Big Bear Lake, California—2 Hours From LA but a World Apart

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Big Bear Lake California
Big Bear Lake, California—a year round mountain playground. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Big Bear Lake, California is just a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, but it’s a world apart. It’s high up in the sky in the San Bernardino National Forest. Seven-mile long, Big Bear Lake is 6,750 feet above sea level, and the mountain community is a prime wintertime destination for snowboarders and downhill skiers, with San Bernardino Mountain peaks rising to 9,000 feet. During the summertime the Ponderosa pine, fir, and oak forested realm is a prime destination for hikers, golfers, bikers, horseback riders, campers, fishermen, kayakers, and boaters. Although some people book a holiday just to hang out and relax on the front porch of a rustic rental cabin in the woods. You might have seen Big Bear before and didn’t even know it, as it’s been a prime Hollywood location film site for more than a century.


Films and TV shows include: Gone With The Wind, Paint Your Wagon, Bonanza, the Last of the Mohicans, Dr. Doolittle II, Frankenstein, War Games, Extreme Dating, and The King of Queens. A good way to get the lay of the land around Big Bear is to book a motor vessel tour aboard Miss Liberty, a 64 foot-long, paddle wheel style tour-boat for a cruise on Big Bear Lake. Light snacks, wine, beer and champagne, as well as sodas are served in the galley, and the Miss Liberty 90-minute lake-cruise is ideal for families, couples, and groups. Come along and join Captain Jack in the wheelhouse.

Funding for the Lowell Thomas Award winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer is provided by Hawaiian Reforestation initiative.

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Big Bear Lake
Town of Big Bear Lake, California. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer