Today we are featuring Tim Breunig, a Big Bear Lake expert. Tim Breunig, with his wife Tamara, is co-owner of the United Wood Craftsmen Gallery. Tim’s blog, explorebigbearlake.com is a current and up-to-date look at shopping, dining, events for Big Bear Lake Getaway and Leisure Travel Visitors.
Big Bear Lake gets a lot of mention on southland TV news in the way of snow and ski conditions in the winter months but what you don’t hear about, and that consistently surprises many visitors, is just how much there is to do here that is not related to winter sports. A virtual Getaway Paradise in your own backyard, perfect for families and couples looking for clean air and blue skies in a lakeside alpine forest environment less than 3 hours driving from San Diego or Los Angeles.
Getting to Big Bear Lake from anywhere in Southern California is easy by car on one of the 3 highways into the Bear Valley. For pilots, Big Bear Lake has a 5000 foot runway at its Municipal Airport. The drive from San Bernardino or Redlands is absolutely inspiring as you climb in altitude from the coastal desert landscape to the heavily treed alpine forest. Big Bear Lake is located in the Bear Valley of the San Bernardino Mountains and sits at more than 6,700 feet above sea level. More than 18,000 people call the Bear Valley home.
A great place for the outdoor enthusiast, Big Bear offers visitors great Boating, Fishing, Hiking, Biking, Kayaking and Standup Paddle Boarding. Think you can paddle with the best? Then don’t miss the annual Big Bear Lake Paddlefest in late July. If you’re looking for a little less demanding experience on the lake, try a paddlewheel boat tour or rent your own boat at Pine Knot Marina located on the lake’s south shore, in the Village.
If you’re considering when to visit Big Bear, you need to know that the busiest months are July and August for sure. However, the really great weather starts in early June and really runs well into late October and even early November. So if a little less stress and more choices and enjoyment are important, I would recommend booking your getaway in the off-peak months, June, September and October.
The Changing Face of Big Bear’s Alpine Experience
Shopping has really never been better than today in the Village, Big Bear Lake’s retail shopping and dining district. With its many shops, galleries and restaurants, the Village offers something for everybody and there’s always lots of free parking in the Bartlett and Indian Village public parking lots.
Big Bear Lake destination events start this year in May with the Amgen Tour of California Stage 6 Finish, The Big Bear Climb. June is the Big Bear Lake Summer Jazztrax Festival, a 2 day music event held on the beach at the Marina Resort in the Village. In July events include the Pine Knot Village Artwalk, Big Bear Lake Paddlefest and the Chili Cook Off.
August events are the Big Bear Lake Classic Car Show and the Cowboy Gathering. In September Big Bear Lake is home to Southern California’s premiere International Film Festival and October is Big Bear’s 42 annual Oktoberfest Celebration.
When it comes to dining out, Big Bear Lake has a number of fine restaurants to choose from. In the Village, Big Bear’s Best includes the Peppercorn Grill, The Himalayan, El Jacalito and Sweet Basil Bistro.
Big Bear Lake’s newest and most exciting dining experience is the Black Diamond Tavern on Moonridge Rd. Proprietors Daniel and Jessica Miller have brought their considerable restaurant and food service skills and applied them well at their new restaurant. Redefining the Big Bear Lake dining experience, the Black Tavern’s dining rooms have a comfortable, warm and relaxed décor and there is a sharp focus on service and detail. The seasonal comfort food menu and extensive wine list is perfect for Big Bear and the Cocktail Bar is maybe the best on the mountain. I recommend reservations at any restaurant on the weekends or if you are on a schedule.
Some of Big Bear’s newer offerings include Wine Tasting at Le Dolce Vita Tasting Room and Cocktails at Club Bombay both in the Village and both offering live entertainment on the weekends. New for kids is the Big Bear Funplex with games, laser tag and rides for the little ones.