We first visited Big Bear in the summer of 2020 when things started to open up again. It was getting HOT in the desert and we needed a weekend to enjoy the outdoors without the heat. It was still very warm in Big Bear (so don’t think it’s a complete cool escape) but cooler than where we lived at the time. We mainly looked for hikes to socially distance and stay outside but also stumbled upon Goat Yoga at Grateful Heart Sanctuary, the place that really made us fall in love with Big Bear as a whole.
Where to stay?
Honey Bear Lodge
We stayed at Honey Bear Lodge and loved the mountain cabin feel of our hotel room. Our only complaint was that there was no A/C and we visited in summer (our fault for not double checking). Luckily it cooled off enough at night that it was comfortable. This hotel is only a short walk from Big Bear Village.
We recommend using Booking.com or AirBnBs to find accommodation. Also, be sure to book ahead of time because prices rise as dates get closer.
Tip: If possible, go on weekdays in the summer or weekends during the school year since Big Bear can be packed with people! However, when it is busy, there is still lots to do and plenty to enjoy.
Where to Eat?
Check out our Vegan Guide to Big Bear for our favorite places to grab a snack or meal. There’s something for everyone at these places, even if you aren’t vegan!
Let’s Get Outside!
Our favorite thing to do: Hiking!
Hiking is one of the best things to do in Big Bear.
Here are some hikes with great views of Big Bear Lake:
Shorter Trail: Castle Rock Peak Trail – 1.2 mile loop in the San Bernardino National Forest.
Longer Trail: Cougar Crest Trail – 5.3 mile out and back trail in San Bernardino National Forest
Want to be outdoors but do something different?
Kayaking/Canoeing – Being out on the water is always a great experience. Kayaking and canoeing give you such a unique view of nature and are a great way to spend time. Bring your own or go to one of the local rentals to get out on the water!
Biking – Big Bear is known for cycling and mountain biking. This is not our area of expertise but if you are interested, check out Summit Bike Park for an exciting ride! Click here for more information
Are you looking for a more relaxed activity? Take a stroll along the lake by following the Alpine Pedal Path Trail 1E50. Although there may be bikers on the route, this path gives you amazing views of the lake and national forest!
Spend enough time in nature? More to do in Big Bear:
Big Bear Lake Village is THE place for unique shops, souvenirs, and a bite to eat! In need of recommendations for a delicious vegan meal? Most of our favorites can be found right in Big Bear Lake Village. Click here for our Vegan Guide to Big Bear.
Looking for some fun for the whole family: Head over to Big Bear Snow Play for Go Karts, a rope course, and more!
Want to go home with something more special than a trinket from a gift shop?
In our Vegan Guide to Big Bear, we mention that we have been at least 10 times. The reason for this is that we found a home away from home at Grateful Heart Animal Sanctuary. Grateful Heart Animal Sanctuary is a nonprofit livestock sanctuary run by an amazing woman named Julie and a board of members.
Grateful Heart Animal Sanctuary hosts yoga classes for all abilities with the goats and pigs and holiday events such as an Easter Egg Hunt. However, if you can’t make it to a scheduled event, call ahead of time to schedule a tour, OR if you can take more time out of your day, see if you can spend some time volunteering with the animals. There’s always something to do and it is a great way to spend time in Big Bear.