Escape with us to a serene and rustic mountain town, 7000 feet above Los Angeles.
Do you share my inner voice? I want to see more, explore more, do more. Yes, I thought you might.
Weekends give me that chance to “get out and get into something new”…whether it’s traveling with purpose or via a spontaneous ramble. My latest trip had one clear objective – to escape the escalating heat of Los Angeles.
Big Bear Lake is that perfect getaway. Sitting about 100 miles northeast of LA , surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest, this picturesque town basks in sunshine over 300 days of the year AND is 20 degrees cooler than my home.
The name Big Bear is quite literal – it’s derived from the large grizzly bear population that once reigned there. Around 1860, while following a bear trail, a hunter stumbled upon a gold-laden stream. He tried to keep his discovery quiet, but his secret didn’t last long – the Southern California gold rush became the result, and prospectors soon overtook the area. The city was a gold-mining mecca in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Many years later, Big Bear Lake became Southern California’s first mountain recreation area, especially for those trying to escape the hustle of Hollywood and LA heat. And many of its summer activities are steeped in the art of relaxation – hiking, fishing, boating, and swimming. The freshwater lake – fed by snowmelt – is a sprawling seven miles long, with 22 miles of shoreline on which to kick back. There are seven public campgrounds, countless charming (and rentable) cabins situated on its perimeter, and numerous beautiful resorts to choose from. In the wintertime, Big Bear Lake becomes a huge go-to for skiing.
If you’re looking for the perfect swimming spot in Big Bear, look no further than Garstin Island, made up of large granite boulders (hence the name) and is the place to swim, sunbathe and dive.
It’s also called Treasure Island – or China Island – because of the Chinese huts that stand there. These structures were built about 140 years ago to house workers who were working on the dam. Little-known fact: Big Bear Lake is man-made and, at the time of completing the dam in 1884, was the world’s largest artificial lake.
Garstin Island is at the lake’s west end and can be a little tricky to find. Park at the small lot near mile marker 45.72 on Highway 18, and follow the trail about one-quarter mile.
+What are your plans this weekend? Where are your favorite weekend getaways? My wandering spirit would love to know!