Big Bear Weekend Recap | On the Daily EXPRESS


Big Bear Weekend Recap

Last week we had a short and sweet Spring Break family getaway to Big Bear Lake here in Southern California. We'd heard a lot about the town from locals, and it only took us five years of living here and hearing about it to finally make the trip happen! But we're so glad we went and definitely want to go back soon and experience the area in different seasons. We stayed two nights and had about two full days worth of activities, so I'll give a chronological breakdown of our trip itinerary along with where we stayed, what we ate, what we did each day!

DAY ONE: We left San Diego around noon and drove up to the mountains...literally! San Diego is 62 feet above sea level and Big Bear is 6,752 feet/over a mile above sea level. Coachella was also happening this weekend in the same vicinity (just down in the valley vs. up in the mountains) so we did run into a bit of traffic that slowed us down en route. But we made it in the late afternoon and got checked into the cabin we booked via VRBO
This was our first time using VRBO instead of a typical hotel and it is a game changer for traveling with a family! It was so much more comfortable and convenient to have a spacious home with separate bedrooms for parents and kids plus a full kitchen. Our place also had a pool table and hot tub which got plenty of use during our stay. 

We did relax at the cabin a lot, but we also wanted to make sure we got outdoors and got some good mountain life experiences. After getting settled in and unpacked we went to grab an early dinner and explore the town. Pine Knot Ave. seemed like the Main Street of Big Bear with lots of restaurants and shops all packed into a small area. Our first stop was Fire Rock Burgers. I forgot to take any pictures of the food (I was too hungry!), but this was my family's overall favorite restaurant of the trip. Conveniently, it was right next to the North Pole Fudge & Ice Cream Co, which was my favorite sweet tooth satisfying part of the trip. They have lots of different flavors of fudge, from S'Mores to Sweet & Salty. We bought a few different flavors to try and they were all good! 

After dinner we walked around town a bit and went to Meadow Park. The kids burned off some energy on the playground (they had a really fun zip line area designed for older kids) while the adults watched the sunset. Then we went back to the cabin for the night to play pool, cozy up around the fire with a book (me), and hang out in the hot tub.

This was our one full day at Big Bear so we packed in the activities! My 12 year old is a biking enthusiast so we had to choose biking as one of our activities for the day. We stopped in at Goldsmiths (their service was A+) to rent bikes and then rode over to the Alpine Pedal Path

The total bike route took us about two hours round trip and it was a work out! 
I'm wearing my Columbia coat here and I wore it for most of the trip, but the biking did get me warm enough to take it off and stuff it in my backpack for the last hour of the ride. For the most part, my Big Bear outfits were just leggings, long sleeve tunic tee/top, and this jacket. Ultra casual athleisure, but for this activity the emphasis was more athletic than leisure!

After the biking excursion we were ready to refuel before heading out at another adventure. This time we ate at Big Bear Lake Brewing Company.

I had the Avocado Bombs (stuffed with crab and spicy ahi) and loved them! My other family members thought their food was just okay and preferred Fire Rock, so as with most things food-related it comes down to personal preference and what you order. 

After lunch, we had our next big adventure of the day, the Big Bear Jeep Experience!
That is actually my family inside that Jeep going over the rock! You have a guide in a separate Jeep who leads you all through the woods and over a lot of rocky terrain. The intro pic of me by the Jeep at the beginning of this post is also from the Jeep trail. It ended up being about a three hour tour from start to finish, which is probably a little long for my own interest level in this sort of thing. But being in a family of boys, they loved it. It was a really fun way to see the area, plus our guide communicated with is by radio on the whole tour and taught us a lot of the history of the area, so that was cool too since we learned a lot along the way that I otherwise wouldn't have known.

The Jeep tour took us well into the evening, so after that we came back to the cabin and crashed!

We had to be checked out of our cabin by 11 AM, plus we wanted to beat traffic on the way home so we didn't have a lot of time in Big Bear on Day Three. But we still managed to squeeze in one last fun activity before heading home. We stopped at the Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain on our way out of town.
My picture doesn't do this justice, but my kids did have a lot of fun here. It's a typical Alpine Slide where you ride a chair lift up to the top of the hill then slide down the slide on a go-cart thing. It wasn't that crowded when we went in the morning, so they got to ride down several times in short period of time, which was perfect for one last activity to burn off energy before the drive home. Magic Mountain also has a tubing area, but the staff advised us not to do it since the leftover snow wasn't conducive to a fun ride. We saw one father attempt the tubing with his toddler and they got stuck on the hill (their tube just wouldn't slide), so they just had to walk down holding their tube! It was $35 for the tubing portion (only $6 for the Alpine Slide or 5 rides for $25) so I hope they were able to get their money back! 

That wraps up the trip portion! It was short but a lot of fun and we'll definitely go back. It was really convenient (less than three hours away) and a fun change of pace and scenery from San Diego life. It was also a good balance of remote but civilized (e.g. they had things like Starbucks and a regular grocery store), and there were plenty of other activities to choose from in the area that we didn't get to do this time. 

As is usually the case when I'm traveling with my family, what I wear is function over fashion. I don't think my outfits are especially interesting but I share anyway in case it helps someone else decide what to pack for a trip to Big Bear or similar mountain getaway. Packing is one of the worst parts of travel for me and I love seeing what other people pack! 

For the drive up I did wear the jumpsuit outfit I shared in this post. It was probably the most comfortable thing I've ever worn on a car ride. We did have a Target stop on the way up to grab a swimsuit for one of my kids and I did have to tackle the bathroom situation there. It wasn't a big deal since I had a private stall and a hook to hang my jacket, but I for sure wouldn't want to wear this if I knew I was going to be dealing with smaller stalls (like an airplane bathrooom), porta-potties, or anything like that. The small inconvenience of the one bathroom stop was worth it for the comfort of the rest of the ride.

Once we got up to Big Bear, the jumpsuit and sandals were not enough to keep me warm. When we checked in to the cabin I changed into a t-shirt, jeans, and warmer jacket before we headed out to explore the town. This jacket was perfect with just a long sleeve tee layer for the Spring weather in Big Bear, but I would for sure need something warmer if we ever go during winter.

On the second day, I wore this outfit (under my jacket most of the time) for the bike ride and jeep ride. A backpack was a must for this trip! It was much easier for things like bike riding to have a backpack than a regular handbag or crossbody bag. Also, in case anyone is wondering, when I travel I take two rows of these clip-in hair extensions in the 16" length to do my usual hat + ponytail faux-hairstyle. It's fast and easy for me to do my hair this way, it lasts all day, and it looks a lot better than anything I could do with my real hair when traveling! 
I would have worn the jumpsuit for the drive home except that I knew we were stopping at the Alpine Slide and I didn't want to freeze! So I opted for another easy tunic tee and leggings outfit. 

This tunic tee is pretty shapeless and blah on its own, but the length is great for wearing with leggings. I like it best with another layer on top (e.g. jacket or cardigan) to make it look a little nicer.

That's it for the Big Bear travel recap! It really was a great time so if you live in Southern California and haven't been up to the mountains yet, I highly recommend it. Even if you're not into the same activities we selected there's a lot more to choose from in the area so don't let that hold you back!

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Linking up with: Rachelle



  1. Looks like such a fun trip. When the kids were younger we used to take them to the mountains in the summer to a place that had cabins and a lake. It was a lot of fun.
    x, Julie |

  2. That pic of the jeep on the rock whoa! happy you had a great tie. Can't believe it was cold enough for a coat.


  3. What a wonderful trip! I love the idea of the cabin and all of the amenities, VRBO is such a great option. The jeep experience looks amazing and terrifying! We would love the bike ride too. I sure wish I lived closer to the mountains, what a great trip!

  4. Your VRBO cabin looks so nice! We rented one in the Smokey mountains over Thanksgiving - and it is so much nicer to have a "home" to hang out with family. Love your travel and casual outfits.

    Daily Style Finds

  5. Oh Gina, your cabin was just perfect! This looks like such a fun time. As much as we love the beach, we absolutely love vacations like this! And we love jeeps, Mr. Nine used to have a jeep Rubicon and we did some off-road Ing. I am so glad you had fun and you looked precious!

  6. We always rent through VRBO and Airbnb anytime we travel now. It's so nice to have a whole house and full kitchen so you don't have to eat every meal out! It looks like such a beautiful area! That jeep and bike excursions sound like so much fun!

    Jill - Doused in Pink

  7. This looks alike a fabulous getaway! That avocado bomb is calling my name, YUM!!!

    xx, Elise

  8. Wow Gina, you guys did big bear right! The cabin looked really beautiful and all the activities you guys planned also looked great! We’ve only done day trips up there but we would love to stay the night sometime! I’ll have to bookmark this for future reference! I’m happy you enjoyed your trip :)

  9. This looks like so much fun! The Avocado Bombs you got look amazing!! We have used VRBO in the past and have had good experiences! When traveling with a family it is so much nicer to have more space and a kitchen and such!

  10. What a cool place! It looks like so much fun!




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