10+ Things to Do in Big Bear for Outdoors

Gliding across Big Bear's majestic waters, we uncovered coves whispered in legend. But then we stumbled upon something unexpected—
Date Published
March 8, 2024

Table of Contents

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Got an insatiable itch for adventure? What if I told you that there's a mountain haven where you can kayak through hidden coves by day and stalk ghosts by night? Welcome to Big Bear, where the only thing more abundant than the pine-scented air is the assortment of activities that'll make your heart race faster than a jackrabbit on a jet ski. This isn't just any sleepy mountain town—it's a vibrant playground shouting your name.

In this epic guide, you'll dive headfirst into the sparkling waters of Big Bear Lake, nuzzling into coves that most folks don't even know exist. We’re talking about kayak rentals in Big Bear that'll set you free on an aqua adventure. And when you're done paddling? There's the Big Bear Historical Museum where the past isn't just remembered, it practically comes back to life.

But that's just the start. Whether you’re looking to channel your inner cowboy on horseback overlooking scenic vistas or wishing for a starlit rendezvous at the Big Bear Solar Observatory, your thirst for the unique and the splendid will be quenched. From secret breakfast spots to less-trodden fishing shores, you're bound to discover the mountain's soul. And did someone say local brews? Big Bear's craft breweries will have you cheering 'cheers!' before you can

Kayak Hidden Coves

Imagine gliding through the serene waters of Big Bear, exploring hidden coves that most visitors never get to see. Kayak rentals in Big Bear are your ticket to finding these secluded spots. Whether you're a seasoned paddler or trying it for the first time, the lake's clear, calm waters are perfect for an adventure.

Big Bear water sports aren't just about speed and adrenaline; it's about connecting with nature at your own pace. When you rent a kayak, ask the locals about their favorite coves — they know all the secret nooks and crannies that make this place so magical.

The best part? You don't need to be a pro. Kayaking is fantastic for families, couples, or even solo explorers. It's the kind of activity where you can either lose yourself in thought as you skim the surface or turn it into a bonding experience with loved ones. Plus, it can be as laid back or as intense as you want. Want to amp up the fun? Race your friends to the next cove!

Don't worry about hauling your own gear; there are plenty of kayak rental spots around the lake that will set you up with everything you need. Typically, you'll want to spare at least a couple of hours for this outing to truly immerse yourself in the experience.

As you paddle, look around. The towering trees, the majestic mountains, and the occasional fish jumping nearby — it's a slice of paradise. And when you find one of those hidden coves, it's like the world pauses just for you. Take a deep breath, let out a contented sigh, and let the beauty of Big Bear wash over you.

Remember, this isn't just about the exercise. It's about making memories in those off-the-map places where stories come to life and where you can genuinely say, "I've been there." Grab a paddle, and let's set off into the sun-dappled waters, shall we?

Explore Big Bear Historical Museum

Got a thirst for history? Big, beautiful Big Bear has got just the spot for you: the Big Bear Historical Museum. Dive into the past and unearth tales of the area that'll make you feel like you’re a part of Big Bear's storybook.

You'll stroll through authentically reconstructed buildings, feeling the wooden planks creak under your feet, just like they did ages ago. And guess what? You're not just learning about history. You're touching it, living it, breathing it in with every step. From Native American artifacts to artifacts from the Gold Rush, every item whispers secrets of yore.

Now, are you the type who likes to get the lay of the land? Perfect! The museum is snugly nestled amid stunning sceneries, so don't be shy to peek outside and let your eyes feast on the views. And timing? Take it easy! A solid hour should do the trick, but if history's your jam, feel free to linger longer.

Whether you're a history buff, on the lookout for a fun family outing, or simply craving a slice of the local culture, the museum checks all the boxes. Plus, it's a great break from the adrenaline-pumping outdoor activities that Big Bear's known for. So, after a day out in Mother Nature's playground, why not wind down with a dose of education that feels more like an adventure?

Lastly, if you’re wondering about who will enjoy it here, bring everyone – the kiddos, the grandparents, or your curious crew of pals. It’s a crowd-pleaser, through and through.

Remember, history isn't just about facts and dates; it's about stories. And the Big Bear Historical Museum is where those tales are waiting to be told. Ready to be part of the narrative? Come on over and experience it for yourself!

Unwind at Big Bear Alpine Zoo

Imagine you're walking through the gates of the Big Bear Alpine Zoo, a cozy haven for wildlife right in the heart of nature's finest. Here's the scoop - you're about to step into a world where nature meets nurture, and it's fantastic for families, animal enthusiasts, or if you're flying solo and need some peace among our furry and feathered friends.

Why visit? Each visit supports rehabilitation efforts and educates visitors on local wildlife. You'll be contributing to a good cause while having fun - talk about a win-win! Now, if you're wondering what kinds of critters you'll encounter, expect to make eyes with everything from majestic eagles to intriguing black bears that call this altitude their home.

Spend 2-3 hours with the otters playing tag (or what looks like tag to us humans), and feel your heart do little somersaults as you watch the heartwarming sight of rescued animals thriving under the tender care of the zoo’s dedicated team. You won't just unwind; you'll be filling up your good karma tank by the minute!

The Big Bear Alpine Zoo is a hit for any animal lover — whether you're a family with curious kiddos or a couple looking for an 'aww'-inspiring date. And the best part? It's nestled among the towering pines, where the air is as fresh as the cotton candy clouds above.

To cap it all off, picture yourself on the viewing deck, with a backdrop of the San Bernardino Mountains, taking in the serene vibes. Before you leave, swing by the gift shop for a memento; a little plush bear, perhaps? There’s no better way to remember your chill day among Big Bear's wild residents. It's pure joy, and it's all here waiting for you. Now, go make some fuzzy friends!

Discover Scenic Overlooks by Horseback

Imagine the gentle clip-clop of hooves as you wind up a mountain trail, the fresh mountain air tingling your senses, and stunning vistas unfolding before your eyes. Horseback riding in Big Bear isn't just an activity; it's a doorway to experiencing the raw beauty of the great outdoors from a whole new vantage point.

Big Bear's rugged terrain comes alive when you're on horseback, with each trek offering its unique brand of enchantment – serene forest paths, wildflower meadows in full bloom, and, oh, those panoramic views! This isn't your backyard pony ride, folks. It's a full-blown equestrian escapade suitable for novices and seasoned riders alike. Trust your noble steed to guide you to scenic overlooks that most travelers miss.

Here's what you can expect:

  • Guided tours ensure you're in safe hands, with local experts leading the way.
  • Different trails cater to various expertise levels, so there's something for everyone.
  • Breathtaking sights that are way more impressive than any postcard you'll find.

Whether you're all about that romantic trot at sunset or stirring up a little dust with a gallop, horseback riding in Big Bear is a must-do. Block out a few hours of your day for this; you'll want time to soak in those endless mountain and valley views.

Perfect for families seeking adventure, couples looking for that idyllic moment, or solo riders yearning for peace, this is a Big Bear treasure that ticks all the boxes. It's not just about the ride; it's about creating that lasting memory, feeling that bond with your horse, and getting that much closer to nature's heart.

So saddle up, take the reins and let your spirit run free across Big Bear's most picturesque trails. Remember to bring your camera – those scenic overlooks you'll discover by horseback are the ones your social media friends will yearn to see!

Embark on a Segway Nature Tour

Imagine cruising through the great outdoors on two wheels, but without breaking a sweat. That's right, Big Bear's Segway tours let you soak in that fresh mountain air and stunning scenery without the huffing and puffing. You stand, you lean, and voilà – you're gliding through nature like you own the place.

Big Bear segway tours offer you a unique blend of excitement and serenity. You're not racing through the landscape; you're becoming a part of it. Picture this: the gentle hum of the Segway beneath you, a cool breeze whispering through the pines, and wildlife peeking through the foliage, curious about their quiet, two-wheeled visitor.

Perfect for adrenaline seekers and nature lovers alike, here's what makes a Segway nature tour a must-try in Big Bear:

  • Quick Learning Curve: Even if you've never stepped on a Segway, you'll be a pro in no time! Trained guides will make sure you're comfortable and confident before setting off on your adventure.
  • Explore More Ground: On foot, you might tire out before reaching those postcard-perfect spots. With a Segway, you'll cover more territory with ease and see more of Big Bear's striking beauty.
  • Eco-Friendly Fun: Segways are electric, meaning you're cruising clean. It's sightseeing with a green conscience – perfect for the environmentally conscious visitor!
  • Accessible Adventuring: Not everyone's up for a hike, but a Segway tour opens up the wilderness for all fitness levels. It's a truly inclusive way to experience Big Bear's outdoors.

Each tour lasts about 2 hours, perfect to fit into a morning or afternoon slot in your day, leaving you plenty of time for other Big Bear exploits. Catering to a wide audience, these tours are ideal for families, couples, or solo explorers looking for a blend of fun and fresh air.

So, why walk when you can roll? Book a slot, step on board, and become part of the landscape. Your forest friends are waiting! 🌲🦌🛴

Starlit Nights at the Big Bear Solar Observatory

Get ready to have your mind as blown as if you've just heard a toddler perfectly singing an opera! The Big Bear Solar Observatory is where you get to dance with the stars. Not literally, but hey, you'll feel that tingle of excitement as you gaze into the endless cosmic ocean.

Now, let me guess, the first thing punching your brain is, "Why should I visit a solar observatory at night?" Ta-da! Precision answer: Solar observatories are not just for ogling the big bright ball during the day. At night, this observatory transforms into a stargazing wonderland. You'll see celestial sights that'll make your night brighter than a firefly festival.

Let's get you even more jazzed. This observatory is uniquely perched at the edge of Big Bear Lake, offering a ridiculously clear view of the heavens above thanks to its high altitude and stable airflow. We're talking about the kind of view that makes you go "Whoa, I can actually see the texture on the moon!"

What makes this place a magnet for both your friendly neighborhood astronomer and that cool uncle who swears he's seen aliens? One, the observatory's location is, simply put, stellar. Two, it's got some serious tech that brings those sparkling space rocks right up to your face – well, not literally, but with their telescopes, it feels about the same!

Whether you're a die-hard constellation tracker or someone who just digs sparkly things, the observatory's array of programs and stargazing events fit the bill. And don't worry about bringing a gaggle of energetic kids or tagging along with dear old grandma; this place has wonders that transfix all ages.

Pedal Through Off-Track Trails

Mountain biking in Big Bear takes you on an adventure where the rubber meets the dirt and the thrills never end. Imagine zooming through fragrant pine trees with the wind in your face—yeah, that's the kind of energy we're bringing.

You might be asking, "Is mountain biking in Big Bear good for beginners or experts?" And to that I say, "Both!" Big Bear caters to all levels with a range of trails that offer everything from rolling hills for newbies to steep descents for the bold and brave. So whether you're just getting your pedals spinning or you're ready for some serious airtime, there's a trail with your name on it.

Let's break it down:

  • Be prepared to be awed: Expect views that'll make your Instagram followers green with envy. Every turn offers a new breathtaking view of the valley.
  • Trail Variety: There are over 100 miles of trails, each promising a unique ride. From the Skyline Trail to the Grout Bay Trail, pick one that matches your mood or challenge level.
  • Family-Friendly Options: Got kiddos in tow or friends who are just as enthusiastic but not as experienced? Fear not—there are plenty of milder trails where the vibe is more 'enjoy the ride' than 'race to the finish.'

So how long should you spend here? You could easily fill a day, but even if you've only got a couple of hours, that's enough to get your heart pumping and fill your lungs with crisp mountain air.

And the crowd? Mountain biking in Big Bear brings together a mix of solo daredevils, chill friend squads, and active families. If your idea of a perfect day is feeling alive as you conquer nature's playground, then welcome to the club.

Remember, safety first! Always wear a helmet, and if you need to rent a bike or get a quick lesson, there are shops ready to hook you up with everything you need. Keep the adrenaline high and the impact low by staying on designated trails and respecting the wilderness.

With every pedal stroke, you write a story. And in Big Bear, it's guaranteed to be one wild ride. So what are you waiting for? Grab your bike, hit the trails, and make some memories that'll last long after the mud washes off.

Cozy Breakfast in Lesser-Known Nooks

Picture this: you're up with the sunrise, the fresh mountain air nips at your nose, and your stomach is growling. What you need is a cozy breakfast spot that the locals love—and trust me, Big Bear has secrets worth discovering. And these aren't just any breakfast spots; they're hidden gems tucked away where you can savor every bite with a view that's just as appetizing.

Nestled within the pines and evergreens, every nook in Big Bear feels like it’s part of a storybook, especially when it comes to the breakfast spots in Big Bear. You've got to charge up with the most important meal of the day before that hike or kayak trip, right? Well, let's get you to the best griddle cakes and steaming coffee you'll talk about for weeks after!

First off, find yourself a quaint corner in a café that feels like Grandma's kitchen—think homemade jams, fluffy pancakes, and service with a smile. That's the kind of start to the day that'll warm your heart faster than the coffee warms your hands. And the kicker? These spots are as friendly to your wallet as they are to your taste buds.

We're talking about places where the eggs are fresh, the bacon is crispy, and the cooks are flippin' pancakes like there's no tomorrow. Oh, and let's not forget about the specialty items that you can only find here—the kind that ooze with local charm and flavors whipped up from decades-old recipes.

Whether you're cozying up in a booth or basking in the morning sun on a patio, these breakfast nooks are perfect for families needing to fuel up, solo adventurers craving some peace with their pastry, or couples looking for that quiet corner to chat over steaming mugs. And if you think a good breakfast is just a side quest in your Big Bear journey, you're sorely mistaken. It's the main event that sets the tone for that epic day ahead.

So, grab your favorite travel buddies or enjoy some peaceful me-time, and start your day the Big Bear way. Oh, and when you find your breakfast treasure, keep it hush-hush; we wouldn’t want these nooks getting too crowded, now would we?

Fish the Tranquil, Less-Trodden Shores

Imagine yourself surrounded by the serene beauty of Big Bear Lake, where the only sound you hear is the gentle lapping of the water against the shore and the distant chirp of a bird. You’re there, on the less-traveled shores, rod in hand, and the crisp mountain air fills your lungs. This is fishing in Big Bear Lake, and it’s as peaceful as it gets.

Casting your line into the sparkling waters, you'll find that Big Bear Lake is teeming with bass, trout, and catfish. And whether you're a seasoned angler or just looking to unwind with a fishing rod, these tranquil spots are perfect.

You can find solitude along the north shore, where the crowds are sparse and the fish are plenty. Picture this: the sun just peeking over the mountains, casting a golden glow on the water, you with your fishing gear, the promise of a bountiful catch, and the day ahead to enjoy at your own pace.

If you don't have your own gear, don't worry! There are several spots around the lake where you can rent all you need. Plus, the local bait shops are full of experts who can give you insider tips on the best bait and fishing spots.

Whether you're here for the thrill of the catch or the stillness of the scene, you'll find that time almost stands still here. Bring along a picnic, set up by the shore, and savor the quiet moments that come with a day spent by the water. After all, it’s not just about the fish you catch, but the memories you make and the serene embrace of nature around you.

So, what’s stopping you? Grab your gear and head to Big Bear Lake, where the fish are biting, and the soul finds rest. It's the perfect escape for anyone who loves the solitude and the dance of a line on the water.

Picnic at Secluded Spots by the Lake

Imagine finding that perfect spot where the water is just right, the pine trees are whispering secrets, and the mountains stand as ancient guardians around you. Such secluded spots by the lake aren't just figments of your imagination—they're totally for real in Big Bear. In fact, this is where you'll want to plop down a blanket, unpack a basket of goodies, and spend the day nibbling and lounging under the sun.

Now, when you're scouting for picnic areas in Big Bear, you're in for a treat. We're talking about those off-the-beaten-path places that have probably seen more squirrels as guests than people. The lake offers various hidden gems where a family, a couple, or even solo adventurers can enjoy a peaceful meal with nature's soundtrack in the background.

Kick back and let the gentle lake breeze carry away all your worries. Oh, and while you're savoring your homemade sandwiches, keep your eyes peeled for the occasional duck parade or the spontaneous splash of a jumping fish—which, by the way, might just inspire your next activity at the lake.

If you've brought the kiddos, they'll have acres of nature's playground to explore while you bask in the dappled sunlight. And if it's just you and your special somebody, what's more romantic than a picnic secluded by nature's best?

Before you set out, remember to bring everything you might need because the best spots don't come with a convenience store nearby. And if you're not a packing pro, no worries! You can always grab a ready-made feast from a local deli before heading out.

Finally, even if you lose track of time—which, let's face it, is super easy to do here—try to catch a glimpse of the sunset painting the skies; it's the kind of view that makes even your camera sigh in awe. Trust me, whether it's for an hour or an afternoon, these lakeside picnic spots are where memories are quietly made and savored, just like your bite of that perfect chocolate-dipped strawberry.

Sample Local Brews at Craft Breweries

Thirsty for a pint of the local scene? Big Bear's craft breweries have you covered. Picture this: A crisp mountain air backdrop while sipping on an artisan ale exclusive to Big Bear, folks. Does it get any better?

These craft havens are buzzing with unique flavors that capture the essence of the area. You'll find ales, lagers, stouts, and more — every option to satisfy that hoppy craving. No generic beers here, just the real, hand-crafted deal.

Oh, and the scene? It's where rustic meets cozy. Wood grains and warm lights set the mood for a laid-back afternoon or a chill night out. And trust me, the vibe is as rich as the brews.

Here's the kicker:

  • Craft breweries in Big Bear aren't just about beer. They're community spots where locals and visitors cheer to the good life.
  • Expect to rub elbows with beer enthusiasts and casual sippers alike. Everyone's welcome!
  • And if you're looking for recommendations, don’t be shy! The staff are like encyclopedias of beer knowledge and are super eager to help you find your new favorite.

How long should you hang out? Well, that depends on how many taste buds you’re willing to indulge. Give yourself a couple of hours to really soak in the atmosphere — and maybe a few samples.

Perfect for:

  • Date nights, where you’re both cozying up with a craft concoction.
  • Solo explorations. Find a spot at the bar and get ready for some stories you'll tell back home.
  • Group hangouts that turn "just one drink" into an unforgettable evening.

Curious about where to start? Slide by Big Bear Lake Brewing Company for a flight that'll elevate your craft beer standards to new peaks!

So go ahead, take a brew-tastic voyage — it's a must-do when you're up here in the high country!

Haunts and History Ghost Tours

Picture this: you're cozied up in your favorite sweater as the sun sets over the mountains, casting eerie shadows through the pines. Now's your chance to dive into the darker side of Big Bear with a spine-tingling ghost tour. Yes, you heard that right—Big Bear's ghost tours are a real thing, and they're as hair-raising as they sound!

Ready for an otherworldly adventure? On these tours, you don't just hear ghost stories—you live them. Imagine wandering through the misty paths as a guide recounts tales of the past, each story more haunting than the last. You're not just a bystander; you're part of the narrative, stepping through history's veil into a world where the past refuses to stay buried.

It's more than just chills and thrills, though. These tours are perfect for families, friends, or even solo explorers daring to brave Big Bear's supernatural side. And whether you’re a hardcore history buff or just in it for the goosebumps, you’ll find these ghostly excursions both enlightening and entertaining.

So grab your flashlight and muster up your courage, because these haunts aren’t for the faint of heart. Expect to spend a good hour or two immersed in the spectral sagas of Big Bear—long enough to feel a part of the legends but short enough to leave you wanting more.

Are you a ghost tour newbie, or perhaps a seasoned specter seeker? Either way, you'll fit right in. The individuals who lead you through the night know their stuff and are experts at setting just the right ominous tone. Don't be surprised if you bond with fellow tour-goers over shared jumps and gasps; it's a communal experience that often ends with new friendships formed in the flickering glow of lantern light.

So why wait? A night of phantoms and folklore beckons. Click here for the scare of your life on a Big Bear ghost tour. Just remember, when you feel that chill run down your spine, it might not just be the mountain breeze.


Q: What are some things to do in Big Bear this weekend?

A: Hit the trails for some hiking, visit the Alpine Zoo, or shop and eat in The Village for a fun-filled weekend.

Q: What can I do in Big Bear during winter?

A: Snowboard or ski at Snow Summit, enjoy snow tubing, or cozy up in a cabin with a hot cocoa.

Q: What are the top 10 things to do in Big Bear?

A: Here's a quick list for you thrill-seekers and chill-seekers:

  • Skiing or snowboarding
  • Hiking Castle Rock Trail
  • Boating on Big Bear Lake
  • Ziplining
  • Off-roading tours
  • Visiting Big Bear Alpine Zoo
  • Fishing
  • Biking the scenic routes
  • Strolling The Village shops
  • Relaxing at a spa

Q: What are some unique things to do in Big Bear?

A: Try a helicopter tour for a bird's-eye view, go bouldering, or join a ghost tour if you dare.

Q: What's there to do in Big Bear today?

A: Check out local events, explore the area's natural beauty, or head to Big Bear Lake for watersports and relaxation.

Q: What activities can I do in Big Bear during the summer?

A: Enjoy kayaking, mountain biking, parasailing, or hike to take in the breathtaking views.

Q: Is Big Bear, California worth visiting?

A: Absolutely! With outdoor adventures year-round and a charming mountain vibe, Big Bear is a must-visit.

Q: What is Big Bear famous for?

A: Big Bear is renowned for its ski resorts, scenic lake, and numerous year-round outdoor activities.

Q: Why is Big Bear fun?

A: With its variety of activities, from skiing to mountain biking, and its beautiful scenery, Big Bear guarantees a good time.

Q: Can you go to Big Bear for one day?

A: Sure thing! One day is enough to get a taste of adventure with activities like hiking or a lake excursion.

Final Words

Whew, you've just sailed through a boatload of cool stuff to do in Big Bear—hidden coves, historical museums, and even zoos! Galloping over scenic overlooks, gliding on a Segway, and stargazing next to a giant telescope? Yup, you did that too. And let's not forget about the off-road biking, the cozy diners, the peaceful fishing spots, and, oh yeah, the picnics by the lake that feel straight out of a movie.

Now, breathe in that mountain air and pat yourself on the back because you're ready to conquer all the amazing things to do in Big Bear. End your day with a local brew and maybe, just maybe, a ghostly tale or two. It's all here, waiting for you to dive in and live it up!

Meet the Author
Isabella Kai
Isabella Kai, the Instagram wordsmith, crafts tales that captivate hearts worldwide. A dedicated foodie, she whips up culinary delights and pairs them with stories that make your taste buds dance. Beyond the screen, she's on a mission to visit every artisan bakery in town.
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