With snow-capped mountains in the winter, beautiful clear skies in the summer, and a stunningly beautiful lake, you’ll always find exciting experiences and things to do in Big Bear year-round.  

Here we will show you the best 12 activities that you can enjoy in this beautiful place in California.  

1. Visit the  Alpine  Zoo  

You cannot visit Big Bear and miss out on this fascinating zoo.   

Alpine Zoo functions as a rehabilitation center that provides shelter, either temporary or permanent, to wild animals and orphans found stranded in the region.   

About 90% of the animals that arrive at the zoo are successfully released.  

Also read our detailed guide on the Chapultepec Zoo

2. Ski the slopes of Big Bear during the winter  

In Big Bear, you’ll find some of the best skiing in Southern California, filled with beautiful snow-capped mountains and slopes suitable for all levels. That’s why it doesn’t matter if you don’t have experience, here you can learn.   

The two most famous places to ski and snowboard in Big Bear are Snow Summit and Bear Mountain.  

These mountains cover long spaces full of rails, jumps, obstacles and beautiful views.  

If you do not have equipment to carry out these activities, do not worry, since in each location they have the necessary equipment and available for rent.


3. Take a walk around Bluff Lake  

This is one of the most beautiful and tranquil lakes in Big Bear. It is the perfect place to walk with your partner or enjoy nature alone.  


4.  Marvel  at the view of Big Bear from a helicopter  

A helicopter ride is already a unique experience in itself, now imagine also enjoying the majestic scenery that the mountains, lakes and forests of Big Bear offer. It is even an ideal place to celebrate a birthday or an anniversary.  


5. Snowshoe hike  

Exploring the Big Bear Mountains on snowshoes is an incredible experience that will bring you closer to the beauty of nature.  

In addition, snowshoes will allow you to access trails where snowboarders and skiers cannot, thus allowing you to enjoy unique views in the open air.  


6. Visit the  Big Bear Observatory

If the beautiful natural landscape of Big Bear, with majestic mountains and a sparkling lake, is of a beauty that will leave you scarred for life, wait until you see the constellations, planets and stars from the Big Bear Observatory on a clear night.  


7. Take a tour in an SUV  

The Big Bear Jeep Experience company offers tours where you can drive or enjoy a guided Jeep tour around Big Bear. The tour is very exciting, educational and covers hundreds of kilometers of trails.   

There are different types of tours where you can enjoy with your family. The most popular for kids is the one that explores the Holcomb Valley and where you end up exploring an old mining settlement.  

There are also options for those looking for a greater challenge and adrenaline.  


8. Enjoy a walk  or hiking

If you love hiking, then you can enjoy the lush mountains and unforgettable landscapes that Big Bear has to offer.  

There are several tours you can take, each with different variations in difficulty and at different times of the day.   


9. Go down a huge slide  

Get your adrenaline pumping as you launch off the Alpine Water Slide, an open slide that ends in a deep pool of water. After the excitement, you can relax with your family and friends on the terrace by the pool.  


10. Relax with a tour on the Miss Liberty  

Cross the great Big Bear Lake in the Miss Liberty, a paddle wheel boat. She enjoys the surrounding mountain scenery as you listen to a 90-minute narration about the history of the Big Bear Valley.  

The lower level of the ship is closed and air-conditioned, while the upper level is outdoors.  


 11. Get to know the Big Bear museum

At the Big Bear Valley Historical Museum you will step back in time, meeting the first people who inhabited the valley.  

Here you can find scenes of the day-to-day life of its ancient inhabitants and even participate in interactive presentations. The entire history of the Big Bear Valley can be found here.   


12. Fish  

Fishing is an activity the whole family can enjoy on Big Bear’s clear lake.  

The best times to fish in Big Bear are from sunrise to noon, and from late afternoon to sunset. Note that you will need a license to fish in California, unless you are under 16 years of age.  

The best areas to fish in Big Bear are along the north shore, from the dam to the boat ramp on the west. Off Highway 38 you will find several areas where you can park.  

In addition, the Boulder Bay park has a fishing pier, being the ideal place to spend a fun day of fishing with your family.  

What is the best time to go to B ig  B ear ?  

In Big Bear the winters are regularly very cold and dry, with partly cloudy skies. In summer the climate is very arid and hot, with mostly clear skies. The temperature rarely drops below -10°C or rises above 31°C.  

The best time of year to visit Big Bear is late June through early September.  

How to get to Big Bear Lake?  

If you live outside the United States, your best option is to arrive at Los Angeles (LAX), Ontario (ONT) or Palm Springs (PSP) airports. All of these airports are only an average two hour drive to Big Bear.  


Things to Do in Big Bear in the Winter  

Big Bear is famous for winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding , or snowshoeing, all set against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains and trees.


Things to do in Big Bear at night  

Undoubtedly one of the best tourist attractions that you will enjoy at night is the observatory. In it you will be able to appreciate the constellations, planets and stars of the firmament with unparalleled clarity.


Free things to do in Big Bear?  

There are a wide variety of activities you can do in Big Bear for free.  

These include enjoying big-screen family movies, live shows at the Village, lakeside barbecue dinners, 30-minute guided nature walks, a colorful parade down Main Street, and fishing-free days.  


Now you know what to do in Big Bear during your next vacation. This beautiful alpine paradise will certainly meet all your expectations.


See also:

  • Read our guide on the 24 best National Parks in the United States that you cannot miss
  • Click to know the 28 tourist places in the United States that you must visit
  • Find out here about the 50 best places to visit in New York


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