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!


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.

Top Tours in Big Bear

You may think you do not need a tour to enjoy the incredible area that makes up and surrounds the city of Big Bear. And the truth is, you are right. This place is so amazing, it is nearly impossible to not have a memorable experience here. But if you want to experience the beauty, recreation, and community of Big Bear like never before, then you should consider taking one of the many fantastic tours provided here anyway. The following are just a few of the tours that provide a one of a kind experience. 

Big Bear Off-Road Adventures

These off-road adventures are sure to be unlike any other that you have experienced. Firstly, the vehicles look as if they came off the front lines of a distant war, except they are convertibles so everyone can enjoy the fresh air and incredible views. The excursion will provide you with a new appreciation of the canyons, ridges, rivers, and everything in between that makes the area so incredible. This tour not only offers you a unique look into the natural beauty of the San Bernardino Mountains, but a glimpse into the historic towns and mines that used to be so central to the community here.

Action Snowshoe Tours

You may think that the winter snow would bring an end to the season of touring in Big Bear, but you are wrong. These snowshoe tours offer one of the most unique ways to see the area when it is in arguably its most beautiful state. The great thing about these tours is they are completely customizable, so you can go in whatever area through whatever terrain you want. Regardless of the type of tour you choose, you can expect a unique beauty and solitude that only comes from snow-capped mountains and endless pine trees.

Snow Summit Bike Park

We will need to loosen the definition of “tour” for this one, but this experience offers an incredibly unique way to take advantage of the community and natural wonder here. This is the only opportunity in California to take a ski lift with a mountain bike and then ride the slopes down. There are terrain parks and sections of steady cruising so there is a way for bikers of all skill levels to have an amazing experience.

It is true that you do not need to take a tour to have an amazing time or to appreciate how incredible the Big Bear area is—you simply need to walk around outside in order to do that. But the tours are an amazing resource for those that want to get to know the area on a deeper level and experience it in new ways. There are countless tours that offer experiences that you will never forget. 

5 Fun Facts About Big Bear

Big Bear is a small city with a massive lake in California. It is one of the most popular alpine lakes in the country, and for good reason. Many people know of the great beauty here, but there is so much more to this incredible place. Here are a few fun facts that make it a great place to visit.

Big Bear is a Manmade Lake

The first dam was created in 1885. It was expanded upon in 1910, thus tripling the amount of water in the lake. The area turned into an absolute haven of beauty and fun. Now, it is one of the best places in the country for recreation. Boating, fishing, and swimming are just a few of the things that people love about coming here.

It was Among the First Places That Skiing was Introduced as a Sport

As the area falls within the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Big Bear offers some of the most perfect mountains for great skiing and snowboarding conditions. As such, skiing was brought to the area in 1925, and the industry took off! Today, you can find some of the best skiing opportunities in the country on the slopes of these mountains overlooking the beautiful lake.

The Population Can Grow by 2,000% for Events and Holidays

There are endless amazing, naturally-occurring things to enjoy about the area. But the community is a big part of what makes it a great place as well. This is best demonstrated in the fun events that are taking place here throughout the entire year. Fourth of July is a time when the population explodes to enjoy festivals and amazing fireworks. But there are plenty of other festivals celebrating everything from food and beer to art and live music.

The Weather Offers the Best of Both Worlds

The weather here is great because it offers amazing times for exploring the outdoors and also chilly nights for curling up next to a fire with friends and family. You will find the yearly average high is 82 degrees and the average low is 21 degrees. This allows for everything from skiing and snowboarding to swimming and hiking.

Unlike Surrounding Areas, Big Bear Offers All of the Seasons

California is not always the best place for those that particularly enjoy autumn and spring. Big Bear is a major exception to this, as you will find all of the seasons here. Fall is perhaps the most beautiful time in the valley; the bright greens are still exploding alongside the gentle colors of changing leaves. A more picturesque scene could not be imagined.

The history and beauty of this place, make it as unique as any other. Both of these aspects of the culture here make it an incredible place to visit. Discover more by choosing Big Bear as your next vacation destination!

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.


  • 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!

Bear Valley Farm

I grew up in rural Idaho where agriculture was the major staple of our little town. A town where it was normal to see someone riding their horse down the middle of the street, or tie it to the post out front.

I do miss living on a farm. There’s nothing like it. Listening to the sprinklers Bear Valley Farm Petting Zooon the crops, the frogs at night, a million stars and lots of hard work! You can get a glimpse of farm life at Bear Valley Farms.

Bear Valley Farms and Equestrian Center recently opened in Big Bear, so I went to check it out. I mean I had to, these are my kind of people! You can learn how to ride a horse there – I recommend it. Even if you are terrified of the large animals you should at least once in your life, go for a horseback ride. The beauty is they offer classes from beginner to advanced. It’s also important to note that they provide therapeutic classes for a variety of special needs.

Want to come rent a cabin from Big Bear Vacations, but don’t know where to board your horse? Look no further! BVF also offers boarding and you can trail ride from there as well. Let the knowledgeable staff take care of your steed. You can find out more about their affordable rates on their website: www.bigbearequestriancenter.com

There is also a petting zoo. This is where my little kid self kicks in! They have bunnies, tiny goats, regular goats and pigs.  It’s a great place to take your little ones to see different kinds of animals.  And come on – let’s be real – who doesn’t adore baby goats? Anyone? I didn’t think so.

This Saturday, July 12, they will have a bounce house, food and drinks. You can also take a pony and/or hay ride and enter the petting zoo as many times as you would like! $15 for adults and $12 for children under 12 (Tip of the day: If you stay with Big Bear Vacations, you get in for free). Hours of operation are 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.  So pull up your breeches and go check out some good hometown family fun!

Bear Valley Farms is also thinking ahead, they have a pumpkin patch and a corn maze in the making! Once you visit you are going to love it and Fall will be a great time to revisit this awesome place.

Whether you have never been around farm animals, or you are an expert there is something for everyone at Bear Valley Farms. We also have Big Bear Cabins close to Bear Valley Farms so call a Vacation Planner today and let’s get this party started!

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!

Holcomb Fire Update

Holcomb Fire – Big Bear Lake

First and foremost Big Bear Vacations would like to express our sincere gratitude to all of the firefighters that are up here battling the Holcomb Fire.

The fire is northeast of Big Bear Lake, in an area called Holcomb. It has also come close to Baldwin Lake which is part of Big Bear. There were evacuations, which have since been rescinded. We have had several calls inquiring about the safety of visitors coming up the Mountain. I’m here to provide some intel!

Fires can be scary and what you see on the news can make it seem like the entire mountain top is on fire. Well folks, it’s not. I’ll admit that I got a bit nervous yesterday. The smoke was visible, we had rolling power outages, more and more firefighters were showing up from all over the place. But today is a different story. It’s all blue skies in Big Bear today. I did some recon – I wanted to see what was happening. More firefighters means the resources we need are being provided.

Here are some statistics:

1200 acres with 10% containment
1072 firefighters
66 Engines
6 Water Tenders
24 Hand Crews
4 Air Tankers
9 Helicopters

On my jaunt about town I stopped at the lake to watch the helicopters. One after another, after another. They just kept coming. There were three in the lake at one time and it’s impressive. While us locals are protective of  our water – we are gladly giving it up to stop this fire!

The power is up and running today. The air quality is, as it always is up here. There is not a haze of smoke hovering over us making everyone wheeze and cough. It’s a beautiful day and we are not worried about our safety, nor the safety of our guests. Big Bear Vacations strives for excellent customer service and would not put our guests in jeopardy. We want you to have fun here and keep coming back!

The only road closure is Highway 18 from Big Bear to Lucerne. That leaves two ways up and back down the mountain. Totally safe!

So go ahead and keep your reservation. It’ll be bragging rights later: “Remember the fire in 2017 – yeah we were there, it was nothing, but check out this awesome video I got of the helicopters getting water from the lake.”

If you were considering booking a Big Bear Cabin this week/weekend, but had a doubt about whether or not to come – the answer is do it! Come to Big Bear and enjoy the first weekend of summer! Let the vacation planners at Big Bear Vacations help you! 877-417-6504.

If you want to see the information for yourself here are my top website picks:





Around Town with Ali @ Local

There’s a new shop in town, and it’s called Local. The theme? Taste the Aloha. Pretty awesome right? I mean you can almost taste pineapple, mango and deliciousness just by the slogan!

In my new series, “Around the Town with Ali”, I’m visiting places in Big Bear to give our incoming guests an idea of what’s hot and what’s not! (Disclaimer: this is subjective – totally one girl’s opinion!)

I went a bit outside my comfort zone. I’m almost always a black coffee, no cream, no sugar, kinda lady. I don’t do sweet, or tons of cream or whatever – it’s coffee and I want to taste that flavor! But in the spirit of living on the edge, I went out on a limb with my snobby coffee taste, or lack thereof! So I tried the Cinnamon roll. This coffee did not disappoint. It was yummy! Did I also mention espresso is not my thing? Anyway, this was espresso with the perfect amount of cinnamon, and the ever indulgent whipped cream! It is possible perhaps, that I shouldn’t have had coffee and then espresso on top – I was a bit energetic there for a while! But I stand by my decision – that was an excellent cup of joe!

The Local itself is tiny. But you still get that groovy ambiance. When I think of Aloha and surfing, I get the image of a totally laid back vibe. That’s what you get here, but the service is great.

The menu looks delish. Unfortunately, I had already eaten my breakfast so I didn’t get one of their rice bowls, but I will certainly go back for one. They also have smoothies and the majority of their menu is organic, if that’s important to you! I also felt the pricing was appropriate. Not crazy expensive, but you are paying a fair price for high quality! For more information about this awesome, all natural drive through, go to: www.thebigbearlocal.com

As a Big Bear Local – Local is where it’s at!