I love living in Los Angeles but every winter I get a twinge of homesickness for snowy days in Michigan. Luckily, snow can be found a mere hour and a half away! Big Bear Lake is an amazing weekend getaway 100 miles east of LA and a different wilderness world entirely! To get there, take the 10, 210, 605, or 91 to Highland (Basically head toward San Bernardino). From Highland, Take the 330 east and where it hits the 18, take a right toward Big Bear Lake and you can’t miss it! It’s a super easy and gorgeous drive. If you’re heading out on a Friday night or Saturday morning, try to go early; since its one road in and out of Big Bear, there can be a lot of traffic.
Ok, now that we’re past the logistics of finding Big Bear Lake, let the fun begin! If skiing and snowboarding are your thing, Snow Summit and Bear Mountain offer great ski/stay packages and between the two have 34 runs of all different levels. Since I’m not exactly what you would call “coordinated” I stuck to the kid-fun and went to Snow Play for some snow tubing.
Snow Play is located on Big Bear Blvd (or highway 18 that takes you through town) at what used to be the ski hill Rebel Ridge. For $30, you have unlimited tubing on 6 different runs from 10am-4pm (although we were done in 2 hours). They also have two uphill lifts that work as escalators to avoid climbing back up the hill. Inside the “lodge” they offer snacks and beverages as well as a couple of video games. This was a lot of fun but seemed a bit pricey for the experience. Although for families with small kids is seemed like the place to be!
From Snow Play, we decided to go check out The Village. Located directly across from the Marina, the Village has over 120 local vendors. From horse-drawn carriage rides and restaurants, to souvenir and sweet shops, the village is a charming place to walk around. There are also ample photo-ops with bears of all shapes and sizes which is always how I rank my like and dislike of a town.
When it comes to dining there are plenty of options from pizza slices and bagels to fine dining and Himalayan food if you REALLY want the mountain experience. For me, all it takes is beer! You put that in the title of your restaurant, and you know I’m there! The Big Bear Lake Brewing Company makes 6 different types of beer and the restaurant is built around the distillery so you can see where it’s made. The most delicious surprise however was not only the beer but the avocado bombs! It was like the ripest avocado in California mated with the freshest seafood in the world and asked the tastiest sauce to jump in for some fun! Food porn to the max! Between the burgers, brews, and bombs I was in heaven!
After I was sufficiently stuffed, I was ready to settle in for the night. There are lots of places to stay in the Village, around Big Bear Lake, and in the City. I had the amazing opportunity to stay in my own cabin at the Big Bear Frontier. These gorgeous cabins are right along Big Bear Lake and have their own fireplace, kitchenette, dining table, and couch. They have all different sizes and I’ve already made a plan to bring my family back in the summertime to take advantage of their outdoor grills, pool, and patios. The main office also has a giant fireplace, and complimentary pool table, board games, and book and movie rentals.
While I was slightly disappointed that I crashed super early in the cozy cabin, I was pleased to be up in time to watch the sun rise over the lake outside the cabin. I brewed some coffee and sat on the dock and enjoyed the view.
I wanted to grab some breakfast before leaving town and decided to grab a quick bite at the Copper Q expecting a Starbucks-like microwave sandwich and latte. What I got was something very different. First let me start with the caramel apple pie latte…what?!? Deliciousness in my mouth! Then I ordered a breakfast croissant and sat at a table to wait. It was then I realized the table was a stove and they cooked my breakfast right in front of me! For a $6 sandwich it was not a bad way to start the day!
On the way out of town I pulled over at the beautiful Boulder Bay to get a must-do shot with the Louie the Big Bear and took in the gorgeous lake sights and even spotted an eagle on the island.
For being so close to Los Angeles, this recreational town was the perfect weekend getaway. Big Bear Lake has a little bit of everything from sports and adventure, to shopping and relaxing, to great food and cabins. In the summertime, the lake is used for jet-skiing, water skiing, fishing, and other water sports. Basically meaning, I will be back for some more Big Bear Lake fun! Watch the whole episode [embed]https://youtu.be/hFasA3WxuLM[/embed]
FUN BIG BEAR FACTS:
- Big Bear was originally inhabited by the Serrano Native Americans and called Yuhaviat or "Pine Place".
- Benjamin Davis Wilson renamed it in 1845 after seeing the vast amount of Grizzly Bears in the area.
- It wasn't popular until William Holdcomb was bear hunting and discovered gold and suddenly Big Bear was a mecca for the Gold Rush.
- It became known for winter sports after a ski jump in 1929 and Tommy Tyndale opened snow Summit in 1952.
- 900 acres of skiing area.
- Southern California's first and only four season resort.
- In the summertime the lake is used for jet-skiing, boating, fishing, swimming, and sailing.
- 6,750 ft. Elevation.
- Temperatures range from 35-75 degrees. About 15-20 degrees cooler than Los Angeles.
- Averages 72 inches of snowfall per season.
- 20,000 full-time residents.
- Served as a set for numerous movies including Last Of The Mohicans, Gone With The Wind, and Paint Your Wagon.
Snow Play: http://www.bigbearsnowplay.com/
Big Bear Village: http://www.bigbearlakevillage.com/
Big Bear Brewing Company: http://bblbc.com/
Big Bear Frontier: http://www.big-bear-cabins.com/
Big Bear Visitors Center: http://www.bigbear.com/about/visitors-center/