Family vacations are a time to break free of your routine and get out and play, and Big Bear is a great family destination to do just that. Located about 100 miles northeast of LA, Big Bear is surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest. Here, spend your days fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and watching the sunset behind the lake. From the zoo to the nine-hole golf course, you’ll find there’s plenty of entertainment for families in Big Bear.
Here’s a 5-day action packed sample itinerary to start the “what to do” decision-making process.
Getting to Big Bear is easy, as this popular destination is only a two-hour drive from LA. Check into your spacious vacation rental where everyone will have their own space. Unpack and head out to the stables: One of the best ways to introduce your family to Big Bear is with a horseback riding excursion where you can cover a lot of ground in a short period of time.
Big Bear’s elevation ranges from 6,750 to 9,000 feet above sea level. This means fresh mountain air. Wake up early and enjoy a leisurely breakfast. With over 300 days of sunshine a year, the weather should be ideal for some more outdoor adventure. Pack a picnic and hit the hiking trails.
By the afternoon, your family might be ready to cool off. Big Bear Lake is home to a variety of water sports including jet skiing, kayaking, sailing, and boating. The marina will set you up with boat rentals, and you can spend the afternoon on the lake admiring the views of the surrounding forest. Make it a movie and pizza night at your vacation home, but don’t go to bed without looking outside at the stars.
Get up early with the kids and take them out onto the lake to try their luck at casting a line. Big Bear Lake is known for rainbow trout, catfish and bass fishing.
After lunch, give the kids a treat with a helicopter tour over Big Bear. These short flights provide a bird’s eye view on how spectacular the scenery is surrounding Big Bear Lake. Afterwards, keep the flying theme going with a visit to Action Zip Line Tours. At night, roast marshmallows over a fire and re-live the day’s activities before bed.
Start your day at the Moonridge Animal Park. Here your kids will have the chance to see over 160 animals on display. This zoo is a great place to get acquainted with the local wildlife including mountain lions, bears, foxes, bobcats, reptiles, and eagles. This adventure will provide an educational element to the trip.
In the afternoon, get back outdoors for a mountain biking tour. Trails range from easy cruising to challenging, depending on the age and fitness level of your family members. Choose between renting bikes and heading out independently or joining a tour with a knowledgeable guide.
On your last day in Big Bear, make the most of every minute. Start out by taking a ride along the Scenic Sky Chair at Snow Summit. This 15-minute ride provides incredible views of the mountains and forests.
For one last burst of adventure before you pack up and go home, don’t miss the alpine slide at Magic Mountain. This bobsled-style slide is a quarter-mile track that both kids and adults will love.
After five days, your family will have just scratched the surface of all there is to do and see in Big Bear. Many families fall in love with the scenery and return in the winter for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. All year round, Big Bear offers outdoor adventure, indoor activities like arcades and bowling, and a serious break from your day-to-day routine.