Plan a Winter Visit to Big Bear

Because of the weather that southern California typically experiences, it may be hard at times to really get into the spirit of winter. Let’s be honest: Does it really feel like winter when it’s sunny and 75 degrees outside? Luckily for you, there’s a hidden winter wonderland in southern California waiting to make you and your family’s winter vacation the most memorable to date. Come up and visit Bear Big Lake and experience a winter wonderland like no other in California!

A True Winter Paradise

Unlike the majority of southern California, Big Bear Lake sits at an incredible 6,752 feet in elevation. This means one thing: lots of snow! In the wintertime, Big Bear Lake transforms from a lakeside destination to a winter wonderland, with light and fluffy snow covering the mountainsides and powdering the thousands of trees of the San Bernardino National Forest. This provides visitors with picturesque views that are perfect for getting you in winter mood, and will make it so you can’t resist putting your feet up with a warm cup of cocoa in front of a roaring fire!

So Many Activities to Experience in Big Bear

Some people may think that because Big Bear Lake is a big summer vacation town that this means it slows down in the wintertime, and that’s not true at all! Big Bear Lake is a year-round destination with plenty of winter fun to be had on the mountains. Snow Summit Ski Resort is truly a sight to behold. Whether you’re new to winter sports or an experienced rider, you’ll love shredding down the mountain trails found in Big Bear.

Not interested in skiing or snowboarding, but still want to explore the winter landscape? Why not try your hand at snowshoeing? Snowshoes let you explore the trails found around Big Bear Lake at your own pace; just be sure to dress warmly!

No matter how you choose to spend your winter escape, Big Bear Lake has something for everyone. If you want to start the new year off right, come spend the beginning of 2018 in a true winter wonderland with us!

Big Bear Christmas Events

Big Bear is one of Southern California’s top skiing and snowboarding destinations for the winter season. Whether you are enjoying one of the community’s numerous ski resorts, the shops and restaurants of the Big Bear Lake Village, or exploring the San Bernardino National Forest, Big Bear offers something for everyone in the winter season. Planning Christmas for the family may seem like a scary task when on vacation, but here in Big Bear, finding the closest Christmas event is just as easy as being at home. Here are our top picks for local Big Bear Christmas events!

Santa Comes to Snow Summit

Every child yearns to visit Santa and relay his or her wishes for Christmas gifts each year. Lucky for you, Santa does not miss out on Big Bear! Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will be visiting the Christmas Tree Lot in the Big Bear Lake Village located just off the corner of Pine Knot Boulevard and Village Drive. Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be available for your child’s wishes on December 23rd and December 24th from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Santa will even at the base of Snow Summit on December 23rd for all you skiing enthusiasts!

Santa’s Hayride to the North Pole

Every Friday and Saturday this holiday season will be the host of the Santa’s Hayride just down in Bear Valley Farms. This event will delight everyone in your family with a night of beautiful Christmas sightseeing. Come see the array of thousands of beautiful Christmas lights and decorations. Complimentary cocoa will be available to enjoy at the Bear Valley Farms’ theater, which is playing all of the Christmas classics. Letters to Santa and book readings but his helpful elves will delight all of your children. This magical hayride will transport you into the magical kingdom of the North Pole!

The Nutcracker Ballet

The Big Bear Lake Arts and Moonridge School of Dance will be putting on a two-night performance of the Nutcracker. Performances will be held on December 16th at 7:00pm and December 17th at 2:30pm. Tickets are $22 for general admission and can be purchased at http://www.citybigbearlake.com, calling the PAC box office at (909) 866-4970, or at the door. This beloved performance is a holiday tradition for the entire family and makes a terrific Christmas gift idea as well. Don’t miss out on this local production of the Nutcracker!

Your Christmas Destination

Take a break from the mountain’s beautiful ski slopes and spend your next Christmas tradition in Big Bear Lake Village. There is Christmas fun that the whole family can enjoy!

Thanksgiving in Big Bear

We all know the importance of a holiday does not necessarily come from where or how you celebrate it, but who you celebrate it with. Getting together with family is what many of us look forward to for Thanksgiving. With that being said, spending the holiday in an amazing place will go a long way in adding some excitement to the typical proceedings. One of the best places to spend a Thanksgiving in the United States is Big Bear, California.

Activities to Celebrate

There is always a reason to celebrate in Big Bear, so there are always activities that bring the community together on the docket. During the Thanksgiving holiday, there is a little something going on for everyone. If you are in Big Sur, then you have to check out the turkey trot on Thanksgiving Day. Go for a casual run, jog, or walk, and then relax with people from this vibrant community to enjoy games, activities, and even a costume contest. The day after Thanksgiving, you can be a part of the town’s preparations for the Christmas season by partaking in the lighting of the tree ceremony. Enjoy carolers, live entertainment, and even a Santa appearance.

Everywhere a Feast

This is a community that does not take a delicious meal lightly, especially during Thanksgiving. When the holiday comes around, you can bet that the many charming eateries will be ready with amazing meals for the community. Find one of the tastiest traditional Thanksgiving buffets you will ever see is in full swing at the Evergreen Restaurant. Or you can pop into Nottingham’s Restaurant any time between 1:00 pm and 7:45 pm to enjoy the incredible flavors that they bring to all your favorites. Maybe you want to go off script this Thanksgiving. Well, you can do that in a big way with amazing Indian, Thai, Chinese, Italian, and every other type of eatery you can imagine!

Beauty and Recreation for Everyone

There’s no better way to start Thanksgiving Day than going for a hike in the brisk mountain air, and there’s no better place to do it than in Big Bear. There are also some very special activities that always make for a great time on vacation. A classic way to explore the Big Bear canopy is with a zip line excursion, but you can also go horseback riding. Not only are all of these awesome services available on Thanksgiving Day, but you can enjoy them at discount prices.

It does not matter where you eat or how you spend your days, your Big Bear Thanksgiving is sure to be one of the most memorable of your life. Make this beautiful place the newest addition to your Thanksgiving tradition this year!

Thanksgiving in the Village & Santa’s Grand Entrance

Big Bear Lake Village is the bustling center of Big Bear when it comes to entertainment, food, and shopping. Rows of stores with specialty shops and yummy smells line the sidewalks. People wander through wearing their favorite scarf and wide smiles; carrying bags full of Big Bear treasures. This Thanksgiving you can leave the cooking to others and watch Santa make his first appearance of the Season.

Restaurants to Dine at this Thanksgiving

Featured Restaurants Open on the Thanksgiving Holiday (November 23rd, 2017):

Evergreen Restaurant: 2pm- 9pm. Traditional Thanksgiving buffet-style, all you can eat.

Nottinghams Restaurant: 1pm- 7:45pm. Serving a Traditional Thanksgiving menu.

Peppercorn Grille: 12pm- 8pm. Serving a traditional Thanksgiving menu. Dinner menu served all day.

Himalayan Restaurant: 11am- 9pm. Regular menu items.

Dynasty: 11:30am- 9:30pm. Serving regular menu.

Royal Thai Cafe: 11:30am- 9:30pm. Serving regular menu.

Santa’s Grand Entrance & Tree Lighting

Nov 24, 2017 | 05:00PM – 10:00PM

Speaking from experience I can tell you this is one of the highlights of the season. I have not missed it 4 years running. The excitement in the air as caroler’s sing and lights twinkle in the trees. Hot Cocoa abounds as well as other flavors for parents, and excitement builds as the countdown begins. Suddenly, a magical moment when the stories high tree lights up, and illuminates the extra large decorations. Little children run about with magic in their hearts cheering, and parents and couple smile and exchanges meaningful looks.

HO HO HO!

That familiar chant from our childhood Christmas dreams echoes down the road as the jolly big elf makes his grand entrance with his lovely Misses by his side. Cheeks a-rosy and eyes so bright he laughs with his belly with all of his might. A big red fire truck was his sleigh last time he came – I wonder if it will be the same?

Come and Enjoy the Festivities at Santa’s Grand Entrance in the Village. Entertainment starts at @ 5:00 PM and Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive in his sleigh at @ 6:00 PM. Additionally, Santa will also be at the Xmas Tree Lot every Weekend from 10-4 pm until December 23rd.

You are never too old to catch the spirit of Christmas ~ and many Moms could use a break this year by dining in the Village. Best part is no one has to wash the dishes! Come make merry with us and celebrate the season with your Big Bear Vacations Family!

Equestrian Center, Pumpkin Patch, Haunted Hay Ride

Big Bear Equestrian Center

The Big Bear Equestrian Center (formerly known as Sonny’s Stables) is ideally located next to the San Bernardino National Forest.​ Sitting on about twelve acres this stable has 6 pastures it features two riding arenas. This equestrian center is ideal for local residents that wish to board their horse in the mountains as well as short and long term guests wanting to take in the beautiful scenery of the San Bernardino National Forest on horseback. Short and Long Term rental options are offered.

Off the Vine Pumpkins Available

Due to unforeseen colder temperatures this Fall season, they have had to cut the pumpkins from their vines early but do have them available for purchase at the farm during normal Saturday business hours.

History and Owner

Nick Lanza, owner of Big Bear Vacations, also owns the ​Big Bear Equestrian Center & Bear Valley Farms. “Being an owner of both the Farm and Big Bear Vacations, we naturally are combining the experience to create many packages.  We invite our guests to enjoy the farm during their stay and we offer free admission to the Farm if you stay with Big Bear Vacations as a starting promotion.”   Visit “About Us” to read more about the story on how the farm came to be.

Haunted Hayride is open now!

THIS IS THE PLACE TO GET YOUR SCARE ON!

Embark your journey on foot through the Haunted Farm House. Then, hold onto your seats as you creep aboard our hauntingly vintage tractor pulled hay slay. They will slither you through the haunted trails and roads on the farm. Make your way through the dark you will encounter ghouls, goblins and all manner of creatures of the night. Your Dark Adventure ends in a huge, deep dark Haunted Barn where your deepest fears will become reality.

This Weekend the Haunted Hayride Runs every 45 minutes Friday & Saturday Night. Gates open at 6:30pm. Please be there at least 15 minutes before your ride.

Be sure to warm yourself by one of two fire pits, and enjoy  complimentary drinks before embarking on your haunted journey!

Ride times and ticket pricing vary, please refer to Ticketleap for pricing and availability. Purchase tickets well in advance.

The Equestrian Center is a wonderful addition to the Big Bear valley. A perfect place to bring your friends and family to make memories that will last a lifetime.

Fall Brings Fun in Big Bear Lake – Scarecrows are back in the Village

We love Autumn in Big Bear

Big Bear glows in Autumn. Trees delicately painted with hues of orange, red, and gold line streets. Fireplaces bring romantic light to the living rooms and bedrooms. Cups are full of steaming cocoa and other delights – perhaps brandy, baileys, and coffee with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Scarves are on the necks of our visitors as they window shop, eat, hike, bike, and play. Crisp mornings and bright sunrises bring whispers of snow days and the plethora of Holidays to come – every single one a delight to experience on our mountain.

Above all, October is the month of pumpkin spice, harvest celebration, scarecrows, and Halloween. In the Big Bear Lake Village area merchants have on display Scarecrow creations outside of shops, boutiques, and restaurants. Furthermore, visitors can VOTE for their favorite Scarecrow. There are several categories to choose from. Winners announced Halloween 2017.

Fred and Annie are at it Again

Last year, Big Bear Vacations presented Fred and Annie to the Village for the first time. In fact, We WON Best Traditional Scarecrow!

Consequently, this year Fred and Annie are at it again! We invite you to come check out our fun display – take some pictures – and Vote!

Additionally, Big Bear Vacations is doing an internal CONTEST with Fred and Annie.

HOW TO WIN:

  • Visit Fred and Annie and take a photo.
  • Share Your Photo on Facebook using the hashtag #makingmemories #bigbearvacations

Accordingly, Entrants are automatically entered into a Grand Prize drawing to win a FREE 2 Night Stay @ Shore Acres Lodge (non-holiday, based on availability, for up to 6 people). Afterward, Grand Prize Winners announced the week of Oct 29th.

In conclusion, Tis the season to enjoy Fall everything in Big Bear. We are excited for your next visit.

Music in the Mountains

Music in the Mountains is in essence a summer concert series in Big Bear at the Discovery Center. There are usually 6 shows per year that take place on select Saturday evenings. The event is a fundraiser that benefits conservation, recreation, and education programs for our treasured public lands.

It is hard to envision just how fantastic these events are. Every show features amazing talent ranging from classic rock to country. There are either co-headliners like: The Long Run, Experience the Eagles, co-headlining with Led Zepagain – a Led Zeppelin Tribute; or a opening band followed by a main attraction.

The amphitheater is centered around a stage modernized with lights and sound. A dance floor welcomes the fancy feet right in front of the band. VIP seats are next – up close and personal. Then all others bring chairs and blankets, filling up the bowl like topography with glow sticks and happy shouts. The Music in the Mountains guest will have tidy restrooms, tasty mixed drinks – wine – and beer, as well as casual dining fare like burgers and fries.

What is it really like? Let me describe from personal experience one of my favorite evenings at Music in the Mountains. I arrived just after the gates opened with General Admission Tickets, my children and a Parking Pass. The helpful attendants directed me to a spot in the top row only 25 feet from the gates. My daughter and son carried pillows and activity bags and I carried the rest. We settled in a few rows back between a few trees and a large stump that was designated our “table”. The sun was setting and the shadows were low – light filtered in through the trees and made my sons face glow. The kids spread out their blanket and arranged pillows like a nest. They plopped down and opened their tablets. I sat in a chair and listened to the announcements – still trying to decide how I felt about the event. Then the music played. It carried over and through the trees in a way that made me close my eyes and feel it. Before long my foot was tapping – hoots and applause ebbed and flowed from the crowd. Happy kids ran around playing – and my children made some new friends! With darkness came the light effects of the stage as it glowed and pulsed with the songs. My son eventually put his tablet down and went with me to the dance floor. Someone bounced a beach ball across the crowd and cheers of delight ensued. At intermission there was a drawing and three winners were announced. As the evening came to a close the stars were decorating the sky in reckless abandon twinkling in what seemed to be in harmony with the songs on the air. A certain euphoria filled my heart as I realized I would always remember that moment in this place with my son in my arms.

This year’s concert series has come to a close – but I invite you to come share in this amazing experience next year. Get your tickets early because they can sell out – or book with Big Bear Vacations and your complimentary tickets will be waiting for you at check in.

Big Bear Renaissance Faire

Every weekend in August there is an opportunity to go back in time and saturate ones-self in a historic/fantasy style cultural experience. The Big Bear Renaissance Faire is located on a 4-acre site in historic Fawnskin, California. The site was once the Pederson’s Saw Mill, which operated from 1938-1965.

Each weekend is themed and the titles speak for themselves:

1. August 5th & 6th – Fairy Frolic
2. August 12th & 13th – Pirate Take Over
3. August 19th & 20th –  Royal Purple Weekend
4. August 26th & 27th – Steampunk Weekend

My family and I chose to visit on Royal Purple Weekend. We arrived close to the noon hour so we would not miss the Jousters, whom have a few shows per day. As we approached, the sunlight promised a little heat and the trees rustled in the breeze, offering welcome shade. There were many cars and people rushing towards the entrance, even though they had opened a few hours earlier.
Right away a swashbuckling pirate welcomed my 8-year- old son with an accent and a surly smile, even before we entered the gates. He engaged in conversation that built expectancy of what was to come. With his hand, he ushered us towards the castle like gates where a pretty, long-skirted maiden gave us tickets with an alluring smile.

Upon entering, there were three gatekeepers dressed in authentic garb. They also smiled and joked affectionately—like this, too, was their favorite day and activity. My thought was: they clearly enjoy their role here…but then I was quickly distracted by the village atmosphere beyond them.

Brightly decorated vendors sold their wares and sang songs, interacting with the crowd. It was the marketplace of yesteryear! I felt like I was in a Disney movie or old King Arthur or Pirates tale! I was so spellbound that at first did not notice my husband and son’s sparkling eyes and entertained smiles. Shiny swords, elegant necklaces, hand-made clothing and purses, daggers, chalices, king and pirate flags, rings, dragon eggs, and more were at tables and in tents.

We approached a stage where mandolins and drums were being played and onlookers clapped and cheered. They invited us forward and we stood and celebrated the song, clapping to the beat. After the show, our feet led us through a Fairy Maze all decorated in turquoise and purple, under a lace archway, past a tiny fairy village—and here the adventure just began!
Another larger stage rose before us as our path divided. To our left I saw horses and jousters, and to our right a bawdy saloon girl shouted orders to a cook who served delicious smelling apple desserts with ice cream on top. Directly before us, the grand stage had flags waving and floating canvas or linen shade over wooden benches. Large flags and coats of arms toted the colors of different groups or houses. Two parrots and a pirate with a long beard and striped pants did a comedic routine on the stage that gave us all a belly laugh. The parrots were clearly spoiled and intelligent—so much so that we could not tell who truly gave the orders, the pirate or the birds.

Since the apple dessert was irresistible, we ordered one to share and the loud, bawdy servant girl did not disappoint. She cracked funny jokes and played the part with a wide grin and laughing eyes. The big man in the kitchen seemed to smile every time she shouted an order. It echoed into the crowd and caused many onlookers to see what it was about and join us for a snack. We saw some just came to the Ale Vendor for a tall cold beer, while others ordered the delicious looking sausages. What we did not see were any frowns! Everyone was wrapped up in the excitement of the day, drawn as we were to random spots to see what secrets they held.

Our next adventure was a game where we had to choose pirate eggs and see what was inside. My son won several dragon tokens with which he was able to purchase a prize he liked best. He chose a beautiful blue and clear crystal and some Golden Coins he called “good-luck charms.” In this district of the Faire, there were authentic rooms with layered cloths and furs, and game tables or puzzles—even a sunken ship building to explore.

The day led to evening, and after many shows and adventures, a few beers, and the purchase of a lovely necklace, we were winding down. There was just one last thing to see: The Lynx Show, featuring a magician and sword swallower that must not be ignored. Lynx brings humor for the adults and magical tricks to amaze the children. He is a true talent in his field that brings laughter and gasps as he swallows swords of an alarming length. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

As we retraced our steps back through time, we passed the swords and shields for sale and a fighter pulled my son aside and taught him how to shield a blow and swing a sword. A beautiful horse used in the jousting neighed, and the lady at the stand said they are rescues and all proceeds go to their care. I was moved greatly by this and purchased a sword and shield for my son in light of the very good cause.

As we passed through the gates and entered again our modern world with bustling people, cars, and cell phones, my son said to me, “Best day ever.” It truly was. I invite any visitor to our valley to embark on this Renaissance journey. Listen to the stories, play the games, eat the food, cheer on the knights, laugh at every opportunity, and bring home a souvenir. It will be an experience you and yours remember fondly for years to come!

Fourth of July

As an American I always feel just a little bit more patriotic than usual during this time of year. I mean, it’s our Independence Day! I am grateful to be free and I appreciate the freedoms that I have. Last year was my first Fourth of July in Big Bear Lake and it was awesome!

4th of July on the Lake

I had only lived here about four weeks last year when the fourth of July rolled around – some of my newfound friends invited me to go out on their boat to watch the fireworks. I was skeptical; small town, small fireworks. Boy was I wrong. The firework display is one of the best I’ve ever seen – and I’ve seen quite a few.

The music was great, the company was fantastic and fireworks were incredible!

There are all kinds of activities in Big Bear Lake to celebrate 4th of July.

Whether you are coming up to BBQ with your family, spend the day on the lake, or watch the fireworks, there is something for everyone! If you haven’t booked your cabin yet, give the Vacation Planners at Big Bear Vacations a call or search for your big bear cabin here.

Snow Summit always has something going on. But this year’s event is called, “Above the Boom.” Catchy right?! They will have dinner, drinks, live music, kids activities, etc. I mean, you can ride the lift up to the top of the mountain and watch the fireworks at 8200 feet elevation!!! Great view of the fireworks from up there. For more information go to: www.bigbearmountainresorts.com

If Snow Summit isn’t your thing that’s okay! We’ve got more!

The Rotary and Marina Resort will host a BBQ on the lake. This is a great spot to view the fireworks and there will be a DJ to keep it rockin’. Price: $20 – $100, call: 800-424- 4232.

Miss Liberty Paddleboat Fourth of July Cruise. You can board the boat and watch the fireworks explode above the lake. Hors d’oeurves, drink tickets and best view of the star-spangled skies. $100 per person.

Captain John’s Independence Day Extravaganza! DJ Reggae music, bring your own picnic, BBQ’s and coolers. Huge beach – bring your chair and blankets and all party needs!

The Pine Lakefront Fourth of July Celebration. You can choose from Pines Garden Patio and the Pines Terrace both buffets will be ready. Music by Fantasy and live feed from KBHR radio during the fireworks. $75-95. Call: 909-866- 5400 for reservations.

The Village is always free for firework viewing! You can set up your spot on Pine Knot then wander around until the show begins.

As always, Big Bear Vacations wishes you the happiest of holidays!

AMGEN Tour of California

Fun fact: Big Bear is the Cycling Capital of Southern California. Being new to the area I had no idea this title had been bestowed upon our city. It’s pretty rad. I mean I knew about the community rides every weekend and I see people riding their mountain bikes up and down Snow Summit, but I was naïve to the enormity of it.

This Friday Big Bear Lake will host the Amgen Tour of California. Stage 6 is a time trial and at almost 7,000 feet elevation, it will be a challenge for the racers. They are however, professionals and I’m certain they are ready!

Big Bear Vacations is having an AMGEN special: Stay 2 nights get the 3rd night free, or a 15% discount on a 2 night stay. So call us – we’ll book you an awesome cabin!

There are all kinds of activities happening in Big Bear during this epic race weekend. Here’s the timeline of events:

Thursday, May 18, 2017:
AMGEN Tour of California Expo opens in the Village
Welcome festivities at The Cave – cycling celebrity guest appearances
Amateur Time Trial Qualifying Event – top men and women advance to race course Friday morning

Friday May 19, 2017:
Redlands Bicycle Classic Domestic Pro and Amateur Time Trial
8:00 – 9:00 a.m. – Time Trial warm up
9:00 – 11:30 a.m. – Redlands Bicycle Classic – Domestic Pro/Amateur Time Trial
12:00 – 4:00 p.m. – AMGEN Tour of California Big Bear Lake Individual Time Trial
4:00 – 5:30 p.m. – Post Time Trial Reception, Legends of AMGEN Tour of California at Marina Resort
Los Lonely Boys at The Cave

Saturday, May 20, 2017:
12:00 – 2:00 p.m. -AMGEN Tour of California Pasadena Finish Viewing Party at Nottingham’s
Miss Liberty Dessert Cruise

There is also a PubFest located in the Village on Saturday the 20th from 2:30 – 6:30 p.m. Cost is $20.00 for singles and $35.00 for couples and can be purchased online at www.bigbear.com. It’s an awesome deal! 5 oz. tasters in souvenir tasting cups with complimentary appetizers!!!! Participating locations are as follows:
Big Bear Lake Brewing Company
The Cave
Chad’s Place
Nottinghams Tavern
Stillwell’s at The Lodge Holiday Inn
Murray’s Saloon
572 Social Kitchen & Lounge

For more information on this awesome event and participating businesses visit: www.bigbear.com or www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.