Three hikers walk a trail

Top 10 Affordable or Free Vacation Ideas for this Autumn

Posted: 09/04/19 | By Big Bear Lake

We put together a list of the top affordable or free vacation ideas to help you plan your next vacation.

Big Bear is Southern California's only four season resort offering a true autumn getaway with plenty of activities to enjoy. Big Bear offers a unique vacation that is also very affordable! We've a list of our favorite free and/or low cost things to do this autumn season in Big Bear.

Top 10 Affordable or Free Vacation Ideas for this Autumn

  1. See Fall Colors
  2. Hook a number of different fish from the lake: Big Bear Lake is one of the top rated fishing spots in all of Southern California. Along with rainbow trout and large and small-mouth bass, you will also find catfish, crappie, and blue gill. Fishermen of all types will find something to their liking in the pristine waters of the lake. Grab a fishing license, tackle, bait and a chair and you can fish from the shoreline such as on the Stanfield Cutoff bridge or Grout Bay.
  3. Visit the Big Bear Alpine Zoo: The Big Bear Alpine Zoo is a rehabilitation facility offering injured, orphaned and imprinted wild animals a safe haven to heal or live if they are unable to survive on their own. Visitors are able to see a variety of alpine wildlife, such as snow leopards, bald eagles, wolves, grizzly bears, bobcats and even an arctic fox! Tickets are $12 for adults and $9 for seniors and children between the ages of 3 and 10. Children under 3 are free!
    1. Join the Zoo's Flashlight Safaris every Friday and Saturday night in October! You will follow a pair of expert guides through the zoo with your flashlight (be sure to bring your own) and observe the nocturnal habits of the zoo's wild residents. Cost is included with regular admission. Tours begin at 6:30 PM.
  4. Oktoberfest: Every weekend through November 2nd, the Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest offers great times and fun for everyone in your group! Enjoy live music by four different bands shipped strait from Germany, all you can eat beer and brats, stein holding and log sawing contests, kids activities, and more. Oktoberfest has reduced pricing on Sundays where adult admission is $12, seniors $9, and children (ages 3-12) are FREE! The festival closes on Saturday, November 2nd.
  5. Scavenger Hunt: The Amazing Scavenger Hunt is affordable way to learn about the history of Big Bear and go sightseeing at the same time during this 1-1.5 hour walking tour of The Village and beyond with this smart phone guided scavenger hunt. You'll solve clues and complete challenges while learning local history and fun facts.
  6. Visit and feed local animals: At the Baldwin Lake Stables and petting zoo, you can get up close and personal with friendly and local 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 at The Big Bear Discovery Center: The Big Bear Discovery Center's free 30-minute Nature Walks are on Saturdays at 1pm and 2 pm and Sundays at 11 am and 12 noon. The 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. Kayaking on Big Bear Lake: Kayaking in many of the bay areas on Big Bear Lake is an enjoyable way to experience the beauty of nature and serenity spring. Kayak rentals at many of Big Bear's Marinas start at approximately $20, and a convenient way to get a kayak in the water without having to hauling equipment from a rental shop.
  9. Enjoy glow bowling and miniature golf: Glow bowling at the Bowling Barn starts at 8 p.m. and has great music to go with it. Looking for something to do until then? Just head across the street to the Big Bear Funplex, where you and your family or friends can play a quick game of mini-golf or even LazerTag! The games are all very affordable, typically below $10 per person.
  10. Go for a photo hike: Why experience the beautiful views that can be found along any of Big Bear's hiking trails only once? By taking a photography hike through the woodlands and numerous trails of the Valley, you can preserve the experience and beauty of Big Bear for years. Be sure to pick up your Adventure Pass, $5 per day (if paying with cash), at the Big Bear's Visitors Center.

Related Partners