Big Bear Lake Camping

Ultimate Guide to Big Bear Lake Camping: Tips, Reviews & Activities

Dive into the heart of outdoor adventure at Big Bear Lake, a jewel in the Southern California mountains. This haven for campers offers a blend of serene lake views, rugged mountain terrain, and lush forests, setting the stage for an unforgettable experience. Renowned for its clear, crisp waters and picturesque surroundings, Big Bear Lake attracts thousands of nature enthusiasts annually, eager to explore its diverse landscapes.

From the thrill of hiking and mountain biking to the tranquillity of fishing and kayaking, the lake caters to many outdoor activities. It’s not just about the natural beauty; Big Bear Lake is steeped in a rich history that adds depth to every visit. Whether seeking a peaceful retreat or an action-packed adventure, Big Bear Lake promises a camping experience that resonates with every kind of traveller.

Key Takeaway

  • Location: Big Bear Lake, nestled in the Southern California Mountains, offers a blend of serene lake views, rugged terrain, and lush forests.
  • Activities: From hiking and biking to fishing and kayaking, the lake caters to various outdoor pursuits, with something for every adventurer.
  • History: The area’s rich history, from its Native American roots to its transformation into a recreational haven, adds depth to every visit.
  • Facilities: Well-maintained campgrounds like Serrano and Pineknot offer clean facilities and friendly staff, ensuring a memorable camping experience.

Question: What is the best time to camp at Big Bear Lake?

Answer: The best time to camp at Big Bear Lake is from late spring to early fall, with July and August being the peak months for warm weather activities.

Big Bear Lake Camping Map

Big Bear Lake Camping map
Big Bear Lake Camping Map

Big Bear Lake Camping Fees

Marina and
Rendezvous Beach
Day Use Fees
ResidentSenior(Utah Resident Only)Non-Resident
Day Use, Regular Season$15$10$20
Day Use, Prime Season$20$15$25
Day Use Pavilions, Regular$95N/A$120
Day Use Pavilions, Peak$125N/A$150
Eastside Day
Use Fees
Day Use, Regular$10$8$12
Day Use, Peak$10$8$15
Camping Fees
Rendezvous Beach
Full Hook-up, Regular$40N/A$40
Full Hook-up, Peak$45N/A$45
Tent Only, Regular$30N/A$30
Tent Only, Peak$35N/A$35
Extra Vehicle, Regular$15N/A$15
Extra Vehicle, Peak$20N/A$20
Camping Fees, South Eden
Regular Season$30N/A$35
Peak Season$35N/A$40
Extra Vehicle, Regular$15N/A$15
Extra Vehicle, Peak$20N/A$20
Camping Fees, Eastside
Regular Season$15N/A$20
Peak Season$20N/A$25
Extra Vehicle(Year-Round)$15N/A$15
Group Camp Sites
Big Creek A$250N/A$275
Cottonwood A$275N/A$300
Cottonwood B$200N/A$225
Cottonwood C$245N/A$265
Willow A$305N/A$330
Willow B$265N/A$290
Willow C$305N/A$330
South Eden$155N/A$180
Boat Slip Fees
Transient Slip, Regular$35N/A$40
Transient Slip, Peak$40N/A$45
A Slip/End Tie$800.00N/AN/A
B Slip$1000.00N/AN/A
BU Slip$1460.00N/AN/A
CU Slip$1800.00N/AN/A
Waitlist Fee$75N/A$85

The History of Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake’s history is as rich as its natural beauty. Originally inhabited by the Serrano Indians, the area was a hub for gold mining in the 1800s. The dam’s construction in 1884 transformed the landscape, creating the magnificent lake we see today. This transformation began Big Bear Lake as a popular outdoor recreation area.

Exploring the Natural Beauty

Nestled at about 6,750 feet, Big Bear Lake boasts a unique mountain environment. The lake spans approximately 7 miles, offering panoramic views and diverse wildlife. The surrounding San Bernardino National Forest provides a lush backdrop, making it a perfect spot for nature photography and bird-watching.

Must-Visit Attractions

  • The Village at Big Bear Lake: A charming hub with shops, restaurants, and regular events.
  • Castle Rock Trail: Offers breathtaking views and a moderate hiking challenge.
  • Big Bear Discovery Center: Ideal for learning about the area’s ecology and history.

Activities for Every Traveler

  • Water Sports: Enjoy boating, paddleboarding, and jet skiing on the lake.
  • Fishing: The lake is known for trout, bass, and catfish.
  • Winter Sports: Snowboarding and skiing are popular at nearby resorts in winter.
  • Hiking and Biking: Explore miles of trails suitable for all skill levels.

Camping Reviews and Tips

Travellers rave about well-maintained campgrounds, such as Serrano and Pineknot Campgrounds. Reviewers often highlight the cleanliness of facilities and the friendliness of staff. Tips for a great camping experience include checking weather forecasts, reserving campsites early, and being mindful of wildlife.


Big Bear Lake offers a camping experience that combines natural beauty, rich history, and a variety of activities. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a first-time visitor, the lake’s charm and offerings ensure an unforgettable adventure.

FAQs: Big Bear Lake Camping

Q: What is the best time to camp at Big Bear Lake?

The best time is from late spring to early fall, with July and August being the peak months for warm weather activities.

Q: Are there camping facilities available for beginners?

A: Several campgrounds with amenities cater to beginners and experienced campers.

Q: Can you fish in Big Bear Lake, and do you need a license?

A: Fishing is a popular activity, and a California fishing license is required for anyone over 16.

Q: What are some safety tips for camping at Big Bear Lake?

A: Be aware of wildlife, store food securely, stay hydrated, and follow local fire regulations.

Q: Is Big Bear Lake suitable for family camping trips?

A: The area offers numerous family-friendly activities and safe, accessible campgrounds.

Skye Sherman

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *