5 Winter Adventures in Big Bear for Non-Skiers

Mountains to Big Bear, California

During the winter months when visitors think of Big Bear, skiing or snowboarding comes to mind as the popular or only winter activity but Big Bear has so much more to offer for the entire family. Big Bear Lake has some of Southern California’s biggest and greatest adventures and they are just a short drive from Orange County and LA. We spent the weekend in Big Bear and found 5 family-friendly adventures for non-skiers.

1. Tubing, Alpine Sledding, Go-Karting, Building Snowmen, and Miniature Golf at Magic Mountain 

Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain, Big Bear

Tubing or sledding is what winter memories are made of! Spend the day at Magic Mountain and enjoy the Alpine Slide, sledding, snowman building, miniature golf, and go-karts.

Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain

The Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain is open all year. Begin with a scenic chairlift ride to the top. From there, you get to navigate your own individually controlled sled down your choice of two quarter-mile long cement tracks filled with high-banked turns and long straightways.

Go Karting in Big Bear

There are a variety of attractions at the recreation area as well, which include year round operations of the go-karts and an 18 hole miniature golf course. Kids 6 and under ride Snow Play, Big Bear’s snow tubing hill, free with a paying adult and everything you need including snow, sled, and even a lift to the top of the hill, is provided.

Sledding with Athena at Magic Mountain

Snowman at Magic Mountain, Big Bear

Athena built her first snowman, went sledding for the first time, and rode in a go-kart with Daddy. From 10 am until 5 pm, we never left Magic Mountain. I would have been happy spending the entire weekend there. The cold, the snow, the laughter, the slipping and sliding down the hill, it all reminded me of my childhood in eastern Canada.

2. Skating, Laser Tag, Miniature Golf, and Arcade Games at Big Bear Funplex

Funplex Skating, Big Bear

Bowling, skating, mini golf, arcade games, laser tag, and dining can all be found at Big Bear Funplex. You can decide as a family which activities you’d like the most and packages are available.

We chose skating for an hour and then mini golf. We considered laser tag but thought it might be too advanced for Athena, leaving the other players with less of an experience. Depending on the age of your child or children, this could be a great addition.

The skating, although not real ice, was Athena’s favorite activity. She said she was like Elsa and Anna from Frozen and proudly shuffled her feet around the ice without help from Mom or Dad. Since it’s indoors and not real ice, you don’t need to worry about warm clothing either.

3. Nature Hikes or Walking Around the Big Bear Lake (Discovery Center) 

Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake is a photographer’s dream. There are tons of stopping spots and opportunities to park your car and walk around. The drive around the lake takes about an hour, which accounts for stops and photo time.

You could also stop at the Discovery Center during the drive. Their service include: adventure passes, hiking and biking maps, camping information, tours, and maps of forest roads and off-highway vehicle adventures. We decided to explore on our own since we were so limited on time.

4. Helicopter Flight with Helicopter Big Bear

Helicopter Flight, Big Bear

Even a short, 10 minute helicopter flight, which is what we chose, can really give you a new perspective on an area. Helicopter Big Bear, located inside the Terminal Building at the Big Bear City Airport, offers sightseeing flights from the vantage point of a helicopter cockpit.

Helicopter Flight Views, Big Bear

Witness the beauty the San Bernardino Mountains and Big Bear area has to offer with an aerial view like no other, featuring the scenic countryside, landmarks, points of Interest, surroundings, and real estate. Our helicopter sightseeing flight combined excitement, relaxation, and stunning vistas from a bird’s eye view.

What made Athena smile most during the flight? Listening to her voice on the headset microphone. Her giggling every time she spoke made us laugh with delight.

 5. Action Ziplining Tours 

Action Zipline Tours in Big Bear

If your dreams of flight are piqued from the helicopter flight, you can continue flying with Action Zipline Tours. Guests are suspended high above the forest floor overlooking mountain vistas and zip through forested landscapes and cross over rocky canyons. Highly trained guides facilitate the entire tour from equipment checks to clipping in each participant to the zip lines. Guests are fitted with the required equipment including harness, helmet and heavy duty gloves. The cool, or maybe even cold, thing about Action Zipline Tours is that they run all year (yes even in the snow).

We did the 3-hour tour with 9 high-speed runs and a fun suspension bridge in the beautiful mountain terrain. (You might need to leave the young kids with family for this activity. For safety reasons, riders must be at least eight years of age and must weigh 75 lbs.  The maximum weight is 250 lbs.)


Playing in the Snow - Big Bear (1)

Each year, Big Bear gets a blanket of fresh snow; although it may be cold, it warms your heart. Every child should have memories of building snowmen, feeling the cold air on their faces as the slide down a mountain, and seeing unique snowflakes falling from the sky. Big Bear Tourism website is a wealth of information for winter family fun in Big Bear or just hop in the car and head up to the mountains. I can guarantee you’ll find something to make the whole family smile.

32 thoughts on “5 Winter Adventures in Big Bear for Non-Skiers

  1. Thanks Lesley, loved your post and started pining for the snow as we bask in the summer heat in Sydney. Big Bear certainly has some excellent facilities and it’s good to see that there are activities for non-skiers.
    We ski at Perisher, a few hours south of Canberra, Australia. Our ski fields are in National Parks so activities have to be mindful of conserving the environment. Even though I ski, I love going up and down the chairlift as a foot passenger and having a devili9sh hot chocolate with a stick of Toberlone and and three marshmallows made up as a snowman which you can dunk into this devilish concoction. Like yourself, I also love the photography. I took my best shots about 15 years ago and it was early morning and the icicles were hanging from the gum trees. The sky was such a bright, azure blue and it sparkled on the ice. These were visions I’ll never forget. We’ve been 3 times since then and it’s never been the same.
    We have put our kids into ski school and that’s gone really well.
    Quite often when I read blog post from around the world about the same experiences in different countries, I think it would be great to put them all together.
    Thanks again!
    xx Rowena


  2. Love all the pictures and activities that you chose. Sounds like something for everyone. Athena’s smile was so great. I love how you write and it makes you feel like you are there. If I ever visit CA would have to check this out!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic for the kids (both big and little) 🙂 Tobogganing is great fun with the kids and the joy they experience from getting to know themselves in these small ways is precious. And I love the name of the place – oh I wish I could say I am going to ‘Big Bear’ this weekend!


    • I understand about the snow; that’s why I moved from eastern Canada to southern California but I feel like it wouldn’t be right to go an entire winter without taking Athena to play in the snow and sled in the mountains.

      Do you prefer beach vacations?


  4. Hey!

    Just wanted to let you know that I’ve recommended your blog for “The Very Inspiring Blogger Award” on my blog. It’s kind of like a pay it forward scenario where you recommend blogs that you find inspiring and then display an award for having your blog recommended as well. I enjoy your blog so thought it would be great to recommend yours!




  5. Great pictures as always! I had no idea there was an Alpine Slide there. How fun! Athena is going to grow up to be just like you. I hope to be there someday. I hope to see you again one day soon! Perhaps with a FAM trip next year? 🙂


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