Alright Pioneers, we’ve been giving a lot of love to Northern California with our travel guides recently – and we’re not apologizing because NorCal is to us what Disneyland is to an 8-year old kid. But today we are going to take things down south to SoCal and introduce you to a little known mountain getaway about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles – Big Bear Lake. Surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest with peaks reaching up to 9,000 feet, the 7-mile long freshwater lake is the ultimate autumn getaway. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway to admire the fall foliage or want to get in some good fishing before winter, Big Bear has got you covered!
Activities in Big Bear
There’s a reason we saved our Big Bear travel guide for early November – fall is inarguably the best time for hiking and mountain biking on Big Bear’s alpine trails. Combine relaxation and adventure with a morning nature walk on the Pine Knot and Castle Rock Trails followed by a mountain bike excursion on the Grout Bay Bike Trail or the Snow Summit Bike Trail. (Both with fantastic views of the valley floor, San Bernardino forest, and the unique wildlife of the area).
However, what really draws people to Big Bear during early November is the plentiful fishing. So if you aren’t the most skilled fisherman and are looking to impress your buddies or a certain someone, give Big Bear a try. The trout and bass know that winter is coming (had to throw that Game of Thrones reference in there) and will bite at pretty much anything you throw at them.
Lodging in Big Bear
There are two types of people when it comes to “roughing it” in the outdoors in November – those who do and those who don’t – and we don’t really care what type of person you are because we’ve got choices for both of you. For those of you who are not into waking up with dew in your hair and the sounds of tents unzipping, consider the Blue Horizon Lodge. Located just 200 yards away from the lake, the Lodge offers cozy cabins, a private home rental, and motel-style units. You still get the full outdoor experience with the additional luxuries of a wood-burning stove fireplace and full kitchen in every cabin. And don’t worry, you can still bring man’s best friend because the Blue Horizon Lodge treats pets with the same hospitality they treat its human guests.
Now, for those of you brave souls who are down to get down and dirty in the brisk November air, you are in luck because Big Bear has plenty of campsites for you! We recommend the Serrano Campground, located right beside the lake. Fishing, kayaking, and canoeing are just a stone’s throw away when you stay at the Serrano Campground.
Dining in Big Bear
Travelers to Big Bear work up quite the appetite after fishing, biking, hiking, (or relaxing?) all day, and Big Bear offers plenty of dining options for hungry adventurers. We recommend a local favorite – the Grizzly Manor Cafe. Nothing quite beats their famous breakfasts in the morning or their delicious burgers for lunch or dinner. And for an after-dinner drink, head on over to Big Bear Lake Brewing Company for some craft beer, micro brew beers, and gastropub seasonal foods. Located in the Big Bear Village, meet the locals and visitors for a drink or two.
….And after those drinks, invite your new friends over to your campsite and introduce them to their new favorite brown water – Lost Republic Bourbon or perhaps our newly released Rye Whiskey. Maybe they will return the favor and take you out on their pontoon boat the next day. So give yourself something to look forward to this week and head down south to Big Bear Lake – “Southern California’s Last Frontier.”