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A boy smells a sage plant along a hiking trail

Sensory Friendly Big Bear

Posted: 07/14/22

Big Bear Lake is first and foremost an activity driven community with endless opportunities for play. For families on the spectrum, playtime in a welcoming environment with activities that cater to the senses are a must. Keep reading for our best picks for sensory friendly Big Bear!

A boy smells a sage plant along a hiking trail

Hit the Trails

Big Bear trails get you in the middle of nature at its best. These family-oriented trails offer easy and/or paved terrain with opportunities to explore plants, boulders, and natural sounds. See other trails here.

  • Alpine Pedal Path
  • Happy Hills Trail
  • Rathbun Creek
  • Discovery Center loop
  • Woodland Interpretive Trail - be sure to pick up the companion brochure at the Big Bear Lake Visitor Center

Explore the Shoreline

The majority of Big Bear Lake shoreline on the North Shore is open to the public and many areas are sanded. A day exploring the sights and sounds of our 'beaches' may be just the ticket on your getaway. Ducks, ground squirrels, and other wildlife are constantly on the move near the water. Be cautious when kids are playing in or near the water as ingesting lake water can become unsafe. Inspect the area to be sure the water is clear of moss or algae.

Kids playing a beach

Play it up at the Park

Public parks across the valley include jungle-gyms and open grass areas. Some offer picnic tables and all offer amazing views of the lake or surrounding mountain range.

  • Boulder Bay Park - benches and pier
  • Rotary Park - jungle gym
  • Veteran's Park - benches
  • Meadow Park - jungle gym, picnic tables
  • Ski Beach - jungle gym and pier
  • Sugarloaf Park - jungle gym

Interactive Play/Activities

Many recreation businesses offer interactive activities that may be perfect for your kiddo on the spectrum. Be sure to call ahead to understand what to expect and determine if it's a good fit for your family.