Kids running on a beach

Affordable & Free Summer Family Activities

Posted: 05/10/19

Discover the top affordable and free summer vacation ideas to help you plan your next family trip!

Big Bear is an affordable family destination in Southern California, and is the only four season resort offering a variety of activities during the summer season. See our most affordable and free activities!

Top 10 Affordable or Free Summer Family Vacation Ideas

  1. Stargazing: Throughout the year, Big Bear is the perfect spot for stargazing in Southern California, and it's FREE! Find out best stargazing spots and tips to see nature's beautiful night backdrop.
  2. Fishing: Big Bear Lake offers one of the top rated freshwater fishing spots in Southern California. Along with rainbow trout and smallmouth and largemouth bass, you will also find catfish, crappie, blue gill and sunfish. Go online for a fishing license ($15 per day), and stop by one of our local tackle shops to gear up.
  3. Big Bear Alpine Zoo: The Big Bear Alpine Zoo is a rehabilitation facility offering injured, orphaned and imprinted wild animals a safe haven; temporarily while they heal or permanently if they are unable to survive on their own. Visitors are able to see a variety of alpine wildlife such as bald eagles, wolves, black bears, bobcats and even an arctic fox!
  4. Farmers Market: Every Tuesday from 8 am - 1:30 pm, April until October, the Farmer's Market at the Big Bear Convention Center gives everyone a chance to buy produce, works of art, antiques and other delicious food from a variety of artisans. Be sure to bring cash as most vendors do not accept credit cards.
  5. Antique Car Show: Big Bear's popular Antique Car Club Fun Run is free to the public! The Fun Run features 500+ cars - roadsters, classics, antiques and hot rods, lining the streets of Big Bear Village. See our Annual Events to search this and other events.
  6. Farm Life: At the Baldwin Lake Stables and petting zoo, you can get up close and personal with friendly farm animals and learn about them first hand while entertaining your little ones for very little money. Just pay for the feed and you're set!
  7. Free Nature Walks: The Big Bear Discovery Center's free Nature Walks are Saturdays and Sundays. Walks provide visitors an opportunity to learn about the local plant life, wildlife and interesting historical facts about Big Bear. This activity is ideal for families and individuals who want to gain a greater appreciation of the San Bernardino Mountains. Nature walks are not strenuous and designed for all hiking skill levels.
  8. Paddle Sports: Kayaking, canoeing, and SUPing are an enjoyable way to experience the beauty of nature of Big Bear Lake. Kayak rentals at many marinas start at approximately $20.
  9. Glow Bowling: Glow bowling at the Bowling Barn starts at 8 p.m. and has great music to go with it!
  10. Hiking & Biking: Hiking and mountain biking are certainly a must when visiting Big Bear! Trails are free to use but you will need an Adventure Pass to park in trail head parking lots. Be sure to pick one up ($5 per day) at the Big Bear's Visitors Center.

This list is just a small selection of activities that are appropriate for almost all ages. For further assistance planning your vacation in Big Bear, simply call 800-424-4232 and one of our knowledgeable vacation specialists can be of assistance!

Related Partners