Big Bear Lake is a small city nestled in the San Bernardino Mountains right on the shore of Big Bear Lake. Surrounded by the San Bernadino National Forest, this town is a popular year-round vacation destination for thousands of visitors. Big Bear Lake is known for 300 days of sunshine a year and four seasons of recreational activities, making it the perfect destination for outdoor fans. Activities here range from RV camping to hiking and mountain biking. The area is also well known for Hollywood filming locations such as Disney’s “The Parent Trap.”
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- RV Camping At Big Bear Lake
Big Bear Lake is an hour away from San Bernadino by car. It’s a very scenic drive through the San Bernadino Mountains to get there, and you’ll take CA-18 most of the way to get there. If you’re driving from Los Angeles, it’s about a two-hour drive depending on traffic. This southern California location is easy to reach from major cities in the area.
When To Visit Big Bear Lake
Big Bear Lake boasts 300 days of sunshine, colorful fall foliage, and snowy slopes, making it the perfect year-round location to visit. But, of course, the ideal time to visit depends on when you want to be in town. If you’re looking to hike the trails around Big Bear and San Bernardino National Forest, you might enjoy the cooler weather in spring or fall. Want to enjoy a snow summit? You’ll want to visit in the winter.
RV Camping At Big Bear Lake
One of the best things about camping at Big Bear Lake is that there are many different options to choose from. You can stay at one of the many campgrounds or resorts in the area or opt for dispersed camping in a more remote location. No matter your preference, you’re sure to find something that suits your needs.
The Dogwood Campground is situated in the San Bernardino National Forest center. It’s family-friendly, and reservations are required. There are dozens of single-family campsites with tables, campfire rings, and grills. There are accessible flush toilets, accessible showers, and drinking water. Some sites have electric hookups for RV camping. Campsites are pet-friendly.
Hanna Flat Campground
The Hanna Flat Campground is surrounded by pine trees in San Bernardino National Forest. Here you’ll find 80 campsites for tent or RV camping. Each site features a table and campfire ring with a grill. The campground also provides vault toilets and trash collection, but no hookups. In addition, there is a swimming site available at the campground!
Holcomb Valley Campground
Holcomb Valley Campground boasts 19 single-family campsites on a first-come-first-serve basis. Each campsite has a picnic table, fire ring, bear boxes, and vault toilet, but no water. The campground is only 5 miles from Big Bear Lake, and each family campsite can host up to 8 guests.
Holloways Marina & RV Park
Holloways Marina provides boat rentals on Big Bear Lake and features an RV park right on the lake with full hook-ups, picnic tables, and a small convenience store. You can rent boats ranging from pontoon rentals to fishing boat rentals.
Pine Tree RV Park
Pine Tree RV Park is on the northeast corner of Big Bear Lake and is a quick walk to the public boat launch, the Alpine Pedal Path, and other local activities. This fantastic RV park is in an ideal location and offers many great amenities to guests. This RV resort is open year-round with full hookups and can accommodate large RVs.
This campground is located at the base of a ski mountain and is close to an abundance of mountain biking trails. There are dozens of single-family sites here for tent or RV camping. Each site has a table and campfire ring with a grill but no hookups.
Serrano Campground is the most modern campground in San Bernardino National Forest, with more than one hundred tent and RV camping sites. In addition, there are a few dozen sites that provide full utility hookups for RV camping, and there’s also a dump station on site. Each campsite features tables and campfire rings with a grill. The grounds feature accessible flush toilets, showers, and drinking water.
Big Bear Lake Recreational Activities
The small town of Big Bear Lake, California, is a recreational paradise in the summer and winter months. The area has plenty of outdoor activities to offer visitors and locals alike. The cooler temperatures of the winter make Big Bear Lake a popular destination for skiing, snowboarding, and sledding. There are also several restaurants and shops in the area for those looking to take a break from the outdoors.
Alpine Pedal Path
The Alpine Pedal Path is a tremendous five-mile out-and-back asphalt trail along Big Bear Lake. This trail is frequented by hikers, skaters, strollers, joggers, and wheelchair users. The Alpine Pedal Path is also a great site to view eagles, and they typically arrive in the area in late November and stay until early April.
Big Bear Discovery Center
The Big Bear Discovery Center is a large visitor center in the Big Bear Valley that doubles as a nature center. Here you can learn more about everything the area has to offer before you begin your journey. It’s a great place for kids to learn about the outdoors, and there’s also a playground and nature trail on-site.
Big Bear Lake Village
If you’re looking for a break from the great outdoors, Big Bear Lake Village boasts excellent dining, shopping, and entertainment options with more than 120 storefronts. With shops ranging from boutiques to gift shops and local outfitters, you can find a little bit of everything here. There are also fun shops like the Big Bear House of Jerky or the delicious Saucy Mama’s Pizzeria.
San Bernardino National Forest features dozens of trails for day hikers and overnight or several day trips. The famous Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) also passes through the national forest. Here are some of the best trails in the area.
Mountain Biking is growing in popularity in the mountains of San Bernardino National Forest. Riding is allowed on designated routes, including forest roads and the trail network. Excluded trails include the Pacific Crest Trail, short nature trails, and any trail leading to or inside designated Wilderness areas.
Big Bear Lake and the surrounding national forest have so much to offer visitors every season. With the three hundred days of sunshine, you can enjoy the RV resorts year-round and explore the surrounding area during whatever season your choose.
With an abundance of nearby recreational activities, you won’t be bored in the Big Bear Lake area. The entire San Bernardino National Forest is filled with trails to hike or bike, or you can spend your time in Big Bear Lake on the Alpine Pedal Path and explore the nearby village.
For more RV camping in Southern California, visit Lake Jennings.
Tony is an avid camper and RV traveler. He fell in love with camping on his first RV trip with his wife over 25 years ago. Tony loves sharing lessons learned and tips about RV maintenance and safe traveling.