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Day trip to Big Bear Lake worth the drive

There is so much to enjoy at Big Bear, whether on the lake or around it
There is so much to enjoy at Big Bear, whether on the lake or around it
Photo source: Lisa Apolinski

Big Bear Lake is popular for winter sports, but taking a day trip during the summer months can provide some fantastic recreation. Big Bear Lake has a great history and some fun activities that make a day trip well worth it. It is located in the San Bernardino Mountains, 25 miles northeast of the city of San Bernardino.

The history of Big Bear Lake dates back to the Serrano Indians who called the area 'Yuhaviat', or Pine Place. When Benjamin Wilson and his team came upon the area in 1845, they found a large population of grizzly bears, hence the name 'Big Bear'. Big Bear Valley grew rapidly during the Gold Rush, and Big Bear Lake was created when the original dam was built in 1912. Currently, the lake spans 7 miles long, and 1 mile wide at the widest point.

A day at Big Bear Lake provides an array of choices for any budget and group. One must-do is to take a ride on the Miss Liberty Paddlewheel Tour Boat. Launched from the Pine Knot Marina, the 90 minute tour covers the history of Big Bear Lake, celebrity sightings and interesting facts about the area. If you are looking for other water activities, you can rent a fishing boat or charter a boat to get hands on assistance with fishing. Kayak and stand up paddle board rentals are also popular, as are Jet Ski rentals.

You can also find activities off the water. Mountain bike rentals are a great option, with some fantastic cross country riding, or riding around the lake on paved roads. There are also some great hiking trails, varying in difficulty depending on your fitness level. If you are feeling more adventurous, try a horseback riding tour, such as a sunset tour or a guided tour. Baldwin Lake Stables has been in business for 25 years and boasts tours with breathtaking scenery.

When you are ready for a great meal, locals dine at the Peppercorn Grille Restaurant. With a choice of seafood, chicken and steak, as well as an impressive wine and cocktail list, this restaurant on the main thoroughfare in the Village is quite popular. Reservations are highly recommended. Speaking of the Village, this shopping district in Big Bear Lake is quaint and rustic, and has a variety of shops, restaurants and local goods.

With so many options, you can create a unique and fantastic day trip to Big Bear Lake.

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