Regardless of the season or whether your planned activities focus on the lake or on the nearby mountains, your Big Bear lodging alternatives include quite a range and variety — from full-service hotels to rustic cabins, B&Bs, luxury condos and RV/camping parks. All you need to do is choose the type of accommodation you want and the general area.
Let’s look at the popular types first:
Big Bear Hotels
Hotels, of course, come in many different flavors — from 4-star resorts (Bear Creek Resort and Snow Lake Lodge, for example) to a basic 1-star Motel 6.
Most hotels in Big Bear are on or near Big Bear Boulevard or Lakeview Drive as it travels along the south shore of the lake. You can find a Big Bear hotel room with a lake view, and there are other hotels in Big Bear that will locate you near shops and other amenities or, optionally, close to the Big Bear skiing resorts (Bear Mountain and Snow Summit).
Unlike the three predictable national-chain hotels represented in the Big Bear Lake area (Best Western, Knights Inn and Motel 6), most hotels in Big Bear are independent, and they reflect the 19th century heritage of this former mining community. They typically embrace “lodge” and “cabin” ambiances with exposed wood, fireplaces and rustic furnishings, even if they are resort-class hotels. The listings you see shared in this article often present special offers from some of the best getaway hotels in the Big Bear area. All of them will give you access to the area’s scenic wonders and clean, fresh air.
Big Bear Motels
The term “motel” was invented to distinguish the “motor hotel” located and designed for automobile access from the traditional downtown “hotel,” but Big Bear’s layout — with one major thoroughfare requiring car-centered transportation — moots the distinction. All hotels and motels accommodate cars. All have rooms and basic amenities. Some have on-site dining, and some are within walking distance to marinas, restaurants, shops, parks or ski areas. For all intents and purposes, Big Bear motels are included with the “Big Bear Hotels” and “Big Bear Cabins” highlighted in this article.
Big Bear Cabins
Because Big Bear Lake is only two hours away from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, it attracts people wanting to escape to a simpler time. A cabin in Big Bear can provide the perfect balm to soothe the soul: alpine decorations, stunning lake and mountain vistas, crisp air and the vintage charm of cabin living. Check out our separate article on Big Bear Cabins for rent to see our picks — some with Jacuzzis and renovated facilities, others offering fantasy themes (e.g., Cleopatra’s Palace and Sherwood Forest) and many with more conventional and sometimes more modest amenities.
As you look for a Big Bear cabin, keep in mind that a grouping of cabins might be called a “resort” or “lodge” or even “lakefront suites” or “private homes” for rent. The cabin motif is dominant here, so expect to find cabins in Big Bear categorized in a variety of ways.
Camping and RV Parks
There are two RV Parks in Big Bear: Holloway’s Marina and RV Park on the south shore and San Bernardino Serrano Campground on the north shore. The latter is definitely the cleaner, prettier place and, in our opinion, the only one you should consider.
The Pacific Crest Trail comes within three miles of Big Bear, so if it’s long-trek hiking you are after, this is the place. And, the good news is you don’t necessarily have to “sleep under the stars” to enjoy it. There’s a full range of Big Bear lodging options at which to “bed down” when your day is finished.
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