Looking for a vacation spot that your kids will enjoy as much as you will? Look no further. Big Bear is the place. There are many Big Bear Lake family activities outdoors for them to enjoy here, as well as recreation areas and other fun things to do—and even better, you’ll enjoy them too!
Hiking & Biking
Hiking and mountain biking trails are plentiful in and around Big Bear and the San Bernardino Forest, with a variety of trails for all experience levels, ages, and lengths. It may take you a day or two to get acclimated to the altitude, so pick your hikes and rides carefully. Why not start with the Alpine Pedal Path? It’s a popular, paved, accessible, easy trail running along a part of the lake edge.
Kids love animals, and hiking along the mountain and lake trails is a great way to see the local wildlife. Depending on the season, you can see deer, coyotes, chipmunks and squirrels, raccoons, wild burros, and the occasional gray fox, cougar, and black bear. Look for tracks along the trail, and let the kids follow them as they hike.
Get Out on the Water
When the weather gets hot, one of the best things to do in Big Bear is to hit the lake. If your kids already know how to paddleboard or kayak, great. If not, the lake is a great place to teach them all the tips and tricks without worrying about waves and noisy crowds. Older kids can rent a few jet skis, or go water skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing. Rent a boat from one of the local marinas, and take everyone out for a self-guided tour of the lake or for a day of fun fishing for rainbow trout or smallmouth bass. You can even rent a pontoon boat that will easily accommodate the entire family.
Take a Tour
Take everyone on a guided tour of Big Bear Lake on a paddlewheel or pontoon boat, or even the Big Bear Pirate Ship, the Time Bandit. Yes, a pirate ship. Featured in the movie Time Bandits, the ship has made its way to Big Bear Lake and offers a fun tour of the lake complete with pirates. You know your kids will love it!
Kids of all ages will love an exciting helicopter tour. While you’re listening to the pilot talk about the area’s history, the kids will be loving flying in the clouds. You can personalize your helicopter ride as far as length, and what you want to see, from mountain lakes, the Mojave Desert, Santa Ana Canyon, and more.
Bear Mountain, Snow Summit, Magic Mountain & Grizzly Ridge
Both Bear Mountain and Snow Summit offer year-round Big Bear family activities. During snowy months, your kids can take skiing lessons or just hit the slopes. During summer months, they can hike scenic mountain trails, hurl down exciting mountain bike dirt trails on the Summit Bike Park, or stay at Basecamp, where your kids can try out the 30-foot rock climbing wall, bounce high in the air on the trampoline, and take an exciting zip line trip. Afterwards, cool everyone down with a scenic ride on Snow Summit’s Scenic Sky Chair where you’ll be treated to a beautiful panoramic view of the San Bernardino Mountains.
There’s tubing in winter, but the most popular attraction Magic Mountain Recreation Area is the Alpine Slide. Your kids can pretend to be an Olympic bobsledder! During the summer, there’s also a water slide, go-karts, mini-golf course and several coasters. And the nearby Grizzly Ridge Tube Park offers tubing fun year-round!
Best Things to Do in Big Bear
Take a trip back in time to the gold rush. At the Gold Rush Mining Co., you and your kids can try digging, mining and panning for gems and gold. Find out what’s in the middle of a geode, or dig for fossils. Don’t forget to stop in the gift shop on your way out for geodes, fossils, gemstones and more.
Pretend to be cowboys and explore the country on horseback. Baldwin Lake Stables offers a variety of rides, including a ride along the historic Pacific Crest Trail with amazing Mojave Desert views, a Sunset Ride and more. Plus, they offer pony rides for the little kids and there’s a petting zoo too where kids can pet, feed or hold a variety of farm animals.
And speaking of zoos, don’t miss the Alpine Zoo. The zoo is actually a rehab facility and sanctuary for indigenous wild animals that can’t be returned to the wild. A few of the animals cared for by the knowledgeable staff include black bears, bobcats, bald eagles, coyotes, flying squirrels, gray wolves, sandhill cranes, bison, and ringtail cats.
Children’s Journey to Big Bear
Rides on a pirate ship, horseback and helicopters will make for a fun vacation that your kids won’t forget. A vacation in Big Bear will start them on their way to a lifelong appreciation of outdoor Big Bear Lake family activities and the beauty that is Big Bear. Need help finding a rental that’s just right for you and the kids? Just give us a call!