At a Glance: Alpenhorn Bed and Breakfast
High up in the San Bernardino Mountains—and just three blocks away from resplendent Big Bear Lake—Alpenhorn Bed and Breakfast provides a romantic getaway steeped in nature. You’ll spend two nights in the Amarella, Primrose, Rosebay, or Edelweiss guest room, and each morning, your hosts will prepare a full breakfast of coffee, pastries, a hot entrée, and their signature oatmeal-banana brûlée.
- Nifty in-room amenities: Each guest room features a whirlpool bathtub for two, a gas fireplace, a memory-foam bed, a private deck, and a flat-screen TV.
- Special perk: Complimentary hors d’oeuvres are provided each evening; later, there are chocolates, mixed nuts, and dried fruits for dessert.
- Off the beaten path: The innkeepers can set up guided hikes to the area's prettiest and most remote trails.
Pamper yourself: with an in-room massage
Big Bear Lake, California: Outdoorsy Resort Community in the San Bernardino Mountains
Big Bear Lake is situated nearly 7,000 feet above sea level and surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest and the snowy peaks of the San Bernardino Mountains. 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.
The lake is a popular destination for boating, fishing, and swimming during the warm months. You’ll find miles of hiking and mountain-biking trails in the surrounding forest. The 2-mile Castle Rock Trail weaves through groves of pine and cedar trees and past a waterfall before rewarding trekkers with a panoramic view of the water. But Big Bear isn’t entirely rustic—head to the village, located on the south shore, for restaurants, shopping, an arcade, a bowling alley, and a visitors' center.
True to its 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.