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Big Bear Lake Guide: 26 Fun Activities To Do

big bear lake guide

When you think of California, what comes to mind? The Golden Gate Bridge, movie stars, and…mountains? 

That’s right – towering peaks and slopes covered in pines and sequoias make up a big part of the landscape in California.

And nestled among these natural wonders is Big Bear Lake, a favorite spot for outdoor enthusiasts and those looking for a little bit of fun and relaxation. 

Here are 26 fun activities to get you started on your adventure in Big Bear Lake!

Fun Activities at Big Bear

1. Take a Scenic Gondola Ride Up Snow Summit or Bear Mountain 

Scenic Gondola Ride Up Snow Summit

When it comes to scenic gondola rides, there’s no place like Big Bear Lake.

Nestled in the San Bernardino Mountains, this beautiful lake is surrounded by towering peaks, making it the perfect place to take in the stunning views.

Snow Summit and Bear Mountain are two of the most popular gondola ride destinations, offering breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains. 

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely ride to enjoy the scenery or an adrenaline-pumping journey to the top of the mountain, Big Bear Lake has a gondola ride for everyone. 

2. During the Winter Hit the Slopes at Snow Summit or Bear Mountain

Slopes at Bear Mountain

Winter is the perfect time to hit the slopes and enjoy some great skiing and snowboarding.

Snow Summit and Bear Mountain are both great options for those looking to get the most out of their winter vacation. 

Snow Summit offers a variety of trails for all levels of skiers and snowboarders, as well as a terrain park for those looking to test their skills. 

Bear Mountain is a great choice for those looking for a more challenging experience, with a variety of black diamond trails that will test even the most experienced skier or snowboarder. 

No matter what your level of experience, you’re sure to find the perfect trail at Snow Summit or Bear Mountain.

3. In the Summer, Take a Dip in Big Bear Lake 

Big Bear Lake 

Big Bear Lake is the perfect place to spend a summer day – or any day, for that matter. 

The water is clear and refreshing, the beach is sandy and beautiful, and the canoe rental place is just a short walk away. 

It’s the perfect spot for swimming, canoeing, kayaking, or just relaxing on the beach.

There are also plenty of shady spots to relax in if you’re not in the mood for swimming. In short, Big Bear Lake is the perfect spot for a summertime escape. 

4. Visit the Big Bear Discovery Center 

Big Bear Discovery Center

The Big Bear Discovery Center is a great spot to learn about the area’s history and wildlife – and it’s a great place for kids too. 

Located in the heart of Big Bear Lake, the Discovery Center offers a variety of interactive exhibits that help to bring the area’s natural history to life.

 Visitors can learn about the area’s first inhabitants, the plants and animals that call Big Bear home, and the importance of preserving the area’s natural resources. 

The Discovery Center also offers a variety of educational programs for both adults and children. And, best of all, admission is free. 

So whether you’re a local looking to learn more about your backyard or a visitor interested in exploring the area’s natural wonders, be sure to stop by the Big Bear Discovery Center.

5. For Something Really Different, Try Your Hand at Dog Sledding 

Dog Sledding at big bear

If you’re looking for an activity that’s both fun and unique, look no further than dog sledding!

It’s a great way to see the sights and get some exercise! You’ll be able to mush through the snow with a team of eager dogs, taking in the stunning scenery as you go.

 And when you’re done, you can relax in one of the many lodges and enjoy a well-earned hot drink. 

Dog sledding is a great way to explore the great outdoors, so why not give it a try? You might just surprise yourself…

6. Take A Scenic Boat Ride On Big Bear Lake 

Boat Ride On Big Bear Lake 

If you’re looking for a truly unique experience, why not take a scenic boat ride on Big Bear Lake? 

There’s nothing quite like being on the water, surrounded by mountains. And if you’re lucky, you might even spot a bear or two! Of course, there are a few things to keep in mind before setting sail. 

First, be sure to pack plenty of snacks and drinks, as there are no restaurants or cafes on the lake.

Second, remember to wear sunscreen and hats, as the sun can be quite strong at high altitudes. 

Finally, don’t forget your camera – this is one boat ride you’ll want to remember!

And with Big Bear Lake being one of the largest lakes in Southern California, you’re sure to have a great time. 

7. Visit the Big Bear Alpine Zoo 

Big Bear Alpine Zoo

The Big Bear Alpine Zoo is a great place to visit if you’re looking for an up-close and personal experience with some of the world’s most exotic animals.

If you love animals, then this is definitely a place you’ll want to check out.

From lions and tigers to bears and wolves, the zoo offers a chance to see these amazing creatures up close and learn about their habitats and behavior. 

The zoo also has a variety of educational programs and events, making it a great choice for families or groups interested in learning more about the animal kingdom. 

The Big Bear Alpine Zoo is home to over 80 different species of animals, making it a great way to learn about the local wildlife. And you might even get to see some rare and endangered animals too!

So if you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, be sure to check out the Big Bear Alpine Zoo.

8. Go on a Horseback Ride 

Horseback Ride at big bear

There’s nothing quite like exploring the beautiful wilderness on horseback… unless you’re the horse. 

Then, it’s more of a slog through the mud, with a human perched precariously on your back, prodding you along with sharp implements. 

But if you can forget the horse’s point of view for a moment, there’s no denying that a horseback ride through the mountains is an exhilarating experience

The fresh air, the stunning scenery, and the sense of freedom are all things that can be enjoyed from atop a horse. 

Just be sure to give your mount a good rubdown afterward; they sure deserve it.

So whether you want to take a leisurely drive or go for a more adventurous road trip, you’re sure to find the perfect route for you.

9. Go Fishing at Big Bear Lake 

Fishing at Big Bear Lake 

Big Bear Lake is a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts from all over California. 

The lake is home to a variety of trout, including rainbow, brook, and cutthroat trout. 

Fishing here can be a rewarding experience, as the trout are known to put up a good fight. In addition, the scenic setting of the lake makes it a perfect place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. 

In order to fish in Big Bear Lake, you will need to obtain a fishing license from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. 

Once you have your license, you can either fish from the shore or rent a boat from one of the many marinas located around the lake. 

Whether you’re an experienced angler or just getting started, Big Bear Lake is sure to offer an enjoyable fishing experience.

10. Learn About Mining at the Gold Rush Mining Adventures

Mining at the Gold Rush Mining Co.

Are you looking for a fun-filled adventure? Do you want to test your mettle against the elements? 

Then Big Bear Gold Rush Mining Adventures is the place to be!

At the Goldrush mining Company, you get a unique opportunity to experience the thrills and challenges of gold mining in a beautiful and remote setting. 

You’ll find experienced guides that will teach you everything you need to know about panning for gold, and you’ll have a chance to put your skills to the test in the on-site creek. 

Whether you’re a seasoned prospector or a complete novice, we guarantee that you’ll have a blast at BigBear Gold Rush Mining Adventures!

11. Get Some Strikes at the Big Bear Bowling Barn

Big Bear Bowling Barn

The Big Bear Bowling Barn is the perfect place to enjoy a fun game of bowling with family and friends. 

This popular spot offers 32 lanes of bowling, as well as a full-service bar and restaurant. 

The facility is also equipped with a state-of-the-art sound system, making it the perfect place to host a private event or birthday party. 

And if you’re looking for a challenge, take on one of the resident Bowling Barn Pros in a friendly game of strike-offs. 

No matter your skill level, the Big Bear Bowling Barn is sure to provide a fun and memorable experience for all.

12. Go Shopping at Big Bear Village Shops

Big Bear Village Shops

There’s nothing like a day of shopping at Big Bear Village shops. 

Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift, or just treating yourself to something special, you’ll find what you’re looking for at one of the many shops in the village.

From cozy boutiques to major department stores, there’s something for everyone. And when you need a break from all the shopping, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes to replenish your energy. 

So whether you’re looking for a fun day out with friends or a quiet afternoon of browsing, the Big Bear Village shops are sure to have what you’re looking for.

Activities for Thrill-seekers at Big Bear Mountain

13. Experience the Thrill of Big Bear Speedway

Big Bear Speedway

Big Bear Speedway offers the thrills of high-speed karting without the hassle of having to build your own track. 

Located in Southern California, the Speedway features a challenging 1/2 mile course that is perfect for experienced racers and beginners alike. 

With recorded speeds of up to 45mph, the Big Bear Speedway is not for the faint of heart. 

However, the adrenaline rush is worth it, and there is nothing quite like flying around corners at breakneck speeds

If you are looking for an exhilarating racing experience, then be sure to check out Big Bear Speedway.

14. Take a Helicopter Tour to Take in the View

Helicopter Tour at big bear

The Big Bear helicopter tour is a great way to see the sights of the city from a whole new perspective.

These tours offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a unique perspective of the landscape, and there’s no better way to do it than from the comfort of a helicopter.

Just think, you’ll be able to snap some amazing selfies while your pilot flies you around through Big Bear’s stunning views.

The Big Bear Helicopter Tour is the perfect way to see the scenic beauty of the area. 

You’ll be able to get a birds-eye view of all the landmarks and attractions, and you might even spot some bears.

15. Go Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking at big bear

Big Bear is a great place to go mountain biking! There are plenty of trails to choose from, and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. 

The only downside is that the air is really thin up there, so you might get a little out of breath. But don’t worry, it’s totally worth it. 

And once you reach the top of the mountain, you can just coast all the way down. It’s like a never-ending roller coaster ride! 

Just make sure to watch out for the rocks and roots on the trail. Otherwise, you’ll have a blast.

16. Big Bear Jeep Experience

Big Bear Jeep Experience

The Big Bear Jeep Experience is an off-road adventure that takes you on a journey through the beautiful mountains and valleys of Big Bear, California.

With experienced guides, you will be able to navigate your way through the rough terrain and explore the area’s many hidden treasures. 

Along the way, you will have the opportunity to spot wildlife, enjoy panoramic views, and learn about the history and culture of the area. 

The Big Bear Jeep Experience is an unforgettable adventure that will leave you wanting more.

17. Action Zip Line Tours

Action Zip Line Tours

Big Bear Action Zip Line Tours offer an exciting and unique way to experience the stunning scenery of Big Bear Lake.

The tours take place on a series of zip lines, which are strung between tall trees. 

The views from the zip lines are truly breathtaking, and the experience is perfect for thrill-seekers of all ages. 

In addition to the zip lines, the tour also features a suspension bridge, which provides an even more thrilling view of the lake below. 

You’ll find experienced guides who will ensure that everyone has a safe and memorable experience. 

Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline-filled adventure or simply a way to take in the beauty of Big Bear Lake, Action Zip Line Tours is sure to exceed your expectations.

18. Go on a Hike Through One of Big Bear’s Many Trails 

big bear hike

Looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life? 

Then come to Big Bear, where you can find some of the most beautiful nature trails in the country. 

Whether you want an easy walk or a challenging hike, Big Bear has something for everyone. 

The trails wind through forests, meadows, and mountains, offering stunning views of the surrounding scenery. 

And if you’re lucky, you might even spot some wildlife along the way. So come on up and explore all that Big Bear has to offer. Nature awaits!

Hiking Trails to Check Out:

19. Castle Rock Trail

Castle Rock Trail

The Big Bear Castle Rock Trail is a great way to see some of the best that California has to offer. 

This trail is located in the San Bernardino National Forest and offers incredible views of the mountains and valleys below. 

The trail is also a great opportunity to see some of the local wildlife, including squirrels, birds, and even the occasional deer. 

The hike is about five miles long, and there are several different routes that you can take, so you can tailor the hike to your fitness level. 

No matter which route you choose, though, you’re sure to be rewarded with some truly stunning views. 

So if you’re looking for a challenging hike with an incredible payoff, be sure to check out the Big Bear Castle Rock Trail.

20. Woodland Trail

Woodland Trail

Nestled in the San Bernardino Mountains, Big Bear Woodland Trail is a popular hiking destination for both locals and visitors. 

The trailhead is located just off of Highway 18, and the trail itself is a gentle four-mile loop that winds through dense forests of pines and cedars. 

Along the way, hikers will have the opportunity to spot wildlife including deer, squirrels, and birds. 

The trail also features several benches where hikers can rest and take in the stunning views of the valley below.

Although it is relatively easy to hike, the Big Bear Woodland Trail is a great way to get out and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

21. Alpine Pedal Trail

Alpine Pedal Trail

The Alpine Pedal Trail is a beautiful, scenic trail that stretches for miles through the mountains. 

It is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a vigorous hike, and there are plenty of places to stop and enjoy the scenery along the way. 

The trail is also popular with cyclists, as it is relatively flat and provides an enjoyable workout. 

In winter, the trail is transformed into a cross-country skiing paradise, with groomed trails and breathtaking views.

 Whether you are looking for a challenging workout or a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the Alpine Pedal Trail is sure to provide an enjoyable experience.

22. Pine Knot Trail

Pine Knot Trail

The Pine Knot Trail is a popular hiking trail in the Big Bear Lake area. 

The trailhead is located near the Big Bear Discovery Center, and the trail follows a gentle uphill grade for about two miles before reaching its highest point at Pine Knot Campground. 

The trail offers stunning sceneries of the surrounding mountains, and it is a great place to see wildlife. 

Pine trees and other evergreens line the trail, providing shade and shelter for hikers. 

The Pine knot Trail is one of the most popular trails in the Big Bear Lake area, and it is an excellent choice for a hike any time of year.

23. Stanfield Marsh Wildlife Hike 

Stanfield Marsh Wildlife Hike

Stanfield Marsh is a nature lover’s paradise. 

The marsh is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, coyotes, and even bald eagles. 

And the best way to see all the animals is by taking a hike on the Big Bear Stanfield Marsh Wildlife Trail. 

The trail is a loop that starts and ends at the Big Bear Discovery Center. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to see a wide variety of plant life, as well as get up close and personal with some of the marsh’s residents.

In addition, the trail offers stunning views of Big Bear Lake. So whether you’re an experienced hiker or just looking for a leisurely stroll, the Big Bear Stanfield Marsh Wildlife Trail is sure to please.

24. Butler Peak Fire Lookout Hike

Butler Peak Fire Lookout Hike

From high atop Butler Peak, the views are breathtaking. 

Located in the San Bernardino National Forest, the tower was built in 1934 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

From the tower, you can enjoy sweeping panoramas of Big Bear Lake, the San Bernardino Valley, and the Santa Ana Mountains. 

On a clear day, it is even possible to see all the way to Los Angeles.

Museums to Explore at Big Bear

25. Big Bear Valley Historical Museum

Big Bear Valley Historical Museum

The Big Bear Valley Historical Museum is a great place to learn about the history of the area.

The museum is located in the heart of Big Bear Valley, and it features a wide variety of exhibits that chronicle the history of the area, from its early days as a Native American settlement to its present-day status as a popular tourist destination.

In addition to its many exhibits, the museum also offers a number of educational programs that are designed to help visitors learn more about the history of Big Bear Valley. 

Whether you’re interested in learning about the area’s early residents or you’re simply looking for a place to take your family for a day of fun, the Big Bear Valley Historical Museum is sure to have something that everyone will enjoy.

26. Planetarium Projector Museum

Planetarium Projector Museum

The Big Bear Planetarium is a must-see for anyone interested in the night sky. 

Located in southern California, the planetarium offers a variety of exhibits and shows that educate visitors about astronomy. 

In addition to the planetarium shows, the museum also houses a collection of antique telescopes and other astronomical equipment

The planetarium is open daily, and admission is free. Shows are offered throughout the day, so there is sure to be one that fits your schedule. 

Whether you are a seasoned astronomer or just beginning to learn about the stars, the Big Bear Planetarium is sure to have something for you.