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Off the Beaten Path Attractions in Big Bear

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HomeBig Bear Lake Things To DoOff the Beaten Path Attractions in Big Bear

The beauty of a lakefront village, fresh mountain air, and a slower place than a big city is often what draws tourists to a small town like Big Bear. Let the idea of plenty of rest and relaxation without the big city noise or loads of tourists lead you here. Once you’ve come to a place that’s a little off the beaten path, make sure to find some of the things to do in Big Bear Lake, CA, and attractions that are off the beaten path, too.


Hiking is a great way to blaze your own trail and diverge from the beaten path. Big Bear has beautiful outdoor scenery, including snow-capped mountains in the winter, pine forests, and wide-open spaces. Lace up your hiking shoes, pack some trail snacks and sun protection and head out. Start at the local parks and trails, then see where your feet take you. Bring along your camera for shots of beautiful scenery and local wildlife in their natural habitat while you stretch your legs and get a breath of fresh air.

Time Bandits Pirate Ship

Head down to Holloway’s Marina for a different kind of cruise of Big Bear Lake. The Time Bandits Pirate Ship is a replica of a 17th century three-mast galleon. The ship has been featured in several pirate-themed movies over the years and has even called the San Diego Maritime Museum home before heading back to the water of Big Bear Lake. The ship is available for tours, private events, and themed sails around the lake.

Gold Rush Mining Adventures

Kids and adults alike will enjoy learning about California’s historic Gold Rush of the 1800s. Make sure to shout out “Eureka!” when you participate in the geode breaking activity or gemstone and fossil panning activities at one of the most unique places to go in Big Bear. Participants won’t go home empty-handed. No two bags of loot are exactly the same and each include real gem stones, fossils, and geodes. Some finds may even be big enough to be cut and faceted into custom jewelry or polished into a non-faceted gemstone. You can also choose to keep them the way you found them – how Mother Nature intended them to be.

Pebble Plain Ecological Reserve

When you want to go somewhere that’s like nowhere you’ve ever been before, make sure to plan a visit. The topography of the reserve is an entirely unique environment to the Big Bear region of California, meaning it isn’t replicated anywhere else on Earth! The clay soil is covered with Ice Age era alpine plants called “pebble plains” due to the layer of orange and white quartzite pebbles that were pushed to the surface by frost heaving. Come to the preserve and marvel at the open space and abundance of wildflowers and other natural features that make it the unique slice of the world that it is. The reserve’s land is also home to an impressive assortment of individual ecosystems and habitats that support a myriad of wildlife species.

Gems of the West Rock Shop

Big Bear has a unique geological history that’s worth exploring while you’re here. While you may have uncovered your own discoveries mining, you’ll be able to see all that the gems and stones can be. The rock shop is Big Bear Lake’s only shop featuring minerals, crystals, fossils, healing stones, jewelry, and many other natural pieces that have been crafted into unique, beautiful pieces.

Urban Adventure Quest in Big Bear

Take the time to learn more about the place you’ve decided to call ‘home’ for a little while. While you travel the beaten paths through Big Bear, Urban Adventure Quest isn’t a typical way to do it. Your quest for information and to see the sights of Big Bear Lake and the surrounding area starts at the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce. The 1-mile, 1- to 1.5-hour thing to do in Big Bear Lake, CA, is free and fun for the whole family. There are ten challenges and two ‘bonuses’ that take you through the streets and all the way down to the water’s edge including points of interest like the Village, the lake, and two parks. Watch out for the silly characters who want to offer you their ‘help’ along your route.

Get Off the Beaten Path of Big Bear

You came to the area for fun and relaxation, and to experience new things. Extend that fun and relaxation to your accommodations by booking a vacation rental Big Bear Vacations. Make a home-cooked meal in the fully equipped kitchen, then gather together in the dining room and enjoy it. Sit on the couch and watch a movie or spend some time outdoors or at an off-the-beaten-path location. Choose a cozy one-bedroom for your small family all the way up to a sprawling five-bedroom for a large group exploration of Big Bear’s nooks and crannies. Choose a premium unit for upgrades like stainless steel appliances, granite counters, hardwood floors, flat screen TVs and more!

Contact us today to book and take the first step toward planning your next getaway!