Visitor Info & FAQs

Get answers to FAQs and information on seasonal safety measures.

Visitor FAQs

Where is Big Bear?

Big Bear is a close drive for most Southern California residents. From Los Angeles and San Diego it's about a 2 to 3-hour drive, and a 3-and-a-half-hour drive from Las Vegas - traffic depending of course!

Find Directions!

Where is the closest airport?

Ontario International Airport is the closest airport. Others include Palm Springs International Airport, John Wayne Airport in Orange County and LAX in Los Angeles. The Big Bear Airport is the valley's own municipal airport for private planes.

Are there public restrooms and public parking lots?

Public restrooms are located at:

  • Big Bear Lake Visitor Center
  • Bartlett Public Parking Lot
  • Rotary Park
  • Knickerbocker Public Parking Lot
  • Cougar Crest Trailhead
  • Woodland Trailhead
  • Aspen Glen Picnic Area

Parks & Rec Bathroom Locations >>> Addresses & Info

  • Meadow Park (Big Bear Lake)
  • Ski Beach (Big Bear Lake)
  • Sugarloaf Park
  • Miller Park (Fawnskin)
  • Dana Point Park (Fawnskin)
  • Erwin Lake Park
  • Tennis Ranch (Erwin Lake)

Public Parking Lots are located at:

  • Bartlett Road
  • Knickerbocker Road
  • Pennsylvania Road (EV charging stations available)
  • Behind the Dynasty restaurant (Alden Lot)

Are there electric car charging stations in Big Bear?

EV Charging stations are available at the Pennsylvania Parking Lot. Please be advised that public EV stations are extremely limited. It is not advised to drive electric cars to Big Bear unless you have researched if your lodging can provide a charging station.

Tesla Super Chargers available now at Village Pizza. Call ahead before using.

What are my public transportation options?

Big Bear is a drive destination and we recommend any Southern California residents and all fly-in visitors to rent a vehicle to access Big Bear.

However, public transportation options are available from major airports and train stations. LEARN MORE

Once in town, the Big Bear Free Trolley is available to everyone. With 3 routes through the valley riders can access grocery stores, the ski resorts, The Village, and other areas for free.

Important! If you're driving in mountain regions from Nov 1 to Apr 30, you must carry chains in your vehicle, even if you aren't required to put them on. CalTrans has the authority to stop traffic and check for chains during stormy or icy conditions.

Where Are Trash Disposal Sites?

The City maintains two public trash sites for both residents and visitors within the City of Big Bear Lake.

  • Fire House #2 (across from the Civic Center on Big Bear Blvd.)
  • Big Bear Disposal, 41974 Garstin Road

Locations & Info

For residents and visitors outside of the area, please use provided trash bins at your location.

What attractions and lodging are pet friendly?

Big Bear welcomes dogs!

  • Search Big Bear pet-friendly lodging.
  • Big Bear trails are welcoming to all dogs, however they must be on a leash.
  • Most restaurants with patio areas allow for well behaved dogs.
  • Well-behaved dogs can ride along on a pontoon rental, fishing boat, and some tour boats.
  • Please review Pet Safety info to ensure a safe trip to Big Bear for your dog.

Are attractions open year round?

Year-round attractions include:

  • National Forest trails open 365 days a year for hiking and biking and snowshoeing
  • Though marinas are closed in the late fall through winter, the lake shoreline is open for fishing year-round.
  • Big Bear Mountain Resort operates on a year-round basis with skiing and snowboarding in the winter and mountain biking in the summer.
  • See guided tours open for booking year-round.
  • Search other recreation and activities >>> Things to Do

What attractions are kid friendly?

It's a fact that kids have the most fun in Big Bear! Here are some ideas from our Blog for kid friendly adventure:

When is peak & off-peak season?

Big Bear has two peak seasons. Winter (Thanksgiving to March) and summer (Memorial Day to Labor Day).

Big Bear is an easy drive destination for Southern Californians and attracts visitors looking for snow in the winter and cooler temps in the summer.

For the least crowded times in Big Bear, look to the spring and fall seasons. April and May offer beautiful springtime landscapes with newly green foliage and wildflower blooms while late September through November sees the vibrant crimsons and yellows of fall foliage. Many Big Bear attractions also feature fall specific recreation and an array of Halloween fun!

What is the climate/temperatures?

Big Bear averages 300 days of sunshine each year and temperatures vary. Summer temperatures average 77 degrees daytime and 45 degrees at night. Winter brings about 120 inches of annual snowfall with temps in the mid-40s during the day and mid-20s at night.

Big Bear sits at about 7,000 feet elevation and the climate is very dry. We always recommend visitors stay hydrated during their stay and use sunscreen as UV rays are more intense at altitude.

Banking Services & ATMs

Full Service Banking:

  • First Mountain Bank - 40865 Big Bear Blvd
  • Homestreet Bank - 42138 Big Bear Blvd
  • US Bank - 42140 Big Bear Blvd
  • Citibank - 41969 Big Bear Blvd

Sustainable Travel & Tourism in Big Bear

Big Bear Lake is an ecological wonder in Southern California and we invite everyone to help us preserve and protect the natural environment for generations to come. Learn about our sustainability program Care For Big Bear and how you can make a positive impact in the valley.

Visitor Safety Information

Winter Snow Play Safety

Snow play outside of tubing hills is permitted on public property which includes the National Forest, parks, and picnic areas. If you choose to enjoy snow in these areas, remember:

  • Sledding near and into streets is dangerous as cars use roadways year-round.
  • Sledding or playing on lake ice is both illegal and life threatening.
  • Trespassing on private property is illegal.
  • Do not leave broken sleds or other trash in parks, picnic areas, or anywhere else.
  • Do not use highway turnouts for snow play. Drivers need them to put chains on, let other drivers pass, and pull over for emergencies.

Lake Ice Safety

In the winter months (and occasionally in the fall and spring seasons) Big Bear Lake can freeze over at the surface. It is illegal (S.B. COUNTY CODE 52.0502) to walk, play, or otherwise be on lake ice at any time. Please remember:

  • Lake ice never gets thick enough to support human weight.
  • Falling through lake ice exposes you to freezing water that is life threatening.
  • Falling through lake ice not only endangers your life, but anyone's life who works to retrieve you (i.e. the fire dept).
  • A $500 fine and/or jail time awaits anyone caught violating this law.

Winter Driving Safety

Stay in Established Areas

  • When hiking, mountain biking, or snowshoeing stick to well-marked trails.
  • Carry a map and plan your route before you venture off.
  • Pick up maps and Adventure Passes at the Visitor Center.
  • Tell someone where you're going and carry a phone to access help
  • Always yield to uphill hikers on a trail.
  • Take plenty of water, dress appropriately, and use sunscreen.
  • Camp in developed campgrounds and abide by San Bernardino National Forest fire/camping restrictions.
  • Stay on established roads when using 4X4 vehicles. Maintain your vehicle and keep it out of tall grass to avoid starting wildfires.

Fire Safety & Wildfire Prevention

Big Bear is highly susceptible to wildlife and unfortunately humans are the cause of most of them. Be a responsible visitor to our community and remember:

  • Fireworks are illegal in the City of Big Bear Lake, all unincorporated areas of San Bernardino County, and the US National Forest.
  • Campfires are prohibited outside of provided rings at designated campgrounds.
  • Negligently throwing or placing any ignited substance (like cigarettes) can cause a fire.
  • Keep vehicles on established roads.
  • Read full laws

Respect Wildlife

  • Observe wildlife at a distance. Do not follow or approach. Animals that feel threatened may attack.
  • Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators.
  • Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud noises and do not disturb wildlife.
  • Do not allow children or pets to wander unattended
  • Wildlife may wander into the road especially at night. Drive carefully to avoid hitting them.
  • Respect Forest Closures including the bald eagle habitat closed from December through July.
  • If you come across an injured animal, DO NOT APPROACH, call the Injured Animal Hotline at 909-584-1299.

Care For Big Bear

  • Be a positive force in the community and Care For Big Bear!
  • Pack it in, pack it out! Take away all trash, even if it's not yours. This includes broken or unbroken snow sleds.
  • Carry a trash bag to haul out your trash.
  • If a trash bin is full or overflowing, pack up your garbage and take it with you.
  • Trash disposal sites can be found on Garstin Rd and Big Bear Blvd across from the Civic Center.
  • Follow Visit California's Responsible Travel Code and encourage others to do the same.
  • Stay on designated trails to avoid harming native plants and wearing down the environment.
  • Never take plants or animals out of the environment.

Lake Safety

In the summer months, swimming is permitted in Big Bear Lake at your own risk! There are NO lifeguards on duty and swimmers must stay within 50 feet of the shore or within 20 feet of a private dock. Swimming within the means of participating in water sports is also permitted with a life vest!

Each year, Big Bear Lake sees tragic drownings. Water temps in Big Bear Lake are colder than you may realize. According to NOAA, survival time is greatly reduced for someone immersed in water below 70°F, which is Big Bear Lake for most of the year. Cold water shock can cause immediate loss of breathing control. Wearing a life jacket significantly increases the chances of being located and saved.

Don't Risk Your Life! Wear A Life Jacket!