The Best Things To Do in Big Bear, California

Famous as a mountain lake location, Big Bear, California, is a beloved escape for travelers. Its convenient location in the heart of Southern California makes it easy for guests in the surrounding region to access.

There are some key things to know if you’re planning a trip to Big Bear. Let’s take a look at things to do, annual events to plan your trip around, and top resorts in Big Bear, California.

View from the top of the Big Bear Lake, California
Photo Credit: NikTheMechanic/Shutterstock.

Things To Do in Big Bear, California

No matter what time of year you visit Big Bear, you are in for a good time! From hitting the slopes to fishing at Big Bear Lake, there’s always something to keep you busy when visiting this quaint little town.


If you need a bit of retail therapy, you are in for a treat at Big Bear. Whether you want to add something extra to your closet or find an item to commemorate your trip, you can find it in Big Bear. The Village and the Valley are the two main retail areas. The Village is the perfect place for buying souvenirs for yourself, your friends, and your family. In contrast, the Valley has a little bit of everything.

Museums & History

Big Bear has a rich history that is worth exploring on your vacation. Learn about how this town went from a prime spot for gold mining into the four-season resort it is today.

The Big Bear Discovery Center is the largest education center in town. This is the place to be if you want to learn about all things Big Bear. More than 190,000 visitors enjoy educational fun and eco-tours at the attraction annually.

Dining Options

From fine dining to family-friendly restaurants, Big Bear has an eclectic range of culinary options. Both picky and adventurous eaters will find something to satisfy their appetites.

Santana & Mavericks has a wide variety of menu items, including gluten-free and vegan options. Guests at this restaurant can enjoy the fabulous food while taking in the breathtaking views of Big Bear Lake.

Treat yourself to a memorable experience at Stillwell’s Restaurant. They combine premium meats, seafood, and poultry with seasonal produce for a tasty, fine dining experience.

Don’t skip dessert when on vacation! Sister My Sister Bake Shop has you covered with fresh baked goods daily. Their brownies, cookies, cinnamon rolls, and cupcakes really hit the spot.

Summer Adventures

Big Bear is the best spot for a mountain lake getaway in summer due to its clear skies and crisp cool air. During the summer, you can enjoy excellent forest trails and a seven-mile lake filled with adventures.

The marinas at Big Bear Lake open in the spring and stay open through the fall. Set time aside for fun on the lake, including fishing, boating, jet skiing, paddle sports, and more.

Fancy teeing off while on vacation? If so, head to Bear Mountain Golf Course. In addition to a 9-hole course, there are chipping areas, a putting green, and a driving range.

Mountain biking in Big Bear is a staple. They have both easy and challenging trails. Take the chairlift at Snow Summit Bike Park so you can ride the trails at the top of the mountain. There are plenty of bike shops around town with rentals.

Winter Fun

Similar to summer, there is no shortage of fun outdoor activities in the winter when Big Bear turns into a snowy winter wonderland.

The main activities are skiing and snowboarding. Guests love Big Bear Mountain Resort at Snow Summit and Bear Mountain, known as the best terrain for skiing in Southern California. This area features over 400 acres of terrain, 26 lifts, and 55 runs.

Snowshoeing is offered in the Valley. Whether you want to take a solo trip or go on an expert-guided tour, you can enjoy the wintry landscape of the National Forest trails.

Snow tubing is a must-do activity if traveling with little ones. The Alpine Slide, Big Bear Snow Play, and Grizzly Ridge Tub Park at Snow Summit are three locations for daytime snow tubing. Snow tubing at night is a whole different experience! Glow tubing is available on Fridays, Saturdays, and holidays.

Annual Events in Big Bear, California

It’s always the right time to visit Big Bear because there is always something to do. However, when it comes to holidays and fun events, Big Bear goes all out. You might want to plan your vacation around some of these annual events.

4th of July Firework Spectacular

To celebrate Independence Day, Big Bear has a 4th of July Firework Spectacular that consistently ranks as one of California’s top five fireworks displays. There are many great standpoints where you can stop and look up to see the night sky explode into vivid color. Try watching the Fireworks Spectacular from the water, the shore, or some trail points.

The Big Bear Lake Grill & Chill

The Big Bear Lake Grill & Chill is perfect for Memorial Day Weekend. The BBQ festival holds a competition between grill masters. Attendees enjoy shuffling between booths, tasting succulent BBQ samples, and voting for their favorite griller in the People’s Choice competition. Beer stalls await you to come over and wash down that smokey meat with an ice-cold beer. The festival has a kids zone so the children can stay entertained. In addition, there is live music for your enjoyment.

Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest

Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest takes place from mid-September through early November. The famous German celebration revolves around fun for family and friends.

You can travel safely to and from the festival via the free Big Bear Trolley. That means you can enjoy the four beer gardens and two full-service bars without worrying about the drive. In addition to fabulous drinks, all the classic German fare for a proper feast is there. Get ready to try bratwurst, knockwurst, kielbasa, Bavarian potato dumplings, and large soft pretzels. There are also many fun contests, including the annual Queen Stein Carrying Contest and log sawing competitions.

Fishin’ for $50K

Everyone in the family will love participating in Fishin’ for $50K. Prizes are awarded in weight classes for adults and children, and raffle prizes include fishing equipment for adults and children so that everyone can partake in this fun competition. Five of the thirty tagged trout are Grand Prize Winners, earning $10K each, and the remaining five are non-grand prize winners, earning $500 each. Participants can fish from boats, non-motorized vessels, or the shore.

Places To Stay in Big Bear, California

Now that you know about all the fun things to do in Big Bear, you’re probably keen to visit! Luckily, there are quite a few fabulous places to stay.

The Club at Big Bear Village

In Southern California’s San Bernardino Mountains, The Club at Big Bear Village is a tranquil and secluded resort that offers various fun alpine activities. Take advantage of what Big Bear Lake offers on your next Bluegreen vacation.

The resort’s amenities will enhance your experience. There is an on-site outdoor heated pool, billiard rooms, and game room. In addition, if you want to keep up your workouts while traveling, there is a fully-equipped fitness center at the resort.

During your stay, enjoy the finest rustic elegance in one of the spacious two-bedroom suites or the three- or four-bedroom Presidential suites that can accommodate up to ten guests in luxurious comfort and style.

WorldMark Big Bear

Take a break from your busy life and enjoy the mountains at WorldMark Big Bear. WorldMark comes under the Wyndham Destinations umbrella, so you can rest assured this resort will offer fabulous amenities and accommodations.

Plus, you can have so much fun on-site without leaving the resort. Amenities include a fitness center, basketball courts, tennis courts, an outdoor pool, and a children’s playground. Not to mention, there is an activities center that hosts fun events throughout your stay.

No matter the suite size you choose, it will feel like home because each one boasts a living area and a fully-equipped kitchen. The resort has various accommodation options, from studio to four-bedroom suites, so you can fit small and larger parties.

Trade Your Timeshare To Stay in Big Bear, California

Do you already own a Bluegreen or Wyndham timeshare? If the answer is yes, you can use your points to stay at other resorts through vacation exchange.

RCI and Interval International are vacation exchange networks that allow timeshare owners to trade their timeshares for vacations at other resorts. For example, if you own a timeshare at any RCI-affiliated resort, you can exchange it for a stay at Worldmark Big Bear or Bluegreen’s The Club at Big Bear Village.

The timeshare industry made some much-needed improvements after the arrival of vacation exchanges. When you buy a timeshare, you now have the opportunity to visit Big Bear, California, yearly or try out a new location each time.

More Things To Read

Interested in traveling the North West? Here are 29 fun things to do in Oregon (From: Roaming The Northwest).

This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.

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