Big Bear, CA is known for its winter fun. Snow-capped mountains and ski lifts provide the perfect backdrop for holiday fun in a white wonderland. But what happens when the weather warms up? Well, I’ll tell you! Gorgeous sunshine, sunny and temps of 75 with hiking and mountain biking trails. A pristine blue lake surrounded by green mountain peaks. Fishing, boating and tubing adventures await you and your family. Breathe in that fresh mountain air and explore the wilderness around you with WARM weather and blue skies overhead.

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Holloway Marina Big Bear CA. Photo by Sara Pittman, Frugal TMOM

Big Bear Family Getaway

With an summer weekend where temperatures would climb to over 100 degrees in the valley, we decided to take the family to the mountains. Adventure and sunshine would await us…bearable sunshine, that it.  We were ready for anything and excited to be outdoors. The temperature in Big Bear, California, was a comfortable 77 degrees all weekend. The weather was perfect for a few days of family fun and scenic beauty.

I’m on a Boat!

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My son on our pontoon boat. Photo by Sara Pittman, Frugal TMOM

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Catching trout in Big Bear. Photo by Sara Pittman, Frugal TMOM

My family loves the water and are all relatively comfortable with boats. It was a no brainer that we decided to rent a boat for the day. Not just any tiny metal dingy. Nope, we rented a pontoon boat. Spacious, comfortable, seating up to eight people AND dog friendly! The weather was amazing and having the chance to explore the lake while having lunch with my family was awesome. Holloway’s Marina proved to be the most comparable price in the area for the boat rental. The employees were friendly and helpful, making the whole experience that much more pleasant. The water was cold but the weather was perfect. The trout were biting and the sun was shining. Bring food, drinks, fishing poles and the family dog. I highly recommend boating on Big Bear Lake.

Hiking Adventures!

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View from the Woodland Trail hike. Photo by Sara Pittman, Frugal TMOM

In Big Bear CA, you are surrounded by majestic mountains. There are trails literally EVERYWHERE. From the novice hiker trails to those for the  well seasoned veteran, there are a variety for you to choose and enjoy. We chose a hike that was dog friendly with a moderate terrain and view of the lake. This hike is called “Woodland Trail” and is a 1.5 mile loop trail located on the eastern side of the lake. There is a picnic area and boat ramp adjacent to the trail head for a rest or a snack before or after your hike. This loop trail was covered in wild flowers, ample shade and stunning views. With ages ranging from 5 to 38 years old, everyone on this hike gave it a thumbs up.

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Family hike on the Woodland Trail. Photo by Sara Pittman, Frugal TMOM

 Hiking snacks

I will admit that my family is addicted to beef jerky. Good quality, homemade, real deal, jerky. Jerky is also a great snack and energy booster for exploring the trails. We found The. Spot. Homemade, all natural jerky. Elk, beef, and turkey.  If you have a guilty pleasure for salty, spicy flavor with a chewy perfection, do yourself a favor and stop here. Choose you meat and your flavor. We left with 2 pounds of jerky and ate it all. Smokey’s Beef Jerky also has a wide variety of sweet treats and candy sold by the pound. Pick your poison. Located adjacent to the only grocery store in town, you can’t miss it…so don’t.

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Our jerky haul at Smokey’s. Photo by Sara Pittman, Frugal TMOM


Take a Break from Nature?

If you are tuckered out and want to take a break from the wilderness, Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain does not disappoint. A gondola ride to the top of the mountain gives you a great view and a wheeled bobsled (with brakes of course) where you slide down the switchbacked track at your own pace. The kids will be ecstatic. Trust me. Directly across from the bobsled is a waterslide with loops and tunnels. Enjoy snacks, video games, and miniature golf all encompassed in this play space. Dogs are welcome!! The price per slide is $6.00 BUT the experience is absolutely worth it!

Be Prepared!

  • Bring sunscreen
  • wear your most comfortable tennis shoes
  • bring a hat
  • drink lots of WATER!!!
  • carry allergy medicine if needed
  • bring some headache medicine for allergies or elevation issues (like me)

In a Nutshell

Exploring nature is a budget friendly activity for all families. Kids experience the wonders of nature and memories are made that will last a lifetime. Get outside! Have fun! Enjoy a weekend in the mountains this summer and immerse yourself in the beauty of the outdoors. Your children will thank you!

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Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain in Big Bear. Photo by Sara Pittman, Frugal TMOM