Are you dreaming of a summer escape to Big Bear Lake? We’ve created a great guide to ensure you make the most of your time in this beautiful mountain destination.
From thrilling outdoor activities to must-visit attractions, no matter your preference, you’re sure to find something you like to enjoy during the sunny season. Let’s explore the top activities and experiences that will make your summer vacation one to remember.
Unforgettable Outdoor Adventures
In the winter, Big Bear Lake is known for its skiing and snowboarding at Bear Mountain and Snow Summit. Though in the summer, we’re known for being an incredible place to experience the great outdoors. Here are a few ideas for you to consider while you’re visiting our little town.
Boating and Water Sports
Renting a boat, jet ski, kayak, or paddleboard allows you to explore the sparkling waters of Big Bear Lake in a way that suits your interests and skill level. For a leisurely experience, rent a pontoon boat and cruise around the lake, admiring the stunning mountain views and lakeside homes.
Alternatively, if you’re seeking more thrills, rent a jet ski or wakeboard for an adrenaline-pumping adventure. Many marinas around the lake offer rentals and lessons, ensuring a fun and safe experience for all skill levels.
No matter which water activity you choose, spending time on the lake is a quintessential Big Bear summer experience.
The San Bernardino National Forest, surrounding Big Bear Lake, boasts an extensive network of trails for hikers of all abilities.
Popular trails include Castle Rock Trail, Pine Knot Trail, and Cougar Crest Trail, each offering varying levels of difficulty and unique landscapes. Castle Rock Trail, a moderate 2.6-mile round trip hike, rewards hikers with panoramic views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
Pine Knot Trail, a 6.1-mile round trip hike, takes you through dense pine forests and offers breathtaking vistas from the summit of Grand View Point. Cougar Crest Trail, a 5.2-mile round trip hike, features stunning wildflower displays and connects to the iconic Pacific Crest Trail. Each trail showcases the region’s diverse landscapes and offers an unforgettable hiking experience.
Big Bear Lake offers over 100 miles of single-track trails and two lift-served downhill parks, making it a premier destination for mountain biking enthusiasts.
Challenge yourself on the thrilling Skyline Trail or the exhilarating Snow Summit Bike Park. The Skyline Trail, a 15-mile single-track trail, traverses the mountain ridges, providing awe-inspiring views of the lake and valley below.
Snow Summit Bike Park offers beginner to expert trails with features like jumps, wall rides, and technical rock gardens. For families or novice riders, the Alpine Pedal Path offers a gentle, paved route along the lake’s north shore. With a diverse array of trails and terrains, Big Bear Lake caters to mountain bikers of all skill levels.
Exciting Attractions and Events
Big Bear Alpine Zoo
The Big Bear Alpine Zoo is a unique, conservation-focused zoo dedicated to rehabilitating injured and orphaned wildlife. The zoo is home to over 150 animals, including grizzly bears, wolves, mountain lions, and various bird species.
Visitors can take guided tours to learn about each animal’s story and the zoo’s rehabilitation efforts. In addition to providing a sanctuary for local wildlife, the zoo is actively involved in species recovery programs. This includes efforts for the critically endangered San Bernardino flying squirrel and the Southern California mountain yellow-legged frog.
A visit to the Big Bear Alpine Zoo not only offers an up-close encounter with local wildlife but also supports their ongoing conservation efforts.
Big Bear Discovery Center
The Big Bear Discovery Center is an educational facility that offers interactive exhibits and guided nature walks to help visitors learn about the area’s ecology, history, and recreational opportunities.
The center features exhibits on local flora and fauna, the region’s indigenous people, and the history of Big Bear’s logging and mining industries. Families will enjoy the hands-on displays and the Nature Discovery Zone, where children can play and explore.
The center also serves as the starting point for numerous guided nature walks and interpretive programs, including the popular Eco-Tour, which highlights the area’s unique ecosystems and conservation efforts.
A visit to the Big Bear Discovery Center is both educational and entertaining, providing valuable insights into the region’s natural and cultural heritage.
Summer Concert Series
Throughout the summer, Big Bear Lake hosts a variety of live music events at various venues. You can check out shows in The Village or check out the Music in the Mountains concert series at the Big Bear Discovery Center’s outdoor amphitheater.
These concerts showcase local and regional talent, as well as nationally recognized acts, spanning genres such as rock, blues, country, and folk. Attending a summer concert in Big Bear is a unique experience, as the stunning mountain setting and crisp alpine air create an unforgettable atmosphere. Whether you prefer an intimate indoor venue or a spacious outdoor amphitheater, Big Bear’s Summer Concert Series offers a memorable night of live music and entertainment for all ages.
4th of July Fireworks Spectacular
Celebrating Independence Day in Big Bear Lake is a truly special experience. The annual 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular is one of the largest and most impressive fireworks displays in Southern California.
Launched from a barge on the lake, the fireworks can be viewed from numerous places around the lake. Not to mention, the view from a boat on the water is 2nd to none. Many local businesses and parks host events, such as barbecues and live music, leading up to the fireworks display.
The day is filled with patriotic festivities and culminates with a stunning pyrotechnic show that lights up the night sky. The 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular is a must-attend event during your summer vacation in Big Bear.
Relaxation and Leisure Activities
While a high-octane adrenaline-filled vacation experience is pretty much always at your fingertips in Big Bear, sometimes it’s just nice to relax.
Stroll through The Village
The Village offers a charming atmosphere with its flower-lined walkways, quaint shops, and diverse eateries. Visitors can browse unique stores selling locally made crafts, clothing, and souvenirs. Or indulge in a sweet treat from one of the ice cream parlors and candy shops.
The Village also offers a variety of dining options, including cozy cafes, family-friendly restaurants, and fine dining establishments. In the evenings, catch a movie at the historic Village Theater or enjoy live entertainment at one of the local bars.
A stroll through The Village is a relaxing and enjoyable way to spend a summer afternoon or evening.
Take a Scenic Sky Chair Ride
For a truly memorable experience, take a scenic sky chair ride at Snow Summit. The sky chair lifts you above the treetops, providing breathtaking views of Big Bear Lake and the surrounding mountains.
At the top, you can enjoy a meal or a drink at the Skyline Taphouse. It offers both indoor and outdoor seating with panoramic views. From the summit, you can also access numerous hiking and mountain biking trails, as well as the Snow Summit Bike Park.
Whether you choose to explore the mountaintop or simply relax and take in the views, a scenic sky chair ride is a must-do activity during your Big Bear summer vacation.
Indulge in a Spa Day
Treat yourself to a rejuvenating spa day at one of Big Bear’s luxurious day spas. These tranquil retreats offer a variety of services designed to pamper and relax, including massages, facials, body treatments, and more.
Choose from a selection of massages, such as Swedish, deep tissue, hot stone, or aromatherapy, to ease tension and promote relaxation. Additionally, facial treatments can be customized to address specific skincare concerns.
Many spas also offer body treatments, like body wraps and scrubs, to exfoliate and nourish the skin. A spa day in Big Bear provides the perfect opportunity to unwind and recharge after days filled with outdoor adventures.
- Elevations Day Spa
- Altitude Massages & Spa
- Soothing Canna Mobiles
- Mountain Mobile Massage & Spa
Picnic at The Park
Pack a lunch and enjoy a peaceful afternoon at one of Big Bear’s lakeside parks, such as Boulder Bay Park or Meadow Park. Both parks offer beautiful lakefront views, shaded picnic areas, and ample space for relaxation and recreation.
Boulder Bay Park is located on the west end of the lake, and it’s a great place for a family picnic next to the water.
Meadow Park, situated on the lake’s north shore, offers a variety of amenities, including sports fields, and 3 playgrounds.
In addition to picnicking, visitors can engage in activities like beach volleyball, basketball, and horseshoes, or simply relax and enjoy the serene lake views. A picnic at one of Big Bear’s scenic parks is a delightful way to spend a leisurely summer afternoon.
Plan your Big Bear Getaway Today
A Big Bear Lake summer escape offers a perfect blend of adventure, relaxation, and unforgettable experiences. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking a beautiful getaway, Big Bear Lake has it all. Start planning your ultimate summer vacation today.