North America

Mountain Life: Lake Arrowhead, Twin Peaks and Big Bear, CA

It may surprise many visitors to California that the sheer vastness of its landscape boasts everything from beaches to deserts, forests, ski resorts, lakes and mountain cabin life. The last four alone can be found in the peaceful areas of Lake Arrowhead, Twin Peaks and Big Bear, California.

These towns, nestled in the San Bernardino Mountains, offer a wide variety of outdoor and cabin living. In the summer you enjoy boating on the lake, and in the winters, some skiing in BB. I use Lake Arrowhead as an anchor for this post as many towns – Twin Peaks, Crestline – are just next to the main hub, and also happens to be where I often stay when I come to stay (fantastic renovated cabins can be found through Airbnb). Once you arrive at this picturesque town set on a deep-blue mountain lake, you’ll feel like you’ve escaped to a different world far from LA. This lake has long been the favored escape for those seeking exclusive alpine luxury, and the lake and much of its shoreline are privately owned—with gated lakeside vacation homes to prove it. But I come for low key quiet, the great outdoors and crisp air whenever I need a writing retreat.

In summer, pitch a tent at a pair of campgrounds, and head out on a network of trails, including the Pacific Crest Trail, that lace through surrounding forestlands. Relax in a rustic rental cabin, many are available and include dock and lake privileges. Board the Arrowhead Queen paddlewheel boat for a guided tour and an exclusive peek at lakefront homes. Stop in at shops in relaxed Arrowhead Village. Kids enjoy a chance to visit with wildlife at Wildhaven Ranch, a sanctuary for endangered and indigenous species. Winter often means snow at Lake Arrowhead, the perfect time to spoil yourself in all this luxury with a stay at the Lake Arrowhead Resort—maybe a treatment at the lodge’s Spa of the Pines.

 

Do: Hike, bike, golf, kayak/canoe, chill out….if you are in Big Bear, ski. Check your local town listings for special events!

Stay: I always Airbnb up here and have found SO many renovated gems. My last few stays have been through this couple that operate these 4 homes around Twin Peaks and Lake Arrowhead, and have recently stumbled across more on instagram like Morning Woods and Road Trip A Frame (owned by the local owners of Road Trip Shop – the same team that owns the Summer Camp store in Ojai). There are really a lot of options, so do explore – and just an FYI but not all homes have lake rights. Bonuses from some hosts include passes to to certain lake clubs, etc.

Author: Carrie Mitchell

Carrie A. Mitchell is the founder of L’Aventure Travel, the host of the Suitcase Sojourn Podcast, and author of the children’s travel book “To Be We”. Carrie is a global travel and hospitality expert who works with publications, brands and entertainment outlets on a number of travel related projects, from marketing consulting to editorial coverage to hosting & producing content for the web, TV and podcasts. She is always seeking to learn from people and places around the world, and share through her cultural exploration (40+ countries and counting)