When out of towners think of California, it is likely that the first few things that come to mind are celebrities, beaches, and maybe traffic. Not the fact that there are some world-class ski resorts and mountains located right at the doorstep of major cities like Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.

Big Bear is the go-to location for winter ski resort vacations in Southern California. With both Bear Mountain and Snow Summit ski resorts available for family fun, everyone from beginners to advanced skiers can find ways to amuse themselves in the snow during the winter months. Visitors who are planning a vacation to Big Bear have a few different village and town options to consider. Whether you’re looking for a hotel or a vacation rental near town, these mountainside locations are your best bet for quick and easy access to the slopes without excess travel time in between.


If you’ll have a large group focused on getting as much skiing and snowboarding in as possible, you may want to hone in on finding a house in the Moonridge neighborhood. Cornered on all sides by the majestic San Bernardino National Forest, this cute neighborhood offers tourists the opportunity to stay in very comfy accommodations at the doorstep of some of the attractions this area has to offer. Not to mention being only footsteps away from the base of the mountain. A rental house in this village places you right next to the Bear Mountain resort. Common amenities at these properties include hot tubs and porches for even more access to breathtaking winter scenery. Consider staying here for a quiet and luxurious vacation while still having all of the attractions this fantastic resort is surrounded by at your fingertips.

Pro traveler tip: Moonridge is a neighborhood that is in very high demand year-round. If staying here sounds like the move for your next vacation, be sure to book a stay far in advance to ensure obtaining the perfect cabin or condo.

Big Bear Lake

Big Bear vacation rentals are also in abundance at Big Bear Lake, which also offers access to both Bear Mountain and Snow Summit ski resorts. Staying in this part of the mountain gives you the chance to book a rental with a spectacular lake view. The lake, which is a popular place for water activities in warmer weather, is generally not open for these activities in the wintertime. However, that does not mean that winter activities are limited because of that. Snowshoeing, ice skating, and snowmobiling are just some of the options available when it comes to things to do here in the winter.  The hotels and rental houses near Big Bear Lake have more of a scenic quality when they offer a view at this time of year. This makes for a picturesque view that will remain in memories for a lifetime.

If you want a winter getaway but aren’t necessarily interested in skiing, Big Bear Lake is a good choice for other recreation and activity options in the area. Helicopter tours and other outdoor pursuits may be arranged with local businesses, though some may be closed for the season. Most of the focus here is on snow-based activities in the winter. Snowmobiling is a fantastic option offered here by some shops that allow thrill-seekers to get their adrenaline rush without paying for the lift ticket. For those who want a quieter experience in this serene landscape, snowshoeing in and around the Nation Forest is a great idea. No matter who is coming and what their particular interests are there is certainly something here for everybody.

Pro traveler tip: Local shop Goldsmith Sports has everything needed for all non-skiing winter activities. Starting at just $20 for a pair of high-end snowshoes and poles to go with it. It is pretty hard to beat that price for a memory in the wilderness that will last a lifetime.


A popular location for vacation homes, Sugarloaf is more of a residential area, which means that rentals are much more common here than hotel lodgings are. Named for the summit of the mountain above, Sugarloaf is a more affordable area, with homes tending to be a bit less ritzy. However, when it comes to things to do in the winter this cute town is just as packed with activities as its neighboring towns. Be sure to check out this off-the-beaten-path location as an option for the perfect vacation rental.

Pro traveler tip: Looking for the ultimate challenge in the area? The Sugarloaf National Recreation Trail is a very challenging 10-mile hike to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain. Best suited for the most experienced of hikers, this trail offers some of the most serene and picturesque views in the entire state.

Finding the Right Spot

Want to get the most time on the slopes with all the convenience of having your place to stay right on the side of the slopes? Snow Summit Townhouses offer a multitude of different housing options. With most being located slope side and some even being ski-in/ski-out, look for the perfect home right on the mountain here!

Find housing that is perfectly suited to cater to whatever wants or needs that are sought after in this vacation. Looking for a place that is right in town? Perhaps a place in the middle of the woods that’s almost off the grid? It can all be found on VacationRenter.

SoCal Skiing Awaits!

Not many people from outside of the immediate area know that southern California offers more than sunny days and sleepless nights. There is also a huge winter activity scene here that is steadily growing. Resort towns like Big Bear can increase by 2,000% during the winter months. This is caused by the influx of tourists looking for a fun, unique, and affordable winter vacation that is loaded with just as much fun as its contemporaries in other parts of the country. With such a vast wilderness that is loaded with things to do, the only question left is “when do we go?”