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Top 10 Things to Do in Big Bear Lake, California

by Sally Bernstein

Big Bear Lake is one of the few places in southern California where you can enjoy outdoor recreation all year long.  Situated within comfortable driving distance of Los Angeles and San Diego, California and Las Vegas, Nevada, Big Bear Lake is surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest. And with over 300 days of sunshine, there is much to do here.  The following 10 items are only a start.  Go and enjoy your stay.


1) Alpenhorn Bed & Breakfast

Innkeepers Linda and Timothy Carpenter will make you feel welcome at their 8 room, 2 story B&B.  Expect a lovely, comfortable setting, full upscale breakfasts with homemade granola that is so popular they sell it so you can enjoy it at home, and fireplaces in all 8 rooms.  TV & VCR, beautifully landscaped yard,  jacuzzis and private decks, homemade oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip cookies and a central location all make for a wonderful stay. Alpenhorn is the only AAA Four Diamond B&B in San Bernardino County.
Rooms: $202.00-$312.00 per night; 2 night minimum on weekends
601 Knight Avenue
mail to: innkeeper@alpenhorn.com

see recipe section for Linda's:
Spring Garden Pizza & Cheesy Artichoke Flowers


2) Fishing

Big Bear Lake is a first-rate trout fishery and one of only a handful of Southern California lakes to be planted with rainbow trout on a regular basis. Big Bear Lake continues to receive approximately 2,000 lbs. of rainbow trout from the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) every two weeks, and averages about 150,000 to 200,000 lbs. of trout per year.  In addition to the great trout action, Big Bear Lake has both largemouth and small mouth bass, making it a popular fishing retreat for bass anglers. Other varieties of fish include catfish, crappie, pumpkinseed and bluegill.


3) Big Bear Off-Road Adventures
Let Doug Walton or one of his able assistants take you, in a 4 wheel drive vehicle raised high off the ground, to explore the north facing slopes of the south shore.  Points of interest include Grandview Point, Bluff Lake and Champion Lodgepole Pine trees. We enjoyed the ridges, canyons, meadows, streams and rivers of the San Bernardino Mountains.  Our tour lasted about 2 hours and included a 30 minute hike and a picnic lunch. 10 different tours are offered from 1 ½ hours to 5 hours and include tales of the colorful history of the region. This is Big Bear’s only year round 4 wheel drive tour company. Prices range from $20 per hour per person; children 4 to 12 are $10 per hour per person and children under 4 are free. VISA & MasterCard accepted.
mail to: roadmaster@offroadadventure.com

4) Boating

In good weather months, visitors can be found racing across the lake on wave runners or jet skis, kayaking or canoeing along the lake’s coves and inlets, skimming the water on skis or wakeboards, or sailing with a little help from the constant lake breezes.  Another one-of-kind experience is parasailing at 7000’ to experience a completely different perspective of Big Bear Valley’s vast beauty. Instruction is offered for most water sports at all skill levels.



5) Elevations Day Spa

Let Debby Dokter and her staff comfort you with facials, massages, body treatments, manicure & pedicures, waxing & tinting, hair design & treatments, permanent cosmetics and glamour make-up.  They seem to do it all!  This is the only full service day spa in Big Bear and they aim to please.  The comfortable surroundings include treatments for both men and women and their spa packages will elevate you to a new level of well-being. Gift certificates available.
42007 Fox Farm Road Unit #1


6) “Miss Liberty” Paddlewheel Tour Boat

This is Big Bear’s largest tour boat at 64’ long, 18’ wide and 24’6” high.  The 90 minute narrative tour covers Big Bear Lake’s rich history dating back to 1845, insightful fact, folklore and celebrity sightings.  Ask about their weddings, corporate events, twilight cruises and private parties. Handicapped accessible. Non-smoking. Free shuttle service to and from the Village to Pine Knot Landing.
400 Pine Knot Avenue
mailto: info@pintknotmarina.com

7) Bald Eagles from Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Canada and Alaska

Come to Big Bear Lake in December through March of each year to witness these wintering eagles. Join a tour from Saturday, December 22, 2007 through Saturday, March 8, 2008 as the Big Bear Discovery Center hosts tours that give visitors an opportunity to witness one of nature’s most entertaining experiences in the “front row.”  Few experiences in nature match the excitement of seeing soaring bald eagles in clear alpine skies over Big Bear Lake. With a wingspan of up to eight feet and weighing 10-14 pounds, these spectacular animals perch in treetops around the lake or stand still at the open water's edge, waiting for lunch to swim by.  The cost is $30 for adults and $20 for children ages 16 and under. The tour includes bottled water, snack, and the use of spotting scopes and binoculars. Space is limited to 13 people so reservations are recommended.
Big Bear Discovery Center

8) Skiing, Snowboarding, Sledding, Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

With an elevation from 6,750 to 9,000 feet, winter sports are quite popular here!   Big Bear Lake is home to Southern California’s two premier ski resorts. Snow Summit is the place for everyday skiers and riders in search of a friendly laid back winter playground. “The Park” at Bear Mountain known as an “All Mountain Terrain Freestyle Park” attracts every level from first-time snowboarders and skiers to freestyle enthusiasts. It is the only mountain resort in the United States devoted almost entirely to a freestyle terrain. Both resorts set itself apart from other Southern California’s ski areas because of their quality snowmaking and slope grooming.  Combined together, both resorts offer 55 runs, 27 lifts, 4 high-speed chairs, 150 jumps, over 80 jibs and boxes, two half pipes and Southern California’s only Superpipe! Big Bear Mountain Resorts also offers a guaranteed ski or snowboard learning experience that is easy and exciting for all ages! There are equipment rentals for all ages at all skill levels.
Snow chains are highly recommended in the winter because mountain weather can change dramatically on very short notice.
For road conditions, call 1.800.427.ROAD (1.800.427.7623).

9) Golf

Adjacent to Moonridge Animal Park, golfers find their own alpine paradise at Bear Mountain Golf Course, 9-holes of mountain meadows, streams and challenging fairways.  Open May through November; this regulation course is located at the base of Bear Mountain Ski Resort.

10) Restaurants

Check out the 88 page guide book “Where to Eat, Shop and Play” for suggestions. Here are a few spots I tried:

Grizzly Manor Café
Breakfast & lunch here with an owner (Jayme Nordine) who entertains while flipping flapjacks, which, by the way, are quite large & quite good. Also biscuits and gravy, egg dishes, hash browns, meat platters, etc.  Help yourself to coffee and enjoy the friendly atmosphere.
41268 Big Bear Blvd.

Madlon’s Restaurant
Husband and Wife and Chef Owners Chelsie & Robert Orr offer casual fine dining in Big Bear City.  Think crab cakes, escargot, Caesar salad, pesto halibut, gorgonzola and cherry walnut stuffed chicken and steak Delmonico for dinner. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, check their seasonally changing times.
829 Big Bear Blvd.

Sweet Basil Bistro
Fresh Italian at both lunch and dinner; small bar.
40629 Lakeview Drive


To learn about everything there is to see and do in Big Bear Lake and to request a Visitors Guide, log on to www.bigbear.com or call 1.800.4.BIG BEAR (1.800.424.4232).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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