Big Bear, California
I figured I would write a little bit about Big Bear. Big Bear is located in Southern California in the San Bernardino National Forest. It’s only about a 3 hour drive from Las Vegas and it’s nestled up in the mountains. My family has owned a condo there since I was born. Lots of great memories have been made there and it is always a great time. For being a small town it has lots of fun things to do and see. There are lots of places to stay in Big Bear. You can rent your own cabin or stay the night in some of the hotels and lodges up there. During it’s snowy season, you should always plan to have snow chains on hand as they will not let you up the mountain without them.
Here are some pictures I have found, but I will look for some more to upload later.
Skiing and Snowboarding:
The biggest thing it’s known for is snow sports. The two biggest spots for skiing and snowboarding are Bear Mountain Ski Resort and Snow Summit Ski Resort. We usually ski or snowboard on Snow Summit since it is the closest to our condo. The cool thing about Snow Summit is during the summer when there is no snow, you can ride the ski lift to the top of the mountain and back down again. Or you can ride it to the top and hike/bike your way down. It’s really cool to watch the bikers ride down the hill. They ride crazy fast! We have pretty much stuck to Snow Summit when we go up there, but I vaguely remember going to Bear Mountain. It was pretty nice too from what I can remember. It is a lot of fun in the winter when they have snow. Even if you don’t plan on skiing or snowboarding, you can find lots of places to stop and play in it. As kids we would build snow forts, throw snowballs and build a ramp behind the condo to ride our snow tubes down. There is also a little part of the mountain where you can go and pay to ride sleds down it. Here are the links to both ski resorts and the place to go sledding:
There is also a lake named Big Bear Lake. Lots of people go kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, parasailing, wake-boarding, water-skiing, jet-skiing and cruising on their boats. We have gone fishing in the past and it’s a lot of fun! You can purchase a day license and find yourself a nice spot out on the lake shore and just have a relaxing fishing day. I don’t think we have ever caught any, but we did enjoy the day outside by the lake.
Other Outdoor Activities:
Some other outdoor activities that you can do are hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, golfing, alpine sleding, bobsledding and zip-lining. The only one of these we have ever done was golfing. It’s a fun little course.
If outside sports activities aren’t your thing, there are live bands, laser tag, escape rooms, museums, scavenger hunts, tours, and spas. The only thing we have ever done out of these choices is check out the museums. They have a lot of the history of Big Bear as well as the nature found within it.
One of my favorite things to do in Big Bear is perusing the shops downtown. It is called Big Bear Lake Village. There are all sorts of fun interesting shops. There are lots of souvenir type stores, antique shops, candy stores, delicious restaurants, leather stores, clothing stores, a tattoo parlor, a few bars, and a movie theater. I have also seen a pottery/paint class shop. I have often wanted to check it out but haven’t had the chance. It is fun to just take a stroll up and down the street and look in all the shops, eat some delicious treats and even just people-watch.
There are a lot of great places to grab a bite to eat. Some of my favorite places to eat in Big Bear are 572 Social, Peppercorn Grille, and Red Baron Pizza. There were a couple more we really liked, like Ping Pongs Chinese and Madlons, but they have unfortunately closed. There was a super cute tea house called Mill Creek Manor we also really liked, but it closed. 572 Social is more like bar food. Their burgers are really delicious. Red Baron Pizza is obviously a pizza joint. I think they have more than just pizza, but we usually just order pizza to go on our way into town and take it to the condo. Peppercorn Grille is a fancy restaurant. They have really great food. Their steaks are sooo good as well as their artichoke appetizer. You definitely have to have a reservation or you could end up waiting a long time. It’s a very small restaurant. Here are some links to those restaurants:
If you want to save on meals, you could definitely rent your own condo and make your own meals every night. There is a Vons, a Stater Bros as well as some smaller markets in Big Bear.
We also like to go up and attend the Big Bear Renaissance Fair. It happens every year from the middle of July through the middle of August. It’s held in the area called Fawnskin. It happens every weekend and usually has a different theme each weekend. It is much smaller than the Age of Chivalry Renaissance Fair, but it is set in the middle of the gorgeous forest. It is really cool to be in a much more private, smaller fair. Here is a link to the fair as well as their Facebook page:
The bowling alley is a lot of fun but can get crowded! Make sure you call ahead. Here is a link to their website:
The movie theater has 4 screens I think. They are tiny little theaters but nice. Here is the movie theater link:
The zoo is tiny, but has lots of really cool animals. They take care of these animals really well. They are all animals that cannot be released back into the wild for their own safety. For more info, check out their website:
All in all if you are looking for a quick, inexpensive getaway, Big Bear is a great option. It’s beautiful, has lots of activities year round and gets you away from the boring day to day.