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When the summer sun is high in the sky, Big Bear, California comes to life and offers up visitors from near and far plenty of exciting options for lakeside fun. This scenic destination makes a wonderful place for a family getaway complete with opportunities to kayak, hike, swim, and boat from sunrise to sunset.

However, Big Bear also has a wonderful way with the winter season as well. Indeed, visitors will find that it’s well worth putting on the vacation list when the fresh powder falls. Whether you love to ski, explore the great outdoors on foot or can’t wait to restaurant hop your way through winter, Big Bear has a little something for everyone looking for an unforgettable winter experience in Southern California. Here are five reasons to head this direction once you’ve put summer in your rearview mirror.

Winter Weather in Big Bear

Winter in Big Bear Lake, California.

Winter in Big Bear Lake, California. Image by Kalpas from Pixabay

Big Bear is an unexpected vacation gem waiting to be discovered in the heart of southern California. While many vacationers will set their sights on destinations that speak to oceanside charm when trying to escape the cold, those that are looking to combine the best of California living with winter fun will find it all in Big Bear.

This area of Southern California enjoys spectacularly mild temperatures, which provide the chill necessary to keep the ski slopes in prime condition while letting guests layer their way through the day. Guests can expect the daytime hours to linger in the 40s, while the evenings drop to the 20s.

Perhaps the best part of a Big Bear winter escape is the endless California sun that still persists. This area sees an average of 300 days of sunny weather, meaning a winter adventure this direction comes with a side of blue skies.

Tour Options in Big Bear

Aerial view of Big Bear Lake in California.

Aerial view of Big Bear Lake in California. Photo by Jessi Pena on Unsplash

Due to the fact that Big Bear is such a versatile vacation destination, a trip here in the winter months includes a vast number of options when it comes to breathtaking tours. Those interested in an aerial view of Big Bear when it’s transformed into a winter wonderland will want to take advantage of flights offered with Helicopter Big Bear when they’re here. Soar high above the resorts and San Bernardino Mountains when you book a helicopter tour that takes you to new heights and provides some incredible perspective.

For a ground-based look around, consider a winter Segway tour with the team at Action Tours. This experience provides two hours of unique transportation fun where guests can zoom around on X2 Turf models made to take on the winter terrain with ease. You’ll have a chance to see winter wildlife, explore the surrounding area, and get an in-depth narrative about Big Bear’s history with the help of a knowledgeable guide.

Ski Slopes at Alpine Resorts at Big Bear

Big Bear Lake, United States

Big Bear Lake, United States. Photo by YUNXI SHI on Unsplash

Big Bear is well-known for its two highly popular wintertime destinations that include Big Bear Mountain Resort and Snow Summit. Each of these places provides those who love downhill skiing adventures with plenty of options to indulge in the sport.

Meticulously maintained ski trails, ski slopes, and ski lifts at each of these locales mean guests can customize their experience to include skiing lessons, athletic challenges and a variety of fun in addition to downhill skiing. Tubing, snowboarding and snowshoeing are popular alternative activities when you set your sights on Big Bear in the winter.

Wildlife & Nature

Watch the live Big Bear Bald Eagle Cam!

Being surrounded by forest and hosting a lovely lake, it’s easy to assume that the best wildlife viewing opportunities in Big Bear would happen in the spring and summer months.

While there are ample options for catching a sight of ground prowling creatures that call this area home during those times of the year, winter is a prime time for bald eagle watching. These majestic creatures find their way to the San Bernardino Mountains in the chilly months, making their flight a common sight for visitors who travel here too.

From December to March, Big Bear hosts the annual Winter Bald Eagle Count where volunteers take turns observing the skies for an hour at a time to track the eagles they witness and compile information that is used in conservation efforts.

Seasonal Comfort Food

There's nothing better than a bowl of beef soup for a winter meal!

There’s nothing better than a bowl of beef soup for a winter meal! Photo by Linda Aksomitis.

No matter what time of year you arrive in Big Bear, the culinary stops are bound to be delightful, and winter is no exception to the rule.

When you’re in the mood for some comfort food that comes with a bit of rustic-inspired décor, head over to Nottingham’s Restaurant at 40797 Big Bear Boulevard. This locale is situated in the heart of the village making it easy to access and serves up generous portions of steak and seafood on a daily basis.

When you’ve spent the day exploring Big Bear in the cold and you’re craving some international cuisine to warm you up, make time for a meal at Himalayan Restaurant. Situated at 672 Pine Knot Avenue, this delicious dining stop provides guests with a variety of Indian and Nepalese platters that are sure to please the palate.

Make the Most of a Big Bear Winter

Snow-covered ski slopes form the backdrop for the town of Big Bear, California.

Snow-covered ski slopes form the backdrop for the town of Big Bear, California. — Photo by PJ1960

From skiing and bird watching to savoring the flavors of the season, winter in Big Bear is well-worth a trip. With so much outdoor fun waiting don’t be surprised to find a first-time visit becoming an annual event you and your entire family look forward to each and every year.

Plan Your Visit to Big Bear Lake

See the official tourism website: Big Bear California

About the Author

Caitlyn Knuth is a travel writer whose own adventures have inspired her to write about everything from the most delicious cafés in Paris, France to the breathtaking salmon runs in Juneau, Alaska. Working in association with Big Bear Cabins, she enjoys writing and sharing about Big Bear Lake in the hope others will pack up and head out on California adventures of their very own.

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About the Photo

The photo in the header above was taken in Big Bear Lake, California, USA. Image of the frozen lake captured from an aerial drone at an altitude of 100 meters — Photo by [email protected]

About the Author

Caitlyn Knuth is a travel writer whose own adventures have inspired her to write about everything from the most delicious cafés in Paris, France, to the breathtaking salmon runs in Juneau, Alaska.

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Big Bear, California

Big Bear Lake, California

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