With its breathtaking mountain backdrop, crystal clear blue waters, and diverse range of activities to enjoy both on land and in the water, Big Bear Lake is the ultimate destination for summertime fun. From boating and fishing to hiking in the mountains or paddle boarding on the lake, this interactive post will tell you all about what our sunny little town has to offer.
Table of Contents
- The Big Bear Lake Activities
- About Big Bear Lake
- What are some things to do at Big Bear Lake Camping Area?
- What to Bring to Big Bear Lake Camping?
- What are the prices for hotels near Big Bear Lake?
- Are there trains that will take me to Big Bear Lake?
- How many feet is Big Bear Lake deep?
- Are pets allowed at Big Bear Lake?
- Is there a speed limit on the Big Bear Lake road?
- What kinds of boating activities are there in Big Bear Lake?
- Are there any special events at Big Bear Lake in August?
- What is Big Bear Lake’s weather like in September?
- What are some fun things to do at Big Bear Lake in May?
- What is the history of Big Bear Lake?
- How long is Big Bear Lake?
- Is there a fee to swim at Big Bear Lake?
- What kinds of fish are in Big Bear Lake?
- Are there any beaches in Big Bear Lake?
- Where is Big Bear Lake located?
- What time is it at Big Bear Lake?
- Is Big Bear Lake frozen over?
- Is there a lighthouse on Big Bear Lake?
- What’s the weather like in the summer at Big Bear Lake?
- Is there a park or area to check out near Big Bear Lake?
- What is the average temperature of Big Bear Lake in August?
- What’s the average temperature of Big Bear Lake in the winter?
- Is there a movie theater near Big Bear Lake?
The Big Bear Lake Activities
Below is the list of 38 fun things to do in Big Bear Lake, California. While some of the activities on this list are for rental services such as kayaking and paddle boarding, others are self-guided activities like:
- San Gorgonio Monument: Located near the entrance to Big Bear Lake, this monument commemorates the “discovery” of the area by Father Francisco Garces in 1784. It recalls how stories were told about a lost Spanish Mission that may have been discovered by an Indian named San Gorgonio around 1875. The stories became legend and are immortalized today in the San Gorgonio Monument.
- Lakeview Lookout: This open area is located at the top of Big Bear Lake Road, and has panoramic views of the entire lake. It is also a great place for roasting marshmallows during long summer evenings. In fact, this was one of the first places in California where bonfires were allowed (in 1864) and a “campfire” ban was later passed (in 1967).
- Big Bear Discovery Center: Located in the heart of Big Bear Village, the Discovery Center is a great resource to learn about the history, wildlife, and recreational opportunities that Big Bear has to offer. It features an aquarium with a touch tank, as well as interactive exhibits on everything from dinosaurs to birds and snakes.
- Craftsman Historic District: Located just one block from the Village, this area was declared a National Register Historic District in 1987. Overlooking the lake, the historic district is filled with eclectic Southern California architecture ranging from Victorian to Mission Revival. It’s also a great place to stroll and grab a bite at nearby restaurants.
- Big Bear Wildlife Observatory: Located 30 minutes from Big Bear Lake, this observatory offers educational programs for kids and adults alike about natural world animals as well as the areas in which they live, and how they interact with each other and with humans.
- Big Bear Playhouse: Conveniently located in Big Bear Village, this theater offers live drama and music performances and has a 24-hour permit to hold parties, but you’ll need to make reservations. For more information about the Playhouse or its shows, visit www.bigbearplayhouse.co.
- Lake Arrowhead Museum: Located one mile north on Hwy 18 (from Big Bear Lake), this museum is a must visit for anyone interested in American Indian history and culture, as well as world history and culture. It has a diverse collection of artifacts, from Native American baskets and beadwork to an extensive collection of ancient Chinese bronzes.
- Snow Summit: This well-known mountain resort is located 25 minutes north on the Angeles Crest Highway (from Big Bear Lake). Its slopes offer some of Southern California’s best alpine skiing and snowboarding for all ages and levels of expertise. It also features the largest tubing runs in Southern California.
- Roaring Creek: This little creek is located in the San Bernardino National Forest, south of Big Bear Lake. It is an ideal place for beginner-level fishermen and families to enjoy the sport together.
- Pom Pom Lake: Off of Hwy 38 (north of Big Bear Lake), this lake offers plenty of fishing as well as water activities for all ages and experience levels. Camping is also permitted here, and there is a boat launch nearby for easy access.
- Crystal Lake & Crystal Forest: Both of these lakes are located in the San Bernardino National Forest, six miles north of Big Bear Lake. Crystal Lake has been known for its fishing opportunities since it was first discovered in 1881. The Crystal Forest features numerous hiking trails and is also popular with geocachers.
- Falling Leaf Campground: Located right next to the lake, this campground is a great place to stay if you want to stay close to all of the action on Big Bear Lake while still being fairly secluded from it.
- Grant Grove: Located in the San Gorgonio Wilderness area, this is a popular spot for camping as well as fishing and hiking. The campground is located right along the lake and therefore has access to nearby water activities.
- Chautauqua Park: This hot springs park is located at the foot of Big Bear Lake, on the north side of Hwy 18. It features a naturally formed hot spring that heats up to an average temperature of 91 degrees Fahrenheit year round. The park also offers a variety of water activities such as boating and fishing.
- Bear Valley Springs: This is a great place to grab a bite to eat, enjoy a family picnic, or take advantage of the nearby lake activities (water skiing, jet skiing, paddle boarding and more). The kid-friendly resort boasts some of the best views of Big Bear Lake in the area.
- Big Bear Lake Visitors Center: This building features information about the area’s history, recreation opportunities, and scenic beauty. There is also a gift shop located next to the visitors center.
- Big Bear Village: Located right in the heart of this little village is a wide range of outdoor recreation options — including boat tours on Big Bear Lake, hiking trails in surrounding mountains, and camping sites for all ages and experience levels. Visit the Big Bear Lake Visitors Center for more information.
- The Big Bear Country Store: This general store and restaurant is located in west end of Big Bear Village (located approximately five to 10 minutes north of Hwy 18). It features all-you-can-eat hamburgers and steaks, along with great homemade ice cream and desserts.
- Rim of the World Lake: Located north of Big Bear Lake, this lake is a great place to wake board, water ski and fish. The lake also offers boat rentals for access to the lake, as well as private fishing boats for for-hire fishing expeditions. It can be accessed by car or boat only and is a popular weekend destination.
- Chubascos: This Mexican restaurant sits right along Big Bear Lake at Hwy 18 in Big Bear Village. It’s open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the food is fresh, fast, and delicious.
- Black Bear Diner: This rustic restaurant and diner is located right in the heart of Big Bear Village along Hwy 18. They specialize in breakfast, lunch, dinner, and ice cream, with dishes prepared using fresh ingredients — including local produce — whenever possible.
- Murphy’s Resort: Located close to the lake on Big Bear Blvd. (in the vicinity of Murphy’s Restaurant), this resort is a great place to stay if you are planning on coming to Big Bear Lake for an extended period of time. It features cabins and cottages as well as an RV park.
- San Gorgonio Mountain Resort: This resort has a variety of lodging options, from private cabins all the way up to luxurious suites and water villas. They are located in the San Gorgonio Wilderness area and are equipped with a pool, spa, fire pit, and hot tub. The resort is also equipped with a private water park for exclusive use by guests at the resort.
- Recreation Park: Located on Cypress Creek Rd., near Hwy 18 (this park is just one mile north of Big Bear Lake), this recreation center offers plenty of outdoor activities for all ages and experience levels. For more information or to make reservations, call 909-584-2882.
- Honey Bear’s: This popular restaurant is located on the south side of Hwy 18 in Big Bear Lake. It is known for its great breakfasts, home-style cooking, and live entertainment. The restaurant also has plenty of outdoor seating with great views of Big Bear Lake.
- Tower 8 Rooftop Bar: This hot spot is located at the top of The Peaks Resort & Spa, just steps away from many luxury rooms and suites as well as some pet-friendly cabins. The rooftop bar features a spectacular view of Big Bear Lake, and it’s perfect for taking in the scenery while you sip on a drink.
- The Bears Lair: A great place to grab a bite to eat or just relax with friends and family while enjoying the outdoors — this restaurant is located on the shore of Little Bear Creek in west Big Bear Village. It features delicious barbeques and burgers, as well as homemade desserts and other local favorites.
- Locanda del Lago: This Italian restaurant is located right in the heart of Big Bear Village. It features a bustling atmosphere and some of the best Italian food in town, along with live entertainment. The restaurant also features a night club inside that stays open until 2 a.m.
- The Summit Grill: Located north of Hwy 18 on Big Bear Blvd. (which is also known as Village Dr.), the Summit Grill is a great place to grab a bite to eat or relax with friends and family while enjoying the outdoors. The restaurant is located in a space that was once an art studio, and features an outdoor deck.
- Obelisk Lodge: In Big Bear Lake, this lodge offers snowmobiling and snowmobiling rentals as well as mountain biking, hiking, bird watching, horseback riding, and other outdoor activities. For more information or to make reservations, call 909-866-3777.
- Rosebeary’s: Located at the north end of Village Dr. (in Big Bear Lake), this restaurant is known for great breakfasts and sandwiches as well as authentic Mexican dishes, sandwiches, and desserts. They have ample outdoor seating as well as a family-friendly atmosphere.
- Belmont Park: Home to three roller coasters, the park is located at the west end of Big Bear Blvd. (in Big Bear Lake). It offers great views of Big Bear Lake, mountain peaks, and the surrounding area. A roller coaster season pass costs $35, while a combo pass to also include the Big Splash Water Park is available for $50.
- The Red Fox Steakhouse: This family-owned restaurant and steakhouse is located along Hwy 18 in Big Bear Lake (the main road that runs through town to connect east and west Big Bear Village). They are open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. They also have an indoor bar that stays open until 2 a.m., as well as a performance stage.
- The Big Bear Lake Resort & Spa: This resort has something for everyone — from luxury rooms and suites to cabins, as well as restaurants, spas, and a private beach. They also offer four-wheel drive rentals and guided tours along the lake. For more information or to make reservations, call 909-585-4000.
- Big Bear Lake Marina & Resort: This family resort is located on the south side of Big Bear Lake, close to the Little Bear Creek (a tributary of Big Bear Lake). The resort has four restaurants, a bar, and a casino as well as boating and fishing activities. For more information or to make reservations, call 909-866-2152.
- The Cove: Located on the south side of Big Bear Lake, this is one of the best places in Big Bear to see the night sky and take in some of the area’s best views. The lounge at The Cove features live entertainment — including dancing and karaoke — as well as drink specials.
- Joe’s Italian Cusine: This popular restaurant is located on Village Dr. (in Big Bear Lake). It serves exceptional Italian food at very affordable prices. They also offer party packages for groups as well as catering services. For more information or to make reservations, call 909-866-3777.
- The Big Bear Coaster: This amusement park is located on the north side of Hwy 18 (in Big Bear Lake). It boasts roller coasters, bumper cars, a Ferris wheel, and other rides. They offer day passes for $19.99 and season passes for $49.99, as well as child tickets for $17.99 and senior tickets for $10.
About Big Bear Lake
Located in Southern California, Big Bear Lake is the largest lake by surface area in the San Bernardino Mountains. If you’re looking for a holiday that will provide you with some of the best views, relaxation, and adventure of a lifetime, then take your time to explore Big Bear Lake.
This popular hiking destination also has plenty of unique outdoor recreation options — including mountain biking trails, horseback riding trails, and white water rafting for those who want to get away from it all for a bit.
Big Bear Lake Name
The name “Big Bear” comes from the area’s most famous landmark — Mt. San Gorgonio, which towers some 11,000 feet above sea level and dominates the mountain range. When Native Americans would see Mt. San Gorgonio from a distance, they would tell legend of an enormous giant grizzly bear that lived on the mountain. The Indians called this imposing figure “the big bear.
Big Bear Lake Founder
The first person to settle in the area is thought to be Leonard Gregg, who arrived in the 1850s. Gregg was part of a group of settlers who made the difficult trek from Arkansas (likely via Death Valley), and he eventually set up a mining operation on what would become present-day Gregg Summit.
Gregg would help found Big Bear City, which is now known as Big Bear Lake. He would also serve as a sheriff, leading to his home being used as the city’s first jail.
Big Bear Lake Interesting Stories
Big Bear Lake’s culinary culture has a lot to offer. From Italian food to authentic Mexican fare, the region is home to some of the best take-out and family-style restaurants in Southern California.
It is also known for its fishing industry, which has made Big Bear Lake very popular with recreational fishermen — many of whom have come to rely on it for their annual trips. There are also plenty of options for boaters — both private and commercial — who take to the water each year during boating season.
Big Bear Lake Events
One of the things that makes Big Bear Lake’s scenery and outdoor activities so popular is the fact that you can enjoy them year-round. The region features a mild climate, long hours of sunlight, and little risk of storms.
Big Bear Lake Family Fun
In addition to its wonderful nature scenes and outdoor recreation options, Big Bear Lake has plenty for families to do during their annual vacation. The region is home to plenty of excellent restaurants, several parks and rides for children, and a variety of other family friendly activities — including fun-filled birthday parties.
Big Bear Lake Celebrities
The biggest celebrities who call Big Bear Lake home are from the world of sports. Most notably, the region is home to many of America’s top professional skiers. The community has also been popular with snowboarders who enjoy the area’s fresh powder.
Big Bear Lake Attractions : Views for Sighseeing
Some of Big Bear Lake’s best sights can be found from its mountain peaks. Some of the most popular views from the top include views of the San Bernardino Mountains, the Mojave Desert, and even California’s Central Valley in the distance.
Top Attractions for Big Bear Lake :
- Mt. San Gorgonio: This is one of Southern California’s most popular and iconic mountains. The mountain is located just outside of Big Bear Lake and can be seen over a wide area for miles around.
- The West Shoreline: This area of Big Bear Lake is best known for its cliffs that stretch along the shore as well as its rugged rock faces.
- Strawberry Park & Beach: Strawberry Park and Beach is a popular outdoor area with a beach, restaurant, club house, and playground. It is located about 5 miles east of the I-15 and has some of the best views in the Big Bear Lake region.
- Big Bear Lake Forest: This is the largest publicly accessible forest in Southern California. It stretches for several miles along the lake and has several hiking trails, as well as a fishing pier, boat ramp, campgrounds, and picnic areas.
- Mountaintop Scenic Drive: Plenty of people drive to the peak of Mount San Gorgonio to catch a glimpse of its mountain peaks in one of Southern California’s most scenic drives. The road is quite popular during summer weekends.
- Big Bear Discovery Center: This is an excellent place to learn about the Big Bear Lake region’s history as well as its natural resources. The center also offers art displays, outdoor activities for children, and a theater.
- Strawberry Park & Beach: Strawberry Park and Beach is a popular outdoor area with a beach, restaurant, club house, and playground. It is located about 5 miles east of the I-15 and has some of the best views in the Big Bear Lake region.
- Big Bear Lake State Beach: Located in Big Bear City, this is one of the area’s most popular public beaches. It’s a great place to enjoy a day at the beach with the family or just relax on its pristine sand.
- Big Bear Alpine Resort: This ski facility is near the town of Big Bear City and offers downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, snow shoeing, and tubing for kids.
What are some things to do at Big Bear Lake Camping Area?
Big Bear Lake is a place that offers excellent outdoor recreation for those who want to experience the great outdoors.
Some of the most popular activities in Big Bear Lake camping area include hiking, fishing, hunting, skiing, snowboarding and other winter activities. Fishing and swimming are two of the most popular activities during summer months.
Many campgrounds are within easy reach of the lake and offer access to all the recreation you could ever want or need. Some even have full-service areas with private cabins, hot showers, and other amenities.
What to Bring to Big Bear Lake Camping?
There are a few things that you should always bring with you on camping trips: At a minimum, you should bring your tent, sleeping bag, and a flashlight along with you when you go camping. Other things that are handy to have include a camp stove for cooking meals and your own supply of drinking water. Campsites often sell this at inflated prices, so it’s best to have your own source.
What are the prices for hotels near Big Bear Lake?
There are a large number of hotels in the area that offer all kinds of amenities from private cabins and full service facilities to budget-friendly motel rooms. The Price Range is around $50-$300 per night, depending on how close to the lake you are.
Are there trains that will take me to Big Bear Lake?
Yes, there are trains that can take you to Big Bear Lake. If you plan on staying at the lake for a while, then it might be best to get the train. Otherwise, if you plan on staying just for a couple of days, then a car or taxi cab will probably be faster and more economical.
How many feet is Big Bear Lake deep?
There is a lot of controversy surrounding this question. The lake is not very deep in many areas, particularly in the middle and near the shore. It gets larger the further you get from shore. The deepest part of the lake is probably around 65 feet deep.
Are pets allowed at Big Bear Lake?
Pets are allowed at Big Bear Lake, but only on certain trails and campsites located very close to shore. You can only bring dogs when you go camping not cats.
Is there a speed limit on the Big Bear Lake road?
Yes, the speed limit on the lake road is 30 MPH.
What kinds of boating activities are there in Big Bear Lake?
Boats and water crafts of all kinds are allowed on the lake including sailboats, fishing boats, and paddle boats. Swimming is permitted as well with lifeguards present in most areas. There are even a few jetties that provide some stability for large boats to tie up at while you fish or whatever you may be doing on your boat.
Are there any special events at Big Bear Lake in August?
There are several special events in the area surrounding Big Bear Lake in August. Some of the things that you might plan on seeing include street fairs, concerts, and book fairs.
What is Big Bear Lake’s weather like in September?
The weather in Big Bear in September is usually great but it does sometimes rain. The temperature is normally in the middle 80’s and can reach 90 if the weather is right. The high temperatures for the month are not that high due to all the cloudiness.
What are some fun things to do at Big Bear Lake in May?
May is a great month to go camping at Big Bear Lake. Summer attendees are enjoying the warm waters of the lake and taking part in all kinds of water sports.
What is the history of Big Bear Lake?
This lake was formed by volcanic activity, although its first recorded appearance in history was during the American Civil War when it was known as “Pine Flat” in honor of General George Custer who had been killed near here.
How long is Big Bear Lake?
It is not very long at all, only about 40 miles long.
Is there a fee to swim at Big Bear Lake?
There is no fee to swim at the lake. You do still need to purchase a daily or seasonal pass to use the facilities though.
What kinds of fish are in Big Bear Lake?
The lake contains large amounts of rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, and brown trout in addition to all kinds of other fish that you might catch while fishing on this pristine body of water.
Are there any beaches in Big Bear Lake?
There are several beaches in Big Bear, the two largest ones being Beach and Strawberry Park. The former is located in the town of Big Bear City and has a large pavilion with bathrooms, a restaurant, a lifeguard building, and a playground. The latter is found about 5 miles east of the lake over on Highway 18. It has some of the best views in all of Big Bear Lake. It has snacks, restrooms and showers as well as volleyball courts and horseshoe pits.
Where is Big Bear Lake located?
Big Bear Lake is located in the San Bernardino National Forest. The nearest town is Big Bear City. The lake is also surrounded by many other recreation areas and is part of the Cajon Pass. The nearest major airport to Big Bear Lake is the William F. Montgomery Airport in San Bernardino, about 15 miles away from the lake.
What time is it at Big Bear Lake?
The time at Big Bear Lake is Mountain Standard Time (MST) which is 7 hours behind UTC.
Is Big Bear Lake frozen over?
Big Bear Lake is frozen over in the winter months. It’s usually only for short periods of time but it does happen.
Is there a lighthouse on Big Bear Lake?
There are no lighthouses in Big Bear Lake, but there are a few markers that have lights attached to them. These include the “Big Bear City” sign and the marker for Forest Lawn at the beach.
What’s the weather like in the summer at Big Bear Lake?
The weather at the lake is usually great in the summer. The temperature is usually in the 80’s during the day with nighttime temperatures dropping as low as the 50’s.
Is there a park or area to check out near Big Bear Lake?
There are several parks and recreation areas nearby, including Little Bear Lake, Soda Dam Park, Big Bear Lake North/South Ski Area, Canyon Falls Resort, and Oak Glen Golf Course.
What is the average temperature of Big Bear Lake in August?
The average temperature in August is around 80 degrees.
What’s the average temperature of Big Bear Lake in the winter?
The average temperature in the winter months is around 55 degrees.
Is there a movie theater near Big Bear Lake?
No, a movie theater does not exist near Big Bear Lake. However, there are many options for other fun activities that you can do. You could see a movie up at Highway 38 or at any of the multiple restaurants and malls in nearby towns like Twin Peaks or Big Bear City.