A boy in a red jacket runs through the grass.

Adventures With the Kiddos!

Posted: 03/10/20 | By Meg Kee

Big Bear Lake is the outdoor adventure hub in Southern California! Look forward to taking the kiddos out to discover it all!

Winter was my favorite season before having a child: the calm of the cold and fast paced sports like snowboarding and hiking in the snow. But time changes everything, not just the seasons. After having my son, my love of spring grew immensely. Living in the mountains of Big Bear, after a chilly winter, it’s like someone hits the defrost button and it’s time to play!

One thing I absolutely love about these glorious Southern California mountains is that each season is the perfect length. The weather changes as soon as you’re ready for it. Spring in Big Bear is the best season to really get a jump on exploring. The weather is almost too perfect, being in the 70s most days with blue skies and fresh air. Everything is new again and as the days get longer, the desire to stay outside grows and we simply have no reason to be inside the house. Right now, we are reaching the tail end of winter and we're already planning our spring activities. I am a strong advocate of raising our kids in nature and want to share with you a list of our favorite outdoor spring activities.

A mother and son pose for a photo during a hike.

Picnic - I know this seems cliché, but not a lot of people actually take the time to do a real picnic anymore. Pack up a blanket, a backpack, a cooler filled with food, some binoculars, a handful of small toys, maybe a mini speaker for music, and head out to the local parks! The grassy beachfront area of Ski Beach/Meadow Park happens to be one of our favorite spots to do this. The kids won’t get bored with the park nearby and there are multiple play zones. The lake is right there, offering an area to take a short hike, feed the ducks and simply enjoy the beautiful mountain views.

Hiking - This activity is my absolute favorite thing to do with my son! The forest is Mother Nature’s playground and allows the imagination to run wild. Pick up a trail map at the Visitors Center on your way into town. You will find endless hikes all over the place. Don’t worry if the description says the hike is long - it’s not about accomplishing a start to finish goal. Once entering the woods, you will find towering rocks, trees, and wildlife - take your time. Pack a magnifying glass, note book for drawing what you find, bring a little pack with some toys to sit and play. We love creating treasure hunts where you can find the purple flower, heart shaped rock, ants, pinecones, etc. The trails are always pure adventure! My son loves to pretend the rocks are his castles and he is a king, we make wands from sticks and play magic.

Lakeside Activities - The lake days are our ALL DAY adventures! When heading lakeside I prepare to stay the entire day. Packing layers of clothing, blankets/towels, meals, lots of water, toys, a good book and sunscreen. If you have an umbrella or sun tent, bring it! This is the perfect way to relax and watch the kiddos play. Juniper Point or Trout Alley are my personal favorite spots to hang. Go fishing (be sure to pick up a day license beforehand in town at Big Bear Sporting Goods or other places), make sand castles, splash in the water and soak in the majestic mountain views. I think we spend more time doing this than any other activity.

Camping - Camping also ranks high on my favorite things to do with my son! This is the most impressionable and exciting thing we do together. The camping stories are never forgotten and my son can go on and on about how much fun this is for him. Pack your tent, sleeping bags, food, toys, books and flashlights - whatever you forget, town is not far away. The best spots to stay are Serrano Campground (reservations only) near the lake, Holcomb Valley Campground (first come first serve) in the forest and Hanna Flat Campground.

Staying in Big Bear multiple days in a row gives you the chance to tick off each activity on this list and it's something the kids will never forget! During your time here in the mountains, don’t forget to Leave No Trace and take care of our wilderness. It is because of your care of wildlife that we are all able to enjoy these activities together and share these special moments with our kids. Always pack a little carry-out trash bag with you wherever you go. It’s never a bad moment to create a fun little treasure hunt/trash pick up game. Happy trails out there!!”

Meg Kee (35) a Southern California native, has lived in Big Bear Lake over twelve years. She is a mother, avid hiker, rock climbing guide, trail host volunteer, certified Wilderness First Responder and founder of @mountaingirls outdoor community.