A big bear vacation

A big bear vacation can be enjoyed during any season. Winter offers incredible skiing in the San Bernardino Mountains. Spring, summer and fall are also great for a big bear romantic getaway and recreational activities in a spectacular natural setting.


Big Bear is located in the Inland Empire region of San Bernardino county in Southern California. A short distance from Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego counties.

Start your Big Bear vacation on the scenic Rim of the World Drive (Hwys 18 and 38), a panorama-filled road that climbs and curves through the San Bernardino National Forest for about 87 miles from the town of San Bernardino. Past Big Bear it plunges back down through canyons and chaparral to Redlands. On clear days the views are spectacular

Top 10 things to do on a Big Bear vacation:

  1. Skiing

    With an 8000 ft ridge rising above the lake's southern side, Big Bear usually gets snow between mid-December and March or April. It has 2 mountains Bear Mountain (Hwy 18) and Snow Summit.


    Bear Mountain, the higher of the 2, has a vertical drop of 1665 ft (1200 ft at Snow Summit) and is an all-mountain freestyle park.

    Snow Summit is a more traditional downhill skiing with trails for all levels of experience. One ticket buys access to both resorts.

  2. Hiking

    Castle Rock Trail is a 2.4 mile round trip and offers super romantic and amazing views. The first half-mile is pretty steep but the trail flattens a bit after that.

    Cougar Crest Trail links up with the Pacific Crest (5 mile round trip) after about 2 miles and offers spectacular views of the lake and Holcomb Valley.

    Big Bear is mountain-biking paradise with oner 100 miles of trails for cross country adventure.

    Another fun and romantic destination is Butler Peak a mountain top with a historic fire lookout tower, from where have romantic panoramic views. You need a mountain bike, or a high-clearance vehicle to get there, or join a tour offered by the Discovery Center.

  3. Big Bear Lake Tours - boat, off-road vehicle, horseback, mountain bike, or on foot.

    • Cantrell Guide Service-Boat Tour (909) 585-4017
    • Big Bear Adventure Racing (909) 910-1810
    • Big Bear Discovery Center (909) 382-2791
    • Victoria Park Carriages (909) 584-2277
    • Big Bear Off-Road Adventures (909) 585-1036
    • Baldwin Lake Stables & Petting Zoo (909) 585-6482
    • Big Bear Queen Boat Tour (909) 866-4447
    • Bear Valley Bikes (909) 866-8000
    • Big Bear Charter Fishing (909) 866-2240 Toll Free: 800-475-3166
    • Snow Summit Scenic Sky Chair (909) 866-5766
    • Big Bear Pirate Ship (909) 878-4040Toll Free: 800-BIG BEAR

    Between late December and March, a flock of bald eagles makes Big Bear their winter home. The Discovery Center Eagle Tour combines an educational slide program with an eagle-spotting outing.

  4. Big Bear vacation: Snowshoe Trips

    Taking a trek into the open country via snowshoes or cross-country skis is one of the best ways to enjoy the true bliss of Big Bear Lake's picturesque winter scenery.This is a great way to escape the crowds and enjoy the peaceful serenity of the natural winter wonderland - a great romantic secluded vacation.

  5. Big Bear vacation: Horseback Riding

    All year-round for hourly, half-day, sunset and overnight rides and tours through National Forest areas. Horse Back Riding / Rental Stables:

    Baldwin Lake Stables 585-6482
    Rockin' K Ranch 878-4677

    Big Bear is surrounded by National Forest and trails. You can check with the local Discovery Center who will equip you with maps and trail info. The Pacific Crest Trail also runs through the Big Bear Valley and you have access to miles and miles of trail from anywhere in the Valley.

  6. Stroll around Big Bear Village, full delightful art galleries and souvenir shops. Take a walk through Art of Nature Gallery, which features the fine art photography of local Timothy Wolcott. Big Bear Book & Bean on Pine Knot Avenue is terrific for good reads and a cup of coffee.
  7. Water Sports In summer.

    For a romantic getaway, from the very popular Swim Beach on Big Bear Lake, rent a boat / kayak / waverunner and get out on the water. A romantic destination is Boulder Bay near the lake's western end.

    Paddle boating, pontoon boating, sailing or power boating, windsurfing, sailboarding, waterskiing or jet skiing - And all boats and equipment can be rented at any one of the marinas that dot the lake's 23 miles of shoreline. Rentals are available at several marinas.

    • Captain John's Fawn Harbor & Marina 909-866-6478
    • Pleasure Point Boat Landing 909-866-2455
    • Holloway's Marina & RV Park 909-866-2665
    • Big Bear Marina 909-866-3218
    • Big Bear Parasail & Water Sports 909-866-4359
  8. Big Bear vacation: Solar Observatory 909-866-5791

    If you happen to be visiting Big Bear in July or August, you also have a rare opportunity to tour one of only six solar observatories in the world. Call ahead for a reservation to visit the Big Bear Solar Observatory, a government-funded station that takes advantage of the lakeside setting (water minimizes heat that could deflect rays and distort images), thinner atmosphere (which amounts to very little haze) and fine weather to study solar phenomena.

  9. Scenic Ski Chair 909-866-5766
  10. Bear Mountain Golf Course 909-866-5766

Additional Destination Information:

Big Bear Sports Ranch 877-424-4232
Discovery Center 909-866-3437
Big Bear Lake Performing Arts Center 909-866-4970
Peak Performance 909-866-9003
Big Bear Shores RV Resort & Yacht Club 909-866-4151
Big Bear Charter Fishing 909-866-2240


Here's a little tip to save money on your romantic big bear vacation. Take advantage of midweek lift and lodging packages starting as low as $69 per person, per night, based on double occupancy. You'll save money and enjoy wide open slopes during the weekdays.

Destination Directions:

Big Bear is on Hwy 18, which heads north of Hwy 30 in San Bernardino. A quicker approach is via Hwy 330, which starts in Highland and intersects with Hwy 18 in Running Springs. If you don't like serpentine mountain roads, pick Hwy 38 near REdlands, which is longer but less dramatic.

Most of Big Bear is between lake's south shore and the Mountains a popular getaway not only for Angelenos but also for people from other Southland cities and even Las Vegas.

Driving destinations and Nearby Cities from Big Bear Lake:

• Driving distance from a Big Bear vacation to San Diego, CA 95.6 miles
• Driving distance from a Big Bear vacation to Los Angeles, CA 82.1 miles
• Driving distance from a Big Bear vacation to Anaheim, CA 65.9 miles
• Driving distance from a Big Bear vacation to Palm Springs, CA 36.8 miles

A big bear vacation can be enjoyed during any season. Winter offers a romantic christmas vacations and incredible skiing in the San Bernardino Mountains. Not to mention it's a great winter honeymoon.

Big Bear romantic getaway: Big Bear Lake has all the right elements for the perfect winter getaway including vacation rentals and comfortable accommodations with fireplaces and Jacuzzis and various things to do with two first-rate ski resorts, inner tube parks, winter tours in the backcountry, warm, inviting restaurants, quaint, boutique shops and lots of snow!

Here are more romantic california vacations destinations.

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