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Ultimate Guide to Big Bear with Kids

Escaping to the mountains is exactly that, an escape. The surrounding nature, the crisp fresh air and the simplistic way of life instantly melts way the any pent-up stress. Whether it’s a romantic weekend with that special someone or an action-packed adventure with the family, Big Bear has all the ingredients for a fantastic getaway. Here is my guide to Big Bear with kids.

Big Bear with kids
Our family at Big Bear Lake

Money Saving Tip

The great thing about traveling to rustic locations is the ability to have a great vacation while staying on a budget.

Where to Stay in Big Bear Lake

Whether you choose to stay in a cabin, a resort or rough it camping, there are always great deals and family-friendly to be found.

 Cabin rentals:

The price range varies depending on the owner, the size of cabin and the season rented, but you can find some really great specials. Usually when dealing with cabin rentals, owners are eager to have their cabin rented so they will offer incentives for guests such as free lift tickets. For someone like my husband, who loves to snowboard, this is the perfect type of enticement.

Big Bear cabin with baby in snow
Our cabin: Mama Bear


Hot Mama’s Picks:

I recommend renting a cabin through Big Bear Vacations because they are really great at accommodating guests’ needs. When renting from private owners you have to trust the pictures and descriptions that they provide and let’s be honest, sometimes the cabins aren’t always what you expect when you arrive. One year my family booked a cabin through Big Bear Vacations. We liked the cabin based on the pictures provided by the owner and they offered free lift tickets for the weekend, but when we got there it was a different story. Needless to say, I cried, literally. I was looking so forward to this getaway and the let down was crushing, but everything ended up just fine. My husband simply called Big Bear Vacations and told them the situation. Not only did we get to keep the free lift tickets, we were upgraded to a four-star cabin in a better location. No fuss. No muss. If you don’t go through a management company you might get stuck spending your weekend in a stinky 1970’s throw back.

Average cabin rental price: $400 for a weekend

Resorts and Resort Cabin:

Resorts are my personal way to travel. When I’m on vacation I like to just sit back and relax. Resorts offer a certain level of hospitality that I enjoy. When I’m staying in the mountains I do love the feeling of staying in the cabin, but do not like to risk private cabin conditions so I prefer resort cabins. I get the best of both worlds: resort like accommodations with a cabin vibe.

Hot Mama Picks:

I don’t know if it sentimental reasons or just the quaint atmosphere, but I love Golden Bear Cottages. As a kid my whole family would go up to Big Bear as a big group and rent out a few cabins in a row. It was like we created our own little mountain community made up of just my family. Not only am I filled with warm memories of Golden Bear, but the location is close to The Village and the grounds are very well maintained. There is even a playground and volleyball court for a little outdoor family fun. An average weekend costs around $400-460 which is the same as a private cabin, but some added comforts. Check prices and availability.

RV Resorts:

Okay I’m going to be honest here; I’m a little bit of a diva. I do not like to rough it. To me a vacation is not supposed to be work, it supposed to be an escape from stress. Although I do not camp, I will RV.

Hot Mama Picks:

Big Bear Shores RV Resort and Yacht Club: The best word to describe this RV resort is FABULOUS!! Located on the shores of Big Bear Lake, this RV resort is guarded and gated with a mountain lodge, marina, tennis courts, basketball courts and swimming pool. The best part, besides the breath-taking views of the lake, is that each lot is privately owned with beautifully maintained grounds. Cemented lots with built in BBQs and fireplaces make RVing a luxurious experience. This RV resort is definitely on the pricey side and obviously there are cheaper spots to camp, but like I said, I’m about comfort so it’s worth the extra costs. When RVing we save money by cooking a majority of our meals verse dining out. Read about more about it, HERE.

Average costs per night: $200 for lakefront and $80-$150 for interior

Big Bear rv resort playing football
Big Bear Shores RV Resort

Places to Eat in Big Bear Lake

What I love about mountain towns is that they really take their culinary skills seriously. There may not be a ton of restaurants, but some restaurants alone are worth a visit to Big Bear. Want to know where to eat while in Big Bear with kids? Find out below.


One of my favorites place to splurge on a great meal. A fine dining experience, the atmosphere is warm and the food is out of this world! Naturally, dinner is pricey, but lunch is not too bad. We loved it so much we once ate there for both lunch and dinner! Want to make your taste buds dance? I recommend the Wasabi Tilapia and the Peppercorn Martini. My mouth is water just talking about Peppercorns and I can’t wait to go back!

Big Bear peppercorn restaurant in snow

baby in restaurant big bear ca

El Jacalito:

Fun bar and a lovely patio, El Jacalito is where it’s at if you are looking for good food and a good time. The Albondigas soup is truly amazing! Pinch a few pennies and get there for happy hour. Every Monday through Thursday from 3-6 pm guests sip on well drinks, house wine, imported drafts and margaritas for $3, domestic draft for $2.50 and munch on a selection of appetizers for $5.

Big Bear family dining with kids

Where to Grab a Drink

Whether traveling with kids or not there is always a need for a drink! I am always on the look-out for a nice happy hour, because as much as I love my cocktails I also love to save money.

Big Bear Mountain Brewery:

First thing I love about Big Bear Mountain Brewery is that they brew their own beer. Second, the atmosphere is quaint like a little cabin home. Nothing better than drinking a local brew with the locals.

Home of the hangover:

We all know that drinking at home is way more cost-effective than drinking out, but what makes this liquor store totally awesome and deserving of a shout out is that they deliver!!

Big Bear brewery

Fun Things to do in Big Bear with Kids

There are plenty of fun activities to do in Big Bear with kids ranging from the relaxing to the adventurous. With nature all around the possibilities are endless. Taking a morning stroll along one of the many nature trails, or even just sitting by the lake with a hot cup of coffee, Big Bear has something for everyone and every budget. Here are some things to do in Big Bear with kids.

The Village:

Shopping, bars, restaurants, a movie theater and seasonal community activities all happen here in The Village.

Big Bear Village With Kids
The Village

Snow Summit:

Perfect for winter sports and they always offer lift and lodging packages.

It’s a Wrap

Winter, Spring, Fall or Summer. No matter the season, no matter your activity level and no matter your budget Big Bear with kids is the place to be! Plus all that fresh mountain air will do the kids some good and ensure some restful nights.

Have you ever been to Big Bear? Tell me about your trip.

What are your favorite mountain family activities?



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".

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