Top Things To Do In Big Bear, CA

A few weekends ago, my husband and I enjoyed a getaway trip to Big Bear Lake. I had never been to Big Bear, and as a Northern California girl who loves Lake Tahoe, I was eager to see what all the fuss is about.

Big Bear is about a 2 hour drive from Pasadena. The drive was very scenic with tall wildflowers peppering the cliff sides, gorgeous views of the L.A. skyline, and mountain tops dusted with snow.

Here are the top things I highly recommend you consider for your trip to Big Bear this summer.

Hike to Castle Rock Summit

We started our adventure with a moderate hike up to Castle Rock. At the summit the views of the lake were gorgeous! (I took the photo in the title of this post at the summit.)  I recommend the hike for individuals who want more of an uphill challenge. There are a few places where the trail is flat, but you do need to climb up to earn the beautiful view. No pain, no gain, right?!

Tip: The parking turn out is off of the 18, and easy to miss if you are going too fast. Also, getting to the head of the trail from our parked car was a bit tricky, since we had to walk against traffic on the 18. It isn’t impossible to get to the trail, just use caution.

Big Bear Village

In Big Bear Village there is no shortage of places to eat and shop. We tried out the famous Teddy Bear restaurant for breakfast, and it was mighty good! If you decide to go, be sure to get up early, as there are crowds later in the morning. They serve up hearty food, which is perfect after a hike.

Tip: If you have kids, we stumbled upon a crafting and painting shop in the village. I could see how an indoor activity like this would be great for kids when the weather isn’t so great, and you need a plan B to entertain them.

Big Bear Lake

We rented a tandem kayak for a different view of the lake. It was tranquil, and very fun! Since we rented the longest kayak, it felt safe enough to withstand wakes from the occasional speeding boat. Our rental lasted for 4 hours, and although the company offered 2 hour rentals, I don’t think our adventure would have been nearly as fun with the 2 hour limit. For those of you who haven’t kayaked before, I could see how the constant paddling and choppy water can get tiresome. However, as someone who has kayaked before, I felt safe out in the lake, and enjoyed the workout it had to offer.

Tip: Do some research before your trip to save money on a rental. I secured a 4 hour rental tandem kayak for a lot less than the last minute price.


Well, there you have it! Big Bear is a wonderful community filled with lots of recreation opportunities during all seasons. While it isn’t Tahoe, it has all the charm of a small lake town, that is especially refreshing for a quick getaway from the bustle of Southern California’s cities. In fact, the small town feel is what I like even better about Big Bear, that Tahoe doesn’t have. Shocking, I know – that this Northern California girl could like another lake town just as much.

Until next time, keep adventuring!


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