Southern California

6 of the Best Vacation Rentals in Big Bear, CA

Want to live like a local? You can make it happen at one of these vacation rental homes, cabins, or hideaways in Big Bear

There is an often-repeated cliché about Southern California, that it is the lone place where you can get a beach tan and ski on the same day. Whenever I hear that phrase, my mind immediately turns to Big Bear Lake. The small community nestled in the San Bernardino Mountains is little more than a two-hour drive from the sunny beaches of Santa Monica, but it feels like a world away.

That feeling of escape has made Big Bear Lake a choice destination for Californians for decades, but it has also made the town a favorite stop for visitors from around the world. With snowy winters giving way to temperate summers filled with hiking, biking, and boating, the resort community has a lot to offer vacationers from anywhere.

And living in a vacation rental allows guests to get a better sense of the entire town’s charm, since many hotels here are located in one area around the lake’s southern shore. These vacation homes let you live like a local and bring you as close to Big Bear Lake’s charms as possible. Check them out:

A Wood House in Big Bear Perfect for Large Families

With a seven-person capacity, the Snowy Evening Lodge makes for an excellent home for families or friends looking for a base for outdoor adventures in the Big Bear—anytime in the year.

The three-bedroom, two-bath home is on the other side of the Moonridge neighborhood from Bear Mountain. In the winter, this means quick access to some of Southern California’s best skiing. But the resort is also open for fun in the sun, too, as the home of Bear Mountain Golf Course and several hiking trails and mountain biking runs.

Being in a residential neighborhood makes the Snowy Evening Lodge an escape from city life, as well, with space to sit around the gas fireplace and enjoy après-ski drinks or hang out on the back porch and take in the view.

Snowy Evening Lodge

Big Bear City
8.6 Excellent (8 reviews)

A Centrally-Located '40s Cabin near East Big Bear Boulevard

Whether it is the wood interiors, the fireplace or the original, well-maintained appliances in the city, Sweet Pine Cabin in Big Bear feels like home, thanks to its retro design. The cabin has kept intact its original features, which date back to the 1940s, without sacrificing convenience.

Located steps from East Big Bear Boulevard, the city’s main thoroughfare, Sweet Pine Cabin is less than six miles away from most of Big Bear’s main attractions, including its fall Oktoberfest. Both Snow Summit and Bear Mountain Ski Resorts are a short drive, and the nightlife of The Village is calling, just a brief ride-share away.

The fun can be brought back to the cabin, too, thanks to its back patio, overlooking a fenced-in yard perfect for pets to roam. Get dinner to go, enjoy it on the patio table, and gaze up at some of the brightest stars in Southern California.

A Sweet Pine Cabin - Original 1940's cabin, the prefect place for a sweet retreat!

Big Bear City
9.0 Excellent (52 reviews)

An Affordable and Cozy Pet-Friendly House in Big Bear

This quirky upside-down thimble of a house goes by the title “Humble Hilltop Hideaway,” but its central location and amenities make it stand out.

Only two miles from Big Bear Lake and the Convention Center, this two bedroom, two bathroom home has a fenced-in yard, where you can let the doggies run free and barbecue during warmer months. Front and back decks offer great spots for relaxation, whether it is after hitting the lake or the slopes.

For winter travelers, the hideaway is within a half-hour drive from four different ski resorts, including just 10 minutes to Bear Mountain and Snow Summit. And it is less than three miles from Big Bear Snow Play, where families flock for snow tubing; at night, Snow Play’s tubing run is bathed in neon lights to make for a unique and fun experience.

A Humble Hilltop Hideaway - Walk to Oktoberfest and lake!

Big Bear City
7.5 Good (7 reviews)

A Townhouse in The Most Convenient Location for Skiing or Hiking

If you and yours are heading to Big Bear for its skiing, it is hard to get closer to the slopes than the Snow Summit Townhouses. The chair lift for Snow Summit Ski Resort is closer to the front door of the Townhouses than many parts of the resort’s parking lot—this  is ski-in, ski-out living at its most convenient.

But the Townhouses are also well situated for a range of activities throughout the year. During the summer, Snow Summit is known for its mountain biking, both downhill and cross-country. The nearby hiking is tremendous as well; there are two on-site paths, with access available to the nearby network of Forest Service routes. And the Snow Summit Scenic Sky Chair provides a view of the entire valley that has to be seen to be believed.

In between outdoor adventures, you can check in at the Townhouses for anything from a quick nap to lunch, thanks to its location. And in the evenings, all the nightlife of Snow Summit (from concerts to the Bighorn Smokehouse and its 14-hour smoked and sliced brisket) is steps away.

Snow Summit Townhouses

Big Bear Lake
8.3 Very good (138 reviews)

A Hideaway Close to the Hippest Big Bear Area

Travelers looking to blow off some steam both on the slopes and out on the town would love a weekend at this Village Hideaway; the home’s location combines the best of the city’s outdoor pleasures with a seven-person occupancy—there’s enough space for friends or the entire family.

The Village is the area’s hippest collection of stores, restaurants, and bars, all located within walking distance of each other. Solve the puzzle of one of the town’s escape rooms, or throw strikes at the Bowling Barn (which is exactly as its name suggests). For dinner, The Pines is the lakefront experience of choice, and drinks at the Big Bear Lake Brewing Company is hard to pass up. Meanwhile, the house is still a short walk to Big Bear Marina and Rotary Pine Knot Park, for those looking to relax on the lake.

The Hideaway is just outside The Village, giving it an oasis-like quality; it is an escape from the action yet close enough to the fun to jump right in at a moment’s notice. If a night in sounds like a chance to recover, make dinner in the updated kitchen and enjoy it in front of the cozy gas fireplace. And the pet-friendly policy means Fido can join in the fun, too.

Village Hideaway - Walk To The Village And Lake, Just Outside The Village With Wifi!

Big Bear Lake
9.0 Excellent (20 reviews)

Family Fun at This Big Bear "Delight"

With two bedrooms and a “bonus” room, along with a living room sleeper sofa, Apples Delight is perfect for families. And with major all-age attractions like Magic Mountain and Gold Rush Mining Adventures within walking distance, the house makes a great home base for a Big Bear vacation.

Just steps from Apples Delight’s front door, Magic Mountain is a favorite for both the young and the young at heart. It’s headlined by the Alpine Slide, which takes you down a quasi-bobsled run on a sled, steering through turns, and braking only when necessary. Go-carts, water slides, and a “mountain coaster” are also fun for all ages. Just down the road, Gold Rush Mining Adventures has kids panning for gold, sifting for fossils, and exploring for geodes—all to take home as souvenirs.

Back at the Delight, a fenced-in yard is perfect for barbecuing, while the in-unit washer and dryer let parents clean up after a day digging through the dirt to find precious gems. And some of the city’s best restaurants can be found less than a mile away in The Village, making take-out a breeze.

Apples Delight - Walking distance to the lake and Holloway's Marina!

Big Bear Lake
7.6 Good (8 reviews)