Rediscovering Big Bear

Even though Big Bear is known for it’s four seasons, summer is one of the best times to drive up to the alpine mountain town. Instead of staying at a hotel, we discovered the WorldMark Resort two blocks from Big Bear Lake. You don’t have to be a timeshare member to reserve a unit. It’s an ideal Covid-cation for couples or families, as each unit has a full kitchen, laundry, outdoor patio or balcony. Some units have forest views with a peek of the lake.

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Despite potential quarantines and visitor restrictions, the WorldMark Resort has prepared for local “staycation” getaways since May 26, 2020. They have a cleaning and sanitizing protocol developed by ECOLAB, a global leader in water, hygiene and infection prevention.

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Last month we packed the car and drove less than two hours from Los Angeles up 7,000 feet above sea level, to escape the heat and breathe clear mountain air. At WorldMark Big Bear, they offer spacious one and two bedroom units that comfortably sleep four to six guests. We received a second floor spacious two bedroom unit. There are no elevators at this resort , so we accessed our unit by a walking up the 13-step staircase.

Each one has a private bedroom with one king bed and ensuite bathroom. Two bedroom units have a queen or two twin beds in the second bedroom and a queen Murphy bed to pull down in the living area.

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Traveling with our two daughters, we all appreciated the privacy of separate bedrooms. Since we brought our own food and beverages, we found the fully equipped kitchen convenient for meals. Once we noticed a barbecue grill on the private balcony, we made one trip to the grocery store two blocks away to purchase salmon and corn on the cob to grill in the evening while watching the sun set.

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This resort does not have air conditioning, however the family room and bedrooms to have overhead fans. At sunset we opened the windows to allow the cool mountain air inside to sleep comfortably. Daily housekeeping is not included and may be added for an additional fee.

Centered around the sparkling waters of Big Bear Lake, there are plenty of fresh air activities among blue skies, sunshine and crisp mountain air. Some of the on-site activities at the resort are open such as the large outdoor swimming pool, however others are closed due to CDC requirements. The play areas for children, ping-pong and arcade areas are closed. Outdoor covered hot tubs, horseshoe pit and tennis and basketball courts are also closed due to CDC requirements.

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Within walking distance from the WorldMark is Big Bear Lake, shopping and the 1.6 mile Stanfield Marsh nature trail. It’s an easy walk along a wooden boardwalk. Some areas are above the water to look down and see an array of wildlife and birds. We discovered other fun outdoor activities during our two-night stay.

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Across the street is the beginning of the 5.4 Alpine Pedal Path along the north shore. The paved path begins across the street from Stanfield Cutoff near the lake towards the Big Bear Solar Observatory. It is easily accessible for walkers, skaters, joggers, strollers and wheelchairs.

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We cooled off on the lake at Captain Johns Marina in Fawn Harbor for an hour of kayaking and paddle boarding. John the owner, is a great guy and will get you all set up for a fun day on the lake. He also has canoes and boats to rent. He also has a food stand that opens for lunch, and offers live music on the weekends. There is plenty of parking, a hammock, boat dock and boat launch ramp, plus lots of areas next to the water’s edge to set up your chairs and overlook the lake. Due to Covid-19 mandated restrictions his Big Bear Tarzan Boat waterpark is closed. Hours are weekdays 8a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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We also took a SkyLine View lift ride to the top of Snow Summit to enjoy lunch at the top of the hill. There is a grill at the bottom of the hill with plenty of seats to eat and watch the mountain bikers blaze down the trails, however the lifts are open for an forest top ride to a grill at the top. When you get off the lift, the staff are cooking up burgers, sausages and vegan options served with Cole slaw or potato salad. Beverages include soda, seltzers, ciders and beer.

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We saw a lot of mountain bikers pedaling over the 60 miles of cross-country trails through the San Bernardino National Forest at Snow Summit. They loaded their bikes on the lift and rode up to the top to take one of the six trails down. Trails are for riders of all ages and ability levels. The longest trail is named Going Green and is 2.5 miles long. Terrain: 50% Beginner, 10% Intermediate, 38% Advanced, 2% Pro.

Since we didn’t have bikes, after lunch we hiked along trails and terrain to the bottom base.  For non hikers, you can take the lift back down to enjoy the same exquisite forest and lake views. Other activities at Snow Summit include a 30-foot climbing wall, zip line, Euro Bungee trampoline, and tube slide.

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Early the next morning we drove less than two miles from our condo to race laps in Formula 1 SODI RT8 karts at the Big Bear Speedway. Drivers first watch a safety video, complete a waiver form, receive a protective head sock and helmet, before getting into a mini race car to drive the course. The cars go up to 30 miles an hour around hairpin turns while other cars try to pass you along the way. It’s great fun for all ages. When the race is over, drivers gather around the winner result display board to see who is the winner.

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Afterwards kart racing, we tried our skills on the challenging Big Bear Ropes Course at Big Bear Speedway. It’s a new attraction that towers 35 feet above the ground and stretches over 6,400 square feet. This aerial adventure features 42 obstacles with suspension bridges, open gaps, cables to scramble across, and more. It also includes a Sky Rail Zipline to go airborne. Each participant is fully secured in a five-point, full-body harness that connects to a safety line. There is a slider puck inserted and taken out of the track by a certified operator at the entrance and exit of the ropes course. Each participant is fully secured at all times.

Getting hungry we drove to The Village to explore the open stores and restaurants offering an outdoor patio. It was a little too crowded for our comfort and North Pole Sweets & Treats had a line going down the sidewalk, so we got an ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s and drove back to our condo. The Village has free parking in multiple city lots and in front of shops on Village Dr. and Pine Knot Ave. Be sure to wear a mask.

Another fun spot that was a little too busy for our comfort level during the pandemic is the The Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain. It offers multiple family activities including a slide course, water park, new zip line ride and soon to open the Soaring Eagle coaster. Go early in the morning before it gets too crowded. The park has implemented new cleaning and disinfecting procedures and encourages guests to wear face coverings, maintain 6 feet distance, wash hands frequently, however many of the children weren’t following these guidelines.

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The quickest and easiest way to plan your Big Bear vacation is to go online at WorldMark Wyndham Vacation Clubs for non-timeshare guests to rent a mountain getaway.

 

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