Looking for the perfect quick family vacation this weekend? This Big Bear Travel Guide will show you why you need to head 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles and visit Big Bear with your family ASAP!
Thank you to Homeaway for hosting our trip to Big Bear.
Big Bear Lake is an adorable mountain town a few hours drive from Los Angeles. Last weekend, we decided to escape the smog and traffic and to trade it in for fresh air, trees, snow and time as a family. The town of Big Bear is big on charm, low on traffic, and PERFECT for relaxing family vacations (in either the summer or winter).
It was the perfect place to enjoy some down time, some hikes and lazy mornings on the porch, and even a bit of snow (Lydia’s first time seeing it)!
Big Bear Travel Guide
We headed up to Big Bear from Los Angeles on a Friday afternoon. First lesson? Best to leave earlier on a Friday, the two hour drive took four hours in traffic! A few things about the drive up: the last hour or so is a VERY windy mountain road. Prepare if there is snow or you have a car sick prone passenger. There are a number of places to stop along the way during that last hour, and turnouts every few miles. We didn’t see a ton of gas stations, and the ones we saw were PRICEY….so best to fill up your tank before heading up the mountain.
Where to stay in Big Bear:
We teamed up with Homeaway to experience a Big Bear family cabin, and it was honestly my favorite part of the trip. This ADORABLE home was just minutes from Big Bear Village, roomy, and ideal for traveling with kids. It had a GREAT yard and a big porch for sitting and watching Lydia play while drinking a cup of coffee. Plenty of room in the living room to enjoy the board games they provided, and even a kids’ table in the kitchen with a basket of books! Bonus points? They had kids plates, cups and silverware, so our family pancake session was a million times easier! We are planning to come back in the summer for a lazy week at the lake, and the home is big enough to bring another family along. We LOVED it!
HomeAway has more than two million unique properties in 190 countries,something for everyone and every budget….and we’re ALREADY brainstorming which location to visit next…….in the comfort of a relaxing home!
Cochina De Mexico: Looking for casual mexican food? Cochina de Mexico is close to town, and delicious! I wouldn’t suggest eating there, it’s VERY small and more of a take out spot…..but the tacos are AMAZING!
Teddy Bear Restaurant: When I asked on Instagram stories for restaurant recommendations, a TON of you suggested the Teddy Bear Restaurant…..and it was our favorite meal of the trip. This local spot was established in 1944, and while it may have moved up the street slightly……that old fashioned charm is still present. From pie to classic American food, they have it ALL. Our preference? The all day breakfast. We finished a day of snow play with pancakes for dinner, and they were perfection (get the sugared bacon)!
Amangela’s: Looking for fancy coffee drinks? Amangela’s is SMACK dab in the middle of Big Bear Village, and their drinks are DELISH. They even have a peppermint patty grown up drink, and trust me after a day of snow play…..you’ll want one!
The Coffee and Tea Exchange: Want to pick up breakfast sandwiches? Pastries? Morning coffee? The Coffee and Tea Exchange was super close to our cabin and the breakfast sandwiches were HEAVEN (plus they make stellar lattes).
Things to do in Big Bear:
Big Bear Snow Play: Of course, the weekend WE went to Big Bear……there was no snow. You have to laugh, after MONTHS of telling Lydia there would be snow, there wasn’t. Luckily Big Bear Snow Play saved the day. It has sledding hills, tubes for snow tubing, and plenty of space for snowball fights. Tip: get there EARLY, it’s crowded by midday!
Big Bear Village Bear Hunt: Big Bear Village is home to a TON of wood carved bear statues. Lydia loved walking around the town trying to find them ALL. It was perfect entertainment while we sipped on afternoon lattes, and enjoyed the mountain air.
Alpine Zoo: The Big Bear Alpine Zoo is small, and perfect for young kids. It houses rescued mountain animals, and does a great job of talking about animal rescue and treatment of wild creatures.