Big Bear Girls’ Getaway Weekend Ideas

To all the ladies who need a weekend to slip away to focus on rejuvenation and good times, Big Bear has exactly what you are looking for. Our cherished mountain home skillfully blends rustic charm with serenity, while whetting your appetite for adventure. Just a short drive from both LA and San Diego, this affordable destination will be just what the doctor ordered for your next girls getaway weekend.

For your weekend celebrating all the fabulous ladies in your life, here’s the insider’s guide to Big Bear.

For that Wild Side

An adrenaline rush isn’t just for the guys. That wild side calling out for good times doesn’t distinguish. So, for the ladies itching for adventure, strap on a helmet and hold on for the top Big Bear conquests.

-Jet Skiing-

Thrill seekers go no farther. Just hop on a jet ski and let ‘er rip! Feel the rush as you whisk around the lake with ease.

-Big Bear Speedway-

Racers start your engines. Then, buckle up because this kart-racing route is more than two miles long, averaging 10-14 laps per heat.

-Zip Lining-

Need for speed has been the theme for Big Bear. Zip lining is no different. Reaching speeds of over 40 mph as you soar through the trees, this adventure isn’t for the faint of heart.

For Rejuvenation

Let the stress ease away as you focus on revitalization. Between the fresh air and stunning scenery, the mountains are just good for the soul. If you are seeking the powers of rejuvenation, these activities will leave you renewed and full of energy. Before you know it, you will be up for anything life feels like throwing your way.


Tranquility has a new meaning after silently gliding over the lake. Explore new coves. Take in the wildlife. Go at a different pace. Slowing down in a kayak will help you experience life at a deeper level.

-Horseback Riding-

Saddle up cowgirl; horseback riding on Big Bear’s backwoods trails is awe-inspiring. Especially if you sneak away during the winter, the calmness and stillness in the woods is a new type of serenity.

-Massages & Spas-

You can’t talk girls’ weekend without a spa day. Big Bear has a fantastic lineup of spas and salons for the full pampering experience.

For Hibernation

No matter your adventure level, at some point you and your tribe of ladies will need to crash. But, that doesn’t mean the experience goes to rest. Here are three different lodging options to maximize experience without giving up the amenities of home.

The best part is they all come with FREE home-cooked breakfasts and dinners.


May we present glamping—the art of luxurious camping while keeping true to your glamorous self. Hey, camping isn’t for everyone. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the same opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. So, grab a sleeping bag, a tent and your sense of adventure for a night outdoors.

This specialty experience is courtesy of International Traveler’s House and is housed at the Camp 49er.


-Private Hostel Dorm Room-

If you’re looking for a lively community to call home for the weekend, then International Traveler’s House is your place. With private dorm style rooms, you and your cohorts can each enjoy your own bed but still keep conversations going into the wee hours of the night. Added perk: few things compare to curling up next to an enormous fireplace.


If you are looking to set your bachelorette party apart or just want to sneak away with the ladies for a girls getaway weekend, Big Bear is your ultimate getaway destination. For fun, adventure and rejuvenation, we have it all.

Top Lake Activities in Big Bear

Summer is just around the corner, and with warmer temperatures comes lake activities. At Big Bear Mountain Adventure Lodge, we are huge fans of everything water related! From splashing, to gliding to enjoying a jaunt around the lake, there are countless ways to experience our pristine lake.

Any adrenaline junkies itching to get out and ride the wakes out there? If so, here are your top two Big Bear lake activities:

Waterskiing, Wakeskating & Wakeboarding

Few things compare to the rush of the waves beneath you as you glide over the water. We don’t discriminate between boards or skis, just as long as you’re having a good time.

Boating - Lake Activities Big BearHaven’t heard of wake skating? Well the thrill seeker in you is about to rejoice. This is the next step after conquering wakeboarding. No longer strapped to the board, this wakeboarding adaptation brings a new challenge to the water. Similar to skateboarding, wakeskating boards are covered with grip tape and give you the chance to try out a whole spectrum of new tricks.

Here are four places for rentals:
• North Shore Landing
• Holloway’s Marina
• Designated Wakesports
• Big Bear Marina

Jet Skiing

Jet skiing is the ultimate racing experience! Even if you’ve never done it, this sport is easy to learn.

• Big Bear Marina
• North Shore Landing
• Designated Wakesports
• Pine Knot Marina Parasail & Waverunners

We are firm believers that no matter your style, there are countless ways to enjoy Big Bear. So, for the mellow at heart, here are two lake activities to enjoy the tranquility of the lake:


Enjoy the thrill of reeling in the big one! This pastime is perfect for heading out solo, with groups or one on one. No matter your style, by boat or from the shore, it’s going to be a memorable affair.

Kayaking & Canoeingmem-wknd-eblast-580-x-300

Rather than speed, choose instead the serenity of gliding across the lake. You’ll have a whole new view of Big Bear by going at a different pace. See if you can find any lily pads or new coves just waiting to be explored.

Summer in Big Bear creates countless opportunities to explore new adventures on the lake! Make your getaway a memorable one by staying at Big Bear Mountain Adventure Lodge. We are built on the foundation of proving memorable events for our guests. We even take our guests out on various adventures in the summer, including boating!

And the boat is officially up and running for the season!

And there’s nothing better than finishing up a long day playing on the lake with a home-cooked meal. As it turns out, home-cooked meals are our specialty! We serve up two of them daily to guests. All complimentary.

So, if you are looking to make the most of your Big Bear getaway this year, consider Big Bear Mountain Adventure Lodge.


Memorial Day Weekend Activities & Events

Big Bear Lake is a popular resort destination for Southern California and many visit during Memorial Day Weekend to kick-off the summer season!

I thought it would be a great idea to take a look at the various events and activities going on around this small resort community located in the San Bernardino Mountain range at 7,000+ feet this upcoming Memorial Day weekend, the 25th of May.

Memorial Day is a national celebration that started on May 30th 1868, as a day representing the memories and lives of fallen veterans throughout history and takes place on the last Monday of May each year. Celebrations and parades are typically held and found among various larger city dwellings, and usually there are ceremonies and fireworks displays in honor of the past.

mem-wknd-eblast-580-x-300I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Big Bear Lake multiple times in the past and always take an outing on holidays due to the small resort community only being around a two hour drive from my Los Angeles home. I pack up the little ones (and the family dog too – Big Bear is very pet friendly!) and we are just a short ride away from seasonal snow, a gorgeous lake and boating, or a hike through the tall pines. Quite a contrast from the city dwellings and wasteland of LA! Memorial Day is a great excuse to get up to Big Bear Lake and experience the wealth of activities and events going on during the holiday. Let’s check them out!

Big Bear Lake event organizers hold the 3rd annual Memorial Day 5K Fun Run in honor of the veterans and to raise money for the Wounded Warriors Project. The race offers a scenic and challenging race over the various terrain of the valley along the border of the National Forest. It starts around 7 AM and features a lifestyle expo. Take a look at or to see how to sign up. Even if you don’t race, it’s always fun to be a spectator!

The Antique Car Club Show and Shine offers fun for the entire family! Located at the Big Bear Snow Play parking area, you can check out rare and vintage automobiles. There isn’t any charge and the location is just outside the city!

The Big Bear Lake History Museum opens for the season on Memorial Weekend. Your kids will love checking out the local artifacts that are on display. Located close to the airport, you can also take a look around Big Bear City and the local restaurants and businesses located there.

Scenic Sky Chair at Snow SummitWith a name like Big Bear Lake I’m sure you’re expecting a lake, right? Well, Big Bear Lake is open and ready for boating, swimming and general lake activities – the lakeside parks are also open to use for BBQs and picnicking. Rent a boat at any one of the fine marinas around town and experience all the views and wonder Big Bear has to offer from the forefront of the water. Perhaps check out the very popular Time Bandit Boat Tour located at Holloway’s Marina – my kids love seeing the crew in authentic pirate costume and watching the coast from the deck of the ship. On May 24th Captain John’s Marina is hosting a summer kick-off party from 12 Noon to 3 PM. There will be a catered Tropical BBQ, Vintage Bohemian Shopping with the Wild Banshees and their Fashion Truck along with live music by One Story for your entertainment.

Take a walk around the Village in downtown and you’ll find plenty of local shops and eateries. You’ll also come across The Cave, a larger event venue which typically offers live music or shows. On Memorial Day weekend, you’ll find Stephen Pearcy at The Cave. He’s the Lead vocalist and song writer for the mega platinum rock band “RATT” performing at The Cave on May 23rd starting at 7 PM until 9 PM.

Hiking trails are a great way to see the beautiful Big Bear Valley, and are relatively FREE! All you need is an Adventure Pass at $5 per car to park in the National Forested areas. Hikes range from kid-friendly and beginner to moderate and expert for all sizes of legs and gaits. Trails are pet friendly, just keep them on a leash. Some of my family’s favorite hikes include the guided nature walk at the Discovery Center and the Woodland Trail just across the way from the Alpine Peddle Path – there is even a bike rental shop called Paddles and Peddles stationed at the start. If you’re looking for a hike with STUNNING views and picturesque landscape, definitely take a hike up Castle Rock Trail – you won’t regret it!

If you are interested in mountain biking, there are plenty of options. Take a ride on the Snow Summit Scenic Sky Chair and hit the trails on their Bike Park. There are also guided mountain bike tours or rent a bike and create your own adventure.

As you can see, there are tons of events and activities to be found over Memorial Weekend – and at 7,000 feet, you are sure to live it up! If you are interested in saving money on your vacation, visit’s Memorial Weekend Ideas & Deals page.

– So Cal Adventurer

Big Bear Mountain Biking Trails for Beginners

Big Bear has an abundance of fantastic activities to fill long summer days. One of the mountain’s favorite past times is mountain biking. And with over one hundred miles of trails and forest service roads waiting to be explored, it’s no wonder why.

For those novice mountain bike riders, here are 3 perfect beginner trails:Mountain Biking Alpine Pedal Path

1- Alpine Pedal Path

This paved path on the north side of the lake is the perfect place to acclimate to both the elevation and adjust to the mountain bike frame.

The trail starts on the west side of North Shore Elementary School. It is about 2.5 miles long and wraps up just before the intersection of North Shore Drive and North Shore Lane.

2- Alpine Offshoots

If you feel comfortable on the mountain bike, there are several offshoot trails following along the Alpine Pedal Path. They will be adjacent to the pedal path, so bikers can switch back and forth between trails.

3- Snow Summit

Bikers looking to take their skills to the next level have two great options just behind Snow Summit Mountain Resort’s parking lot. While differing in degrees of difficulty, both are forest service roads. There won’t be any overly technical elements on either trail.

The Town Trail heading directly to the West is a more mild and flat road. If bikers follow the road for 3 miles, they will intersect with Kickerbocker Road. From here, you can head directly into town.

Mountain Biking AdventureThe other option is to climb towards the top of Snow Summit Mountain. While this 2.2-mile climb isn’t technical, it will be a healthy workout. The stunning views of the lake will be well worth the climb. Not to mention having an easy descent to look forward to.

Off the Map

As we mentioned, Big Bear has over 100 miles of trails and road. There are countless little trails in the area that don’t always show up on mainstream maps. Stop by Chains Required Bike Shop or Potter’s Mountain Sports & Rentals or Bear Valley Bikes to have the experts help find the trail that is right for you. They also have a wide range of bike rentals. From full suspension, to downhill, to trail bikes; they have something for every style of rider.

Biking Getaway

Once you get a taste of mountain biking, you’ll never want to stop! And Big Bear is the perfect place to learn as they have trails suited for every level. One you graduate from beginner, you can test out other Big Bear trails like Castle Rock Trail or Pine Knot Trail.

Make your biking trip the ultimate adventure by choosing the Mountain Adventure Lodge for your getaway accommodations.

We make your adventures even better by serving up complimentary hot breakfasts and dinners. Just think about how amazing it will be to show up to a warm home-cooked dinner after a day out on the trails. Sore after climbing to Snow Summit? Join us for some of our weekly activities. An afternoon yoga session or morning paddle boarding is the prefect cure to ease sore muscles.

More than just a place to crash, at International Traveler’s House Mountain Adventure Lodge, we work to make your entire trip a memorable adventure.

Family Friendly Restaurants in Big Bear

When one thinks dining, they may think of exotic cuisine, varied tastes, the frequented corner restaurant or even fast food… During a vacation, food can be either the highlight or the most stressful aspect. Have kids? Little ones? I am pretty sure you know what I am talking about when I say dining out becomes a family affair.

Finding family friendly restaurant options on your vacation can be a headache – especially with Fido! Pet friendly dining is too little and far between when you are trying to wrestle the kids into eating healthy or even just eating out. Fear not Big Bear Lake visitors – I have the perfect family friendly (along with some pet friendly!) dining options just for you. We have breakfast, lunch and dinner covered during your upcoming or current Big Bear Lake adventure. If you’re heading up for snow or for the sun during Big Bear’s one of four popular seasons, the activities kids can participate in are endless! After all that hiking, sledding or ski lessons the kids and bound to be looking for grub. Here are some personal family friendly places my kids enjoy every season.

The most important meal of the day is breakfast – it has been proven! For any active child or family, a hearty meal is the only way to start the day. We like to head over to Grizzly Manor Cafe when we visit Big Bear – it has the perfect local charm! The “decorated” walls keep the kids entertained and the snappy waitresses keep you on your heels. They are famous for their delicious extra-large pancakes. Warning: You will have to pour your own coffee, so don’t expect to flag down the waitress. The cafe is tiny – get there early especially for a family of 4 or more. Come, hungry – the portions are huge and meant to be reckoned with.

My kids love the different places to eat in Big Bear Lake – lunchtime is their favorite time! Amangela’s Sandwich and Bagel House offers indoor and outdoor seating along with kid-friendly food such as tasty sandwiches and chips. The owners are good people who serve quality ingredients in their food and use organic and fair trade produce as much as possible. Located in the The Village downtown, they are just a few blocks away from the lake and local movie theater for some after lunch entertainment. Another lunch and kid friendly option located near the ski resorts is also Bear Belly Deli – a custom sandwich shop with fresh meats and cheeses – and the selection is huge! Sometimes getting away from the crowds in The Village and ski resorts is a good thing, and this Deli sure fits the bill as both family friendly and delicious.

For an old west experience, check out the Cowboy Express Steakhouse located just a small drive west of The Village. They advertise some of the “best grub on the mountain” and have a sociable atmosphere and as far as I’m concerned, a really good menu selection for everyone in your family! If you have fussy children, they even offer semi-private rooms and fun decor for the entire family to enjoy.

What kid doesn’t like pizza? And games? And laser tag? Noble Roman’s Pizzeria located in Big Bear’s Funplex game and kid zone offers the yummy brand name pizza at a great rate, along with the games and rides, you can get a great package. The lazer tag arena will help you burn off the calories faster than you can imagine, and, couple it with addictive video games and you have a surefire winner for entertaining a kid of any age. Next door to the Funplex is the Bowling Barn which has glow bowling (in evenings) for the kids along with added bumpers if needed as well as regular bowling for the adults to partake in. You can also try the bar food from their mini restaurant and karaoke if the kids have a Nanny along, allowing the adults to make the most of your evening out in Big Bear Lake.

If all else fails and you’re hosting a lot of kids and adults, check out Big Bear’s own personal chef  – with a flair of custom main courses and special desserts, you can’t go wrong! Chef Allan even caters to personal homes with kitchens.

Spring Break Trip Ideas

“Spring break! Spring break! Spring break!” That’s the excited voices of every young child, teen and college student in America. The extended vacation time is fast approaching, and with that comes a lot of trip planning over where you are going to stay, go eat and play during all the free time. Big Bear Lake is echoed as one of So Cal’s favorite spring break destinations because spring up in Big Bear means sunny, blue skies and snow to play in and slopes to shred across.

1609772_10152281878847176_668310728_nMy family and I started planning a month ahead of schedule, as to prepare for the exciting adventure with two college students, a toddler and one teen in tow. Having never visited the Big Bear community, I was unsure where to start on planning our spring break, much less where to eat or stay around this not-far-from LA mountain community. Research came first so, I checked out and learned that both of their popular ski resorts were open: Snow Summit and Bear Mountain. I have been obsessed with checking the weather and noted that no matter what, during the winter season I would need to carry chains in my Honda – it’s the law! Looking up the mountain resorts, I knew my college kids were already proficient in their snowboarding abilities, but my toddler needed ski lessons.

I noticed I could call 800-424-4232 (or 800-424-4232) for some local guidance and booking knowledge, but instead I decided to see how far I would get on my own. Starting on, I looked into various lodging types in Big Bear: resorts, lodges, Bed and Breakfast’s, mini cabins and plenty of personal homes to be rented. I noted the various specials and deals and noticed a few package ideas that could work in my favor, and decided to call 800-4-BIGBEAR. Luckily, I spoke with an informative and speedy Big Bear local whom informed me that due to our party size and needs (we wanted to be close to restaurants for the hungry kids) that perhaps best location would be the village area (downtown) which is only a few miles away from both ski resorts. We learned that Big Bear is less than 20 miles in length and almost everything we needed was just around the corner. I couldn’t wait to explore! Another tip I learned was our lodging was close enough to just drop my kids off at the ski resorts for their ski lesson or to snowboard and drive back the short distance to my accommodations or enjoy another activity. Sounded great!

Since we were opting to stay 3 days in Big Bear, we needed a plethora of spring break trip ideas. While speaking with the agent, he mentioned a great “Adventure Package” that would discount my stay and be able to book an activity with the “Action Tours” company. This adventure company specializes in zip lining courses, segway tours and tree rope climbing. During the times the lake in Big Bear is open to the public, they also offer flyboarding tours. I decided to sign myself and my teen up for the afternoon zip line tour on the same day my college kids planned to snowboard along with my toddler, whom my husband would have his hands full with without mom around. I wanted to have fun too! I whipped out my credit card and paid over the phone for my stay and activities. The experience was super friendly and super easy!

After a lot of contemplating, my spring break plan was as follows: Start driving from Los Angeles (a little less than two hours away) with the family in tow for our Big Bear Lake three day adventure. I hoped to hit minimal traffic by starting around 7 or 8 AM to have the kids on the slopes by the half day ticket time and myself and my teen in line and ready for the Action Tour at around noon. The Big Bear agent had told me over the phone to dine in town at one of the many places that served home-style breakfast (hopefully it will include a much needed mimosa). My toddler was signed up in advance for the ski school, and my husband planned to watch her from the deck area of the resort while enjoying the fresh air. After our activities, we could check-in to our accommodations at in the later afternoon. Of course, with it being spring break, we expect this quaint resort town to be busy and populated but, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a relaxing time, especially, when you take note of the various things to do around town. Besides the skiing, zip lining and dining I also had the weekend packed with fun items to do, nobody on this spring break adventure was going to claim they were bored! We had a hike or two we wanted to take, some fish to catch and a concert event (at The Cave) to see during our trip. We knew that we would walk away with a few souvenirs to take back home including a stuffed toy bear at some point and planned ahead to bring cameras, lots of sun block and extra groceries. I was also well aware that the pristine weather could change at any time and planned to take a few extra blankets, socks and, of course, marshmallows to roast.

With a little pre-planning and an eye for adventure, anyone can have the time of their life in Big Bear Lake. I hope my spring break trip ideas help with your research and maybe we will see you there, enjoying the fun and the snow in Southern California!

Big Bear Valentine’s Day Getaway on a Budget

Big Bear is a magical place this time of year, making it the perfect vacation spot for your Valentine’s Day weekend. If you are looking to enjoy an enchanting getaway without breaking the bank, here are budget recommendations.

What to Do:

Many of Big Bear’s activities are year long, with the addition of several winter specialties.

Where to Eat:

Big Bear has a great section of restaurants, but if you are looking to save on extra food costs, consider these options:

• Pack a picnic & hot cocoa.
• Go to a bar and enjoy appetizers with a view of the lake, close to or at the ski resorts or in the Village.
• Rather than go out for dinner, just go out for dessert! Big Bear has a dozen restaurants serving up spectacular desserts. If you are looking for dessert on the go, check out the Gelato shop.

Inside Big Bear CabinWhere to Stay:

Hostels are one of the most affordable options in Big Bear. And at the Big Bear Mountain Adventure Lodge, they take affordability to the max with free home cooked dinners and breakfasts. With private room options, they offer the perfect budget escape.

If you are wanting a cabin experience, try one of our romantic and unique cabins located in the forest, lakefront, near the Village or close to the ski resorts. Big Bear offers a variety of affordable lodging to suit each visitor’s needs.

DIY Gifts:

For some couples, the experience is the gift. But if you were looking to add an extra touch, consider making your gift. The best part is that all these are easily packable, and you can tuck them away in your suitcase so your significant other won’t find them (well at least most of them).

• Personalized coupon book (special desserts, favorite meals, extra help around the house, pre planned date night- get creative!)
• Handmade card
• Handmade Flowers (as simple as tissue paper and cardstock)
• Decorate your room with paper dollies
• Baked goodies
• Photo montage or album

Celebrate the Weekend After

If your weekends are flexible, book your getaway the weekend after. Skip the crowds and hit up Big Bear over the 21st. You’ll enjoy the same scenery, many times at a discount. For even more savings, check out midweek deals.


More than just a Valentine’s Day getaway, Big Bear is a romantic getaway destination of choice all year. Each season brings its own charms, giving you an excuse to visit all year.

Must-do Activities in Big Bear for Your Family Reunion

Not only offering a 300 days of sunshine and 22 miles of shoreline to explore, Big Bear’s scenic mountain resort community provides a variety of activities for the entire family. So for this year’s family reunion, bring out the entire clan to explore Big Bear’s sapphire-blue lake and scenic mountain surroundings to create lasting memories.

Gold Rush Mining Adventures

Family Reunion Mining for GemstonesThere’s gold in those hills! Reenact the rich mining history of Big Bear through unearthing buried treasure. Mining activities are great for all ages, so young and old alike can revel in the fun. With three different mining options, the Giant Water Wheel & Sluice, the Quick Running Water Flume and Dry Panning, you and your family can enjoy the complete experience. With a covered sluice, this activity is great for all seasons, rain or shine. Looking for a little more hands on action? Check out the Geode breaking. For the aspiring archeologists, discover sea fossils and shark teeth in your kit.

If you have artifact or rock enthusiasts in the family, explore the Gold Mine Gift Emporium to see unusual gems, discover fossils, find geodes or encounter dinosaur artifacts. Make sure to check out the dig kits or panning kits to extend the fun.

Zip Lining

What could be better than the thrill of soaring through the trees! Ziplining tours are an incredibly unique way to glide over the trails, sail above the lake and take the forest by storm for the most exciting way to experience Big Bear. Take in the stunning view of the valley, all while being guided by highly trained staff for the most memorable experience yet. A great activity for groups, all zip liners must be over 75lbs.

Hiking or Biking

Lazy jaunts, mountainous treks and moderate excursions, Big Bear offers trails for all skill levels and endurance levels. No matter if you and your family are beginner or veteran adventurers, you can find the perfect trail for you from the over 100 miles of trails and forest service roads wandering through the Big Bear region. A mountain biker’s heaven, there is an entire trail system to bike without ever getting into your car. Complete the full loop starting at the lodge’s driveway. Make sure to bring a camera to capture the forest sceneries, changing leaves, mountain views and sunsets along the lakes.


Family Reunion Kids Trout Fishing Some of the best tales out there are fish stories, and no better way to create your own fish stories than an afternoon fishing on the lake. Cast in a line from a kayak, take out a pontoon or try out fly-fishing at the edge of the lake. Looking for an inside scoop on where the fish are biting? Take a guided fishing trip, drastically improving your odds of actually bring home a fish as opposed to just tales.

A timeless pastime, fishing creates countless opportunities for generations to bond together, passing down hobbies and creating memories. Children 15 and younger don’t need a fishing license.

Friendly Competition

Nothing defines a family reunion better than a little good friendly competition. Take up an afternoon with a volleyball match, hold a seed-spitting contest or challenge everyone to a Ping Pong tournament. Looking to go a little old school? Pack a few big old woven sacks for potato sack races!

The Big Bear Mountain Adventure Lodge gives the ability to host all these friendly family competitions, complete with a volleyball court, horse shoe pits, archery course, a ping pong table and big open spaces for all your family games. We even offer space to get creative, with our outdoor amphitheater and large rustic gathering room next to the fireplace. Pool table and hot tub coming soon! Maybe seeing who can tell the best ghost stories will become the new family tradition.

Laser Tag

If you want to up the ante on the competition, take the whole crew to Laser Tag. Fun for the whole family, laser tag not only gets your adrenaline up, but also gets the entire family active. Whether you are young or just young at heart, fuel your competitive drive and see which family member reigns supreme.

Make it the Ultimate Family Adventure

Family vacations create priceless memories, and many memories come from unexpected places. Like the impromptu karaoke session the cousins started, the three-hour marathon of poker your uncle instigated or when grandma taught all the youngsters how to play cribbage. What do all of these have in common? They happened because the family was all in the same place.

To set your family reunion apart this year, rent out International Travelers House’s (ITH) entire Big Bear Mountain Adventure Lodge and see what memories you can create this year that will last a lifetime. Spend the mornings enjoying the fresh mountain air on a brisk hike, the afternoons adventuring out on the lake or exploring the charming village and the evenings nestled next to the colossal fireplace telling stories.

The ITH Big Bear lodge can accommodate up to 36 people, but is completely customizable to your needs. If you only have 20 guests, ITH has the ability to set-up the rooms specifically for your reservation.

Whatever activities make it into your family reunion this year let Big Bear and ITH make them happen for you!

Big Bear Offers A True Cabin Experience

Big Bear Lake has some of Southern California’s biggest and greatest adventures, and there may be more adventure in where you may stay in Big Bear Lake than in most any other resort community. If you are looking for a break from the basic hotel or motel lodging options, nothing can beat the experience of renting a private cabin for a charming getaway or a longer stay any time of the year. Private home rentals offer you the warmth of home but the experience of a new, exciting location to make all your own for your vacation – away from the city hustle, work and daily grind of life.

Inside Big Bear CabinI wanted to have easy planning and little heartache when booking my vacations for my extended family, which included very picky aunts and uncles and don’t forget Grandma’s opinion! We can all relate to the difficulties of making someone happy, especially your family, and a vacation is not any different than any other family gathering. Big Bear Lake was our destination of choice and we wanted the full cabin experience.  The private home experience is something new to us and I had no idea where to start! After checking out Big Bear’s website,, I decided my ambitions to plan our vacation on my own was too stressful and I felt overwhelmed by the amount of options afforded to me. After glancing over the website (and finding a plethora of great activities!) I decided my best bet was to call the toll free number listed on the site, 800-424-4232, for some expert advice.

Much to my surprise, I was placed in touch with a person who lived in the Big Bear Lake area. We chatted for a while about my expected arrival dates, guest size and wish list. We spoke for a long time and she answered all my questions I had about the weather and local happenings. We sorted through a small list of private homes and I decided I wanted to investigate a little more into the companies of private homes/cabins that offered. It was not an easy task, but I began to note the many and varied selections offered by the private home rental companies.

It seems that Big Bear Cool Cabins and Big Bear Vacations offered the largest selection of all, over 300 cabins each, the latter including a luxury home with a pool! We did not need anything quite that fancy for our vacation, but if YOU do, they seemed likely to have it, along with smaller dwellings. Village Reservation also offered me a varied selection of over 125+ properties in various areas of town.

Gold Rush Resort Rentals offered me several home choices and the added amenity of FUN – next door to their office, they run a gold mining experience for gold and gems that both children and adults will love participating in. You can take home both the treasures AND the treasured memories.

RS Vacations and Big Bear Luxury Properties have a list of homes inside and around central Big Bear Lake and Big Bear City. You can find homes with grand foyers, hot tubs and even luxurious converted game rooms! Resort Town Rentals offers a friendly front desk and even a huge home topping off at 9 bedrooms! It seemed like any one of these places would provide me with a true paradise in the Big Bear Valley.

Big Bear Lake offers resort cabins too, and some of those companies manage larger personal homes adjacent or near their resorts, including Grey Squirrel Vacation Homes and Cal-Pine Chalets. What so great about that? You have the luxury of using the resort onsite facilities AND staying in a private Big Bear cabin typically just blocks away. Grey Squirrel even has a seasonal pool! Resorts can offer you and your guests BBQs, washer and dryer access, concierge services and even a playground for the kiddos. If you want a private home with the bonuses of a resort community, this may be the route for you!

After reviewing the amount of information, needs, locations and bedroom layouts, I finally decided on a rental and it was worth all the emails, time and even money spent to secure the perfect vacation for my family.

Snow Sports and Outdoor Adventures Await

Big Bear is filled with treasures; the gorgeous mountains, the shining sun, towering pines and the fresh air. Treasures of Big Bear Lake extend to the offerings in Big Bear’s grand and popular winter season, which include a variety of snow sports and outdoor adventures. Spending a weekend or enjoying a longer trip in this charming mountain destination is always on my winter list!

To start, check out the extensive zip line experience offered by Action Tours. When the snow hits or before, see Big Bear suspended high in the air and soaring through the pines. You’ll get the best view in town! Guided daily (weather permitting) you’re certain to enjoy the forest and all the sights, sounds and excitement of wintertime. After checking out those stunning aerial and forest views, you may want to start playing in the snow! Take a short drive down to Big Bear’s downtown or Big Bear City and tackle the friendly and safe snow play areas, The Alpine Slide or Bear City Snow play, specifically setup to maintain the runs and areas for you to play in several feet of fresh powder. Typically, the Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain is open from Thanksgiving weekend to April and Big Bear Snow Play is currently operating daily to April, both kids and adults will have a blast tubing down the snowy hillside or sledding down the icy toboggan run. If you enjoy a few rides or a hundred, checking out this designated snow play area is the place for you!

Segway Tours in Big BearSegway tours are also offered during the winter season, giving you a quick and relaxing off road or city tour via motor powered segways. Guided with friendly local experts, the segways are for both adults and kids and offer a quicker-than-on-foot way of seeing several of the high points throughout the valley, especially if there has been recent snowfall to marvel at. Tours can be made over the phone or at the village office in Big Bear’s downtown, and will accommodate your group all winter long.

Big Bear Lake has a variety of indoor activities for visitors who may be trying to entertain themselves or children during the more stormy days and nights of wintertime. Big Bear’s Funplex offers exciting laser tag, arcade games, amusement center, black light miniature golf and pizza for the whole gang to enjoy. Just across the street, you’ll find a local favorite – The Bowling Barn. The kids can enjoy several games of glow bowling toward the evening and the adults can enjoy the bar and karaoke open late. Enjoy the old fashioned fun and games as a storm or colder weather passes through – you’ll be thankful for that cup of hot cocoa!

Do you enjoy westerns? Ever dream of a horseback riding adventure? How about horseback guided tours? Check out the Baldwin Lake stables, offering horseback tours all year long. In the summer sun is one tour, and the winter affords you a whole new experience! Dress warmly for the adventure and prepare ahead by booking reservations in advance.

Big Bear Snow PlayThe Big Bear Alpine Zoo (formerly The Moonridge Zoo) is a favorite visit among many new or return vacationers, especially in winter where visiting the animals in their more natural environment brings out better reaction and play time for the creatures that call Big Bear their home. Admission to the local zoo is low cost and goes toward the organization that assists the rehabilitation of animals in the local mountains and beyond, every season. Your whole group will remember viewing the animals in the snow for years to come and when the snow clears you can return to the zoo in summer or fall to visit your new animal friends.

As you can see, Big Bear Lake’s array of activities in wintertime extend beyond the sports of skiing and snowboarding and can take you on a new adventure or two during the months when Big Bear can turn into a winter wonderland.

Enjoy your stay!

Kelly Garfield