Located 1.5 miles north of Big Bear Lake, the historic log mansion was originally built as a celebrity retreat in 1928.
The rooms and suites have an upscale mountain-lodge feel to them: the three-room Ted Ducey suite features a wood-burning fireplace in front of the two-person jacuzzi tub. Other guest rooms, such as the Clark Gable room, come with a bit of Hollywood lore—the legendary movie star honeymooned here in the 1930s.
Each guest room comes with luxurious aromatherapy bath products, including a homemade milk bath, to enjoy in the rustic elegance.
In the mornings, the innkeepers prepare fresh breakfasts with croissant french toast, chili cheese strata, and housemade chocolate-cappuccino muffins.
You can enjoy fresh, hot cookies along with sweet tea and mint lemonade in the afternoons. On Saturday nights, there are free appetizers and wine.
There are many places to kick back and unwind in the mansion: a billiards room, the wraparound veranda with rocking chairs, or in front of the fireplace, which is made of red quartz with flecks of gold.
Cherry-blossom trees and lilacs line the carefully manicured lawn; it’s worth it to take a stroll here in springtime when they’re in bloom. You can also while the afternoon away on the outdoor hammock strung up between ponderosa pines.
Located half-a-block from the San Bernadino National Forest; skiing is available at nearby Snow Summit Ski Resort and Bear Mountain Ski Resort; hiking is available on the nearby Pacific Crest Trail
Big Bear Lake, California: Outdoorsy Resort Community in the San Bernadino Mountains
The resort community of Big Bear Lake centers on the body of water it’s named after—an alpine lake 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 summit view of the lake. 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 Big Bear Alpine Zoo, a rehabilitation facility for injured and orphaned wild animals that counts mountain lions, grizzly bears, and wolves among its residents.