While many people think of Big Bear vacations as a wintertime escape, the area is just as beautiful and appealing in warmer weather. Big Bear Lake in particular provides an excellent source of recreational opportunity in spring, summer and fall. You can choose from relaxed, slow-paced and adrenaline-pumping activity options to suit your family’s different personalities and vacationing styles.
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. Big Bear Lake is a major attraction, but don’t forget the other parts of the Big Bear area when the snowy season has passed. Ski trails make great hiking and mountain biking trails, and the views from the mountain are still spectacular. Lake house rentals provide an ideal home base for all of the great activities available in Big Bear.
Kayaking, Canoeing and Paddleboarding
Paddling around Big Bear Lake is a different experience than what you might get from a whitewater kayaking and canoeing trip, but if you’re looking to shift into a quiet gear and get some light exercise while being up-close and personal with the water, you may appreciate this. Big Bear’s many outdoor outfitter companies tend to offer kayak, canoe and stand-up paddleboard (SUP) rentals for their customers to choose from. If you’ve never experienced life on the water in any of those three available options, discuss your goals and relative level of fitness with the outfitter in order to find the right match for your needs. Paddleboarding is an increasingly popular option, but it does require good balance and upper body strength, so this may not be the best choice for everyone.
Fishing around Big Bear Lake
The freshwater fishing at Big Bear Lake is excellent, with local populations of trout and bass providing amateur and expert anglers with the opportunity to make a big catch. It’s possible to bring your own fishing tackle and other gear and pick a spot to cast into the water, but if you’re completely new to fishing, you might want to hire one of the local guide companies to give advice and even orchestrate a full day of fishing lessons and touring around the lake. The Big Bear Fishing Association is a good source of information on what’s going on with the lake. With drought conditions and invasive carp species making fishing in this area a bit more challenging than it used to be, it’s best to do some research before heading out to fish, even if you’re experienced or you’ve fished here before.
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 motor boat, though some marinas and rental businesses offer sailing lessons at Big Bear Lake.
Big Bear Lake’s local business community focuses heavily on the lake as a natural resource for fun and excitement. You might want something more exhilarating than a quiet sunset sailboat ride. Fortunately, you have several options to consider. Jetskiing is an easy option that lets your whole family have fun for an extended period of time. Shorter activity sessions are available as well, including parasailing, which gives you a nice view of the lake and surrounding landscape. Wakeboarding, waterskiing and tow-tubing are also available as activities either with a guide or on your own.
Guided Lake Tours
Boat tours around the lake are another great option when your family might not feel comfortable piloting your own boats. Big Bear Lake offers some whimsical options, including a 90-minute trip around the lake in a pirate ship from Holloway’s Marina or the Miss Liberty paddlewheel ship. These are typically group tours, but you may be able to charter these boats for customized private tours. If you want to see some scenery away from the lake, Action Tours California has a three-hour zipline course through mountain and forest terrain.
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. Road biking and more leisurely biking along the North Shore Bike Path are also good options. Local rental companies offer mountain, road and cruiser or hybrid bikes for rent to suit each activity type.
Hitting the Alpine Pedal Path
Walking and cycling around the perimeter of the lake is also a good option when you want to get close up to the lake but don’t necessarily want to get wet. The Alpine Pedal Path, which covers more than three miles of lakefront on an out-and-back paved pathway, is a particularly good option for visitor groups that may include younger or older family members and those with mobility issues who might not be able to take in some of the more rugged activities in the area.
Well, that’s cool, but where can you stay by Big Bear Lake?
Staying on or near the water during vacation is a great way to enjoy the local scenery to the fullest, but there aren’t many rental houseboats in the Big Bear, CA area. However, Big Bear vacation rentals on or near the lake offer just as wonderful an experience when you want to make the most of your time up in this idyllic lakeside town.
If you aren’t able to book a houseboat for a Big Bear vacation, you can still get plenty of time on the water by focusing on rentals in the right parts of town. Big Bear Lake proper is a good place to start. Locations closer to the mountains, such as Sugarloaf and Moonridge, aren’t in the best spots for maximizing your time on the water. Boulder Bay and Fawnskin are better small-town options in the area that provide quick access to the water. For an even more isolated experience, try to find lodgings on the North Shore of the lake, where tourist traffic coming into and out of the Village is less common.