Big Bear Lake, California
Big Bear Lake, surrounded by the lush San Bernardino
National Forest (about 100 miles
northeast of Los Angeles) is known as the “four
seasons resort” - because every season is a good time to come here fpr a great
Spring: See the beautiful colors of multiple blossoms and fresh new greenery, when
the hiking and mountain biking trails are the perfect way to see one of California's most beautiful
Summer: Time to enjoy fun in the sun, with Big Bear Lake's endless opportunities for
exciting water sports in perfect weather – everything from the thrill of jetskiing and wakeboarding to
the indulgent relaxation of a fishing trip.
Fall: Take in the beauty of the changing colors as you hike along spectacular
mountain trails and have fun at the famous annual Oktoberfest.
Winter: Thick blankets of snow provide all the skiing and snowboarding ground you
could dream of! From challenging courses for champion skiers, to gentle sledding slopes for all the
family, there's no end to the winter fun.
Big Bear Lake was once inhabited only by its native
Serrano Indians... and of course, the grizzly bears that gave it its name. For over 2,000 years, it
remained that way, until it was “discovered” by Benjamin Wilson in the 19th century.
Then, during the Southern California Gold Rush (1861-1912) Big Bear Lake saw rapid expansion and a
growth in popularity as a vacation destination. Incidentally, there are no more grizzlies in the area
today! In fact, they haven't been seen there since the very beginning of the
Big Bear Lake was actually the reason for the
world's second ever bus line, which eliminated the need for a tiring two day journey by horse-drawn
coach from San Bernardino. Because it was now so easy to reach, it became a top vacation resort – and a
beautiful one at that, with its mountains, forestland, and natural hot spring. It attracted Hollywood
celebrities (such as Ginger Rogers and Shirley Temple), and was often a popular location for
The area quickly became known as the four seasons
destination, and many hotels and resorts were established to cater for the increasing numbers
of visitors. Today, it remains a favorite year-round
vacation spot with Americans.
It doesn't matter what time of year you choose to
make your trip to Big Bear Lake – every season offers plenty to do and a beautiful natural backdrop for
your vacation. Three mountain resorts make for fabulous skiing and snowboarding opportunities in the
thick snow of winter; lush forests and sparkling lakes offer gorgeous and ever-changing hiking and
mountain biking trails in spring and fall, and the summer weather is perfect for camping, fishing, and
water sports in the infamous Californian sunshine. There's also the Discovery Center, always popular
with families at any time of year!
sports:Big Bear Lake is home to three superb mountain resorts – Snow
Summit, Bear Mountain and Snow Valley. All of them provide excellent terrain for winter sports, offering
skiing and snowboarding opportunities for everyone, whether you're a complete beginner or a world
champion! Families on vacation with young children can take advantage of nursery slopes and have fun
with the youngsters, sledding down gentle mountain slopes. The ski slopes range from easy to incredibly
challenging, with jumps designed by expert park staff who are reportedly the best in the
For a snowboarding trip with a group of friends,
your best option is probably The Park at the Bear Mountain resort – which is actually where most of the
local snowboarders go. You can get lessons here, or simply watch the crowds of extremely talented
snowboarders for tips and tricks. The Park contains loads of jumps in different sizes, and lots of
jibbing equipment. Jibbing is when you do tricks on your snowboard – The Park is full of features to
help with this, with rails and boxes and much more.
If you're taking a family winter vacation, you might
prefer somewhere like Snow Summit, which has a much more “family-like” atmosphere, so it's great for the
kids – but don't worry, there are still rails and jumps for the more advanced family members! If you've
got young children or beginners, you're probably best off going during the week rather than braving the
much bigger crowds at the weekend.
Golf:Golf fans will love the Bear Mountain Golf course – a
mountain-style, 9-hole course in the Moonridge Meadow area at the base of the Bear Mountain Resort.
Peaceful and scenic, the views at the Bear Mountain Golf Course will delight all players, its setting
giving it something extra special over the courses you've played elsewhere. There's also a driving
range, restaurant, a pro shop, and rental of all equipment including clubs and carts.
biking: There are plenty of challenging trails for adventure seekers,
none more so that the exciting ride from Grandview Point to Snow Summit, or the scenic route along the
top of the Skyline Drive ridge with its wonderful views of the lake. Beginners aren't left out, either,
with the gentle Bristlecone Trail and Towne Trail providing a straightforward, pleasant
Hiking: Big Bear Lake has no
shortage of beautiful hiking trails , particularly around the Snow Summit area. The scenery changes
depending on the time of year, but the spectacular natural beauty is constant. Try out horseback riding,
Jetskiing:There are endless opportunities for water sports at
Big Bear Lake. Many like to bring their own boats, but you can easily select the perfect craft for your
purposes from the many available rentals. Licensed operators are on hand for waterskiing and
wakeboarding of all levels – or take it at your own pace! Enjoy a restful time on the lake in a
Catamaran sailboat or pontoon boat, or pick up the pace in a speedboat or jetski.
Kayaking:Kayaking is popular on the north shore of Big Bear
Lake, and it's a perfect way to sxplore the shoreline in places you couldn't get to in other boats.
Hidden coves wait to be explored! And there's always a good array of kayaks, canoes, paddle boards and
pedal boats to choose from.
sports: If you fancy something a bit out of the ordinary, Big Bear
Lake's got you covered! Ziplining through forests and over huge canyons is very popular here, as is
parasailing over the lake at a height of about 300 feet!
Fishing: Very popular in the summer
as a perfect way to spend a relaxing day, fishing on Big Bear Lake is fun for groups of friends, as an
activity to enjoy with the kids, or just as a solitary “time out” where you can be at one with nature!
The most abundant types of fish are trout, bass and catfish, and you're sure to get a good
Big Bear Lake enjoys a moderate climate, with
pleasantly mild spring and fall temperatures, and warm (but not too hot!) summers – the average high in
July is about 80°F. And of course, in the winter time, there's snow! Perfect conditions for skiing,
snowboarding, and other winter activities.
Big Bear Lake is only a short drive away from Los
Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. It can also be reached via air travel to Big Bear City Airport,
which is in the Big Bear City area of the unincorporated San Bernardino County. A bus service will get
you to the lake from the airport. There's also a local bus service within Big Bear Lake, run by the same
company – MARTA (Mountain Area Regional Transit Authority).
There's no shortage of food in Big Bear Lake, that's
for sure! And whether you're looking for traditional countryside food or sophisticated cuisine, you'll
definitely find something to suit your tastes. Just don't neglect to try the wonderfully fresh seafood!
Here are a few of Big Bear Lake's popular dining establisments:
Captain's Anchorage – The place to go for a great steak and seafood. A fantastic fresh seafood menu, as well as
USDA Prime steak, chicken, and other non-seafood options. Fine dining, cocktails, and a history of
Manor Café – A fun eaterie serving good rustic food, with a menu full
of amusing and creative names. With slogans like “May Your Next Meal Be Just As Grizzly” and "Send More
Tourists...The Last Ones Were Delicious!", you know that this place is really entering into the spirit
of things as a Big Bear Lake restaurant!
Country Inn – A German-run restaurant with a good variety of German
cuisine, seafood, barbequeue, and a child-friendly menu. A great selection, along with a well-stocked
bar serving an impressive variety of beers and wines.
Big Bear isn't the place for loud nightclubs and
crazy nights out – it're more about enjoying good company, excellent live music, beautiful views,
cocktails, games, and conversation. Here are just some of the great venues for you to do just that, when
the sun goes down...
Prospector's– located near Lakeview
Drive, this cheerful venue hosts live music and dancing, dinner and cocktails, and a beautiful view of
the lake at night.
The Bowling BarnBig Bear Lake's bowling alley, featuring night-time “glow bowling”, prizes and arcade
games. The Bowling Barn Lounge is a fun bar area with regular live entertainment, karaoke nights,
pool tables, plasma TV for sports games, and a pleasant outside deck for chilling on lazy summer
Place – ideal for a relaxing night with friends, this is a typical
biker-style hangout with big screen TVs for sports, pool tables, and a bar. What more could you
Bear Mountain Brewery and Restaurant – this is one of the oldest
buildings in Big Bear, built by pioneer Bill Knickerbocker in 1925. With a traditional wooden bar and
great rustic atmosphere, this is the place to come for the best beer menu around! The restaurant also
does a selection of good, hearty bar-style food.
CATS – This is the Community Arts Theater Society of Big Bear
Lake, and you can catch some great Broadway shows here. Great for a good night's
Lounge – Situated in the
Best Western Big Bear Chateau, this lounge is the perfect place to relax with friends over a few drinks
in a pleasant ambience. Happy hours each night, too!