Ready to escape the glitz and glamour of Hollywood? Pack your hiking gear, grab a fishing pole, and spray on some bug repellant for an action-packed day at Big Bear Lake. Located just two hours from Los Angeles, Big Bear has served as Hollywood’s backlot for countless films and guarantees visitors nonstop fun all year long.
Big Bear Lake in Summer — Photo courtesy of Konrad Summers
First stop: Grizzly Manor Café, serving up some of the best breakfast and brunch dishes in America. Step into a nondescript backwoods cabin restaurant and order up pancake stacks, tasty waffles, and veggie or meat-laden omelets. Popular dishes include The Blob, fluffy biscuits and gravy with cheese, bacon, and eggs, and The Mess, a smorgasbord of ingredients mixed together resulting in a delicious cornucopia of flavors. Not in the mood for breakfast? Chow on a hearty burger, hot or cold sandwich, or juicy hot dog–all served after 11am.
Big Bear Discovery Center provides all the answers to your hiking and biking questions and concerns. Friendly employees and volunteers help you sift through the plethora of easy to advanced trails. Purchase the $5/day Adventure Pass for parking your vehicle at trailheads while you hike. Traveling with children? Kids love the educational exhibits featuring regional history, wildlife, nature center, and gift shop. Pan for fool’s gold at the kid’s center, sign up for a guided trail hike, or check out the taxidermy animals. Big Bear Discovery Center is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Biking more your thing? Rent wheels at Bear Valley Bikes for the whole family and stick to the paved 2.5-mile Alpine Pedal Path, which is perfect for picnicking.
Love to fish? Boasting a hefty 73,000 acre-feet, Big Bear Lake is the world’s largest man made lake. Every year the lake is stocked with tagged fish, luring fishermen from all over Southern California to its bountiful shores. Best insider places to reel in buckets of fish include the Big Bear Marina, along the bike path, both East and West ramps, and Boulder Bay. Big Bear Marina offers private charter pontoon boats–which include tackle, beverages, and snacks–with a professional guide for fishing groups. Watersports enthusiast? Rent a jet ski or wave runner for an exhilarating ride or Malibu Wakesetter boat for an afternoon filled with skiing, wakeboarding, or tubing.
Take advantage of watersports like skiing, tubing, and wakeboarding — Photo courtesy of Rennett Stowe
Ahoy mateys! Hop aboard the Time Bandit, Big Bear Lake’s pirate ship, a 1/3 scale replica of a Spanish Galleon. The iconic ship starred in the 1981 film “Time Bandit” and was later used for L.A. Harbor and Newport Beach tours. Big Bear pirate tours leave from Holloway’s Marina at 2pm every day; other tours are added throughout the day depending on demand. Get your ‘Yo Ho Ho’ on for 90 minutes on the high seas atop the famed ship for a unique time that young and old swashbucklers will enjoy.
After an adventurous day, indulge at popular dining establishments like Evergreen International, with breathtaking views of the lake, or Himalayan Restaurant, a mecca for Indian/Nepalese cuisine made with fresh spices and ingredients. One day not enough? Find comfortable lodging in cottages or cabins like Pine Knot Guest Ranch or Alpine Village Inn to get some much-needed rest and relaxation. Big Bear Lake promises to be an outdoorsy respite from the usual ‘Lights, Camera, Action!’ Los Angeles glitterati lifestyle!