The year-round outdoor playground of Big Bear Lake is easily accessible from the crowded coasts of Southern California, so not bring the entire “family” and have Fido ride shotgun on your next visit? Boasting hundreds of miles of dog-friendly hiking trails, tranquil shorelines, and refreshing alpine likes, you and your dog will have an incredible adventure exploring Big Bear together.

Alpine Pedal Path

This 3.5-mile (one-way) paved path winds through the woods along the shores of Big Bear Lake and offers many side trails to explore. Perfect for walkers, joggers, and bikers alike, this easy stroll through the woods is a great walk for dogs. You and your fur babies will love the fresh air, the incredible scenery, and exploring the various side trails which drop down to the lake, offering your pup the chance to frolic in the water and enjoy the great outdoors. All of the beaches on Big Bear Lake and off Highway 38 welcome dogs as well.

One popular beach is the Boathouse Dog Beach, though the restaurant that operated next to the beach is temporarily closed. Still, your pup will enjoy frolicking in the water and exploring the rocks and grassy areas (even if he can no longer order a beer).


If you, the family, and the family dog are looking for something closer to a hike (but still relatively easy), the self-guided nature walk on the Woodland Trail is a surefire hit. Looping through the woods near the Stanfield Cutoff (an excellent wildlife viewing area), this dirt trail is well maintained and dog-friendly (leash required). Along the way it features signs with points of interest. Grab a pamphlet at the trailhead and learn about the area’s ecosystems, plants, and animal life teeming all around you. There is also plenty of parking at the well-marked trailhead on Highway 38.

Other hikes where dogs are welcome (check to see if a leash is required) include the Castle Rock Trail (1.6 miles, one-way), the San Gorgonio Trail (a difficult 16 miles), the Sugarloaf Mountain Trail (moderate, 7 miles), and the Little Bear Creek Trail (easy, 3.8 miles).

Dog Parks

In addition to a wealth of dog-friendly hiking trails, the Big Bear area offers numerous dog parks if your pup needs to stretch his or her legs or meet some new friends. Some of the best include the Cedar Glen Dog Park at Lake Arrowhead, the Redlands Dog Park, and the Hound Town Dog Park in Moreno Valley.

With so many wonderful hiking trails, walking paths, and dog parks, Big Bear Lake is a haven for every member of your family, regardless of how many legs they have. So if you are planning a trip to this playground in the San Bernardino Mountains, don’t hesitate to bring your best friend with you!

The year-round playground of Big Bear has scores of outdoor adventures and family-friendly entertainment, all conveniently located near your luxury rental from Big Bear Vacations. So whether you are visiting for ski season or enjoying the height of summer on the beautiful lake, fun awaits families of all ages.

Outdoor Excitement

After the obvious attractions of the nearby ski resorts of Bear Mountain and Snow Summit and their dozens of downhill trails, Big Bear boasts plenty of other outdoor adventures. Big Bear Snowplay showcases the fun sport of snowtubing, basically sledding on top of giant inner tubes. A variety of courses and slopes await kids of all ages, from 3+ years to teens to adults.

In the warmer months, the lake is the main attraction. Explore it on a pirate ship with a themed tour from Big Bear Pirate Ship Tours, rent your own kayak, paddleboat, or powerboat from one of the local marinas, or take a historical 90-minute cruise aboard the paddleboat Miss Liberty.

Outdoor Adventure!

For those seeking more of a thrill, Action Zipline Tours offers a chance to learn rope climbing during a 3-hour guided tour of the National Forest on foot and by air. You’ll be amazed at the views, even as they whip past you at 30+ mph as you careen through the trees (perfect for kids aged 7+ years, some weight limits apply). The Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain offers two different ¼-mile tracks where riders steer their own bobsleds. Kids aged 2-6 ride for free with an adult (under 2 not allowed). The attraction also boasts tubing runs in the winter and waterslides in the summer, 18 holes of mini golf, and go-karts.

Animal Lovers

To get up close and personal with the wildlife of the area, visit the Big Bear Alpine Zoo, home to a wildlife rehabilitation program since 1959. This small zoo in the heart of town is a hit with kids and features over 140 different species, from red foxes to a family of grizzly bears to mountain lions. They even have resident bald eagles, part of the population that nests here every winter. A fun alternative to hiking is a horseback ride from Baldwin Lake Stables, a terrific way to experience the rugged terrain of the shores of the lake and the San Bernardino Mountains. Tours range from 1-hour trail rides to half-day adventures (kids aged 7+ years).

Indoor Fun

If you need to get away from the great outdoors – or if the weather doesn’t cooperate – head inside to the Big Bear Funplex featuring small thrill rides for kids 7-13. If you enjoy wearing other people’s shoes – or if you just like to bowl – check out the 16 lanes of fun, no-frills, no-holds-barred bowling at the Bowling Barn (ages 3+) and don’t miss the nightly “Glow Bowl.”

The beautiful scenery and outdoor attractions of Big Bear are not the only reason to visit, but they certainly top our list. No matter what you and your family enjoy, you’ll find the perfect family vacation activities here year-round. Visit our selection of rental cabins today and plan your perfect getaway!