Wondering which neighborhood in Big Bear to book your vacation rental? Today let’s walk through the different neighborhoods in Big Bear so you can find the best location.
Each neighborhood in Big Bear is unique, so there is definitely a Big Bear vacation rental that will match what you are looking for.
Here are what we consider to be the best Big Bear vacation rental neighborhoods.
Big Bear West
Also known as the Boulder Bay area, Big Bear West is the first area you’ll see near the dam if you drive up 330. The area is pretty rocky and steep. There are a lot of vacation rental options and also really cool Forest Service cabins available to rent.
Forest Service cabins are on land owned by the American public under Forest Service management. The cabins are privately owned by individuals, and the land is leased to the cabin owners. The owners are expected to maintain the natural and historic character of the land, making your stay in these cabins a special experience.
Even though there are a lot of vacation rentals and second homes in this area, it’s still very residential with many locals living in the neighborhood. Expect to find mostly mom-and-pop stores and a few restaurants.
The downside to this area is the weather, which tends to be very cold and very windy. But the area is home to Boulder Bay and Boulder Bay Park, great places to take your kids or to take family photos.
Big Bear Central
Big Bear Central, home to the village and the marinas, is a great place to stay if you’re looking to go to the ski resorts or planning to spend time in the village.
As the name implies, this neighborhood is in the center of the action in Big Bear. Given its access to restaurants, entertainment options, and hiking trails, it’s no surprise that this area is especially popular during the summer. If you’re looking for an action-packed getaway, this might be the best vacation rental neighborhood in Big Bear.
The downside is that you might experience a lot of traffic, congestion, and noise in this area, so if you’re looking for a more peaceful retreat, this may not be your best bet. But if you love being part of the action, Big Bear Central is probably just what you’re looking for.
This is another very popular area in Big Bear, and it happens to be one of my favorites. It includes the golf course, tons of hiking, and the Big Bear Alpine Zoo.
The mountain views in this area are exactly what you expect when you think of a cabin in the mountains, making its homes some of the most desirable in Big Bear. If you are looking for a traditional mountain getaway, Moonridge might be Big Bear’s best vacation rental neighborhood.
Moonridge is mostly residential, but a lot of coffee shops and restaurants have begun to open up along Moonridge Avenue, making it a great place for visitors to stay.
Driving after a snowstorm in the winter can be challenging, but when the weather is more pleasant, Moonridge is the perfect place to book a vacation rental for a mountain escape that’s still only minutes away from some of the biggest attractions in Big Bear.
Sugarloaf is a really cool old neighborhood. It was actually the first ski resort in Big Bear back in the 1950s. Now the area is more residential, with an elementary school, a high school, great parks for kids, and a neighborhood bar and grill. Sugarloaf is a great spot to stay with kids.
Because Sugarloaf (namesake of the mountain) was originally a ski resort, it’s not too far from the slopes; the community has quick access to both Snow Mountain and Bear Mountain. Not in Big Bear for skiing? Don’t worry. There are plenty of other things to do in Sugarloaf year-round, such as nearby hiking and biking trails.
If you are looking for a friendly small-town atmosphere, staying in Sugarloaf is the perfect alpine escape for you.
While not technically in Big Bear, Fawnskin is the perfect area for a quiet mountain retreat. An old mining town on the north side of the lake, Fawnskin boasts a great view of the lake, which some great vacation rentals take advantage of.
For many, the greater distance from the businesses of Central Big Bear is a positive rather than a negative. There are fewer cabins for rent in this area because so many of the homes are occupied by permanent residents.
Fawnskin has a lot of good hiking, and it is the closest area to the Courage Crest Trail, which goes all the way to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). However, the restaurant options are limited, so if dining is important to you, I would recommend finding a different area.
Little Big Sky Country
My favorite neighborhood in Big Bear is called Little Big Sky Country. Located in East Big Bear (which is home to many cute mom-and-pop shops), this beautiful area is basically in the forest and full of meadows. One of the distinguishing features of Little Big Sky Country is the wild burros that reside here most of the year. A herd of about 60 wild burros can frequently be seen wandering nearby.
This quiet and peaceful residential area is dark at night with little light pollution, so if you like stargazing, Little Big Sky Country is perfect for you. And because the neighborhood is more spread out, it doesn’t have the traffic or noise found in Central Big Bear.
Close to the convention center, Little Big Sky Country has a lot of hiking options and is only a short drive from Baldwin Lake Stables, where you can take trail rides on horseback. From here you can also easily reach Holcomb Valley and Baldwin Lake.
Little Big Sky Country also has quick access to the airport and Highway 38. If coming from North San Diego, East Big Bear is going to be much quicker to get to (especially on a Friday night). In addition to all the other great things the location has to offer, this makes it one of my favorite areas in Big Bear.
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