Big Adventures at Big Bear Lake

Being in a military family gives me limited opportunities to go on family vacations, which made me thankful for the recent trip I got to take with my mom, dad and two dogs to Big Bear Lake.

Most of the time when I hear someone talking about Big Bear, it refers to their winter season where skiing and snowboarding are the main attractions. However their summers are just as, if not more important because the amount of leisure that they offer near and around their lake is extraordinary.

Beginning on Saturday the 12th, a dizzying, windy trip up several thousand feet in elevation was taken to arrive in Big Bear Lake. We had rented out a large two-story cabin that multiple special amenities.  This included pool and pingpong table, and an outdoor hot tub.

It’s not usual for a cabin room to have a comedic element to it, but I found one in mine. My room had a bear skin display, which you could stroke your hand through. It gave me an instant memory of the “furry walls” scene from the movie “Get Him to the Greek.”

After we settled in, we took the dogs to one of the lake shores within walking distance from our cabin. I was perplexed at how much they both enjoyed being in the water since they both hate getting baths each month at home.

Sunday is where the core activities began. With sunny weather and a marina one block away, it was the perfect day to be on the lake. I decided to rent a kayak. This was refreshing for two reasons. One, I hadn’t gone kayaking in over four years and two, I often use walking as an excuse for saying that I exercised during the day. While kayaking, I got a great view of the parts of the lake, from the boats to the extravagant cabins sitting just offshore.

However when I thought that my time on the kayak was done, dad surprised me, asking if I wanted to take over his stand-up paddleboard for the final twenty minutes. After taking a few minutes to get the proper balance down, I managed to make my way past the wake area with no problems. That was a huge relief.

As if kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding weren’t good enough, my ultimate highlight on the lake came on Tuesday. This was when I got my first experience riding a jet ski. This childhood dream became a reality later that afternoon when the adrenaline pumped through my veins.

Courtesy of Tyler Christian

Courtesy of Tyler Christian

Once out on the lake, I was able to crank the throttle up to a maximum speed of 45 miles per hour. I raced along the water hitting bumps in the lake’s waves in huge thuds. There were times where my whole body except for my hands deathly gripping the handlebars, were up in the air and off the seat from how hard the impacts were. If I was like Travis Pastrana and had no fear in what I was doing, I would have tried to do quick tricks that freestyle motocross riders pull off, but alas I’m not that big of a risk-taker.

Besides the speed factor, the other notable outcome from this ride was conducting a tour of the entire lake. It was pleasant being able to see all the cabins offshore. In addition to passing the multitude of boats to the left and right where I was riding, it was even better when some people on the boats  would wave at both me and other jet skiers on the lake.

Although the lake activities are the best things to do at Big Bear Lake, The Village is also a great place to visit. This street features a variety of diverse restaurants and souvenir shops selling clever shirt designs that are satirical of the Big Bear Lake name and environment. For me, its places like these that are special and increasingly rare to come by. Sometimes I need a break from the usual suburb and downtown settings. I crave to see rustic and “out of time” places similar to The Village. It’s oddly rewarding to see how calm and nostalgic it is.

If you ever want to vacation to Big Bear Lake, I’d urge you to do it soon, and it’s not because of all the fun activities you can do both on and off the lake. During a drive I took along the west side of the lake, I noticed multiple areas that had transformed into dried-up marsh. Lakes across the United States have been facing the growing problem of their water levels lowering due to increasing temperature changes, which is why these types of vacation spots could start to wane in the future.

Ultimately if you have a free weekend this summer and also live within two hours of proximity, Big Bear Lake is a fantastic place to travel to. Whether or not you’re an aficionado of surface water sports, it’s a perfect destination for family and or friends to spend time at.