Big Bear Travel Guide
Big Bear Valley © jcookfisher
Located in the middle of San Bernadino National Forest, Big Bear is where Los Angelinos flock when the snow starts falling. Not far from the city of San Bernadino and greater Los Angeles, the area is a popular weekend break from the smog and rat race of city life.
Big Bear's two major ski resorts, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, offer 33 individual pistes served by 12 ski lifts, and their position 4,920 feet (1,500m) above sea level ensures there is plenty of snow. There is a good variety of ski runs, especially for intermediates, and snowboarders are catered for with a terrain park featuring more than 150 jumps and 80 jibs.
Big Bear is also an all-around resort however, drawing crowds keen on fishing, hiking, camping, mountain biking, boating, waterskiing and horseback riding. The city of Big Bear has family entertainment like cinemas, bowling, and arcades, and offers a mix of restaurants and a buzzing nightlife to keep everyone entertained.
With so many attractions so close to the greater LA area, it's no wonder that Big Bear is Southern California's most popular ski resort.
Big Bear offers both skiing and snowboarding. Bear Mountain offers visitors the largest beginner area in the region and also more than ample area for advanced skiers and riders. The Silver Mountain and Bear Peak ensures some of the steepest terrain. The 200 acre 'winter playground,' as they like to call it, offers upwards of 130 beginner to advanced features and Southern California's only Superpipe. Snow Summit also boasts a magnificent resort of offerings, giving visitors an ideal experience if in search of a relaxed and laid-back skiing holiday.
Shopping in Big Bear is certainly a must for anyone interested in a unique shopping experience. Take a break from the slopes and spend an afternoon strolling around the town in The Village, the main shopping hub in Big Bear, browsing the collections of quaint boutiques, speciality stores and gift shops. Shoppers will find something to suit their taste in a space where art, decor, fashion and the natural environment are celebrated.
Big Bear offers a large variety of restaurants for any tired and hungry slope-enthusiast. With both gourmet and home-style options, every diner is satisfied by the many cuisine options including Chinese, Italian, Indian, Thai, American and more. The Captain Anchorage is very much an establishment, with patrons coming back for its good food time and time again. For those in search of dinner and a show, The Cave is the place to go for concerts, comedy and entertaining events scheduled throughout the year. With many places to choose from, visitors to Big Bear certainly won't go hungry.
Nightlife in Big Bear is comfortable and laid-back. You won't find high-end clubs, only bars and restaurants offering entertainment. For anyone looking for a good time apres-ski, chances are Murray's Saloon and Eatery will provide it in the form of pool tables, karaoke and a well-stocked bar. Also firm favourites among visitors is Nottingham's Tavern as well as Whiskey Dave's. For good craft beer and a chance to unwind, The Big Bear Lake Brewing Company is also a firm choice, offering gastropub food and a comfortable, relaxed environment.
There is certainly a lot to do in Big Bear, making for an ideal resort for families and patrons in search of a more varied skiing holiday. The major shopping district is The Village and offers visitors lots to see and do. Newly improved, The Village offers heated sidewalks, outdoor fire pits and beautiful decor. For those after something different, visitors can visit Hot Shot miniature golf, or can relax at one of many luxury spas. The Big Bear Alpine Zoo is a must for those with children, as is Boulder Bay Park for a picnic during the warmer months. Although the most popular recreation revolves around the ski slopes and the lake, Big Bear offers a range of alternative activities during every season.