In the warmer months, Big Bear Lake is a great California destination for those looking to avoid crowds and enjoy an off-the beaten path vacation experience. Packed with adventurous lake activities, summertime visitors are treated to off season pricing, a great range of accommodation options, and near-perfect weather.

Just under 3 hours from both San Diego and Los Angeles, tourists head to Big Bear for boating, kayaking, hiking, and exploring the great beauty of the lake. Before we dive into our favorites, let’s find a place to stay!

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Where to stay during the summer?

There are lots of great vacation rentals on the lakefront and resort properties that bustle when winter’s over. Everyone wants to be close to the heart of the action when it’s warm enough for water-based outdoor activities to be comfortable. Check out the following options for common hospitality options!

Cabin Rental

Many people choose to stay in one of the cabins or lodges around the lake. If you’re looking for a cabin rental, there are plenty of different options to choose from. You can find cabins that are right on the water or nestled in the forest. Cabins offer a more affordable solution than many of the resorts in Big Bear, so if you’re looking for a nice place to stay and the price is a factor, cabin rentals are a good option. Vacation rentals usually come with a kitchen, which will help save money by making home-cooked meals.


Hotels in Big Bear are limited, but there are still a few to choose from. The hotels in Big Bear are mainly located off of the main road and provide easy access to all the attractions and restaurants that Big Bear has to offer. Perks of hotels commonly include free breakfast and access to fitness centers.


If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, camping is a great way to stay in Big Bear. There are many different campgrounds in the area, so you can find one that’s perfect for your needs. Most of the campgrounds in Big Bear are open from April to October, and some are open all year long. Who doesn’t love enjoying the outdoors?

5 epic activities in Big Bear

Now that we found a fitting place to stay, let’s find something to do. Big Bear Lake is a wonderland of activities that can be enjoyed on, in, and around the water. No matter what your age or interests, you’re sure to find something to love with one of these suggestions!

Kayaking, Canoeing and Paddleboarding

Paddling around Big Bear Lake is a distinct experience than whitewater kayaking and canoeing excursions, but if you want to get some light exercise while being up-close and personal with the water, it’s an excellent option. Big Bear’s many outdoor outfitter companies tend to offer kayak, canoe, and stand-up paddleboard (SUP) rentals for their customers to choose from. So grab your preferred vessel and head out on the water.

east shore big bear lake
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Fishing around Big Bear Lake

Fishing is a popular activity in Big Bear Lake. The lake is known for its largemouth bass, catfish, trout, and bluegill. There are many different fishing spots around the lake, so you can find one that’s perfect for your needs. You can also find many different fishing tournaments in Big Bear each year.

If you’re new to fishing, don’t worry! There are many different fishing schools in Big Bear that can teach you the basics of fishing. You can also find many fishing guides in Big Bear that can take you to the best fishing spots around the lake.

Boating and watersports on Big Bear Lake

Pontoon, motor, and sailboats are all available for rent at the various marinas in Big Bear Lake. Though boat owners and those who borrow boats from friends must be licensed in California, renters don’t require a license. Sailing is a bit more of a challenge than piloting a motorboat, though some marinas and rental businesses offer sailing lessons at Big Bear Lake.

Jet skiing is a wonderful way for the entire family to enjoy themselves for an exciting day on the water. Parasailing, wakeboarding, waterskiing, and tow-tubing are additional activities that may be done either with a guide or by renting equipment at Big Bear Lake.

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Try one of the tours

Another fantastic alternative if your family isn’t keen on handling their own boats is to take a boat tour around the lake. There are also some quirky options available, including a 90-minute excursion around the lake in a pirate ship from Holloway’s Marina or the Miss Liberty paddlewheel ship. These are generally group trips, although you may charter these boats for private customized excursions if you want to see some scenery away from the lake. Action Tours California offers a three-hour zip-line course through mountain and forest terrain that might be seen outside of the lake.

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Mountain biking and cycling

Tourists staying in Big Bear vacation rentals near the lake tend to want to focus on water-based activities, but there are other places to enjoy the natural splendor and have fun in the area, even when there’s no snow on the mountain. Snow Summit is a prime destination for mountain bikers, who can ride the Sky Chair to the top of the mountain and take trails down. The Snow Summit Bike Park is the only lift-served mountain biking area in Southern California, and with more than 60 miles of rugged mountain trails available, it’s a must-visit destination if you’re an adventure cyclist. If you aren’t able to bring your gear, local rental companies offer mountain, road, and cruiser or hybrid bikes for rent to suit each activity type.

Hit the Alpine Pedal Path

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If you don’t want to get wet, but still want to see the lake up close, walking and cycling on the lake’s perimeter is a fantastic alternative. The Alpine Pedal Path, which is more than three miles long and has paved pathways for both biking and walking, is a fantastic choice for tourists with families or mobility difficulties who might not be able to participate in some of the more strenuous activities in the area.

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Off we go to Big Bear Lake, California

As you can see, Big Bear Lake offers a wide range of water-based activities for visitors to enjoy. If you’re looking for an exciting family activity, there are plenty of options available on this scenic body of water. From fishing and boating to wakeboarding and parasailing, it doesn’t get any better than this!