Winter in Big Bear, California – A Weekend of Snow

Big Bear Lake

You’ve heard it before – Surf and Ski in the same day when in California. That is possible because of Big Bear. One and a half to two hours away from Malibu, perfect for a day trip to winter wonderland, or for an ultimate ski/snowboarding vacation if you don’t want to go all the way to Mammoth Mountain or Colorado. I broke down my weekend of snow for you, from where I stayed in Big Bear to where I ate, to what I did, all in the span of 2 days. So let’s get to it!!

Ski and Surf
Ski and Surf

Hillcrest Lodge

Location: 40241 Big Bear Blvd, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315 – Phone: (909) 534-0792
Hillcrest Lodge (SV) has multiple different private cabin apartments to choose from. Cozy and quaint, it was the perfect place to come back to after being out in the cold snow.

Hillcrest Lodge
Hillcrest Lodge

My particular cabin had a small kitchen area, table, couch, tv, and two bedrooms. One bedroom was the master with a queen bed, and the other room had a bunk bed. Perfect for family or friends looking to share a cute cabin together. Did I mention the fireplace? Bundles of wood cost $8 and will be delivered straight to your door.

Hillcrest Lodge

Katey at Hillcrest Lodge is incredibly welcoming. She did everything she could to make my stay easy and comfortable. She is also incredibly knowledgeable about the area, and things to do! I’ll do my best to relay some of that information here, but do not hesitate to ask her any questions you might have!

She was very available, and even let us know she’ll answer the phone 24 hours a day no matter what time if there was an issue. Of course there wasn’t, but it was so lovely to know she was able to help!

Big Bear Mountain Brewery

Location: 40260 Big Bear Blvd, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
Katey made sure to point out Big Bear Mountain Brewery, which was right across the street from Hillcrest Lodge. It was great to walk over after we checked in. Fun little tip! If you stay at the Hillcrest Lodge, you’ll get a code to use at Big Bear Mountain Brewery for a discount!! 

Big Bear Mountain Brewery
Big Bear Mountain Brewery

We stopped for some drinks and fries before we headed out to do some sledding. There is live music every night and it is just a really cute and quaint brewery. Really gives small town vibes and everyone is super friendly and helpful, from the staff to the musicians, to the customers, all around great experience.

The Boswell Project performing at Big Bear Mountain Brewery
The Boswell Project performing at Big Bear Mountain Brewery

They also do Sunday breakfast, which was so convenient to go to as it’s right across the street. I am gluten free, and while everything on the menu was either a breakfast burrito or something with gluten, (minus some cereal selections), the kind woman running the breakfast was able to make me a breakfast burrito without the “burrito”, with a plate full of mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, and bacon bits. It was perfect and delicious!

Azteca Grill – Mexican Restaurant and Cantina

Location: 40199 Big Bear Blvd, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315 – Phone: (909) 866-2350
Just a few steps down from the Hillcrest Lodge is the Azteca Grill (SV). We decided to have dinner to see how good Mexican food can be at 8,000 feet. The restaurant had a quaint and warm feel to it and the four of us got comfortable and decided to start off with a few drinks. 

The daiquiris were adorned with fruit and flowers, and they tasted great.

The food likewise was delicious including the enchiladas, which included black beans and Mexican rice, of course!  The meal was “real” Mexican in the middle of a ski resort town. Azteca’s ambience, flavorful food, and drinks were worth it. We were glad we stopped by.

Whiskey Dave’s

Location: 40740 Village Dr, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315 – Phone: (909) 866-3283
A great spot to hit on one of your nights out in town. Karaoke, pool tables, many TVs with sports, it is a very fun vibe for those 21 and over.

A little secret about Whiskey Dave’s: If it’s late in Big Bear, and there’s nowhere else to find hot chocolate, look no further. Whiskey Dave’s can make you some!

Whiskey Dave's
Whiskey Dave’s

You’d be surprised at the amount of people walking around late at night looking for some hot cocoa. You’d be even more surprised to find out you can get some at Whiskey Dave’s. Come for the hot cocoa, stay for the karaoke, beer and shoot some pool. Enjoy!


Right down the street from Hillcrest Lodge is Big Bear Snow Play! (SV) A lovely, brisk 5-minute walk and you’re there! Who doesn’t love not needing to drive everywhere?

Walking just really enhances the experience of any trip. It was a fun night of sledding, and afterwards we grabbed some hot cocoa from their snack bar.

Bear Mountain Skiing

Our ski day passes weren’t as expensive as I expected them to be. On a Sunday for a day pass, with helmet and skis included, totaled to be around $200. It was so much fun! I’m usually against downloading apps, but having the BBMR (Big Bear Mountain) app was actually super helpful.

It shows you where you are on the map and all of the different ski trails and its levels around you. You can even view multiple webcams of each of the ski resorts before you even go! That was our Winter in Big Bear, California – A Weekend of Snow!

A Review of the Weekend

Overall, it was a great weekend in the snow. Feel free to make time in your own itinerary to walk around the town and see all the cute shops and restaurants it has to offer. Hillcrest Lodge was a great place to stay and was so convenient and walkable. I would definitely recommend staying there, if not for the cozy cabin rooms, but because it is run by such good and kind people that genuinely care about your experience in Big Bear. It is hard to find places that aren’t completely corporate or money oriented, and Hillcrest Lodge is the furthest from that. Be sure to show some support if you can! <3 

One thought on “Winter in Big Bear, California – A Weekend of Snow

  • March 14, 2024 at 11:57 am

    This is all really good to know! We’re new in the area and haven’t done much to enjoy California.


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