Explore the Great Outdoors for Mother’s Day Weekend

My Mother loves to be outdoors and the fresh air in Big Bear is unreal! There isn’t pollution anywhere in sight, clear blue skies and views as lovely as any. Since Mother’s Day is right around the corner on Sunday, May 8, 2016, I wanted to write about a VERY special trip I took my own Mother on a few years ago for Mother’s Day weekend. Even if your Mother is into the finer things in life, likes to relax or is into exploring the outdoors, you’ll find a little something for everyone in this town.

As parents, we raise our children with the hope that they will remember the lessons we have taught them and hope they never forget our love for them and they for us. Many mothers are showered with presents or wine, handmade cards and fancy dinners. If you have never visited the small, alpine town of Big Bear Lake in Southern California, then this holiday may be your best chance! I knew I wanted to stay the weekend with my Mom and treat her to a few nice meals and activities. We live “off-the-mountain” as the locals say, in Riverside. Big Bear Lake is a short drive compared to most popular destinations. About two hours from Los Angeles or San Diego, you’ll soon be in the good company of fresh pine trees, a gorgeous lake and a friendly mountain community with plenty of charm. You’ll want to return for every special occasion!

Get Outdoors this Mother's Day

Get Outdoors this Mother’s Day

We made a point when we arrived in town to stop at the local Visitor’s Center in the Big Bear Village, located on 630 Bartlett Road. The very nice visitor specialists gave us a local map and guide, along with a few restaurant choices as well. We then checked into our hotel down the street, and my Mom was in love with the rustic charm of the place. Being vegetarian, we opted for dinner at The Himalayan restaurant, which was within walking distance. My Mom remarked that the town was so quaint and cute – definitely far from the “LA Vibe” that many like to take a break from now and then. We enjoyed our dinner and the service, taking a walk down to the lake and bundling up. When we got back to our room, we definitely used the fireplace after some initial help from front desk. We stayed warm and toasty, falling asleep among the stars above us in a vacation spot like no other.

That next morning, we checked out the continential breakfast and decided we wanted to see some good views and spend the day hiking. Mom loved “The Woodland Trail” which is a hike across the lake, about ten minutes from downtown without traffic. We applied extra sunblock that morning, and after tackling the loop, we walked up to The Discovery Center which is also where the Cougar Crest trail starts. Infamously, it leads up to The Pacific Crest Trail that was featured in many books, and most recently the movie, “Wild”. My mom loved the book and enjoyed pretending she was taking the trail for the long haul. Some other hikers and locals told us to check out “Castle Rock Trail” back toward and past downtown. Apparently, you could see a view that was unmatched. We stopped at local-favorite “Amangela’s” and bought a couple sandwiches and drinks for the top of the hike. We found the turnout and parked with little difficulty for this trail. Over an hour later, we proudly reached the top destination. Wow! You could see the local ski resorts, the giant lake, the mountains… everything! It was the best view in town (or so I thought)! We nibbled our sandwiches and toasted each other on our success. This was turning out to be a weekend not just to celebrate Mom, but one of new experiences for me as well. Before we settled into the evening, I had secretly booked Mom into a private spa package! We walked to the “Village Spa” and she was appropriately pampered by the staff for over an hour while I visited the little shops in The Village, also finding the perfect necklace for her OTHER Mother’s Day gift. In my family, you give your Mom gifts AND you do your best to take them someplace nice. As her only daughter, I get that honor every year! After her massage she was nicely relaxed as we strolled up to The Cave Events Center where they have the best in cover bands, comedy and even magic shows. We decided to go back to the room thst night, but keep in mind that this upcoming 2016 Mother’s Day Weekend will offer the “Hollywood U2″ tribute Saturday night that will get Mom ready to party and celebrate HER big day! I’m sure any Mom loves to recall her pre-kids, full of energy concert days! She adored the necklace, by the way.

Sunset Helicopter Tour

Sunset Helicopter Tour

The next morning, I had arranged the main event: a helicopter tour over Big Bear Lake! At around 9 AM I got Mom into the car and we took the short drive into Big Bear City, the more industrial part of town, with a hometown feel in the air and a car repair shop on almost every corner along with a couple of thrift stores we stopped at later in the day. I pulled into the Big Bear City Airport (for private use only, commercial flights are not supplied) and was directed to the office of Captain Roy and company. All very chatty and kind, we learned that they are the only secure company doing the tours in the area. After a short safety video and instructions, we loaded into the small helicopter. My Mom needed reassurance, and Captain Roy gently talked her fear of flying right out of her! The views we got to see were beyond spectacular – the world was still waking up all below us, and we could see as far as our eyes would carry us. After landing, the staff wished us a very happy Mother’s Day and my Mom was exhilarated! Of course, there are more than one ways to give Mom an adrenaline rush in Big Bear Lake: go on zip lining adventures, or she can sharpen her car-pool-skills with a whirl around the go-Karts or taking a tour in an off-road Jeep. You can even climb trees in Big Bear Lake! If your goal is to get away from the screaming children or just to get a moment to yourself, perhaps take a look at any of the fine dining locales, such as Evergreen or The Pines, both of which offer bars and excellent views. Local favorites such as “The Discovery Center” offer wildflower tours as well as water tours with Canoes or Kayaks to bring her back to nature.

You’re Mom. You’re special. Take some time for yourself and take a break from cleaning up those messy lunches and forget for a few minutes all the traffic to reach the big game. It’s your day. It’s time to have your day be in Big Bear Lake.

Big Bear’s Top Fishing Tournaments 2016

Big Bear Lake offers you a fishing adventure unlike any other! Big Bear’s lake basin is situated at the top of a 7,000′ valley and surrounded by tall, epic pines and beautiful mountains. From April to early October, you can experience our prime fishing season and annual fishing tournaments.

summer-packages-blogWith the popularity of the sport soaring higher than ever, there are more and more events added annually to the schedule of fun fishing events in the Big Bear Lake Valley. There are numerous prizes to be had for different ages, cache of caught fish and even more! The adventures are endless! Here is a list of the currently headlining fishing tournaments in Big Bear Lake for the 2016 fishing season:

May
The May Trout Classic Presented by The Hall Family
Located at Big Bear Marina, this infamous tournament will be offered for various ages and weights of fish running on May 14th and 15th. Visit their website for more information!

June
The Fishin’ for 50K Tournament – 5 TAGGED TROUT WORTH $10,000 EACH – WIN UP TO $50,000 PLUS MORE WAYS TO WIN THAN EVER BEFORE!
One of the more popular events to ever hit Big Bear Lake, the 50K took a break last year but is back again this year on June 11-12 and better than ever! As advertised in the title, you could be the lucky fisher man (or fisherwoman) to take home of tagged fish worth $50,000 bucks. Other prizes for various tagged fish and level of competition will be awarded for the different participant levels. Limited amount of entries so register today on bigbear.com.

Aaron’s Annual Big Bear Bass Tournament
Don’t miss the only bass fishing tournament series in Big Bear on June 11, July 23, August 30, 2016 with a Two-Day Tournament of Champions September 17-18, 2016. Visit website to register.

13th Annual Carp Round-up

On June 18th, the annual Carp Round-up is back so grab a partner! Two-person teams participate to catch as many carp as possible with either a pole or a bow to win cash. Prizes awarded in multiple categories including: 1st-3rd place shoreline team, 1st-3rd place boating team, biggest and smallest fish and more. Visit website to register.

October
Big Bear Lake October TroutfesT
Closing out the season, Western Outdoor News presents the Big Bear Lake October TroutfesT on October 1-2 and offers various prizes. This fishing tournament is a true treat for fishing enthusiasts out there. Visit website for more info and to register.

Big Bear Lake isn’t just a camping and fishing haven in the San Bernardino Mountains, it is also home to a small community of people, activities, forest life and extensive outdoor events and adventures. Due to having over 320+ days of sunshine a year, guests and outdoor enthusiasts alike flock to this small mountain destination to experience the fun of all four seasons! Fishing can actually occur year round depending on a fisherman’s equipment, but if you plan to visit during the peak season, you’ll find the lake as cool as ever. One can fish during the winter season, but lake access is prohibited unless you have special ace equipment – but you can still ice-fish – from the ample shoreline. Of course, with spring and summer just around the corner this April, let’s take a look at some of the best areas to fish at and the most popular events for any fisherman visiting Big Bear Lake, California.

DSC_1914If you are bringing kids or the whole family up for a day of fishing, you may want to consider using a Charter Fishing Service. These hands-on tours come pre-packaged with a guide, boat and equipment along with the knowledge on where the fishing are biting! The only item you’ll need additionally is a fishing license should you be over 16 years of age. Kids fish for free! The per person price varies with each charter service, but the use of the boat and the experience of a Big Bear expert guide really makes this experience special. You could always rent your own boat and try fishing off the sidelines, but it always sems to take a lot of time (daylight) to get to a spot the whole family can agree on as well as strining all the poles up and having them ready to cast. The benefit of a guided service is definitely their assistance and time! It can be difficult for anyone to catch a fish or two on the first try, but any of the Big Bear Charter’s will definitely do their best to guarantee someone will catch a bite on their watch! The Big Bear Charter Services can be found with this list on BigBear.com.

If you are looking for an affordable vacation, and are looking for a leisurely day of fishing, you can still experience the best Big Bear Lake has to offer! For a small cost, you can rent all the fishing equipment you’ll need such as rods, lines, bait and you can purchase a daily fishing license for the over 16 guests you may have in your party. You can do all this and more at any of the local marinas, plus, you can even find fishing licenses at local sporting goods store or ‘Kmart’ as well as fishing equipment for purchase instead of renting.

Location, location, location. Most seasoned fishermen will relay that the quieter the area is the better of areas when it comes to casting and trying to nab a big ‘ole fish. Big Bear Lake is peppered with great areas to shoreline fish without a costly boat rental. If you have kids, the popular but less quiet of options would be from “The Stanfield Cutoff” bridge toward the East end of town just before you drive into Big Bear City. At the bridge, you’ll find it’s parted by two large bodies of water perfect to fish in. You’ll be required to park off the side of the road, so be sure to purchase an Adventure Pass for your vehicle (more on the passes below). Also be aware, if you have children fishing and/or wish to help anyone with the pole or reel – without a proper license – Lake Patrol can choose to fine you $200 or more for the discretion if they spot you. Please be safe and knowledgeable about the lake when you use it for fishing or other forms of entertainment in the area.

Upcoming Events to Get You Active in the Great Outdoors

Big Bear Lake in the gorgeous mountains of Southern California truly offers an outdoor playground for all ages, year-round and many outdoor events during the spring and summer seasons.

There are various amounts of outside areas, including picnic and park zones, lakeside exploration, hiking paths and outdoor thrills. With summer just beginning to start, you’ll see that Big Bear is a great place for a day or weekend trip away from the city-life grind. Bubbling with charm and quaint tastes, you can explore the town and surrounding forest at your leisure. Big Bear Lake is also a convenient outdoor destination! Located only a couple hours from Los Angeles traffic or San Diego, you’ll soon learn the weather is cooler and the sky is clearer at 7,000 feet.

Fishing Tournament in Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake CA

If you are just starting your outdoor adventure in Big Bear Lake, have no fear if you need assistance! Located around the valley are locations specifically designed to help you map out a game plan of exciting tours and areas to explore – we recommend the following locations to speak to a local Big Bear specialist.

First, I recommend stopping at the Big Bear Visitors Center at 630 Bartlett Road in The Village. My family and I always visit the local Visitors Center when we travel to new places. This particular visitors center is one of the best I have encountered! The staff are charming and helpful – they will inform you of local events and offer you brochures on some of Big Bear’s most popular outdoor adventures. Don’t forget to sign their guestbook! Even if you don’t want to stop in, be sure to score a handy Big Bear Visitor’s Guide in the rack outside. Filled with local information and events, along with a color map, you will find yourself referring to it more than once during your stay.

The second option is located across the lake on the North Shore, you will be able to visit the Discovery Center. Having been established decades ago, to help preserve the forest, you’ll find a wealth of information here from a trained staff of volunteers. You can pick up off-road maps and buy permits here, including a campfire one. Since you are likely visiting Big Bear Lake to experience the outdoors, this is the perfect place to get started. The Discovery Center is also FUN – the kids will especially enjoy the outside exploration center! If needed, both of these locations also sell Adventure Passes.

You may be asking yourself – what is an “Adventure Pass”? Designed for the mountains and National Forest, these little red cards allow you to park your vehicle on specific land in the Big Bear Lake roads and valley. Offered by the day ($5/day) or annually ($30/annual), you will find this pass very useful to park for many of the hiking and bike trails. Remember, the rest of the parking locations in Big Bear Lake are FREE!

The hiking and biking trails you can check out in Big Bear Lake are some of the best in the state! Even the famous “Pacific Crest Trail” picks up from here. After you find the perfect trail on page 35 of the Visitor Guide, be sure to grab an Adventure Pass and some sunscreen, and be ready to be wowed by the majestic beauty the mountains showcase for you. You can also experience the lake! The trail “The Alpine Pedal Path” is the perfect walk – you can even bring bikes and strollers!

Ziplining is a fantastic outdoor adventure you can enjoy in the National forest with an expert guide! Spend a few minutes training and practicing at the starting point – tours can be up to three hours long! Adventure seekers will hang from the trees and glide from platform to platform as they zip along. Prices for the tour start at $120 per per person. Tours fill up quickly, so be sure to call Action Tours at 909-866-0390 or call a Big Bear Lake reservation agent at 1800-424-4232 (1800-4-BIGBEAR) today.

While you can venture off and explore, sometimes it’s even more fun to check out the events held around town! Sporting events can cover all seasons -winter and summer are the most popular vacation destination time periods. It doesn’t matter if you’re age or if you are visiting for the first or fourth time – the Big Bear Valley has something special for everyone whom wishes to partake in one of our many biking, cycling and paddling events for beginners and advance to get out there and have fun while experiencing the great outdoors!

With the upcoming summer and spring weather, let’s take a peek at all the outdoor events coming to Big Bear Lake:

June 12th – Holcomb Valley Trail Run

The Holcomb Valley continues to be a favorite spot among camping and adventure enthusists! Starting at the water of Big Bear Lake, this Trail Run brings runners views of scenic areas in Big Bear as they make their journey to the finish line. Races are 33 miles, 15 miles and 7 miles long and completely outdoors. This race tends to end up sold out – so sign up soon – please call (909) 633-6729 for more details.

June 18th – Big Bear Triathlon at Marina Resort
Challenge your running skills at 7,000 feet! Olympic Triathlon to start at 8:00 AM and Sprint Triathlon at 8:30 AM. Registration pickup and athlete check-in will begin on Friday June 17th at 4 PM.

July 9th – Big Bear Lake Paddlefest at Meadow Park
The 9th annual Big Bear PaddleFest is held on the South Shore of Big Bear Lake, offering lovely views of the area. The race will include: 5K Recreational Race, 10K Elite Race, 20K Around the Lake Challenge, Sprints and Relay Races. There will be music, sports and a boating expo at this popular event!

Big Bear Gran Fondo

Big Bear Gran Fondo

July 30th – Big Bear Gran Fondo / Grizzly 100 Races
This is a endurance mountain bike event with rides for all levels of participation. Riders challenge their biking abilities with distances of 20K, 30K, 70K and the big 100K race. All runs stop and start in The Village in gorgeous downtown Big Bear Lake. The 100 K is a National Ultra Endurance event. Professional mountain bike riders from all over the world will compete for points and prizes in this national series. Contact (909) 866-8000 for specific details.

August 6th – Tour De Big Bear Cycling Tour
Riders of all levels ditch the summer heat in favor of the mountain weather around Big Bear and Baldwin Lake for this race. Each Tour distance includes portions of the 2010 and 2012 AMGEN Tour of California and typically draws many fans to the area. For more information, including registration and course maps, please visit website at www.tourdebigbear.com

September 16th-17th – Kodiak 100 Ultra Trail Run / 50K+50 Mile Race in Village and Forest Trails
If you want a truly gorgeous Big Bear experience, look no further than these races – all of Big Bear will be on display! Held in September, the weather typically yields summer tempertures – perfect race weather! The 100K race starts on Friday at 12 Noon, the Front 50K at 12:01 PM. Saturday at 6 AM will be the 50 Mile Race start and 8 AM that same morning will be the Back 50K. Stay informed by checking out www.kodiak100ultramarathon.com

Big Bear North Shore Half Marathon 5K and 10K

Big Bear North Shore Half Marathon 5K and 10K

October 1st – Big Bear North Shore Half Marathon and 5K and 10K Runs
The 3rd Annual Big Bear North Shore Half Marathon 5K and 10K are held on Friday and Saturday. Additional race details can be found at www.bigbearnorthshorehalfmarathon.com along with registration links. This is mainly a flat course, starting at Business Center Dr. in the central area. The runners will head east over Stanfield Cut-off as well as the scenic highway, National Forest, the town of Fawnskin, the bald eagle sanctuary and ending with reverse race coursing.

Enjoy your year of adventure and visit Big Bear Lake for your next outdoor adventure!

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!

Fresh Snow on the Ground and Romance is in the Air

Romance is in the air and in bloom this winter season here in Big Bear Lake. Located just a couple hours’ drive from most major Southern California cities (Los Angeles, San Diego), Big Bear’s snow covered mountains provide the perfect setting to spark that romantic flame over the Valentines’ holiday weekend.

Big Bear Lake isn’t just for lovers – with an abundance of outdoor and recreational activities to spare – anyone and everyone can get into the spirit of finding themselves among Mother Nature all weekend long! As an avid outdoor-adventure-seeker I have always had a blast visiting Big Bear’s mountain community – and if you’re looking for romance, look no further than this great vacation destination spot at 7,000 feet!

Big Bear snowshoeing and hiking trails

Big Bear hiking trails

It’s time to take your loved one up to Big Bear Lake for a romantic viewpoint unlike the rest! Offering cascading mountain and lake views and hikes, epic tours that cross mountain ranges and an array of unique lodging and activities to treat yourself and your loved one – you’ll find yourself having a truly special and unique Valentine’s Day.

I started scouring the internet like any dutiful human being on a mission to plan a romantic getaway for two. I needed to find lodging and a few daytime activities for my partner and I. We both like to teeter on the adventurous side of things, so a quick glance at BigBear.com proved useful. Everything from helicopter rides, hiking, skiing and tumbling down some snow via tubes seemed like the bit of fun we would both enjoy all weekend long. When it came to lodging, it suddenly became a little confusing. Where did we want to stay? We were not interested in a rowdy setting for our weekend of romance nor did we think a large private home would be just right either. So, I dialed the useful phone line promoted on the website: 1-800-424-4232 and sat on hold for a very short time. A friendly voice soon greeted me and she explained to me that it was smart to book ahead of the rush. After a few minutes of learning about my needs, she found various lodging options available in the Big Bear area. In all of less than ten minutes, she had me booked in a romantic bed and breakfast inn close to the ski resorts. All I had to do was review a few photos and it didn’t even break the bank! The helpful agent also reminded me that Big Bear was a small town community, so anywhere you stay was going to be close to almost anywhere in the vicinity I would need (gas, shopping, dining). After writing down several local ideas from her about romantic places to eat as well as various activities, I started my hunt online once again to plan my dream Valentine’s Day weekend in Big Bear Lake for a little winter romance.

The events seemed easy enough to tackle first: live music at several bars around downtown plus events held at the local (The) Cave event center, including a live stage action play of “Point Break”. One event in particular caught my eye immediately: The Sweetheart’s Ball held at The Lodge on Big Bear Lake on February 14th from 5PM to 10 PM. Offering live music, a dance hall, drinks including wine and snacks it seemed like the perfect excuse to put on a nice outfit and get gussied up for the occasion. It’s even for a good cause! Proceeds from the live and silent auctions being held that night benefit Bear Valley Community Hospital’s planned renovation of patient rooms.

2003TubersonSnake-2

Big Bear snow tubing

Another fun-filled local activity I wanted to attempt (that you can’t find in Los Angeles) is snow tubing! A multitude of groomed lanes at either The Alpine Slide or Bear City Snow play outfits are geared toward showing you a blast of a good time as you and your partner pile into the provided hefty snow tube and spiral your way down the hillside. You can go all day long doing this adventure! The provided magic carpet or lift chair will do most of the footwork for you, so all you have to do is sit down and participate in the whirlwind of fun! The locations of this activity are at 800 Wildrose Lane (Alpine Slide) or at 42825 Big Bear Blvd. (Big Bear Snow Play). Don’t worry, both lodges offer snacks and warm drink so you can still hold your partner’s hand even if the weather is colder.

Some essentials I always take with me to the mountains during winter season: gloves, sunscreen, chapstick and a good beanie or hat. You never know when the weather will change, so bring lots of water and plenty of cash in case any local gas stations or diners experience power outages. There’s no such thing as a “perfect” holiday, so be sure to arrive in Big Bear Lake prepared!

My partner doesn’t like heights, but I insisted we try something new this holiday instead of the typical bar or shopping crawl we have done year after year. After taking a peek at Action Adventures Tours online, I gave them a quick phone call and set up a Valentine’s date we’d NEVER forget: Zip lining! Offering a course through the National Forest, this three hour tour propels you over various stages of trees and debris to make it to your exit spot. Don’t worry, they fully train you before you even start swinging! We took an early afternoon spot so we could return just after check-in time to our suite, which I knew in advance offered a (hint perfect for romance hint) spa-style jetted tub.

Get cozy by the fire in your lodge.

Get cozy by the fire in your lodge.

After lounging about the room, we decided a full leisurely style dinner was in order after our adventure in the snow, ice and trees. We picked Evergreen from the Big Bear Visitor Guide (you can even order one ahead of your trip!) and when we arrived, discovered a view of the lake and all the trimmings one would expect from a full scale restaurant on a holiday. Our lovely host sat us across from a window with a bay view and offered us the wine list. We both decided on a fish dish with a fancy chocolate cake for dessert and enjoyed it very much!

After dinner, we strolled along the downtown streets – we even had warm coffee from one of the various vendors on display. We held hands and made it back to our accommodations as we enjoyed the peaceful winter evening. After such a long and eventful  day, I wondered how we could possibly top it tomorrow but, Big Bear Lake will always surprise you.

Tips on Enjoying the Snow During Your Big Bear Trip

Wintertime is a wonderful time to visit Big Bear Lake! ‘Tis the season – the 2016 season – for snowfall and fun at 7,000 feet! Big Bear Lake is one of Southern California’s favorite winter vacation destinations and honestly, do you need a reason to play in snow?

Many people are driving up to Big Bear on the weekends to get out of the city grind and back to nature – as much as 52″ has already fallen onto Big Bear Lake’s mountain-top community! Plus, we are expecting MORE SNOW as El Niño rolls into town through January and into the rest of the winter so, it’s best to be prepared to have fun! Here are some ideas on how to have fun during your visit to Big Bear Lake this winter:
Warm clothes are a must in colder temperatures, especially, for the little ones who will find endless amounts of energy to tumble, slide and run through the white, soft powder. I always suggest you wear layers such as turtlenecks, thermal tops or long sleeved shirts, sweaters or hoodies, jacket and waterproof pants if you want to roll around in the snow – in order to stay warm if it’s frosty outside. When preparing for your Big Bear Lake adventure, I strongly suggest you check the weather for possible snowfall in the area – if so, I recommend snow boots and thermal socks for your trip. Gloves are a necessity and so are beanies for that matter!

Snowfall also brings the much needed use of chains. This gear for your vehicle helps you drive safely on the mountain roads and, therefore, makes it a necessity for your safety as well as other mountain travelers. It’s the law you carry chains in your car throughout the winter months in the mountain areas, so be sure to buy a pair at your local auto store such as Pep Boys or Auto Zone before traveling. Tip: Practice putting them on in your driveway before reaching any mountain checkpoints. It’ll make your trip to the snow much easier on you! Don’t forget that there are three ways to drive to and from Big Bear.

Falling snow tends to remind people about the beauty of nature and it can get your (kids and adults) imagination whirling to make anything you want! Snowmen, snow angels, snow castles and other fun creations is just another activity in the numerous fun thrills you can partake in during your visit to Big Bear’s wonderland of snow this season.

Speaking of thrills, one of the must-visit-attractions during your trip should be to one of Big Bear’s tubing hills such as The Alpine Slide or Big Bear Snowplay – for $30 per person, you’ll be able to sled down perfectly groomed snowy hills on an innertube for as long as you like. Forget trudging up steep hillsides or rocky terrain to sled down elsewhere – these snow play areas offer a chair life and “magic carpet” to reach the top. The less time and energy you spend walking up hills, the more time you have to sled! The Alpine Slide is located on 800 Wild Rose Lane and Big Bear Snowplay is located across the street from Motel 6 on 42825 Big Bear Blvd. If you want to stay warm, both locations offer an indoor area where you can purchase fresh hot cocoa and snacks for your whole family.

When one visits Big Bear for snow, there’s no denying the lure of the two ski resorts. Snow Summit and Bear Mountain offer skiing and snowboarding for all ages – young, old or in between! Offering full service lifts, restaurants and rental equipment these ski resorts are ready for you to ski or snowboard on a whim on a day trip or a week long getaway. Both resorts make snow during the season with a little help from Big Bear’s Lake. Your lift ticket allows you access to both ski resorts for the price of one, making your trip well worth it for the use of both ski resorts. Bear Mountain continues to lure the young adult and teen crowd with their Park including freestyle jumps, a half-pipe and fun features on each run for all levels. Snow Summit has a more concentrated “family” atmosphere, with a top notch restaurant at the top of the resort. New this year: The Grizzly Ridge Tube park, where you can catch a lift to the top, and tube down as fast as you like! Of course, both resorts take reservations, which is also recommended, especially if you are new to skiing or snowboarding and need a lesson. Don’t forget, you can relax after a day on the slopes at their bar with a beverage and snacks. Big Bear Mountain Resorts is the perfect place to have fun in the snow!

Finally, if you want to have the ultimate experience, be sure to speak to a local 800-424-4232 for help with Big Bear lodging and tips for your first trip or your fifth!

MLK WEEKEND – Enjoy Fun and Adventure in the Snow

Martin Luther King weekend is here! Most likely, you’ll have some time off from work to celebrate the first 3-day holiday weekend of the year and we recommend you spend it wisely, in Big Bear Lake! You can spend the holiday weekend in the snow, outside among nature or snoozing until the afternoon in your private cabin or lodge. Big Bear Lake’s charming mountain community offers a plethora of activities, lodging, dining and sports for you to try when you visit and why not? At 7,000 feet, Big Bear Lake stands tall as one of the best vacation spots in California.

Let’s take a look at some of the events happening this holiday weekend:

Go-Pro Out of the Box at Bear Mountain, January 14th and 15th, is a event held in the snow and on the mountain. Four resorts will receive identical containers full of raw materials to create and modify as they see fit. The goal is to design the most fun and imaginative park possible! Bear Mountain’s creations will be unveiled and opened to the public initiating the second important phase of this competition. Of course, you can partake in this event by visiting Bear Mountain and trying your hand at skiing or snowboarding.

On January 15th, you can enjoy a round or two of Live music at various locales: Live Music with Steve Clark at Nottingham’s Tavern from 7 PM to 10 PM, Live Music at Chad’s Place Bar from 8 PM to 11 PM, as well The Cave whom will be having performances all weekend and week long including indie hitmaker, Vanessa Carlton! For more information on these events and more, be sure to visit Big Bear Lake’s event calendar to bring you up to speed.

Now, let’s not forget the activities:

If one is seeking adventure, you should certainly get yourself onto an adventure and in Big Bear Lake there is plenty if ACTION taking place. At Action Tours located in downtown Big Bear, you can suspend from feet off the ground during a zip line adventure, hang from trees for their tree-climbing experience, or you can talk a walk on the wild side with their snow shoe tours. Action strives to bring the best of Big Bear straight to you, so call ahead, and book your tour for the holiday today at 909-866-0390 for the next open spots.

Wanna get flying? Take a helicopter tour! Big Bear’s first and only helicopter tours at Helicopter Big Bear is one of the best ways to see Big Bear Lake in all its winter glory. From 30-60 minute flights you can enjoy the majestic scenery from miles above. Call 909-585-1200 to schedule your tour for the ultimate sightseeing adventure of a lifetime during your vacation.

Tubing in the snow is one of the most popular and fun activities in winter time at Big Bear Lake! With two designated tubing areas, you can be sure to find a tubing run that’s perfect for you and the entire family this season. At the Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain (located in Big Bear Lake) or Big Bear Snow Play (located in Big Bear City) you will encounter a lodge serving hot cocoa and snacks, along with a giant tube to sit in as you swoop down the groomed hills. You can tube all day if you want; they even have a chair lift or “magic carpet” to take you to the hilltop so you can spend more time tubing and less time waiting!

There are so many wonderful activities to discover during your vacation in Big Bear Lake from the numerous dining options, carved wooden bears around town, walking around the glorious lake, bowling, animal tours at the Big Bear Alpine Zoo, the Discovery Center’s nature walks and, most importantly, all the memories you’ll make this 3-day weekend.

See you on the slopes!

My Snow-Filled Winter Adventure

I don’t know anywhere better to share in the holiday spirit and fun than Big Bear Lake, CA! I live in Long Beach with family scattered throughout the San Diego area, and every year for 10 years we have been making Big Bear Lake our destination of choice for a weekend in January to enjoy the winter-time festivities. My family and I take the short drive (two hours) to Big Bear Lake for the arrival of SNOW! Might I say, we are never disappointed! Even if there are man-made-snow conditions… I can’t tell the difference versus natural snow! It’s all just SNOW to me!

Below I listed some of the fun and exciting activities and events my family enjoys most when it comes to visiting Big Bear Lake for a winter adventure:

Obviously, people come in droves to try their hand at the two major winter sports: Skiing and snowboarding. This can be done at the two fine ski resorts, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit. My family and I have visited both before – they make it easy – because one ticket covers both resorts and their access. Bear Mountain offers a trick park with fun jibs and jumps that you may want to try – but perhaps after a lesson or two! Snow Summit tends to cater more toward families and has a great restaurant at the top of the slopes! Try one of their kabobs or burgers before you ski down. Ticket and lodging packages are still available for purchase via bigbear.com.

Get Outdoors for Tubing and Sledding in Big Bear

Kids Tubing and Sledding

Whether you are 2 or 22, sledding and tubing is a great activity for the whole group! The cost affordable at $30 per person for the entire day and includes a giant inner tube to slide down on. The fun is endless and if you plan to drive or stay in Big Bear Lake, they are open on holidays too and some evenings! The toboggan run is located at the Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain on the West side of town in Big Bear Lake, while Big Bear Snow Play on the East side offers a large snow play and tubing area. Both locations have people movers to help you and your group up the hill with your tubes so you can spend more energy in having fun! Stay tuned, rumor has it that Snow Summit will soon have their own sledding area – for the first time! Keep your eyes on snowsummit.com for further details about their snow tubing hill addition.

If Big Bear Lake has received a fresh snowfall, chances are there’s enough white stuff to attempt snowshoeing! A popular sport among winter enthusiasts, one straps almost tennis racket-looking “shoes” to their footwear and trudge through a popular hiking trail for the perfect picturesque mountain setting. You’ll also get a ton of good exercise! If you want to talk to an expert, head over to Goldsmith’s Board House and Ski Rentals and ask for Fred who knows his stuff when it comes to the best and unique trails and hikes in the Big Bear Valley. If you want to try your hand – err, feet! – at snowshoeing, drop on by and rent the equipment and grab some of the best maps and advice in town. They are open from 7 AM to 7 PM daily, so you can check out their various equipment rentals at a variety of times to suit your day if you’re arriving late or enjoyed a day out on the slopes.

Big Bear SnowshoeingFor the folks who don’t want to work up a sweat, you can opt for a leisurely stroll down the downtown Village district complete with dining, movie theaters, shops and massage centers. Some of my family’s favorite restaurant options include the Himalayan Restaurant, Peppercorn Grille and just outside The Village, The Grizzly Manor Café. Working backwards, you can enjoy Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner at those respective places. If you’re the type that liked to picnic, Veteran’s Park is walking distance form Pine Knot Rd, the main Village Street. Be sure to stop into Nottingham’s or Murray’s in downtown on Friday and Saturdays if you’re interesting in seeing some live music… and even, magic shows! Dates and showings depend on performer schedule. The Cave Entertainment venue also offers weekend performers and cover bands, promising to be one of the best places for adults to gather and mingle with a drink and good fun. December 12th offers “Cash’d Out” a tribute to Johnny Cash – a band that has played to over a million fans since 2005! You can also catch the awesome “The Aggrolites” on December 11th – an amalgamation of two previous Los Angeles reggae and ska bands, the Vessels. They formed in 2002 and have been rockin’ ever since! Doors typically open around 6 or 7 PM and is located on 40789 Village Drive. Come and show your wild side during winter! You won’t regret the fun.

Hiking is still a fun activity we enjoy during our winter adventure! Drop into the local Visitor’s Center at 630 Bartlett Rd in Big Bear Lake to pick-up a handy local guide, complete with a hiking guides, maps, information on the area and local dining options. Plus, the booklet is FREE!

Tours such as horseback riding and zip lining still go on during the winter months! Weather depending of course, but, what’s cooler (literally) than taking a December zip line through the multiple courses, or taking a horse and following a guide down a snowy ravine – all these things and more are where Big Bear’s at! My kids also love the petting zoo located at Baldwin Lake Stables, which is only 15 minutes from Big Bear Lake. Locally, they never get to see animals up close and personal, but the folks at Baldwin make it a fun and educational experience. The same goes for the Alpine Zoo – cheap, educational and a lot of fun in wintertime!

Mining-Hats-GemYou can mine for treasure, even if it’s snowing! We have stayed in Big Bear  before, when we have encountered a storm that made us keener to stay inside to order pizza than go out and snowboard and, at time, kids can get restless from being indoors in a cabin or room for too long. We just discovered that not far from The Village is Gold Rush Gold Mining and tours! A neat little facility, it offers mining starting at $10 and has protection from the nasty weather outside if the day is gloomy. You and the kids can take a crack as Geode cracking (using a professional machine) or take a swirl in the sluice and see what majestic rocks and – yes – gold you can find! When that pesky storm clears out you can make your way to the Alpine Slides for sleddin’ or to the resorts for some shreddin’ for the best of what Big Bear Lake has to offer!

That’s it for now! We hope you enjoy Big Bear Lake’s wintertime as much as we do! Cheers.

Affordable Winter Fun in Big Bear

During the winter months when visitors think of a winter vacation in Southern California and beyond, the activities that come to mind are snow tubing and skiing or snowboarding as the popular winter contenders for favorite snow-time recreation. We want to share with you more affordable winter fun ideas to make your next vacation even more memorable!

This winter season, we want to bring you more affordable tips than ever before to having fun in the wintertime and in the snow here in Big Bear Lake – at 7,000 feet, you can’t find more adventure!

Big Bear SnowshoeingBig Bear Snowshoeing! If you are looking to get up close and personal with nature, then snowshoeing is a wonderful winter activity for couples, friends or the entire family! There are several off-the-beaten path forest trails to peak your interest or you can make your own route in your own backyard or downy a snowy trail. Snowshoeing provides exercise and allows you to see nature and the backcountry without paying for a life ticket! You can rent snowshoes at Goldsmith’s Boardhouse & Ski Rentals (starting at $20) or Bear Valley Bikes. Stop in and ask for Fred at Goldsmiths Boardshop and he can point out the best trails and best maps for your new adventure. Please Note: Snowshoeing is weather dependent. Please call ahead to 1-800-424-4232 for more details concerning snow depth and trails.

Tubing and sledding down snowy hills in a mountainous landscape is what winter memories are all about! Big Bear offers tubing, tobogganing and sledding….with people movers! At Big Bear Snow Play and the Alpine Slide a people mover takes you, the kids and their tubes back to the top of the runs; a parent’s dream! For $30 per person all day you can get your fill of playing in the snow! If the kids are under 6, they are free! If you are still looking for good old-fashioned tubing, bring your shovel from home and pick up some sleds at a local gas station or store. Sometimes, building your own sledding hill is just what the kids need to stay entertained while you stay inside to enjoy a cup of coffee by the fireplace. Just remember, the pay-n-play areas are free of potentially dangerous street traffic and have plenty of snow all winter long!Snowball fights and building forts are one of the best FREE activities for all ages! Snow is easy to find either on the side of the road, in your yard, or the parking lot in the Village; especially after a storm hits the valley! Just make sure to purchase an Adventure Pass if you decide to pull off the road and park on US Forest Service property (such as the Aspen Glen Picnic area). Adventure Passes are available at most gas stations and the Big Bear Visitors Center located in the Village and only costs $5 for an all-day pass. Just remember to look online for current snow conditions, and have yourself an all-out snow war!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor many visiting Big Bear Lake, snowboarding and skiing is still a must – and for most people marks the first time they visit our community! There are affordable ways to still enjoy time up on the slopes no matter if you’re a beginner or a pro! Going midweek offers the best deals on lift tickets and lodging, if needed. BigBear.com offers lift and lodging packages for your entire group starting at $99 per person based on double occupancy. Take a “snow” day and bring the kids up when the lines are shorter and less busy! Lodging in the valley can range from a small resort lodge to a private cabin with a personal spa – what better way to relax after spending a day on the slopes?

If you don’t want to enjoy the slops from 8 AM to when they close, check out their rates on Snow Summit’s website for a half day! With more time on your hands, you can check out The Big Bear Lake Village. Speaking of The Village, adults and kids love to walk, shop and dine downtown! Stop by Amangelas for a hot chocolate or the North Pole Fudge for homemade fudge or candied apples. The new fire pits attract those looking for a warm spot to sit outside and people watch while others browse the quaint boutiques and shops. The dining options in the Village are endless and provide enough variety to make everyone in your party happy; from Nepalese, Thai, American and Pizza! That’s just the basics! They also offer Italian food AND Italian ice cream! If it snows, no problem! The heated sidewalks allow shoppers and diners to continue on with their fun-filled-day in Big Bear Lake.

If you want to learn more about the forest in wintertime then head over to the Big Bear Discovery Center, located on the North Shore of Big Bear Lake toward Fawnskin. The Discovery Center is co-operated by the Mountains Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service and provides hands on learning for all ages to make everyone a more responsible caretaker of the forest while increasing your enjoyment and knowledge of California’s most visited forestland, the San Bernardino National Forest. The new Nature Discovery Zone, recommended for kids ages 2-7, allows kids and parents a hands on approach to learning about the forest, animals, enhance nature play and exploration as well as forest preservation. The Discovery Center also has many classes such as storytime, animal tracking, FREE Nature Walks on the weekends. Most of the classes are free with donations accepted or a minimal cost starting at $3. Visit their website for a full schedule and costs.

20151116_082848The Big Bear Alpine Zoo is one of the only alpine animal rehabilitation facilities in the country that offers wild animals a safe place to heal or permanently stay if they are unable to make it in on their own. I love seeing the grizzly bears such as Hucklebeary, the famous 3 legged bear! The snow owls, bald eagles and foxes are just some of the other beautiful wild animals to see. Admission is only $12 per adult, $9 per child or senior citizen. Free to ages 2 and under; admission fees goes to the care of the animals and operation of the Big Bear Alpine Zoo. You’re not bound to find any other zoo in California with a zoo situated among the snow at 7,000 feet!

If you want to party at night, there is a variety of affordable nightlife, including concerts and karoke! Murray’s Saloon & Eatery is Big Bear’s original 5 star hole in the wall with decent drink prices and free karaoke or live music. The Cave in the Village offers live concerts and entertainment on the weekends. I recommend stopping in one of the Village establishments like Club Bombay and enjoy one of their drink specials, especially if the kids are enjoying the skiing! It’s time for somew YOU time in Big Bear Lake!

If you find yourself forgetting these fun, free and/or affordable winter activities and events, don’t fret. Stop in the Big Bear Visitors Center parking lot where there is access to 24 hour Free Wireless Internet and public restrooms. Yes, the free didn’t stop at just the activities… now go visit Big Bear and enjoy everything it has to offer during your winter trip! Call in “sick”… don’t worry, we won’t tell!

Big Bear Mountain Resorts Open for the Season

The time has arrived! Southern California’s favorite ski resorts, Snow Summit and Bear Mountain, open for season today.

Opening November 13th, the temperatures are lowering into the 40’s to create the perfect snow making atmosphere in Big Bear’s finest Ski resorts. Located only a mere two hours away from major LA and San Diego cities, you can go from beach to snow within hours on the same day. Where else can you surf and snowboard in the same day? Only in Southern California and at Big Bear Lake’s Mountain Resorts!

Big Bear Mountain Resorts open for seasonAs the fire restrictions lower, the snow starts a-brewing! An unexpected earlier snowfall last week also brought cooler temperatures and the ability to start making snow at the popular resorts! That means that they are opening sooner than their projected Thanksgiving Day weekend. Man-made vs. natural is all the same if you have any trepidations about it looking fake – snow is snow, there is no difference! Since the weather brought early snow and colder weather, you can enjoy the fully open runs at Bear Mountain from top-to-bottom with the use of Chairs 9 and 7 spinning. At Snow Summit you’ll find the Miracle Mile and Chair 4 beginner area ready to go for the tots and the adults to test their skills on the newest powder. Tickets this weekend will be a low-cost $35 per adult. Of course, if you’re like me and a frequent visitor to those gorgeous slopes, I suggest still purchasing a Bear/Summit season pass before they sell out. Like the idea of skiing all season long? Call 1-844-GO2-BEAR and they will hook you up with your new winter hobby over the phone.

Keep in mind, the ticket windows and rentals will open at 8:30 AM with lifts opening from 9 am to 4 pm. After opening on the 13th, Bear Mountain will be weekend only until Dec. 11th. However, Snow Summit will continue to be open 7 days a week for your enjoyment. You can get a head start on the early season and take advantage of the lack of crowds before the Holidays hit by driving up to Big Bear Lake and testing out the freshly open slopes for the weekends ahead of the busier time periods – Bear Mountain and Snow Summit will be happy to be your host – so be sure to check out both mountain resorts while you visit. The best part: tickets are interchangeable and shuttles will soon be running to take you easily from each resort to the other.

If you’re new to the area or new to the resorts, you may be wondering what the difference between Snow Summit and Bear Mountain is. Don’t fret, I can help sort you out: Bear Mountain is mainly a laid-back, chill trick part that offers half pipes, jumps and jibs for the skilled riders who wish to attempt such feats. Snow Summit caters more-so to families and beginners, including offering the biggest training area in Southern California. From beginner to expert levels, they will have you covered (and likely covered in snow too – it’s all a part of fun and learning!) when you sign up for one-one one training or group lessons. Learning a new skill of any kind, but especially a new sport, helps a child or even adult grasp a new skill or technique that they never dreamed possible. Sometimes the help of another person really matters! Sign up today and master the mountain as your speed!

For rentals and equipment you can take advantage of the sales and rentals directly at Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, offering complete packages including safety gear and all necessary sporting items. If you want to support local small businesses, you may want to check out Goldsmith’s Board house located a couple blocks from the resort able to also outfit you in plenty of attractive gear for all ages and sizes.

Opening day should be a blast, join in on party at the base areas as they kick off the awesome ’15-16 winter season for skiing and snowboarding in the Big Bear Valley! Pack up some warm clothes, dress in layers, and grab a bite to eat at the mountain because up here at 7,000 feet you’re about to have the best boarding and skiing of your California life all winter long!