Big Bear Lake is a popular weekend getaway for Los Angelenos—it's located just 100 miles east of the city in the San Bernardino Mountains. Though Big Bear Lake boomed in the 1840s thanks to a minor gold rush, it wasn't until the late 1940s that it earned acclaim as a great destination for outdoor recreation. In the spring and summer, vacationers flock to the area for excellent hiking and swimming. Northwoods Resort Big Bear offers guests lodge-style accommodations just a quick walk from the shoreline.
Hot breakfast: This deal includes a $20 credit toward offerings such as build-your-own omelets and Belgian waffles; breakfast is served from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday–Saturday and 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on Sunday.
In-room amenities: tea and coffee, flat-panel TV, and complimentary WiFi
Highlights of Big Bear Lake, California
Location, location, location: nearly 7,000 feet above sea level, amid the San Bernardino National Forest and the San Bernardino Mountains
Screen credits: Los Angeles is less than 100 miles to the west, which is probably why Big Bear Valley has served as a backdrop for so many films and TV shows, including The Parent Trap, Doctor Dolittle, and Bonanza.
Warm-weather activities: boating, fishing, and swimming on the lake; hiking and mountain-biking in the surrounding forest
Castle Rock Trail: a 2-mile path that passes through groves of pine and cedar trees and past a waterfall before rewarding trekkers with a panoramic view of the lake
Village features: restaurants, shops, an arcade, a bowling alley, and a visitors' center
What's in a name: The area once supported a thriving grizzly-bear population. Though that’s no longer the case, you still might see bald eagles, mule deer, coyotes, gray foxes, and even the occasional bobcat or black bear. For a guaranteed glimpse of wildlife, visit the Big Bear Alpine Zoo, a rehabilitation facility for injured and orphaned mountain lions, grizzly bears, wolves, and other animals.
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