This lovely thoroughfare, located just two hours from Los Angeles, leads you through a four-season wonderland for skiers and wildlife watchers.
Two museums offer a peaceful—and interesting—interlude in this Inland Empire City. The San Bernardino County Museum offers a look at the area’s past, with exhibits of Native American crafts, and displays of mining equipment, lumber wagons, and a steam locomotive that helped build the Inland Empire. The museum also commemorates the area’s citrus heritage and celebrates its natural environment with desert gardens and The Exploration Station, a gallery with live animals.
At Cal State University San Bernardino, the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art spans the millennia. It boasts more than 500 artifacts tracing 4,000 years of Egyptian history, as well impressive collections of ancient Mediterranean ceramics and contemporary art.
In the nearly mile-high mountain town of Lake Arrowhead you can gaze out on the azure waters from your own private soaking tub at the Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa. Rustic and elegant, the resort puts you in the heart of the village and near such restaurants as the Lakefront Tap Room Bar and Kitchen, which, in addition to providing fantastic lake views, keeps a big assortment of California craft beers on tap. The sausage selection spans the globe, from Irish bangers to traditional Chicago dogs with all of the fixings, though plenty of regulars go for the fish and chips. Steps away, you can get out on the water during narrated tours aboard the Lake Arrowhead Queen, a paddlewheeler that cruises past the lake’s beautiful waterfront homes.
Score a room that looks out on the azure waters from your own private soaking tub at the rustic and elegant Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa.
Whether you’re into skiing, snowboarding, or mountain biking, it’s all about the gravity at the Big Bear Mountain Resort, home to the twin hills of Snow Summit and Bear Mountain. The lifts climb to 8,200 feet at Snow Summit while Bear Mountain is a haven for snowboarders, thanks to Southern California’s only halfpipes. Finish your day with some top-of-the-world dining at the Himalayan Restaurant, which serves authentic Indian and Nepalese cuisine, including such traditional dishes as a garlic chicken sekuwa.
Cross-country skiers can explore 13 miles of groomed trails through the snowy woods. In summer, Rim Nordic morphs into a mountain bike park, with plenty of single-track.
Although it’s best known for skiing and snowboarding, you don’t have to be a downhill daredevil to enjoy Big Bear Lake. To truly appreciate the four seasons of the San Bernardino Mountains, join a tour with the Big Bear Discovery Center, where outings range from snowshoe adventures and bald eagle outings in winter to guided summer canoe paddles. Take a naturalist-guided walk to learn about local history, plants, and wildlife of the San Bernardino National Forest, or pick up hiking and biking maps and Adventure Passes to explore on your own.