Updated: Oct 15
Summer is over, and many residents of Southern California and the surrounding area are eagerly awaiting the chance to embark upon what might be their first fall vacation in a couple of years. And for all the fall feels you need to head to the mountains.
Autumn to most Californians’ is a whimsical experience that you must travel east to actually participate in. Not true. Big Bear Lake, offers a vacation replete with seasonal small town vibes and plenty of autumn breezes, falling leaves hued with yellow, orange and red, crisp fresh air and a glimmering lake.
Big Bear Lake is just a couple of hours north of Los Angeles. Visiting this spot feels a lot like going to another state—one that just happens to be in your backyard.
The Best Things to Do When Visiting
Big Bear Lake in Fall
1. Hit the Trails
Fall is for hiking! Seeing as Big Bear Lake is situated in the San Bernardino Mountains, it should come as no surprise that it has a wide array of trails for hikers of all skill levels, not to mention a few bike trails. The Big Bear Visitor Center has maps of the area, allowing new comers to properly plan out their next trek and definitely bring your four legged adventure companion! If there’s anything that affirms our obsession for fall, it’s a dog. Cooler weather will be a welcome change for both you and your furry friend and can open up many trails that might have been no-gos for the preceding several months.
2. Have Some Fun on the Lake
Anyone visiting Big Bear Lake has possibilities aplenty when it comes to having fun on the water. Grab a pole and go fishing, hop aboard a jet ski and kick up some waves, rent a boat and cruise around the lake yourself, or embark upon one of the guided lake tours.
Or you can just lounge on the shore and soak in the sun.
3. Escape the Weather
In the unlikely event that the weather doesn’t cooperate, which admittedly does happen once in a blue moon, Big Bear Lake also has plenty of indoor activities to enjoy that are fun enough in their own right. Why not light a fire at your cabin rental and challenge your group to a classic board game or hit The Bowling Barn for some Glow Bowling.
4. Celebrate Oktoberfest
Running every weekend from September 11th until November 7th, Oktoberfest is the perfect opportunity to revel in the best aspects of German culture: music, entertainment, bratwurst, and, of course, plenty of beer on tap.
5. Smash Pumpkins While on a zipline
Who wouldn’t want to hitch a ride on a zipline atop the treeline and smash pumpkins? Every Saturday during October, celebrate the fall season by booking a ride at Big Bear Zipline and tossing pumpkins to targets below. If you hit any of them, you can win a prize.
6. Say Hi to the Zoo Animals
Serving primarily as a rehabilitation center for injured or imprinted animals, the Big Bear Alpine Zoo is the place to see animals up-close while they’re on the road to recovery. Stop by and say hi to a variety of California animals, from bears and eagles to some more exotic species, like wolves and arctic foxes.
7. Go Horseback Riding
If seeing animals at the zoo makes you want to experience them a little more closely, then the Baldwin Stables and Petting Zoo might be a great place to visit. While there, you can pet the animals at the stables, then go horseback riding through Big Bear’s scenic vistas.
8. Enjoy a Scavenger Hunt
One great way to explore all that the village has to offer, and learn about its history, is to embark on one of two phone-guided tours: Riddle Routes and Urban Adventure Quest. Its super fun and a great way get your steps in for the day.
9. Get a Bird’s Eye View
Nothing will show you the Big Bear Lake region’s fall beauty quite like taking to the sky with helicopter tours from Helicopter Big Bear. The company offers several different flight paths, taking over a variety of points of interest, so it might be worth hopping about for multiple trips. Cameras are welcome, too.
10. Make Your Stay Luxurious
With all there is to do in and around Big Bear Lake, you might find yourself staying the weekend for Oktoberfest, or wanting to stay an entire week.
And your vacation wouldn’t feel like a real mountain getaway without a cozy cabin to come home to—a cabin so nice you might not ever want to leave.
Complete your fall mountain experience in Big Bear with a blazing fire, warm apple cider and an unforgettable cabin stay.
Midnight Moon Cabins offers an array of modern luxury dog friendly cabin rentals right in the heart of Big Bear Lake, and anywhere you might want to explore is just a short walk, bike or car ride away.