Big Bear California Travel Guide

The week before last, while we waited to hear when we’d close on our house, we decided to take a little vacay right here in Cali for a couple days. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that we’ve NEVER been to Big Bear. It’s just 3 hours from our home, way too close to have never visited. I pride myself in thinking that I know California so well. We camp often and I take advantage of living in this great state all the time.  But, somehow Big Bear just never was a stop. Well, it’s safe to say that we will be heading to Big Bear again in the very near future. We are fans!

Big Bear California Travel GuideBig Bear is known for it’s ski hills. Most LA folk that ski have probably been there. With gorgeous granite rock, tall pine trees and a gorgeous lake, it’s also a really great Summer spot. We swam, hiked, sledded, and ate lots of pie. Here’s my Top 10 must sees and eats for Big Bear.

Big Bear California Travel Guide

Big Bear Top Ten

1.Definitely stay at the Noon Lodge at Mallard Bay. The detail and thought that has been put into the design and decor of these adorable cabins is absolute perfection. Our cabin was cute and comfy and the kids spent hours in the gorgeous pool. In the evenings we sat by the fire and played corn hole and bocci ball. (There’s lots of pics from this cute place, I couldn’t help myself.)

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2. Eat any meal at the Teddy Bear Restaurant in the village. We might have eaten pie there more then once. And their chicken pot pie was amazing!!!

Big Bear California Travel Guide

3. Ride a bike! The town has great bike lanes. The Noon Lodge had bikes to borrow, but the ski hills also have rentals and there is some great mountain biking when you take the lifts up.

4. Swim at the China Island Cabins on the lake.  There’s some great granite rocks to jump off of.

5. Hike Castle Rock. It’s a great hike for families. It’s about a one mile hike to the top, but the views are great and there is lots of fun bouldering at the top on the huge granite rocks.

6. Have coffee at the Copper Q. They have an amazing assortment of pastries and more pie. We enjoyed everything we ordered.

Noon Lodge in Big Bear California

7. Visit the North Pole Fudge and Ice Cream Co. in the village for a sweet treat. They have loaded gourmet candy apples, ice cream and lots of candy.

8. One of our favorite activities was the Alpine Sled at Magic Mountain. You ride down the mountain on  a 1/4 mile cement track on sleds. It’s really so much fun. You control your own speed. It’s a really unique experience and so much fun for all of us. We also spent the afternoon on their waterslides as well.  Olivia must have run up those stairs and down those slides 50 times.

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9. Take out from Maggio’s Pizza is a must. We brought home pizza and salad and enjoyed it on a picnic table outside our cabin.

Big Bear California Travel Guide

10. Rent a couple stand up paddle boards. We rented two and took turns for a couple hours paddling around the lake. Even though there are a lot of boats, the water is pretty calm and the kids had a blast.

Big Bear California Travel Guide

Bonus: If you go all the way to Big Bear, then you need to drive another 45 mins. and visit Lake Arrowhead. We stopped on our way home and here’s the 2 things I would highly recommend.

  1. Be sure to check out Shop Road Trip. This well curated shop is full of hip home wares and plants.
  2. Eat at Cedar Glen Inn. We stopped for lunch before hitting the road. I’ve heard their breakfast is amazing, but the sandwiches were killer. Huge portions and just good food.

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Ok now get out and explore. And if you are in California, this a great weekend destination. You won’t be disappointed.

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