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Plan Affordable or Free Autumn Trip

Top 10 Affordable or Free Vacation Ideas for this Autumn

Big Bear is an affordable family destination and is Southern California's only four season resort offering a true local autumn getaway with plenty of great activities to enjoy. Big Bear offers a unique vacation that can also be affordable. Here's a list of our favorite Free or Affordable Things to Do this Autumn Season in Big Bear.

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

  1. 1.  See Fall Colors in the Aspen Grove: Big Bear's Aspen Grove is the best location to see beautiful autumn hues. The best time to visit the Aspen Groves is mid October to early November where they look like a sea of reds and golden colors. If you are a professional or even a novice photographer, you are in a for a treat. There are plenty of photo ops from different vantage points to capture fall foliage

  2. 2.  Hook a number of different fish from the lake: Big Bear Lake offers one of the top rated fishing spots in all of Southern California. Along with trout and bass, you will also love to find the waters of Big Bear Lake offer an abundant supply of catfish, crappie, blue gill and sunfish. 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. 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; temporarily while they heal or permanently as they are unable to survive on their own. Visitors are able to see a broad variety of alpine wildlife, such as snow leopards, bald eagles, wolves, black 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!

    If you are looking for something unique, every Friday and Saturday in October starting at 6:30 pm, the Big Bear Alpine Zoo holds a Flashlight Safari event where you can see how forest animals behave at nighttime. You will follow a pair of expert guides through the zoo with your flashlight in hand (be sure to bring your own) and observe the nocturnal habits of the zoo's wild residents.  Cost is included with regular admission.

  4. 4.  Oktoberfest: Every weekend through October 29th, the Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest offers great times and fun for everyone in your group! Enjoy live music by Southern California's own "The Express Band," stein holding contests, kids activities, log sawing contest and more. Oktoberfest is an affordable event, especially on Sundays where adult admission is only $9 and children (ages 3-12) are FREE! The festival closes on Saturday, October 29 with the annual costume contests for both adults and children. Adult costume contest starts at 10 pm and the children's contest starts at 3 pm. Children in costume get in FREE.

  5. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

This list is just a small selection of activities that are appropriate for almost all ages. For further assistance planning your vacation in Big Bear, simply call 800-424-4232 and one of our knowledgeable vacation specialists can be of assistance!

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