One of the things that I love most about living in LA is the abundance of easy road trips or weekend getaways. That’s why, when our neighbors asked if we wanted to join them in Big Bear for a weekend, we said “of course!!”
Big Bear Lake is about two hours North East of us, and it’s a pretty easy drive, making it perfect for a “Friday after work” trip. It’s a really cute little town known mostly for its snow sports, like skiing and snowboarding, but I think it might be even cooler (or well, hotter, depending on how you look at it) in the summers. The town takes full advantage of the land by opening hiking trails up to the two big mountain summits, and by creating mountain biking trails and ramps for bikers to use. Bikers can ride themselves + their bikes up to the top of the mountain on the lift, and then maneuver their way down the mountain — criss-crossing trails and catching lots of air from ramp to ramp. It’s pretty much the summer version of snowboarding, right?
But another great part about going to Big Bear in the summer is being able to utilize the lake. Whether you want to just catch some rays on the sandy shores, swim with your pup, kayak, jet ski, or chill on a pontoon boat, Big Bear has got you covered. They have tons of rentals available, and the views of the mountains surrounding you on every side are pretty dang incredible. It reminded me a lot of Mammoth but on a smaller, more intimate scale. I’d imagine that it gets pretty crazy up there in the winters, but it felt like the perfect sleepy summer weekend there to me.
Our Big Bear Weekend:
Where We Stayed: We rented a dog-friendly Air BnB cabin on the west side of the lake and it turned out to be perfect. Big Bear is an extremely dog-friendly town, so it only made sense to bring the pups along! This also just so happened to be Marty’s first vacation! It was so nice having a yard for them to run around in, and all the neighbors had pups too, so we didn’t feel bad if one of them let out a woof here or there.
What We Ate: One of my favorite things about our trip was that we didn’t eat out once! Vacations can get expensive if you’re eating out for every meal…plus, if you have a friend that can make a steak as good as Josh can, why would you ever go out to eat again!? We got up early each morning and had our coffee on the back porch while we cooked up eggs, bacon, and toast. We made loaded turkey and bacon sandwiches for lunch (with pickles on the side, duh). And had a T-Bone and mashed potato dinner with cake for dessert! I’d say we ate like kings and queens … and the pups sure enjoyed those T-bones too 😉
What We Drank: After a big hike up to the Snow Summit, we did stop for some brews. We each enjoyed a beer at Big Bear Lake Brewing Company, which is a super popular spot in town. We all really enjoyed their flavors. I ordered the “Barely Legal Honey Blonde,” which is one of their most popular brews. This place can be tough to get a spot at unless you’re ordering food, but Laur and Josh have eaten here before and they both said the food was good! I’d also just like to mention that their staff was incredibly nice and on top of their game, which is always appreciated.
We then each grabbed a sampler at Big Bear Mountain Brewery because it was only about a half mile from where we were staying. I really liked the cozy ambiance of this place, as we got to sit on a big comfy couch while we sipped on our samplers.
What We Did: On Saturday
, we spent our afternoon hiking the Long Chute Trail
at Snow Summit Ski Resort.
It’s an out-and-back trail with a lodge up at the top where you can grab drinks and grub and hang at one of the many picnic tables set outside. We picked this particular trail because it’s dog-friendly. This was Marty’s first “real” hike, and we were so thankful to have Banjo there to teach him how to hike off-leash! Wherever Banjo went, Marty was right behind him! Hanging out at the top was fun too, because we got to watch all of the bikers come off the ski lift and prepare to head back down the mountain. I think the boys were getting the itch to ride next time… I especially loved this hike because the views of the lake were phenomenal. It’s definitely a challenge making it up the mountain — especially with the altitude change — but we did it! We came across a lot of people who rode the lift up and then hiked down.
After our hike, we grabbed lunch back at the cabin and took the dogs to the east side of the lake
, where all of the beaches are dog-friendly. We decided that this would be the day Marty learned how to swim! (It was coincidentally his 10-month birthday, so it only seemed appropriate). Again, we were lucky to have Banjo there with us, as Marty completely idolizes him and will try anything he sees Banjo doing…so it wasn’t long before Marty was paddling in circles off the shore! You can view a short video –> here!
Talk about a proud mom moment! We then laid out on the beach, took a cat nap, and headed back to the cabin before we hit up the breweries…
On Sunday we woke up bright and early to pack up the cars and clean up the cabin before leaving. We had called ahead prior to reserve a Pontoon boat at Holloway’s Marina, and that may have been our best decision of the weekend. Who doesn’t love to be on a boat with a packed cooler, some of your best friends, and cute dogs?! We had a really awesome afternoon cruising around on the lake, listening to some tunes, and playing rounds of cards. You can’t really ask for much more than that…
I think we all left Big Bear on Sunday with the itch to go back already! (That’s the sign of a good vacation!) There’s something so serene about being in the mountains among all the trees and away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Leaving Friday night was the perfect strategy so we had all day Saturday and pretty much all of Sunday! And, we left by 5pm on Sunday and were back home to LA before the sun went down. All in all, I think Big Bear Lake weekends will definitely become a more regular occurrence for us around here…