Big Bear Lake is a low-key, family-friendly mountain resort (elevation 6750ft) about 110 miles northeast of LA. Snowy winters lure scores of ski bunnies and boarders to its two mountains, while summer brings hikers, mountain bikers and watersports enthusiasts wishing to escape the stifling heat down in the basin. Even getting here via the spectacular, curvy, panorama-filled Rim of the World Scenic Byway (Hwy 18) is a treat.
The purchase of Big Bear's two mountains – Snow Summit and Bear Mountain – by the owners of Mammoth Mountain ski resort in the Eastern Sierra has injected the town not only with money but also with new energy. The vibe has especially picked up in the downtown area, the Village, where upscale bars, restaurants and shops have opened.