in general.

Inspired Big Bear Shopping

Shopping. In Big Bear. In The Village. At the ski resorts. From Big Bear souvenirs to beautiful works of art; unique mountain fashion or something beautiful for your home. You’ll find inspiration while shopping in Big Bear Lake. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

The Village in Big Bear Lake. With a nod to mountain living, in an alpine winter setting, you’ll find trendy fashion, hand-crafted jewelry, local arts and crafts, toy stores, candy shops, and beautiful gifts for the kitchen and bath.

Ski Shops. Big Bear has a lot of them. Look for the latest in ski and snowboard gear. Find goggles, gloves, sunglasses and the hottest skiwear to kick-off the winter season.

Mountain Bike Shops. Big Bear has become a mecca for mountain biking. Local shops carry mountain bikes, fat tire bikes and road bikes along with all the accessories needed to thrill your two-wheeled techies.

Big Bear Sporting Goods Stores. Look for specialty fishing gear, hunting gear, camping gear and outerwear. Perfect for the person who enjoys actively exploring the great outdoors.

Wooden Bear Carvings. Big Bear is known for custom carved wooden bears.These artisans also create wooden eagles, raccoons and elaborate totems. Perfect for vacation home owners and people who love truly unique local crafts.

Gift Certificates – The list is long. Grab gift certificates for the ski lifts or snow tubing. Treat someone to a helicopter, zipline or Jeep tour. Give a gift certificate for dining at one of our local restaurants. If you really want to splurge, a night or two of lodging in Big Bear would be an amazing gift for friends or family to enjoy a winter getaway in the mountains.

The Village in Big Bear has free parking with over 600 parking spaces in five city lots located on Bartlett Rd., Knickerbocker Rd., Pennsylvania Ave., Alden Rd. and behind the Oakside Restaurant.