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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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!

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.

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.

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.


Winter Guide | Affordable Things To Do In Big Bear

When you think of a snow-filled winter vacation in Southern California  the activities that come to mind are skiing and snowboarding. The ski resorts are great, but I want you to know  there is so much more to discover when the snow flies in Big Bear! Here are some affordable winter activities to help make your next vacation even more memorable!


Snowshoe In Big Bear! Get outdoors and spend a day in the quiet solitude of nature. Snowshoeing is a wonderful winter activity for couples, friends or the entire family. Try out forest trails like Town Trail or Bristlecone where you can snowshoe at your own pace surrounded by the beauty of the forest in winter. It’s affordable winter fun at $15 per person, per day for snowshoe rentals and there is NO lift ticket! Rent snowshoes with poles at Goldsmith’s Sports or Bear Valley Bikes. Your rental company will point out the best trails and provide maps for your new adventure. Please Note: Snowshoeing is weather dependent.


Winter Hiking in the San Bernardino Mountains. There are four beautiful hiking trails on the North Shore of Big Bear Lake that are perfect for all ages in the winter.


Alpine Pedal Path (Very Easy, 5 miles, RT), Woodland Trail (Easy, 1.5 mile loop), Discovery Center Nature Walk (Very Easy, ½ mile loop) and Cougar Crest Trail ( Moderate – Difficult, 4 miles, RT). Wear layered clothing and good walking shoes, bring plenty of water, use sunscreen and always check the weather forecast if you are planning to be in the forest during winter months. Hiking is fun – Hiking is free.


Snowballs, Snowmen and Snow Forts in Big Bear. Get rowdy with a good old-fashioned snowball fight and help the kids build a snow fort to protect their territory! Build a snowman to stand guard over your fort.  This is one of the best free activities for all ages! Snow is easy to find in picnic areas or city parks… especially after a storm hits the valley! One of the favorite free snow play areas is Aspen Glen Picnic Area off of Mill Creek Rd. just west of the Village. Make sure to purchase a $5 Adventure Pass for parking at Aspen Glen Picnic Area.  Adventure Passes are available at the Big Bear Visitors Center at 630 Bartlett Rd. Caution: Snow sledding in the forest may have hidden obstacles like fallen tree branches or rocks. Please be careful if you choose to sled in the forest.


Snow Tubing in Big Bear Lake. Winter vacation memories are made here!  At Big Bear Snow Play and Alpine Slide a ‘magic carpet’ takes you, the kids and their tubes to the top of the snow-covered runs… a parent’s dream! An Unlimited Day Pass is only $30 per person and children 6 and under ride free with a paying adult. Enjoy hours of fun snow tubing, then take a break to warm up indoors with a hot cocoa and snacks. Or, pack a lunch and use one of the picnic tables in the viewing areas for a fun family outing. Alpine Slide and Big Bear Snow Play are the safest snow tubing areas and have plenty of snow all winter long! Caution: Snow sledding in the forest may have hidden obstacles like fallen tree branches or rocks. Please be careful if you choose to sled in the forest.


Off-Peak Ski and Snowboard at Big Bear Mountain Resorts. Want a more affordable option for skiing and snowboarding this season? Check out the prices at Snow Summit and Bear Mountain for off-peak, half-day or night skiing. Off-peak is usually during the week and non-holiday periods and offers lower rates. Half-day starts at noon and goes until 4 p.m. daily. Night skiing is available only at Snow Summit. Night skiing hours are 3 p.m. – 8 p.m.  Take a “snow” day and bring the kids up during the week. Shorter lines, less traffic and big savings!


Take a stroll through Big Bear Lake Village. The Village is always a fun place for shopping and dining on a cold, wintry day. Let the scents of fresh brewed coffee and sweet cinnamon rolls surround you as you browse through quaint boutiques and shops. Maybe you’ll find a souvenir or two to take home or the perfect holiday gift for someone special. Outdoor fire pits attract visitors looking for a warm spot to take a break while others dart into one the local pubs for a bite to eat and a cold-weather cocktail.


Guided Nature Walks, Nature Crafts, Children’s Story Time and Animal Tracking at the Big Bear Discovery Center. Most of these activities are free or very low cost. In the winter, weather providing, they offer Eco-Snowshoe Tours for about $30 per person. An experienced guide will lead a tour group to one of our forest trails for a few hours of snowshoeing and a little bit of forest education. Snowshoes are provided by the Mountains Foundation. Check their calendar for upcoming tours and book early to reserve your spot.


Big Bear Alpine Zoo is the only zoo in the U.S. devoted to alpine animal rescue and rehabilitation. Big Bear Alpine Zoo offers wild animals a safe place to heal or permanently stay if they are unable to make it in on their own. See grizzly bears, black bear, snow leopards and cougars. Snowy owls, majestic bald eagles and playful raccoons are just a few of the other beautiful animals you can see during your visit. Admission is $12 per adult (11 yrs. and up), $9 per child (3 to 10 yrs.) or seniors (60+) and free for ages 2 and under.


Affordable Night Life in Big Bear.  Are you a night owl? On Friday and Saturday nights you can listen to free country western music and kick up your boots with some line dancing at Wyatt’s Saloon or check out the weekend entertainment at our newest Village hot spot, The Oakside Restaurant & Bar. Thursday nights you can go to The Pines Lakefront for cocktails, appetizers and free Jazz. The Cave is a fun spot for live concerts on the weekends.  If bars aren’t your thing try glow bowling at the Bowling Barn or lazer tag at Big Bear Funplex for big fun with low prices.

Best Lodging in Big Bear. The most affordable lodging rates in Big Bear during the winter will be mid-week, non-peak days. Book early for weekends and holidays because everyone wants to be here once it snows! Hot Tip: Always check out the specials on our lodging page.


Pet Friendly Vacations in California

Big Bear has pet-friendly vacations during all four seasons for you and your four-legged friends.

Dogs need vacations too and Big Bear Lake offers a variety of pet friendly lodging and dining options!

In The Village of Big Bear there are pet-friendly dining patios, some with their own doggie menus. Nottinghams, Amangelas Sandwich & Bagel House, Peppercorn Grille, Oakside Restaurant, Royal Thai Café, Big Bear Lake Brewing Company, The Black Kat, and Evergreen Restaurant all offer pet-friendly patios, weather permitting.

What makes a canine companion happier than a long walk in the woods? All trails in Big Bear Valley allow dogs to come along for a trek into the forest. Be sure to hold onto the leash though, because most dogs are known to give chase when they see the grey squirrels and chipmunks scampering along the trails. Town Trail, Woodland Interpretive Trail and the Alpine Pedal Path are three dog-walking favorites.

Fairly level and all with beautiful views. If your pooch likes a little more of a challenge, check out Pine Knot Trail or Castle Rock Trail. Both are gorgeous pet-friendly trails with pines, oaks, seasonal creeks and views of the lake.

The marinas in Big Bear allow dogs to ride along on pontoon boat and fishing boat rentals, and there are open beaches along the shoreline where you can throw a tennis ball or Frisbee into the lake and watch your buddy splash into the water as they chase after it. Bark Park is a special section of Meadow Park built specifically for your four-legged friends to socialize with other fur babies. Pack a picnic, enjoy the park and let your dog run free with no lead. One section is for small dogs and another is for larger dogs with a variety of play activities in a protected area where they can run free and make new friends.

Big Bear Lake welcomes pets of all shapes and sizes!  If you are planning a mountain lake escape, there is no need to leave your four-legged family members behind.

Big Bear Lake Opens for the 2017 Season!

2A3K4039Family Has a Good DayBig Bear Lake is open and the 2017 season promises to the best we have seen in years. The lake is up over five feet from last year and we still have a lot more snow in the mountains that will produce good runoff, filling the lake even more.

We have already had our first Big Bear Bass Tournament and the catches were really impressive. There are plenty more ways to reel in big bucks this 2017 fishing season. Check out the schedule here. The Public Launch Ramps are open for all vessels, motorized and non-motorized. Both ramps are located on the North Shore. The East Ramp is close to Stanfield cutoff, near the Discovery Center and the West Ramp is closer to the Big Bear Dam, west of Fawnskin. Launching your vessel is free, but your vessel will need to pass inspection for the Quagga mussel. You will also need to have a Lake Use Permit. Permits can be purchased daily, multiple days or annually. For launching information in day use and permits visit Big Bear Municipal Water District.

Kayak01-CathleenCalkinst.ashxThe six marinas have everything you need to have a great time on the lake. Get your fishing license, fishing gear, bait and more. Rent a pontoon boat for family fun on Big Bear Lake or try a fishing boat for adventure exploring the fishing cove in Big Bear.

Spend an afternoon canoeing or kayaking in the fresh mountain air. Enjoy sweeping views of the mountains as you paddle along the shoreline. See the early blooms of local wildflowers and budding oak trees. If you’re a bird enthusiast you’ll see pelicans, cranes and maybe even bald eagles along the shore.

New to fishing or new to fishing Big Bear Lake? Schedule a guided fishing charter to find all the secret spots where the bass and trout are biting. We have some amazing ‘fish whisperers’ up here. These guys know every nook and cranny of Big Bear Lake and guarantee that you will hook a fish on your charter.

End your day on one of our relaxing 90-minute narrated tours of Big Bear Lake on the Miss Liberty Paddlewheel, Big Bear Queen, or Big Bear Pirate Ship.