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The Village in winter

Affordable Winter Fun In Big Bear

Posted: 12/03/15 | By Tina Hauer

This winter season, we want to bring you more affordable tips than ever before to having fun in the wintertime and in the snow here in Big Bear Lake.

During the winter months when visitors think of a winter vacation in Southern California and beyond, the activities that come to mind are snow tubing and skiing or snowboarding as the popular winter contenders for favorite snow-time recreation. We want to share with you more affordable winter fun ideas to make your next vacation even more memorable!

This winter season, we want to bring you more affordable tips than ever before to having fun in the wintertime and in the snow here in Big Bear Lake - at 7,000 feet, you can't find more adventure!

Big Bear Snowshoeing

Big Bear Snowshoeing! If you are looking to get up close and personal with nature, then snowshoeing is a wonderful winter activity for couples, friends or the entire family! There are several off-the-beaten path forest trails to peak your interest or you can make your own route in your own backyard or downy a snowy trail. Snowshoeing provides exercise and allows you to see nature and the backcountry without paying for a life ticket! You can rent snowshoes at Goldsmith's Boardhouse & Ski Rentals (starting at $20) or Bear Valley Bikes. Stop in and ask for Fred at Goldsmiths Boardshop and he can point out the best trails and best maps for your new adventure. Please Note: Snowshoeing is weather dependent. Please call ahead to 1-800-424-4232 for more details concerning snow depth and trails.

Tubing and sledding down snowy hills in a mountainous landscape is what winter memories are all about! Big Bear offers tubing, tobogganing and sledding….with people movers! At Big Bear Snow Play and the Alpine Slide a people mover takes you, the kids and their tubes back to the top of the runs; a parent's dream! For $30 per person all day you can get your fill of playing in the snow! If the kids are under 6, they are free! If you are still looking for good old-fashioned tubing, bring your shovel from home and pick up some sleds at a local gas station or store. Sometimes, building your own sledding hill is just what the kids need to stay entertained while you stay inside to enjoy a cup of coffee by the fireplace. Just remember, the pay-n-play areas are free of potentially dangerous street traffic and have plenty of snow all winter long!Snowball fights and building forts are one of the best FREE activities for all ages! Snow is easy to find either on the side of the road, in your yard, or the parking lot in the Village; especially after a storm hits the valley! Just make sure to purchase an Adventure Pass if you decide to pull off the road and park on US Forest Service property (such as the Aspen Glen Picnic area). Adventure Passes are available at most gas stations and the Big Bear Visitors Center located in the Village and only costs $5 for an all-day pass. Just remember to look online for current snow conditions, and have yourself an all-out snow war!

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For many visiting Big Bear Lake, snowboarding and skiing is still a must - and for most people marks the first time they visit our community! There are affordable ways to still enjoy time up on the slopes no matter if you're a beginner or a pro! Going midweek offers the best deals on lift tickets and lodging, if needed. BigBear.com offers lift and lodging packages for your entire group starting at $99 per person based on double occupancy. Take a "snow" day and bring the kids up when the lines are shorter and less busy! Lodging in the valley can range from a small resort lodge to a private cabin with a personal spa - what better way to relax after spending a day on the slopes?

If you don't want to enjoy the slops from 8 AM to when they close, check out their rates on Snow Summit's website for a half day! With more time on your hands, you can check out The Big Bear Lake Village. Speaking of The Village, adults and kids love to walk, shop and dine downtown! Stop by Amangelas for a hot chocolate or the North Pole Fudge for homemade fudge or candied apples. The new fire pits attract those looking for a warm spot to sit outside and people watch while others browse the quaint boutiques and shops. The dining options in the Village are endless and provide enough variety to make everyone in your party happy; from Nepalese, Thai, American and Pizza! That's just the basics! They also offer Italian food AND Italian ice cream! If it snows, no problem! The heated sidewalks allow shoppers and diners to continue on with their fun-filled-day in Big Bear Lake.

If you want to learn more about the forest in wintertime then head over to the Big Bear Discovery Center, located on the North Shore of Big Bear Lake toward Fawnskin. The Discovery Center is co-operated by the Mountains Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service and provides hands on learning for all ages to make everyone a more responsible caretaker of the forest while increasing your enjoyment and knowledge of California's most visited forestland, the San Bernardino National Forest. The new Nature Discovery Zone, recommended for kids ages 2-7, allows kids and parents a hands on approach to learning about the forest, animals, enhance nature play and exploration as well as forest preservation. The Discovery Center also has many classes such as storytime, animal tracking, FREE Nature Walks on the weekends. Most of the classes are free with donations accepted or a minimal cost starting at $3. Visit their website for a full schedule and costs.

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The Big Bear Alpine Zoo is one of the only alpine animal rehabilitation facilities in the country that offers wild animals a safe place to heal or permanently stay if they are unable to make it in on their own. I love seeing the grizzly bears such as Hucklebeary, the famous 3 legged bear! The snow owls, bald eagles and foxes are just some of the other beautiful wild animals to see. Admission is only $12 per adult, $9 per child or senior citizen. Free to ages 2 and under; admission fees goes to the care of the animals and operation of the Big Bear Alpine Zoo. You're not bound to find any other zoo in California with a zoo situated among the snow at 7,000 feet!

If you want to party at night, there is a variety of affordable nightlife, including concerts and karoke! Murray's Saloon & Eatery is Big Bear's original 5 star hole in the wall with decent drink prices and free karaoke or live music. The Cave in the Village offers live concerts and entertainment on the weekends. I recommend stopping in one of the Village establishments like Club Bombay and enjoy one of their drink specials, especially if the kids are enjoying the skiing! It's time for somew YOU time in Big Bear Lake!

If you find yourself forgetting these fun, free and/or affordable winter activities and events, don’t fret. Stop in the Big Bear Visitors Center parking lot where there is access to 24 hour Free Wireless Internet and public restrooms. Yes, the free didn't stop at just the activities… now go visit Big Bear and enjoy everything it has to offer during your winter trip! Call in "sick"... don't worry, we won't tell!