How to pick the perfect vacation rental in Big Bear
Located in the San Bernardino Mountains along the south shore of its namesake, Big Bear Lake, California is a small, year-round resort city that sees hundreds of thousands of visitors every weekend. With it’s jaw-dropping lake views, it’s easy to see why the scenic city served as the backdrop to iconic films such as Gone With the Wind and Old Yeller. Folks flock to Big Bear Lake to fish, hike, bike, horseback ride, and ski during the winter.
Follow these tips to help you pick the perfect Big Bear, CA vacation rental for your travel plans.
- Where to stay to go fishing.To fish for trout, bass, and catfish, visitors should obviously stay along the lake. But there are a few specific areas around Big Bear Lake that locals tout as the best fishing spots. Stay near the Big Bear Marina, Boulder Bay, the triangle from Big Bear Marina to the Solar Observatory to Grout Bay, and the Stanfield Cutoff from Big Bear Boulevard to North Shore Drive.
- Where to stay to hike and bike in the San Bernardino National Forest.For easy accessibility to hike and bike trails in the San Bernardino National Forest, stay on the north side of the lake. Trails in the area range from easy half-mile loops, such as the Woodland Trail 1E23 in Minnelusa and Cougar Crest Trailhead in Fawnskin, to the expert-level, 15-mile John Bull Loop further north and deep inside the forest.
- Where to stay to go skiing.Big Bear is home to two ski resorts, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit. Bear Mountain—which draws a younger crowd, offers a large beginners area, and is home to the only half pipes in California—is located southeast of the lake. Snow Summit caters more to families and is located southwest of the lake. The ski resorts themselves aren’t actually ideal spots to look for lodging; instead look for nearby privately owned lodges, cabines, and bed and breakfasts.
- Where to stay to for the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival.In the fall, the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival showcases over 100 films from around the world in different venues across the city. The heart of the festival, however, is located at the Big Bear Lake Performing Arts Center, located on the southwest side of the lake on Big Bear Boulevard, so plan to stay in a rental in that area.
- How to choose your own Big Bear rental experience.Visitors have ample options for lodging during their trip to Big Bear, although unlike other resort towns, they won’t find much housing at ski resorts. While there are plenty of lodges, cabin rentals, and bed and breakfasts around town, five-star hotels are uncommon. Instead of looking for a hotel, check out one of the private rentals or resort-style lodges. Look to stay near Big Bear Boulevard if you want quick access to both the lake, restaurants, and shopping, or stay further south near the ski resorts if you only plan to hit the slopes while in town.