A boy in a red jacket runs through the grass near Big Bear Lake.

Adventures With the Kiddos!

Posted: 05/03/23 | By Meg Kee

When you've got kids in tow, Big Bear is the place to be!

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 for spring grew immensely. Living in Big Bear, after a chilly winter, spring feels like someone hit the defrost button and it’s time to play!

One thing I love about these 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. Everything is new again and as the days get longer, the desire to stay outside grows and there's simply no reason to be inside. Right now, we are reaching the tail end of winter and planning spring activities. I am a strong advocate of raising 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 in Big Bear Lake.

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.

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 and 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!

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! Juniper Point is my personal favorite spot 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. 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 gives you the chance to tick off each activity on this list and build memories 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. Always pack a little carry-out trash bag with you wherever you go.

Meg Kee is a Big Bear Lake local, a mother, avid hiker, rock climbing guide, trail host volunteer, certified Wilderness First Responder and founder of @mountaingirls outdoor community.