A wintering bald eagle at Big Bear Lake
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See Bald Eagles

See Bald Eagles
Join a conservation effort in Big Bear Lake to help these regal birds

According to locals, people are often surprised when they come to Big Bear Lake and see bald eagles flying around. But the majestic birds of prey are a fairly common sight here during winter; the San Bernardino Mountains actually has the largest wintering population of bald eagles  in Southern California. To learn more about them, visit the Big Bear Discovery Center, in San Bernardino, or the Big Bear Alpine Zoo at Moonridge, which houses two rescued bald eagles, Alaska and Valentine. The zoo doubles as a rehabilitation facility that offers injured, orphaned, and human-imprinted wild animals a safe haven temporarily or permanently, on a per-case basis.

If you really like the idea of seeing eagles, consider joining the San Bernardino Winter Bald Eagle Count, an annual volunteer-supported effort that’s been held at Big Bear Lake and other San Bernardino locations since 1978. Volunteers are stationed at select vantage points in proximity to five lakes, for one-hour stints, over a period of four months, from December to March. No registration is needed; orientation is the morning of the day you’d like to participate. Then just show up at the designated location at the start time with a pair of binoculars and a way to keep track of time. You’ll be able to help out by recording bird sightings and any observations about the birds’ behavior, and be richer from the experience; see a bald eagle dive for fish in a snowy wonderland, and you’ll never forget it.

Insider tip: If participating in the Winter Bald Eagle Count, remember you’ll be standing still, outdoors, in winter weather. Be sure to dress appropriately.

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Southern California

Discover the Inland Empire

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54
December
Average (°F)
Dec - Feb
68°
High
39°
Low
Mar - May
80°
High
43°
Low
June - Aug
94°
High
55°
Low
Sept - Nov
91°
High
43°
Low

With its inviting destinations and uncrowded wilderness, this region feels like an insider’s secret amid the bustling excitement of Southern California.

Mount San Gorgonio—nicknamed “Old Grayback”—is the tallest peak in Southern California, at 11,502 feet/3,506 meters.

Surprising alpine scenery around Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear beckons, with pine-scented trails in summer and winter sports when the snow flies. If you’re into action, get the adrenaline rush of seeing the world’s best NASCAR racers compete at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. For a dreamier escape, float in a hot-air balloon above rolling Temecula Valley wine country. 

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Spotlight: Temecula Valley

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The Inland Empire area offers under-the-radar wine finds, locavore cuisine, and rolling scenery

A historic town square surrounded by vineyards and rolling hills, with mountains rising in the distance: The...

Santa and Mrs. Claus play with a dog at Skypark at Santa's Village
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SkyPark at Santa’s Village

Hike, bike, ride ziplines, and even meet Santa near Lake Arrowhead

Glide through a forest on a zipline, try out mountain bikes on well-maintained trails, or maybe even sit down for tea with Mrs. Claus. Located...

Riverside
John Bilous

Riverside

Visit this Inland Empire city to learn about its citrus past, stay in a world-famous inn, and tour gardens and galleries

Sixty miles east of Los Angeles, Riverside boasts a number of firsts, including...

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The bald eagle, America’s national bird, flies south from Alaska and Canada to spend winter in the San Bernardino Mountains.
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Glen Ivy Hot Springs Spa in Corona is home to Club Mud, California’s only therapeutic red clay mud bath.
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Kid-friendly fun zones, special kids' menus & amazing wine for the grownups

Sure wine country is romantic, but now it’s a surprisingly great destination for families too, with a growing number of vineyards trading in elegant tasting rooms for kid-friendly fun zones that...

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Temecula Valley is known for its variety, growing and producing over 50 different varietals of wine; from Cabernet Sauvignon to Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot to Mourvedre, Viognier to Chardonnay.
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Big Bear Lake

Escape to Southern California’s mountain wonderland

Just two hours from Los Angeles, the San Bernardino Mountains offer a cool, pine-scented escape. At an altitude of 6,759 feet (2,060 meters), Big...

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Route 66

Get your kicks on America’s legendary highway

Back in its glory days, Route 66 began in Chicago and ended along the bluffs overlooking the Pacific, a 2,451-mile journey through farmlands,...

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Auto Club Speedway

Rev up for racing action at this classic track

Whether you’re into NASCAR or drag racing, Auto Club Speedway delivers all kinds of thrills for fans of powerful cars and high-speed action. The 2...

Route 66

Route 66
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This idyllic oceanfront city, bounded by a 3.5-mi/5.6-km-long beach, feels more like a weekend getaway spot than a city just a few minutes west of downtown Los Angeles. Hang out on the city’s broad beach or lively Pacific...

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Protecting an astounding 1.6 million acres/647,497 hectares of pristine desert wilderness, the Mojave National Preserve lets you hear singing sand dunes, explore weirdly contorted Joshua trees, and hike up volcanic cinder cones. Take time to explore, and let the desert’s magic unfold.

Don...

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The first Balloon and Wine Festival was launched in the spring of 1984 and was a monumental success for a town of only 9,000 residents. More than 4,000 people attended, as 35 balloons were launched from the Rancho California Plaza.
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Inland Empire Outlets

Find bargains on brand names at major outlet centers

The only thing better than scoring the perfect outfit or designer shoes is to get them for a bargain price. That’s why shopping in the Inland...

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Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you're in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you'll find it here. Want to sample fresh produce? Try our farmers...

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Where to save on Gucci, Versace, and other big-name brands

With bucket-list magnets like Rodeo Drive and Union Square, California has undeniable star power when it comes to shopping. But all those fashion finds and gifts for everyone back home don’t have...

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Brian Stevens

San Bernardino Museums

Discover local and natural history and see art from around the world at area museums

Two local museums let you experience everything from the natural side of the Inland Empire to the treasures of ancient Egypt.

The San...

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Brian Stevens

Idyllwild

Nature and the arts find a perfect balance in this quaint mountain hamlet

Backed by mountain wilderness and filled with galleries, Idyllwild is a haven for both outdoor recreation and the arts.

Steep forested...

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San Bernardino National Forest is the largest urban forest in the United States.
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Alex Farnum

Lake Arrowhead

Escape to an exclusive mountain haven

The drive from San Bernardino to Lake Arrowhead is a quick one—just 23 miles/37 km. But as you twist and climb from the busy valley and into the...