The Wanderer's Guide To Big Bear Lake, CA


It’s no secret that Southern California can be a pretty rad place to visit. As residents ourselves, one of our favorite things about the area is the ability to hop in the car and be transported to a completely different climate and season in a matter of hours.

There are a few destinations that we like to travel to that gives us that much-needed change of scenery we crave from time to time. And one of our absolute favorites is Big Bear Lake.

Modish Wanderer - The Wanderer's Guide To Big Bear Lake CA

The city of Big Bear Lake is located in the county of San Bernardino and sits a little over 100 miles outside of Los Angeles. The lake itself is fresh water and spans 7 miles long with a variety of trails to explore along the perimeter. The area is known for its incredible views, natural beauty and abundance of seasonal activities to keep livin’ that adventure life all year long. And today, we’re going to be sharing all the details on where to stay, what to do and how to make the most of your time in this beautiful destination!

Lodging

There's definitely no shortage of places to stay in Big Bear Lake, but sometimes having so many options in front of us can be a bit overwhelming. To help make the lodging process a little easier, here are some of our favorite and highly rated accommodations in the area:

  • The Lodge At Big Bear Lake: If you don't mind being close to the hustle and bustle of Big Bear Lake Village, then this might be the perfect place to rest your head in between your outdoor adventures. It's just minutes away from the lake and ski-resorts and there's always something to do in The Village!
  • The Club At Big Bear Village: If you're looking for accommodations that are a little more upscale and also close to the shops and restaurants, then The Club At Big Bear Village will be a great place to check out. Located close to the mountains they are only a few minutes away from both ski resorts and have many guest amenities including an outdoor pool and fitness center.
  • Robinhood Resort: If being right near the lake is important to you and rustic decor is your jam, then you might find that the Robinhood Resort is a great fit for your stay in Big Bear Lake. They're also located in the Big Bear Village area and features amenities such as in room spas, cozy fireplaces, a two-story restaurant in-house and discounts at some of the local rental shops
    • Destination Big Bear: The experts and a leading provider of cabin rentals in Big Bear Lake, Destination Big Bear makes it easy to find high-quality cabins to fit all of your needs. You'll frequently see their rental properties listed on Airbnb (which is how we discovered them) and they offer many discounts for activities and rentals (kayaks, paddleboards etc.) in the area.  

    • Airbnb: If you’re down for something a little homier for your stay in Big Bear, Airbnb might be a great option for you, especially if you’re traveling with a group of friends and looking for a larger space. This tends to be our option of choice and during our most recent trip, we reserved an entire cabin that overlooked one of the ski resorts and rented the space at a reasonable price.

    (You can check out a full sneak peek of the Airbnb we stayed at over here.)

    Modish Wanderer - The Wanderer's Guide To Big Bear Lake, CA

     

    Activities

    No matter what season your Big Bear visit takes place in, you'll find that there's always something fun to do in the great outdoors! Below is a list of popular outdoor activities in the area and which season they're generally offered in:

    Winter

    • Skiing + Snowboarding: One of the many things that we love about Big Bear Lake is the fact that they have not one, but TWO Ski Resorts in the area. Both Big Bear Mountain + Snow Summit are sister resorts with passes available through Big Bear Mountain Resort that allow you to enjoy both locations in one day.
    • Sledding/Tubing: Not really a skier or snowboarder? No worries, there are other options at Big Bear that still allow you to have tons of fun in the snow such as sledding/tubing. A great place to check out for this is Big Bear SnowPlay, formerly known as the Rebel Ridge Ski Hill. The location features a lift to the top of the hill that eliminates walking up each time and is a popular spot for families and their Lil' Wanderers!

    Summer

    • Kayaking + Paddle Boarding: During the summer months, there's nothing quite like hitting the lake with a kayak or paddleboard. You'll find that there are many places in the area that offer rentals at various rates and prices, but be sure to check with your hotel or rental company as they often get discounted rates with specific vendors.

    Modish Wanderer - The Wanderer's Guide To Big Bear Lake, CA

     

    • Mountain Biking: During the Spring, Summer, and Fall months, Big Bear Lake serves as one of the premier mountain biking destinations in the area. In addition to numerous biking trails, the Snow Summit Ski Resort transforms into a downhill bike park during the Summer months.
    • Hiking: Whether you're a beginner or an advanced hiker, there are many interesting trails to wander through in beautiful Big Bear Lake. Below is a list of some of the most popular trails in the area along with their distances and difficulty level.

     

    Modish Wanderer - The Wanderer's Guide To Big Bear Lake, CA   

       Easy

      - Woodland Interpretive Trail - 1.5    miles (total)
      - Alpine Pedal Path - 2.5 miles       (one-way)
     
      Intermediate
      - Castle Rock Trail - 2.4 miles     (total)
      - Pine Knot Trail - 6 miles (total)
     
      Difficult/Advanced
      - Cougar Crest Trail - 5.5 miles (total)
      - John Bull Loop Trail - 14.9 miles (total)

     

    All Year Round 

    • Ziplining: We were pretty stoked to find out that Ziplining is now an activity that is offered year-round up at Big Bear Lake, even in the winter! If you're feeling a little daring, we highly recommend checking it out! Both Snow Summit and Action Tours offer Ziplining activities in the area. 
    • Off-Road Tours: Whether you're looking for a tour that's guided with a driver or you're totally down to get behind the wheel yourself, Big Bear offers a variety of ways to enjoy the off-roading experience. Two of the more popular places that offer this type of adventure are Big Bear Off-Road Adventures and Big Bear Jeep Experience.

    Restaurants + Shopping

    When it comes to shopping and dining in Big Bear, The Village is definitely where you want to be! There are tons of great restaurants and shops to be explored as well as regular live music at places like The Cave and 572 Social. Some of our favorite places to grab a bite include Peppercorn Grille, Saucy Mama's Pizzeria and The Bone Yard Bar & Grill

    We hope you enjoyed our Wanderer's Guide To Big Bear Lake and that it inspires you to plan a trip in the near future! Be sure to keep a lookout for more destination guides here on the blog and don't forget to sign up for our newsletter so that you never miss a post!