GARY A. WARNER, REGISTER TRAVEL EDITOR. EDITED FROM THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
The lake's fortunes tend to rise and fall somewhat with the amount of snowfall the previous winter, so the bumper crop of flakes in the mountains above San Bernardino this year means Big Bear Lake is beautiful, fresh and full to the brim.
No sloppy, muddy beaches, though there's been the usual problems with algae blooms earlier in the year and weeds in the lake - it's part of the ecosystem of a man-made alpine lake that's over 200 years old.
During the heat of the summer, you're almost guaranteed comfortable days and cool nights here at 7,000 feet above sea level.
Big Bear Lake is more low-key and affordable than neighboring Lake Arrowhead, which is just fine with me. There's every type of accommodation from lakefront lodges to rental vacation homes and cabins.
I usually stay at one of the rustic cabin-style historic properties like the Golden Bear Cottages Resort. Nothing fancy, but fun, clean and AAA approved.
The town has just over 5,000 full-time residents. The downtown still has an old-time feeling and you can stroll the length of the shopping district in a little over an hour. The real draw is to rent a canoe or a motorboat and get out on the blue expanse of the lake. Big Bear Lake has lots of eating choices.
Hint: Take Highway 330 for the shortest route or 38, the long way through Camp Angeles and down into Redlands. It's a beautiful mountain drive. Either way is a short drive to the best Big Bear Lake vacation.
See more of the Best of Orange County. See critics choice award Golden Bear Cottages, best of Orange County travel awards, Big Bear Lake best vacation getaway, best place to stay in Big Bear Lake with all the friendship your heart desires: our favorite family friendly mountain resort.
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