As much as I’ve been absolutely loving the sunshine and beautiful weather in California, I’m an east coast girl and always loved the seasons growing up there, so I’ve been in search of some fall foliage and a “fall day” here on the west coast. I looked up a few places closer to us (Big Bear, Oak Glen, Julian, Lake Arrowhead, and a few others) and landed on Big Bear Lake since it’s pretty well-known, so that has to mean something! I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew that even just getting in the car, taking a mini road trip and heading up into the mountains would probably be enough to help me get my fall fix.
We were meant to head to Big Bear over the weekend, but the weather was so beautiful here that we decided to have a beach day on Saturday, and then Sunday we both were a little sick on the couch all day. We woke up feeling better on Monday so we bundled up, headed to breakfast, and got on the road to Big Bear Lake. The drive (1hr 55min) from Newport Beach didn’t feel like a long drive at all. Maybe because half of the drive is up the winding mountain roads with the most beautiful views and we were in awe for half of the drive. Neither of us had ever driven so far up on top of a mountain, let alone driving along the edge of a mountain half of the time.
We headed straight to Big Bear Lake Village where the streets were lined with the most beautiful trees in their full autumn charm. Reds, oranges and yellows all along the sidewalk streets with locals and visitors in and out of candy stores and restaurants decorated to the brim for fall. This is my kind of place. I love when the seasons are celebrated and enjoyed. They’re all so beautiful. We stopped into most of the stores along the main strip just to explore. From gift shops, to toy stores and more. We weren’t too hungry since we had a big breakfast, but stopped in at Big Bear Lake Brewing Company because Dylan wanted to try a beer (which he said was really good if you’re into beer), then went to walk around some more.
Next, we stopped into North Pole Fudge Co., the cutest sweets shop with fudge galore, ice cream, chocolates, and all different types of caramel apples. We ended up getting a piece of fudge, and I’m definitely regretting not getting a caramel apple! We also passed a Christmas shop called “A Christmas Store N’ More”. Every year we buy 2 new ornaments that are either from visiting somewhere together or have some kind of meaning, and we found these red vintage type of ornaments that I knew we had to buy to remember our first Christmas here in California. It reminded me of some my grandma’s ornaments that she passed down to my mom. My sister and I always loved opening up these fun different ornaments to decorate with every year.
After exploring the main strip of Big Bear Lake Village, we went to scope out the ski slopes to see what they’d be like for winter. The closest one to us was Snow Summit Ski Resort. There (obviously) wasn’t any snow yet, but it was good to see that we can still come up to ski/snowboard if theres’ snow! Then we ended up just driving around exploring back streets (always our favorite thing to do anywhere we go) to get a real feel of the area. There were so many beautiful homes and cute cabins. Definitely a place I’d love to visit when it snows in the winter!
We decided that on the way home we wanted to see Lake Arrowhead as well since it wasn’t too out of the way, so we headed there next. It was definitely different than Big Bear. They had more “upscale” shops, but I personally liked Big Bear more. We passed a place on the way to Lake Arrowhead called Skypark at Santa’s Village that someone on Instagram told me about. It looks like a fun place to take kids around the holidays. It’s basically like you’re visiting the North Pole! They went all-out on the buildings, and I think they also have things there that are year round. I’ll link here if you want to have a look, or plan a trip with your kids: Santa’s Village
After Lake Arrowhead, we ended up driving back home! It was such an easy drive and I can’t wait to go back. Hopefully next time we can stay overnight for a few days in a cozy cabin and I can get my “winter fix”!