When you've explored every inch of Big Bear, you may be up for a little change of pace. Here are a couple of side trips only a few hours afield.
You could ramble through the woods of the San Bernardino Mountains. These vast reserves are broken up into different sections, and you can learn all about the paths and features from the local rangers at the BARTON FLATS VISITOR CENTER, CAJON RANGER STATION, SAN GORGONIO RANGER STATION AND SAN JACINTO RANGER DISTRICT. The main number for the district is (909) 382-2600
Try a trip over to Big Bearís neighbor Lake Arrowhead. Visit the posh SADDLEBACK INN or LAKE ARROWHEAD RESORT AND SPA. Take the kids to the WILDHAVEN RANCH WILDLIFE SANCTUARY for a lesson in conservation and care. (909 337-1391)
During the summer, enjoy water slides, boats and general water frolicking at family friendly LAKE GREGORY (909 338-4590).
Stargazers wonít want to miss the heavenly experiences suggested by the Mountain Skies Astronomical Society (909 336 4497).
During the winter, you can experience the pure pleasure of gliding across crystal fields and sparkling woodlands on cross country skis. Rim Norduc has training and tours, as well as summer mountain biking ideas (909 867 2600).
A little farther afield is the town of Redlands. Now a college center, in the late 1800s it was the heart of the first California land speculation boom brought about by the railroads that led there. During the 1870s, thousands of settlers moved to Southern California looking for a healthier lifestyle thanks to mild weather and delicious fresh produce, like oranges. Railroad barons, real estate tycoons and orange farmers made fortunes here, and you can still see their rich legacy today. Donít miss the beautiful EDWARDS and MORLEY mansions, the HISTORICAL GLASS MUSEUM (909 798-0868) or the incredible KIMBERLY CREST HOUSE, a magnificent French Chateau and gardens featured on TV as one of Americaís castles. (909.792.2111)
Rock climbers wonít want to miss IDYLLWILD, a favorite hangout for edgy sport lovers. Tahquitz and Suicide rocks are the most popular challenges, but you donít have to be a daredevil to enjoy this idyllic city. Every year writers, dancers, actors and musicians come here for a week long, world famous celebration of the arts. Almost 2000 celebrity teachers and gifted young students share their crafts in a natural setting. The original creative tone reverberates throughout the year. All of the stores in Idyllwild sell hand crafted or local wares. Great shopping!
And donít forget Palm Springs is only a hop skip and jump away information, visit City Concierge at Palm Springs