Big Bear, California, Destination, Family

Why We Go to Big Bear Lake Every Year

Alpine Slide at Big Bear

We’ve made it a tradition to visit Big Bear Lake, California every year in December. It’s close to home but it’s light year’s away from our every day life. We moved to southern California to be close to the beach and live in the sunshine. It’s better than we ever imagined possible, but there are certain times of the year that we miss a few things from eastern Canada. The snow is on the top of that list; not everything that comes with it like shoveling, blizzards, bone-chilling temperatures and icy roads but the crisp air after a snowfall, sledding, the need for a hot chocolate around a fireplace, skating and watching the miracle of snowflakes falling to the ground. So every year, we plan a weekend getaway in Big Bear Lake to get our fill of winter and allow Athena all the joys that come with it.
Noon Lodge Big Bear CA

This year, we rented a cabin on the lake. I found the newly reopened Noon Lodge at Mallard Bay and it was the ideal blend of rustic charm with village access. It’s only a little over a mile to Big Bear’s village center yet it’s situated on a lake with fireplaces indoors and out. There are tons of cabin options in Big Bear but Noon Lodge is newly renovated and the property has cozy fireplaces to experience the falling snow from outside. It was exactly what we needed.
Noon Lodge at Mallard Lake, Big Bear

When we arrived, Darren lit the fire in our cabin and we sat around it with hot chocolate and marshmallows while looking out at the freshly fallen snow. I felt like I was in a Christmas movie. I never realized how much I missed seeing the flakes falling to the ground. We had to wear socks and put our feet close to the fire to warm up but it was everything I imagined for my family during the holidays. We snuggled up together and watched the miracle of snow.
Sledding at Alpine Slide, Big Bear

Even though we were only there for the weekend, we made time for the best family-friendly weekend activities in Big Bear – sledding and snowman building at Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain and skating at the Funplex. We considered Athena’s first ski or snowboarding lesson but decided to wait until next year. Instead, we hit up Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain and spent the day sliding down groomed hills in big, black tubes, rushing down the Alpine slid and building snowman along the side of the hill. It was Athena’s first snowman so we made sure to find twigs for arms and made do with rocks for eyes and buttons. We opted for the fast run on the Alpine slide this year and she yelled with delight the entire way down. I was grateful for the lift on the sledding hill since we must have gone down about 40 times. We never would have been able to have such a fun day without a ride to the top. The daytime hours are from 10 am until 4 pm and we utilized every minute of the day.
Sledding at Alpine Slide, Big Bear

On Sunday, we enjoyed hours of entertainment at Funplex. With laser tag, mini golf, ice skating, arcade games and a restaurant, we were there for over three hours and wanted to stay longer. Although it’s not real ice, we still got to lace up skates and practice our gliding skills. Without the cold ice, falling is less of a hassle and we didn’t need to bundle up. I would like for Athena to experience the joys of skating outdoors on a pond or lake, but that will have to wait until next year. An actual round of mini golf is a little above our skill level, but we each had a club and our own ball and we played around, making up pretend games and taking shots on our own. Darren and I both think it’s important to introduce Athena to as many sports as possible. We don’t make it competitive but holding the club and hitting the ball increases her hand-eye coordination. When it was time to leave, we didn’t even make it out of the parking lot before Athena fell asleep.

Big Bear Lake, Big Bear, California

Growing up in Nova Scotia, I had plenty of snow to play in and tons of opportunity for sledding and skating. I want Athena to experience all of those things as well. Big Bear is the best location that’s close to home and brings a little bit of my childhood home to California.

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19 thoughts on “Why We Go to Big Bear Lake Every Year

  1. Amy says:

    You are showing your daughter so much. I hope she realizes how blessed she is.

    You’re doing great, Lesley

  2. Amy says:

    You are showing your daughter so much. I hope she realizes how blessed she is.

    You’re doing great, Lesley

  3. Laura says:

    Aw. I would totally go there too as a winter tradition if I lived there. We don’t get as much sun and warm as you do in California this time of year, but it would still be nice to get away to where there is snow for a weekend. You get to do the ice skating and the skiing and the snuggling up by the fire. It should be a tradition!

  4. Laura says:

    Aw. I would totally go there too as a winter tradition if I lived there. We don’t get as much sun and warm as you do in California this time of year, but it would still be nice to get away to where there is snow for a weekend. You get to do the ice skating and the skiing and the snuggling up by the fire. It should be a tradition!

  5. I lived in California for 8 years and I’ve never been to Big Bear! Ughh. I wish I had though. The place you guys stayed at is so charming! I love the rustic touches!

  6. I lived in California for 8 years and I’ve never been to Big Bear! Ughh. I wish I had though. The place you guys stayed at is so charming! I love the rustic touches!

  7. The cabin is gorgeous! What a fun family activity plus something she can do the rest of her life. My daughters and I used to go to the ski resorts and one snowboarded and one skied so they were never together much, plus their friends were there so they were all busy with them but at her young age, you get her all to yourself. Priceless. 😉

  8. Maya says:

    There is nothing better then renting a cabin in nature and spend time with your family. I understand why you had so much fun. In all honesty, I wouldn’t want to be in Nova Scotia during Christmas. Although I love snow, but on east coast you get so much, you might end up stuck at home.

  9. Maya says:

    There is nothing better then renting a cabin in nature and spend time with your family. I understand why you had so much fun. In all honesty, I wouldn’t want to be in Nova Scotia during Christmas. Although I love snow, but on east coast you get so much, you might end up stuck at home.

  10. Athena looks so happy! And you have a pretty big smile too! Going down that hill must be so much fun. It’s so great that you found a place that’s close to home and that can bring back so many childhood memories. 🙂

  11. Athena looks so happy! And you have a pretty big smile too! Going down that hill must be so much fun. It’s so great that you found a place that’s close to home and that can bring back so many childhood memories. 🙂

  12. Rob says:

    Sounds like a wonderful place to spend a few weeks to enjoy some mild winter weather. We missed snow last year, as we spent most of the winter in Panama, this year we were looking forward to it however after a couple of weeks of sub zero (Celsius) temps I am ready to skip the snow.

  13. Rob says:

    Sounds like a wonderful place to spend a few weeks to enjoy some mild winter weather. We missed snow last year, as we spent most of the winter in Panama, this year we were looking forward to it however after a couple of weeks of sub zero (Celsius) temps I am ready to skip the snow.

  14. Mar says:

    That’s such a an awesome place! I am not in Germany and though it is winter, no snow to be seen! I am sad cause I never get to see it in Singapore, but we are driving to the Alps today so hopefully some snow there – I saw it from the plane!

  15. Mar says:

    That’s such a an awesome place! I am not in Germany and though it is winter, no snow to be seen! I am sad cause I never get to see it in Singapore, but we are driving to the Alps today so hopefully some snow there – I saw it from the plane!

  16. I love going to Big Bear to see the snow!! It’s wonderful! I always dreamed about renting a cabin and having hot chocolate and a “white Christmas” kind of like you did with Athena ^_^ I haven’t yet, but now I have a place in mind when the time comes!!

  17. I love going to Big Bear to see the snow!! It’s wonderful! I always dreamed about renting a cabin and having hot chocolate and a “white Christmas” kind of like you did with Athena ^_^ I haven’t yet, but now I have a place in mind when the time comes!!

  18. Alli says:

    That lodge looks amazing! So cozy and rustic! Athena is so sweet 🙂 Looking at these photos makes me (dare I say it) crave for snow! Here in TO we haven’t had ANY so far!!!

  19. Alli says:

    That lodge looks amazing! So cozy and rustic! Athena is so sweet 🙂 Looking at these photos makes me (dare I say it) crave for snow! Here in TO we haven’t had ANY so far!!!

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