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Big Bear, California 72-Hour Vacation

Mountains, Snow and Lots of Sunshine
A Year-Round Alpine Playground

Big Bear Lake at 7,000 feet
Big Bear Lake at 7,000 feet


Fun at 8,000 feet
Fun at 8,000 feet

Whether you’re there during cold weather or warm, you’ll find plenty of outdoor activities in the Big Bear area. Today, concentrate on getting out and playing. You’ll find a wide range of choices to suit any level of skill, interest or fitness.

Winter in Big Bear is all about skiing, the area’s 75-inch annual average snowfall drawing “powder heads” from all over the southwestern U.S. When the snow isn’t falling, the resorts make it themselves. Even if you've never in your life worn skis, don't miss the opportunity to experience a day on the slopes. You’ll find both first-timers and seasoned professionals—skiing and snowboarding—enjoying themselves on the slopes at the area’s premier resorts, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit. There are good teachers available if you're a novice. The parks are usually open from mid-November to mid-April.

During the summer, when there’s no snow at all, Big Bear’s surroundings are equally great for outdoor mountain activities. Both ski resorts make good use of their settings in warmer weather. Find out about hiking, horseback riding and other options through the Visitor’s Center, or see our suggestions for Day 3. For an adrenaline-boosting twist on water sports, try flyboarding over Big Bear Lake with Action Aqua Flight (available May-October). Flyboarding allows riders to fly, Iron Man-style, above the water on a board propelled by a Yamaha Waverunner.

Flyboarding over Big Bear Lake

Whatever your pursuits, get your energy going today with a quick breakfast at a coffee shop or a village café and then jump in the car and head for the hills. If you’re headed for snow, don't forget to wear layers and take along a dry change of clothes for later in the day.  For some gentle, old-fashioned fun, Big Bear Snow Play invites the whole family to enjoy lift-assisted inner tubing that saves your energy for the downhill runs instead of depleting with an uphill trudge.

For more serious activity in the white stuff, Snow Summit is lauded for its snowboard terrain—its jumps, rails and half pipes attract boarders of all levels. If you're a beginner eager to catch some air and sample the excitement of boarding, the resort offers lessons for adults and children, a ski school and private instruction. Another one of the park’s appealing traits is its policy of limiting ticket sales to keep lift lines as short as possible, even on holidays.  The resort is open every day of the week and offers limited night sessions. To get to the resort, take Big Bear Boulevard and make a right on Summit Boulevard. Snow Summit also offers a courtesy shuttle to its sister resort, Bear Mountain. 

Challenging runs, amazing views
Challenging runs, amazing views

Bear Mountain, located off Moonridge Road on Goldmine Drive, also has much to offer both skiers and snowboarders.  If Mother Nature falls short in the snow department, it can make up to five feet or more with its snowmaking capabilities.  Catering to freestyle snowboard enthusiasts, the park boasts more than enough jumps and jibs—plus a 580-footlong “superpipe” with eighteen-foot walls—to test any skill level. Bear Mountain offers beginner lessons and a beginner area for getting your "snow legs" before you swoosh down with the pros.  Bear Mountain is open daily and also limits ticket sales during busy times.

During the summer, Bear Mountain opens up a nine-hole golf course complete with a chipping green and a driving range. And at Snow Summit, you can ride the Sky Chair lift all the way to the 8,200-foot crest to access spectacular hiking trails.  Both ski parks offer dining venues for recharging at midday with a quick snack or a cup of hot chocolate. After you've had your fun on the slopes, indulge in the dining venues including authentic Mexican food at Sonora Cantina or Asian cuisine at Mandarin Gardens (overlooking Big Bear City Airport).

After dinner you'll relish the idea of relaxing your tired muscles by a warm fire or in a Jacuzzi—but if still have an ounce or two of energy left, enjoy a drink at Murray's Saloon & Eatery on Cottage Lane or some live music in the lounge at the Best Western Big Bear Chateau.

Continue to Day 3


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Big Bear cabins

Big Bear Hotels
Big Bear Restaurants
Big Bear Attractions
California Travel Guide
Big Bear Convention & Visitors Bureau

*Images from Big Bear Mountain Resorts. Cabin & boat image by Tim Wolcott.

(Updated: 05/10/13 CT)

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