Big Bear Mountain towers a few hours northeast of Southern California. It's about 150 miles from San Diego and 100 miles from L.A. Roughly 30 of these miles are "mountain miles", which means once you start climbing to the summit, top speeds reach around 45 mph. During the winter months the road up can get slick, and you may need chains for your tires. Be sure to check the local forecast before you head up. Highway 18 will get you to the summit. At the top you'll run into the main stretch - Big Bear Boulevard.
Big Bear Village
Settle into your cabin and get situated. Then get ready to check out Big Bear Village. Here you'll find an assortment of arts & crafts shops, bear memorabilia, taverns, bars and restaurants. A choice spot to check out is the Mountain Trading Company. There are oodles of souvenirs and unique items that stretch out onto the front yard. The great part about the village is that you can just park and stroll around everywhere without having to walk miles and miles. When it's time for lunch, there are several options to choose from. Try Boo Bear's Den or El Jacalito for great Mexican food, or Himalayan Restaurant for a taste of India right in the village.
A Scenic Drive - Big Bear Lake
After you explore the village, it's time for a little scenic drive around Big Bear Lake. During the winter months the lake freezes up and offers a serene and snowy atmosphere. Every other season the sun beams down upon the lake and just glimmers off the evergreens. Along the way you'll pass the Big Bear Solar Observatory - which happens to be the largest in the world - thanks to over 300 days of sunshine and crisp and clear mountain air.
Big Bear Discovery Center
Further along, on your scenic lake cruise is the Big Bear Discovery Center. If you're traveling with family this a great stop. Exhibits feature local wildlife. Hiking tours explore the forest and indigenous plant life. During winter, the bald and golden eagles flock to Big Bear Mountain. Expeditions are held to see these incredible winged-wonders in their natural habitat.
Dinner & Night Life
As the evening makes way, head back to the village and grab some dinner. The Blue Whale is a great choice, and it has open views of the lake. If you're not ready to call it a night after dinner, then check out Stillwell's for some fun karaoke.