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We learned long ago, on countless car-camping trips, that our kids argue less, sleep better, and eat healthier when they’re tuckered out after days of hiking, scrambling, biking, and swimming. The same still applies despite their now tween and teen status.
Enter Big Bear Lake. In seeking a new outdoor vacation spot, our family stumbled upon this four-season mountain-lake resort area at the recommendation of a colleague who lives in Southern California and has long visited the area.
A go-to for outdoor-loving families in Southern California – and for those new to the area, like us – Big Bear vacations are made for all-season fun for the entire family. Hike, mountain bike, fish, snowboard, hit the alpine slide or the trails at Snow Summit ski resort – whatever the family’s favorite outdoor activity, it’s here.
We endlessly researched and sampled these comfy, amenity-packed cabins and resorts that make the most of Big Bear Lake’s countless outdoor attractions and activities. We hope it tires your kiddos out, too … in the best possible way!
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Big Bear Lake Front Lodge
For year-round kid-friendly fun in a value-packed setting, Big Bear Lake Front Lodge checks all the boxes. Ideally located on the shores of the sparkling lake, the lodge places families a short distance from every kind of activity, from skiing to boating, depending on the time of year and a family’s interests.
We are particularly in love with the affordable rooms, several of which have full kitchens, making it easy to prep a few meals “in” and save family travelers’ dining-out budget for some great local restaurants. The Lodge also knows a thing or two about family-friendly amenities, including full-service housekeeping, pet-friendly rooms, a children’s play area, a private boat and jet ski dock for on-the-water fun, and the Big Bear Village’s shops and restaurants, just a short walk away.
Big Bear Cool Cabins
When a hotel room just won’t cut it for the family, sometimes you just need a really, well, cool cabin. The name says it all at Big Bear Cool Cabins (search by sought-after amenities like a game room, golf nearby, a hot tub, pool table and more). These cabins are centrally located near the San Bernardino National Forest for hiking, biking, horseback riding, skiing, fishing, and boating.
As for the cabins, choose from lakefront, slope-adjacent, or trailside – whatever works for your family (and your pooch – the cabins are pet-friendly). A couple of options to whet your appetite: Mama’s Bear Cottage, a remodeled mini-ranch near peaceful Erwin Lake, with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, a wood-burning stove and plenty of comfy living room seating. Or, check out the stylish Chandelier House, with its vaulted ceilings, open-concept living space, three bedrooms, foosball, and pool tables.
Pine Knot Guest Ranch/Big Bear Village Cabins
Offering the best of both worlds, the cabins or resort accommodations of Pine Knot Guest Ranch are perfect for couples taking a well-deserved parenting break or adventure-seeking families. Each cabin offers privacy and comfort and easy access to everything the national forest and lake have to offer.
We particularly love Cedar Creek Cabin, a beautiful A-frame (haven’t you always wanted to stay in one?), with a spacious, fully stocked kitchen, dining table for six people, a large living room with a wood-burning fireplace, plenty of sleeping space for six people and a furnished outdoor patio with a charcoal grill.
The Ranch also offers more traditional vacation homes, including the two-story, family-friendly Little Bear Cabin. Families of five can spread out in the full kitchen, cozy living room with a flat-screen TV with Roku, and the ground-floor deck with a five-person hot tub and gas grill. Plus, you can visit the homeowner’s property for sledding, playgrounds, and visiting llamas!
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Golden Bear Cottages Resort
Choose from 25 cabins set across a historic five-acre resort punctuated by 200-year-old big pines just one block from Big Bear Lake. Families and large groups vacationing together love the cabins ranging from two to seven bedrooms. Golden Bear is family-owned and operated, and their attention to detail and friendly service show in every aspect of a stay. Some cabins allow pets.
Lagonita Lodge combines affordable convenience in one of Big Bear’s best locations, right next to the lake and just a few blocks from Main Street. Clean, family-friendly, and great for those staying in the area for a week or two, the Lodge offers condo-style accommodations for four, six, or eight guests. Get outside and play, then return to relax in spacious living rooms, and cook dinner (if you’re so inclined), thanks to a full kitchen or kitchenette.
Thoughtful common amenities include a heated indoor pool and spa, outdoor heated spa, family rec room, adult lounge, BBQ and picnic areas, a fitness center, and playground. Skiing? There’s storage for your equipment, so no need to lug it back to your condo.
A Southern California mountain favorite, this conveniently located resort is right in Big Bear Lake Village across the street from the lake. Walk out the front door from your hotel room to dining, shopping, a movie theater, two marinas, and lakeside parks.
As with most of the cabins and resorts in the area, Robinhood Resort is pet-friendly, but you must pre-book one of these rooms (there’s limited availability). Accommodations are spread throughout the Robinhood Inn, the Sherwood Forest and the Wishing Well. Wi-Fi is free. There’s a nice restaurant on-site if your family just isn’t up for venturing too far out.
The Frontier Resort at Big Bear
Nestled among giant pine trees from Big Bear Boulevard to the lake’s edge, The Frontier Resort at Big Bear offers comfortable cabins and lodge rooms in a variety of configurations. Each cabin and guest room is well-equipped, with private bathrooms, wood-burning fireplaces, flat-screen TVs, and, in some, hot tubs or fully equipped kitchens. All guests have access to private beaches, fishing, a heated swimming pool and hot tub, charcoal BBQs, ping pong, free Wi-Fi, and a basketball court. All accommodations are pet-friendly.
Grey Squirrel Resort
About as charming as they come, the family-owned Grey Squirrel Resort offers 19 rustic cabins located throughout a three-acre common recreation space. Families come and come back again – many that visited as with their parents in the 1950s, when the resort opened, now return with their children and grandchildren to vacation in the peaceful, wooded setting.
Of course, Big Bear Lake and the national forest are full of outdoor recreation for all ages, but if seeking a day “at home,” stay back at the resort and enjoy the heated outdoor pool or hang out by the quiet pond and bird sanctuary.
Whether dreaming of sunny days on the lake, swimming, and fishing, or exhilarating days on the slopes, returning to toasty fireplaces or spa tubs in the evening, these Big Bear Lake stays are tailor-made for family fun.
Find out about the best family-friendly resorts and cabin rentals in Big Bear Lake for four-season fun.
A Few Other Favorites
- Big Bear Lake Family Resort for its traditional family camping experience, with fun activities, like bingo and foam parties
- Blue Horizon Lodge for its peaceful, private, and downright adorable stand-alone cottages
- Marina Resort for its Viking-inspired architecture, meandering national forest trails, and private beach
- Cozy Hollow Lodge for its independently owned cottage options for all types of vacationing groups
What to Do in Big Bear Lake
The charming Big Bear village features a number of shops and eateries, and the Big Bear Alpine Zoo and Bear Mountain Golf Course are nearby. Summer means taking full advantage of 22 miles of shoreline, lakeside picnics, paddle sports, jet skiing, wakeboarding, boating, fishing, hiking, biking and more. When the temperatures drop, snowsports heat up at Big Bear, with top-quality ski resorts, snowshoeing, sledding, ice skating and snowmobiling. Even the shoulder months of spring and fall are alive with trout fishing, outdoor events, leaf-peeping and enjoying the crisp alpine air.
When You Go
Big Bear Lake is an easy, two-hour drive from Los Angeles or Orange County, Phoenix, and Las Vegas, and puts families smack dab in the San Bernardino National Forest.
Welcome to Big Bear! Have fun exploring this mountain-lake escape.
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