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15 Reasons to Plan a Group Trip to Big Bear, California

While Southern California is known for its year-round sunny weather, cool waves and palm trees swaying in the breeze, it's also home to one of the only places in the country where a two hour drive inland will bring you from a beach to a beautiful snowy basin. Big Bear is a charming alpine town, nestled neatly in the San Bernardino mountains, once a gold mining mecca and now a quick getaway from it all. It's been a sleepy, nostalgic throwback of a town, perfect for remembering and reliving a longed for era while enjoying plenty of skiing and snowboarding fun, but recently, it’s been given new life by the efforts of some extraordinarily stylish folks.

Here’s 15 spots to stay, places to eat and things to do proving Big Bear is the perfect place for your next family or group getaway.

Reporter: Katie David
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Stay at Treehouse Vibes

Big Bear Lake, California
This mid-century modern-inspired cabin boasts the National Forest as it’s backyard, giving it those as-advertised “treehouse vibes.” It’s also tastefully decorated and upgraded with modern mid-century furniture for you and all your friends to relax and enjoy.
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Photo: hannahjoyyyy
2 / 15
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Grab Quick Bites at Big Bear Local or Amangela's Sandwich

Big Bear Lake, California
If you’re looking for an “island state of mind” in the mountains, you’ve come to the right place at Big Bear Local. Surfer Sanoe Lake and her husband invite you to cruise thru and enjoy California island style grinds in the heart of Big Bear. Order fresh caught poke bowls accompanied by a “Tropical Gangster” and followed by a sweet treat like the “Tiki Bread,” a royal Belgian waffle topped with house made coconut amaretto whip and coconut mac nut syrup. If you're craving a sandwhich, you will find a beautiful array of delicious sammies and homemade bread at Amangela’s Sandwich and Bagel House. Pro Tip: Take them 'to-go' for hiking, picnic or skiing adventures.  
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Photo:Noon Lodge
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Stay at Noon Lodge With a Group learn more

Noon Lodge is a historic mountain retreat from the 1950’s featuring a collection of cabins and given new life by striking a delicate balance between vintage charm and modern design. There are fifteen cabins dotting the nostalgic property, ranging from cozy studios to spacious three-bedrooms, making this a perfect spot for large groups. It also boasts Big Bear’s largest swimming pool, making this a perfect winter or summertime retreat choice with your pals.
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Photo: Tim Melideo
4 / 15
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Eat Breakfast at Grizzly Manor Café

Big Bear Lake, California
Sometimes things are exactly what they seem. And thank goodness for that. Grizzly Manor Café is hearty, straightforward and straight-up delicious Americana fare. Tuck into a sweet spread at this rustic, local hotspot before hitting the slopes. Try the Fat Pat, the biscuits are buttery perfection. 
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5 / 15
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Stay at Bear Bitch Manor with Friends

Big Bear Lake, California
San Diego floralist Rachael Ann Lunghi of Lace and Likes and Siren Floral Co. decided to take her serious styling capabilities alongside her best friend, Betsey Ginn of SMIDTHAT to design the cabin of their dreams, Bear Bitch Manor. The best part? You can stay here. It’s what you’d expect from a professional stylist, creative director and florist – sweet corners, cozy nooks and a perfect balance between modern amenities and chic flea market finds perfect for a super fun friendcation. 
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Photo: jim_nomz
6 / 15
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Eat Dinner at Saucy Mama's Pizza or Masala Craft

Big Bear Lake, California
Boasting a beautiful brick facade and great-grandmother’s recipes, Saucy Mama’s is a special pizzeria making their own dough and sauce by hand each and every day. Stop by for a slice or two, cold beer on tap and a warm, welcoming outdoor patio. If you are in the mood for Indian food, head to Masala Craft. Located in the Village, this spot is a great go-to for those with dietary restrictions. They have an entire vegan menu which isn't easy to come by in a small mountain town. 
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Photo: @han_lyons
7 / 15
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Walk, Run, Skate or Bike the Alpine Pedal Path

The Alpine Pedal Path is an easy 2.5 mile meandering asphalt path that wanders along the north shore of Big Bear Lake, starting at Stanfield Cutoff and ending at the Solar Observatory. This trail is perfect for those looking to have a group bike, run or skateboard adventure. It is also excellent for families that want to take a brisk stroller walk with a dose of serene scenery. 
Photo: kadin_godwin
8 / 15
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Stay at Eureka House with a Small Group

Big Bear Lake, California
We’ll save you the “Eureka!” jokes and get right to the point, this 1960’s Tom Yeager-designed cabin is filled to the brim with Eames, Nelson and Baughman furniture. The furniture surrounds a wood-burning fireplace looking out vaulted ceiling windows to Big Bear Lake. It’s nostalgic, rustic chic with modern amenities making for a great getaway in the woods with views to dream about. There are two cozy bedrooms making this an ideal spot for family travel or small groups. 
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Photo: O KOO RAN
9 / 15
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Shop at O KOO RAN

Big Bear Lake, California
From that perfect Big Bear enamel souvenir mug, to California cool mix-and-match pieces, O KOO RAN is your one-stop Big Bear boutique. O KOO RAN is the phonetic spelling of the French adjective, “au courant.” Translated to English, au courant means up-to-date, fashionable, and well informed. Since 1988, this boutique has been offering a curated selection of on-trend clothing, shoes, accessories and gifts that represent a unique mountain resort aesthetic.
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Photo: Sarah Ayon
10 / 15
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Cocktails & Apps at 572 Social Kitchen & Lounge

Big Bear Lake, California
With twinkling lights, an expansive patio, warm, crackling fire pit, live music, delicious food and cold beer on tap, all you need to bring are your best friends. 572 Social Kitchen has the perfect recipe for a night out in this lovely alpine town. Nosh on the poke tacos, washed down with a rotating list of cold beers on tap and enjoy the lovely strains of live music during Wednesday’s “Local’s Night” where apps are half priced, pizza is $7 and martinis are $5.
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Photo: @antonb887
11 / 15
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Hit the Slopes at Snow Summit & Big Bear Mountain

Big Bear Lake, California
For many, a visit to Big Bear means skiing and snowboarding at one or both twin properties, Snow Summit and Big Bear Mountain. Snow Summit is a family-friendly 240 acres of skiable terrain and 31 trails of all ability levels with the option to ride at night. Bear Mountain is the bigger brother to Snow Summit with award winning terrain parks and 748 permitted acres. It’s also home to Southern California’s only halfpipes. Regardless of your age or ability, there’s snowy fun to be had for everyone.
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12 / 15
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Go Hiking

Big Bear Valley, California
There are a ton of hiking and biking trails for both intermediate and more advanced hikers. The trails range from .6 miles to over 15 miles. If you and your crew are looking for an easy trail with lots of nature, start with the 1.5 mile Woodland Trail and take the self-guided tour where you will learn about botany, geology and the wildlife of this woodland area. For an intermediate hike try the 5 mile Cougar Crest Trail, where you will have a gentle uphill climb that will end at the juncture of the world-famous 2,600-mile long Pacific Crest Trail. Pro Tip: Buy an adventure parking pass, be prepared with hiking shoes and pre-plan plan your hike using this handy guide.
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13 / 15
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Visit the Big Bear Alpine Zoo

Big Bear Lake, California
The Big Bear Alpine Zoo is a rehabilitation facility offering injured, orphaned and imprinted wild animals a safe haven while they heal or permanent home if they are unable to survive on their own. Located next to a steep mountainous area of Big Bear Valley, its an adventure in and of itself. It’s a wonderful place for children to learn about animal rehabilitation or simply wile away an afternoon donating to a worthy cause. 90% of the animals at The Big Bear Alpine Zoo are released back into the wild after healing.
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Photo: Grace Johnson
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Get a Sugar Fix at OJ's Donut House

Big Bear Lake, California
Is there anything more comforting or satisfying than a warm, buttermilk donut on a cold, snowy day? Make your donut run to OJ’s Donut House, where warm, sugary confections and cheesy, buttery croissants will alight your senses for an indulgent morning. 
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Photo: OC Mom Blog
15 / 15
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Go Tubing at Big Bear Snowplay

Big Bear Lake, California
What was once a ski hill known as Rebel Ridge, lies a wonderful tubing and sledding park for all ages. Take a “magic carpet” to the top of the hill (yes, that means no hiking) and race your pals down one of the high-speed snow tubes. It’s certainly a place that brings out the childlike snowy wonder in us all.
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