Outdoor Getaway in Big Bear
1After the scenic drive in, stretch your legs with a stroll around The Village. Pop into shops like O Koo Ran for trendy women's clothing and locally made art, and Stupidiotic, a hilarious shop for gag gifts and other unique items. There are a slew of cute-overload shops, too (think lots of bears and woodsy motif gifts), plus bookstores and plenty of spots to rent bike and boat equipment.
2Big Bear isn't the epicenter of haute cuisine, but it does have something to satisfy most any craving. If you want Italian food and pizza, along with creative cocktails like basil mojitos, hit Sweet Basil Bistro. Great burgers and '50s style can be found at Get The Burger (which has its own secret menu; order "spicy style" for a hit of heat), and there's the Peppercorn Grille for traditional American fare in a dressed-up dining room.
3For evening entertainment, we recommend stargazing with a glass of wine. But if something more social is desired, head to the dive bar Murray's Saloon for craft beers (Delirium Tremens, Hangar 24 Orange Wheat) on tap, free pool (and popcorn!), along with karaoke. On weekend evenings, Murray's is the local hotspot.
1About five miles from The Village you'll find Madlon's, where the all-you-can-eat pancake and waffle deal is wildly popular. Try any of the more than 30 flavor options, like pear and almond with orange butter, candied pecans and caramel, bacon and cheddar, or raspberry and lemon zest with crème fraiche. After breakfast, stop at the Vons grocery store for picnic provisions before your day on the lake or the mountain.
2There are so many things to do on the lake, and it all depends on your speed — literally — to decide how to spend your day. For a slower pace, take a paddle boat ride, go paddle boarding, fish from the shore, or take a guided kayak tour. If you're looking to rev your RPMs, rent jet skis or a powerboat (with wakeboards and water-skis). We recommend renting your equipment from Holloway's Marina or Pleasure Point Marina.
3For landlubbers, climb 8,200 feet above sea level on the Scenic Sky Chair to the top of Snow Summit. While it's a winter wonderland for skiers, this time of year it's perfect for biking and hiking. Feeling lazy? Take the lift up, picnic at the peak, then ride it back down. The mile-long ride carries you through the picturesque San Bernardino National Forest and its wildflower fields, pine-scented breezes, and panoramic views.
4If that's not enough high-altitude fun, check out the Action Zipline Tours. The three-hour tours include an off-road ride and zipline through the tree tops above Johnson Valley.
5You'll need something casual and hearty after such an active day, and Big Bear Mountain Brewery fits the bill. The historic 1925 building — it was formerly home to a Masonic Temple — is located on Red Ant Hill, featuring a warm, rustic ambience. In addition to the six beers made on the premises, fuel up on grub like massive burgers, chili in a bread bowl, or French dip sandwich.
1The Grizzly Manor Cafe always has a long line for breakfast in winter, but off-season it's a bit more reasonable. A good alternate is Alpine Country Coffee Shop for pretty straightforward diner food. Or, if you want something quick, pop into the Copper Q, a countrified kitchenwares store and deli, for great coffee and homemade pastries or breakfast sandwiches. There are some nice lunch items, too, like albacore tuna salad and daily quiches.
2Have you ever golfed at 7,000 feet? The Big Bear Mountain Golf Course at the base of Bear Mountain Resort in the Moonridge meadow features a challenging 9-hole golf course for experienced golfers and a 300-yard driving range for anyone who wants to pick up a club. There's even a pro shop on site so you can look the part.