If you are planning a trip to Big Bear, read on to find a list of some of the best things to do in Big Bear, both in summer and in winter.
While I have spent a large part of the past year in California and have heard Big Bear Lake being mentioned several times, I never really made any effort to learn more about this place or plan a visit to the mountains…
Why not? Maybe it’s because I come from the Netherlands, one of the flattest countries in the world, so planning a trip to the mountains is not something that comes to mind?
Well whatever it is, this past weekend I learned that spending a few days in a log cabin by a mountain lake actually makes for a great weekend getaway!
So, I decided to share my tips and create a practical weekend itinerary for Big Bear Lake.
Things to Do in Big Bear
Big Bear Lake is a small town in California, 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The town is located in the San Bernardino Mountains along the south shore of the eponymous lake and surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest.
With its cute log cabins, cozy village atmosphere and stunning nature Big Bear Lake is the perfect place to escape hectic city life.
Big Bear is loved by outdoor enthusiasts all year round but even if you are not into the outdoors there is plenty to do in and around Big Bear Lake. These are my recommendations for things to do in Big Bear.
1. Try Some of the Water Sports on Big Bear Lake
The lake is the main attraction here. From sailing to fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding or a tour on a pirate boat… there really are countless options!
2. Or Any of the Other Adventure Sports & Activities
With just over 5,000 inhabitants Big Bear Lake really is just a small, sleepy town. Or so you would think… I was very impressed by how much there is to do in Big Bear Lake!
Whether you are into go-kart racing, zip-lining, tree climbing (yes, really) or you’d rather go to the zoo or a bowling alley… you can find it all around Big Bear Lake.
Check out this website for a very useful list of water sports, adventure sports and other activities in, on and around Big Bear Lake.
3. Hike Around Big Bear Lake
Another of the many fun outdoor things to do in Big Bear.
There are a good number of hiking trails around Big Bear Lake ranging from easy walks to very intense hikes. With the amazing scenery here it is definitely worth at least exploring some of the area on foot!
Visit Alltrails.com for a list of trails and reviews.
Tip: if you love hiking and the outdoors, also read this guide: Things to do in Redwood National Park, California.
4. Cycle or Ski at Snow Summit
Out of the long list of things to do in Big Bear we chose to go for the downhill mountain biking experience at Snow Summit. Not being much of a daredevil I have to admit this scared me but I am happy I did it because it was a great experience!
You take the ski lift up to the top of the mountain where you find a wide selection of professionally built and maintained trails… Of course I went for one of the easier trails and even there I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen to me if I would make one mistake and plunge down that cliff that was constantly next to me…
Thankfully somehow I never made that one mistake, I made it down the mountain and the adrenaline rush was amazing!
But skiing is probably what Big Bear Lake is best known for. Although only a two hours drive from the sunny Californian beaches, Big Bear offers two ski resorts: Snow Summit and Bear Mountain. It might not be the best skiing in the world, but the fact that you could spend the morning slaloming down the slopes and the afternoon sipping a cocktail on the beach makes this place quite unique!
5. Eat Out & Enjoy Big Bear’s Nightlife
Big Bear Lake has an adorable looking shopping and entertainment area called “The Village”. Do check this out when you are taking a trip to Big Bear! It’s definitely the best place to go for dinner and a drink or for some shopping and entertainment.
Big Bear Lake Village has got a good number of restaurants ranging from casual to fine dining so just walk around and pick your favorite or visit The Village’s website for a list of restaurants, bars, shops, and other facilities.
It was recommended to us to eat at Big Bear Lake Brewing Company, a lively restaurant with an on-site brewery. This is clearly a popular restaurant because on Saturday evening it was packed, and for good reason. The service was great, the food good value for money and having a view of the brewery from your table is a really cool feature! I loved their cocktails and if you don’t have time to go there for dinner just stop by for a drink!
Although you might not expect great nightlife options when going to a mountain village, Big Bear Lake actually does have both a nightclub: AV Bar & Nightclub and a concert and comedy venue: The Cave.
During our weekend in Big Bear we decided to visit The Cave to see one of their cover bands. And I have to say, I was very impressed! It’s a very nice, well-maintained venue and the band we saw was great. So if you are looking for some nighttime entertainment do check out what shows are on!
6. Stay at a Cozy Cabin
I was lucky enough to be able to stay at a friend’s house for my weekend trip to Big Bear Lake but otherwise renting a cabin is what I would do to explore and enjoy this area. Alternatively, there are many good hotels catering for every budget. Booking.com offers a good selection of both.
I hope this article showed you that there really are plenty of things to do in Big Bear that make it a great weekend break!
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