Destination California: Big Bear

Destination California

If you are feeling like you have missed out on a big adventure this summer, you may want to plan a quick trip to Big Bear. Nestled in the San Bernardino National Forest, the small town is an amazing destination for outdoorsy Californians.

Whether you are hiking amid majestic mountains, rock climbing to new heights or four-wheel driving through the forest, Big Bear is one big adventure. The lake itself is 7 miles from end to end and a mile in width. You can make a splash with every water sport imaginable, including wake surfing, the newest craze for lake lovers.

Wake surfing is a part water-skiing, part surfing and a complete thrill.

“Wake surfing is all of the fun with none of the work,” Desi Hauer, owner of Designated Wakesports, said. “You don’t need to paddle out to catch a great wave. The boat makes the perfect wave for you. All you need to do is hold on, and let the boat pull you up.”

After hanging ten, Wendy and her son Brady decided to take five at a place locals love. The Tropicali restaurant in Big Bear offers a fusion of flavors from the South Pacific and Baja California.

“It’s a restaurant where and island state of mind crashes right into the side of the mountain,” co-owner Michael Sterling Eaton said.

Michael, along with his wife, actress Sanoe Lake, have created a poke paradise in this mountain community.

“When you walk in, it feels like nowhere else in Big Bear,” said Sanoe, who had a hand in decorating the place with everything from deer antlers to lava lamps.

When it comes time to turn out the lights, there are plenty of cabins in Big Bear to cozy up to. Wendy likes the ones recently remodeled at the Oak Knoll Lodge.

New owner Lindsey Kurowsk is painstakingly transforming the hundred-year-old cabins. She’s making sure they have all the modern amenities, while still maintaining their rustic charm.

”I love Big Bear. I love staying in a cabin, but like everyone else, I like new carpet, better Wi-Fi and nice bedding,” Lindsey said.

After a good night’s rest, you may be ready for the ultimate outdoor adventure with Action Zipline Tours. Their zip-line course stretches high atop the San Gorgonio Mountain, the highest peak in Southern California. The nine zip-line runs become longer, faster and higher off the ground as you go.

“This is an adrenaline rush, it’s fast and furious fun right here in the San Bernardino Mountains,” said Andres Poppe, a longtime guide with Action Zipline Tours. “Being in the mountains, being above 8000-feet, being on the zip lines, it’s experience you can’t get anywhere else.”

And that is true for just about anything you choose to do in Big Bear, Southern California’s year-round mountain lake escape.

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