A family sleds in the snow

Big Bear Offers Fun & Affordable Winter Activities

Posted: 12/27/13 | By Tina Hauer

During the winter months when visitors think of Big Bear, skiing or snowboarding comes to mind as the popular or only winter activity. I am back this season to give you more ways to make the most of your next winter trip with a variety of fun and affordable winter activities to enjoy in Big Bear!

Big Bear Snowshoeing

If you are looking to get in touch with nature, then snowshoeing is a great winter activity for couples or the entire family! There are many marked off forest trails to peak your interest or you can make your own route in your own backyard. Snowshoeing provides great exercise and allows you to see nature and the backcountry without cross-country skis during the winter months. You can rent snowshoes at Goldsmith's Boardhouse & Ski Rentals or Bear Valley Bikes. Stop in and ask for Fred at Goldsmiths Boardshop and he can point out the best trails. Snowshoeing is weather dependent, so if you see snow in town more than likely there is enough to go snowshoeing.

Tubing or sledding is what winter memories are made of! Who doesn't remember growing up and making your own mini tubing hill that takes just as long to climb back up as it does to build it? Gone are those days because Big Bear offers tubing, tobogganing and sledding….with people movers! At Big Bear Snow Play and the Alpine Slide a people mover takes you, your kids and their tubes back to the top of the runs; a parent’s dream! If the kids are under 6, they are free but for only $30 you can join in on the fun or send your kids out for a day of tubing fun. 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, Big Bear Kmart or Walgreens to name a few. 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.

Snowball fights and 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; after all, it is the mountains and there is always enough snow to make a snowball! Just make sure to purchase an Adventure Pass if you decide to pull off the road and park on US Forest Service property. 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 use.

Snowboarding at Bear Mountain

For many visiting Big Bear, snowboarding and skiing is still a must. There are affordable ways to still enjoy time on the slopes. Going midweek offers the best deals on lift tickets and lodging, if needed. Big Bear offers lift and lodging packages for your entire group starting at $89 per person based on double occupancy. Take a "snow" day and bring the kids up when the lines are shorter and they are free! If you have a winter birthday, come skiing or snowboarding because you are FREE! Bring in a valid I.D. on your actual birthday and you are FREE to ride or ski, what better way to celebrate?

If you do buy an all-day lift ticket and decide to ride only in the morning when the snow is at it’s prime, turn in your all-day lift ticket at any ticket window at Snow Summit or Bear Mountain by 1 p.m. and receive a credit voucher up to $15 ($19 on holiday periods and peak weekends) towards another day! Riding or skiing in the morning will leave you some extra time to enjoy more of Big Bear!

Adults and kids love to walk the Village! 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 those take warmth in the quaint boutiques and shops. The dining options in the Village provide enough variety to make everyone in your party happy; from Nepalese, Thai, American and Pizza just to name a few! If it snows, no problem! The heated sidewalks allow shoppers and diners to continue doing what they do best.

Big Bear Discovery Center

If you want to learn more about the forest then head over to the Big Bear Discovery Center, located on the north side of Big Bear Lake in 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 national forest while increasing your enjoyment and knowledge of California’s most recreated 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 and forest preservation. The Discovery Center also has many classes such as storytime, animal tracking, FREE Nature Walks and Eagle Tours 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.

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 ages 2 and under; and goes to the care of the animals and operation of the Big Bear Alpine Zoo.

Live Concerts at the Cave in Big Bear

If you want to party at night, there is a variety of affordable nightlife. Murrays 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.

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.


(View Updated Affordable Winter Fun 2015/2016 Version Here...)