Holiday Travel

How to Celebrate 4th of July at Big Bear Lake

I love to stretch events out as long as possible. Like most birthdays in my family, they are spread out throughout the month and the U.S.A’s BDay is no exception. The last few years we’ve kept the 4th of July pretty mellow with a simple BBQ/pool day and sparklers at home, but this year we went big. We loaded up the family RV and headed up the mountain for an unforgettable weekend long celebration. This year we celebrated 4th of July at Big Bear Lake.

4th of July at Big Bear Lake

Keep the Cost in Check:

Big Bear is not huge, but their 4th of July celebration is, so most accommodations book up fast. Week booked our stay a whole year in advance, so the best tip to save money is to prepare early. The restaurants don’t hike up prices or anything and the firework display is free to the public so it is possible to keep the cost in check.

Where to stay in Big Bear CA:

Big Bear Shores RV Resort:

Now that we have the RV we try to use it as much as possible and honestly the RV resort is the most beautiful spot on the lake. The views are unreal. The sites are privately owned and some owners rent out their lots. The lots are impeccably maintained, many with built in fireplaces and BBQs. It feels like a wilderness oasis. For information check out my Hot Rving in Big Bear post.


During the 4th of July, there are a number of festivities at the resort such as a chili cook-off, a decorating competition, parade of decked out golf carts and free hot dogs at the club house. It really brings about a certain comradely among the campers as everyone gets in the patriotic spirit mingles throughout the weekend.

4th of July decorations of camp site Big Bear


The owners of the lots have more access to all the amenities such as private slips at the marina and the gym, but visitors have access to the pool, the tennis and basketball courts, ping pong, foosball and of course the gorgeous lake!

Big Bear Lake Shores playing ping pong

Other accommodations in Big Bear

Places to Eat in Big Bear with Kids:

During the 4th of July BBQ is a must and the Big Bear’s Rotary Club’s 4th of July BBQ, located at the Marina Resort, is a crowd pleaser. With a choice of chicken, steak, hot dog or hamburger, each meal comes with potato salad and a choice of soda or water. There is a beer and wine garden for those who need something more refreshing. The BBQ offers some of the best views of the firework show as well as games, crafts and entertainment for those who attend.

In the village there are plenty of delicious options for the hungry. On the 4th we spent the day in town and tried to have lunch at one favorite Mexican restaurant in the area, El Jacalito. I say tried, because we were having a wonderful time until a sudden thunderstorm unleashed it’s fury on us as soon as our food hit the table, drowning my delicious Shrimp a la Plancha.

Big Bear Restaurant Patio with Kids

Since it was pretty busy this holiday weekend and the restaurants are small, the wait lists were long so we didn’t get to dine at our favorite Peppercorn’s, but we did get to discover how delicious Paoli’s was as they saved the day serving us drowned rats delicious Italian dishes.

Paoli's Italian Restaurant Big Bear Lake

Restaurants in Big Bear

Where to Grab a Drink:

At our RV site we had a fully stocked bar. It is a must when camping to have excess libations. We started every morning with a loaded Bloody Mary. HotDaddy’s secret Bloody Mary recipe, garnished with pickles, okra and olives. Starting my morning with one of these bad boys made me more alert, happier and nicer. Sorry coffee. Good Morning and Happy 4th!


It is fun to grab a drink in town and there are some great places to quench your thirst. El Jacalito has a great happy hour, a good selection of beer by the pitcher and some amazing margaritas. Luckily, most places in Big Bear serve beer by the pitcher which is great of us lushes. There is also the new Big Bear Brewing Company that just opened this year!

Big Bear Lake Brewing Company

Jacalito Grill Sign Big Bear Lake

Daughter drinking smoothie on patio
Baby Girl with her Strawberry Margarita (virgin duh!)

Bars and Nightlife in Big Bear

Fun Things to Do in Big Bear with Kids:

Independence Day is a big deal in Big Bear. The Firework Spectacular is a 30 minute fantastic display above the7 mile long lake is rated top five in California. It is free and easily viewed throughout Big Bear Valley. It was beautiful to see the boats floating out on the lake as the fireworks lit up the night sky. For the accompanying music to the show, tune into 93.3 KBear for a truly amazing experience.


Big Bear camping at night fourth of july
So excited for fireworks!
4th of July at Big Bear Lake Fireworks show
my attempt to photograph fireworks

Other Festivities included:

Captain John’s Independence Day Extravaganza: In North Shore Dr. Fawnskin has live Reggae music, Hawaiian style BBQ.

4th of July Cruise on Miss Liberty Paddlewheel Boat: Watch the fireworks from a boat, non-alcoholic drinks and hors d’oeuvres are included with your ticket, but beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks are available for purchase. Adults are $80 kids are $40.

Annual Big Bear Lake Independence Day Festival & Craft Show at the Convention Center has one-of-a-kind items, activities and entertainment, Wyatt’s full-service menu & full service bar.

We enjoyed walking around the village, stopping for treats and checking out the various shops. The Summer Art Walk which showcases work by local artists had great music and beer/wine garden.


Big Bear Trolley

Kids at Candy store in Big Bear Lake

kids picking out candy items

List of 4th of July Events

That’s a Wrap:

We had an incredible 4th of July weekend in Big Bear and have already booked our stay for next year. We took one day of hot dogs and sparklers and turned into a weekend long spectacular. Happy Birthday, America. Here is to the freedom to have fun!!!

kids dressed in 4th of July outfits

What are your favorite 4th July celebrations?

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4th of July at Big Bear Lake


I am a busy mama with 3 delicious babies and a serious itch for travel and writing (when I am not bartending, that is)! After graduating from Cal State San Marcos with a B.A. in Communications, I decided to start a family and pursue a career in freelance writing. I created HotMamaTravel as an outlet to do what I love while sharing useful travel tips and inspiration with others. Our mission is to show parents how to master travel with kids, while keeping your Saturday-night selves. We call it "Family travel...with a twist".


  1. Pingback: Big Bear Shores RV Resort |

  2. Pingback: RVing with Kids |

  3. Wow! That looks like a lot of fun. I love how everyone decorates their RV sites for the festivities, and the chili cook off sounds really cool.

  4. Seems like you all had a blast for the 4th July festivities! I bet the fireworks were spectacular 🙂

    • We did and the fireworks over the lake are awesome. Many people like to take their boat out for the show. I bet that is a great view.

  5. This seems like a really fun outing to celebrate the day with your family.
    Your kids are too lovely 🙂

    • Aw thank you. Yes, Big Bear is fun in general, but one of my places to celebrate the 4th.

  6. I am sure you had a great time with the family. I can see the kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

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