Family Fun in Lake Arrowhead

Lake Arrowhead Queen horiz LG

Escape to Lake Arrowhead, nestled in the tree-covered mountains of San Bernardino National Forest, for a relaxing getaway immersed in nature and outdoor fun. It takes just a couple hours to drive from San Diego, but with an elevation of over 5,100 feet, it feels worlds away from busy city life.

It’s true that Lake Arrowhead is a private lake, but here’s a little-known fact: If you’re not a resident with lake rights or a lake beach club member, you can get in (or on) the water by staying at Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa, the only hotel on the lake. Many people don’t realize that some of the benefits offered to resort guests include swimming at the small private beach, scheduling a private pontoon boat excursion (up to 10 people), taking a guided single or tandem kayak tour, and catch-and-release dock fishing. Read more below under “where to stay.”

WHAT TO DO in Lake Arrowhead

Lake Arrowhead Village LG      Big on Bear Lake Arrowhead LG

Lake Arrowhead Village 
Lake Arrowhead Village is the area’s waterfront hub of activity, boasting dozens of boutiques and specialty shops. A couple of my favorites are Big on Bears (need awesome family PJs for this year’s Christmas card? Check Big on Bears first!), Mr. G’s for Toys and Rocket Fizz (I never tire of old-fashioned sodas and nostalgic metal signs). Stop at the Tea & Coffee Exchange or Village Ice Cream for an afternoon treat. It’s also home to the visitor center, a great place to pick up a hiking guide or learn about area camping. The Village also hosts a summer concert series every Friday and Saturday night from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Lake Arrowhead Queen (pictured at top of article)
Take a one-hour narrated boat ride where passengers hear interesting lake history and get a glimpse of lakefront homes (some belonging to famous people). It’s a great introduction to the lake if you’re a first-time visitor.

SkyPark 5 Lake Arrowhead LG   SkyPark 5 Lake Arrowhead LG   SkyPark 5 Lake Arrowhead LG

SkyPark at Santa’s Village 
Nearby SkyPark at Santa’s Village is a year-round adventure park (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays) featuring a roller skating rink (ice skating in the winter), climbing towers, character encounters, ax-throwing, archery and much more. There is also an impressive network of professionally designed bike trails that draws riders from all over southern California. Trails exist for riders of all levels – beginners to experts.

Even the locals have fun at SkyPark. “Me and my friends all have season passes and go every couple of weeks,” says Jared Cobb of Crestline, who was there with his 2-year old son. “We ride the bike trails and zipline and grab a beer all in the same day.” Learn more at www.skyparksantasvillage.com.

Hiking
There are at least a dozen hiking trails in the Lake Arrowhead area that range from half-mile beginner trails to nine-mile advanced excursions. Five of them are easy treks, one mile long or less, which is good news for families with little kids. Learn more at www.fs.usda.gov/activity/sbnf/recreation/hiking.

Wildhaven Ranch 
It’s not a zoo, but an animal sanctuary. Reservations are available for bear and eagle observation on Saturdays (not during winter). 

WHERE TO EAT in Lake Arrowhead

Jetties 2 Lake Arrowhead LG     Jetties Lake Arrowhead LG

Jetties Waterfront Kitchen is a casual lunch and dinner spot located right next to the water in Lake Arrowhead Village. Stop in for a Nashville BBQ Burger, Fried Chicken Caesar or Poke Nachos. Don’t miss happy hour specials (Monday through Friday, 3–5 pm); they have 24 beers on tap!

Belgian Waffle Works Lake Arrowhead LG

Belgian Waffle Works is a family-owned restaurant offering sweet and savory waffle creations for breakfast in Lake Arrowhead Village. Some of the outrageously delicious concoctions on the breakfast menu are worthy of a celebratory treat to share with the kids (or a friend). Take the Mud Pie Belgian, for instance: waffle ice cream sandwich with coffee ice cream, chocolate fudge cream, chocolate sauce, Oreo cookie crumbs and whipped cream. Now, if that doesn’t say “Happy Summer,” I don’t know what does. The lunch menu consists of sandwiches and burgers served with waffle fries.

Lou Eddies Pizza in SkyForest serves up artisan pizzas, gourmet salads and frozen pizzas to go. The eatery is built into the tree-covered mountain side, offering a variety of unique indoor and patio seating (wonderful when the weather is nice). Grab a beer from the saloon downstairs and enjoy the rustic, relaxing ambiance while you wait for your pizza. 

Bin 189 Lake Arrowhead LG

Bin 189 offers fantastic lake views and delicious menu items such as Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Burrata and Roasted Beet Salad, and Seafood Fideo. The kids menu is entertaining for all, featuring items such as “I’d Rather Starve” (cheese sandwich with fruit), “Huh?” (cheeseburger with fruit or fries) and “Leave Me Alone” for dessert (chocolate pudding, Oreo cookie crumbs and gummy bears).

WHERE TO STAY in Lake Arrowhead

Lake Arrowhead Resort LG      

As mentioned above, Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa is the only hotel on the lake. Kids love daily visits to the outdoor (ADA-accessible) pool (which has lake views), Saturday night movies (shown outdoors during summer), game room (ping pong and foosball), sitting around the campfire for S’mores Under the Stars (spring through fall), and seasonal DJ pool parties.

Parents love resort amenities such as the onsite full-service spa, wellness classes (yoga, pilates, sound healing meditation), fitness gym, Aroma’s Coffee Shop (open every morning for pastries and espresso), and Bin 189, a wonderful restaurant featuring a fabulous menu, signature cocktails, and weekly live music. Learn more at www.lakearrowheadresort.com

While you’re in the Lake Arrowhead area, check out nearby Lake Gregory and Big Bear or take a day trip to beautiful Oak Glen (popular in the fall; but open year-round). Read our articles that provide tips on what to do with kids:

Managing editor Lisa Gipson is always up for a new adventure. Follow her on IG @sandiegoeditor. All photos provided by her.

_____________

Family Fun in Lake Arrowhead

Family Fun in Lake Arrowhead

Escape to Lake Arrowhead, nestled in the tree-covered mountains of San Bernardino National Forest, for a relaxing getaway immersed in nature and outdoor fun. It takes just a couple hours to drive fr . . .

Read more

Visiting the Mendocino Coast with Kids

Visiting the Mendocino Coast with Kids

When I was a kid, my parents went to the coastal town of Mendocino to take a break from—well, me. So, I always assumed there was nothing to do there with kids. Boy, was I wrong. The Mendocino Coas . . .

Read more

Road Trip Bingo

Road Trip Bingo

Planning to take a road trip with kids or be in the car for an extended period of time? Schedule a break from screens with this fun game that encourages kids to look out the car window and discover th . . .

Read more

All Aboard! Where to Ride the Rails in California

All Aboard! Where to Ride the Rails in California

Experiencing both the Skunk Train and world-famous Rail Bikes in Mendocino County inspired me to explore what other fun railways exist in California. Thanks to tips from train-fanatic friends, I found . . .

Read more

Family Camping Fun: Activities, Recipes and Ideas

Family Camping Fun: Activities, Recipes and Ideas

  Grab your camping gear and get ready for a great outdoor adventure (even if it's only in the backyard). Here are activities, crafts, recipes and tips that make fabulous family camping me . . .

Read more

Camping Scavenger Hunt

Camping Scavenger Hunt

Camping Scavenger Hunt If your family is planning a camping trip to a campground, national park or other outdoor destination, be sure to take along our free, printable Camping Scavenger Hunt! Print . . .

Read more

SoCal’s Best Beach Camping

SoCal’s Best Beach Camping

Southern California beaches are a popular destination year round, so why not spend a few days at a beachfront or bayfront campground? “Southern California has some of the best ocean-front campgro . . .

Read more

Family Road Trip: 6 Fun Stops Along California's Central Coast

Family Road Trip: 6 Fun Stops Along California's Central Coast

The secret is out: San Diego is amazing. In fact, it’s a top U.S. vacation destination. So while the rest of the country is descending upon San Diego this summer, consider venturing away from the . . .

Read more

Fun Things to Do with Kids in the Bay Area

Fun Things to Do with Kids in the Bay Area

Planning a road trip to the San Francisco Bay Area? Here are five kid-friendly stops from Gilroy (south of San Francisco) to Fairfield (north of San Francisco). Each super fun spot will entertain, e . . .

Read more

Take the Family Glamping in Buellton, California

Take the Family Glamping in Buellton, California

So, what is glamping? Glamping is like camping—but not. Combining the words glamorous and camping, glamping includes amenities and comforts of home (beds, electricity, indoor plumbing). None of th . . .

Read more

Discover California National Parks

Discover California National Parks

These national parks in Southern and Central California are within a day’s drive of San Diego.Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service with a visit to one (or more) of these sc . . .

Read more

Visit Zion National Park in Utah

Visit Zion National Park in Utah

Photo by Lisa Pawlak Breathtaking, colorful Zion National Park embraces towering cliffs, glimmering waterfalls, emerald-green pools, blue skies, red sandstone river canyons and massive multihued rock . . .

Read more

Family Travel to Arches National Park

Family Travel to Arches National Park

Arches National Park, located in southeast Utah, offers an abundance of geological wonders waiting to be discovered by visiting families. The park’s scenic, red rock landscape is home to more than . . .

Read more

Visit Bryce Canyon National Park

Visit Bryce Canyon National Park

Breathtaking Bryce Canyon National Park offers one of the planet’s most surreal landscapes. Within the park’s 56 square miles, the geological forces of weather and erosion have carved intense sa . . .

Read more

Get started with RV Camping

Get started with RV Camping

Take Your Family on the Road, RV Style! During a recent email session with an old friend about our summer plans, I mentioned that our family planned on taking our annual four-week road trip in our . . .

Read more

Best Family Camping in San Diego

Best Family Camping in San Diego

Ready to embark on a San Diego family camping adventure? Help your kids experience the great outdoors at one of the many family campgrounds in San Diego County! First-time campers? Consider pra . . .

Read more

Get to Know Lake Gregory in Crestline, CA

Get to Know Lake Gregory in Crestline, CA

I had never even heard of Lake Gregory in California’s San Bernardino Mountains until a couple months ago. But now the secret is out! Bustling with fun lake activities for families, it’s a perfe . . .

Read more

Plan a Family Adventure to Catalina Island

Plan a Family Adventure to Catalina Island

What do wild bison, an awesome zipline, a casino and walking on the ocean floor have in common? Catalina Island, of course.Looking for a fun family day or weekend trip? I’ll let you in on a little . . .

Read more

Insider's Tips when Visiting Catalina

Insider's Tips when Visiting Catalina

Here are helpful insider’s tips you won’t find anywhere else. Things I didn’t know until I got to Catalina. They could make your visit to the island a little sweeter.If you haven’t read the . . .

Read more

Ski Mammoth Mountain

Ski Mammoth Mountain

Take the kids to “shred some pow” at Mammoth Mountain, one of California’s premier winter sports recreational resorts. Families wanting a fun, wintery escape will fulfill mammoth-sized dreams . . .

Read more

Six Snow Play Destinations

Six Snow Play Destinations

photo credit- Big Bear Mountain Resort Ready to play in the snow? The whole family can enjoy a snowy, active vacation with adventures like skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snow tubing, ice skating, sn . . .

Read more

Winter Family Fun in Big Bear

Winter Family Fun in Big Bear

Ready to take your family on a winter getaway close to San Diego? Head to the mountains for a fun-filled winter vacation at Big Bear. Winter activities include skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and . . .

Read more

Make Traveling with Kids a Lifelong Adventure

Make Traveling with Kids a Lifelong Adventure

Travel is loaded with benefits for families. It awakens curiosity and helps kids and parents feel more at home in the world while creating strong bonds and lasting memories. As kids grow, the fun of . . .

Read more

11 Kid-Friendly Adventures on Oahu

11 Kid-Friendly Adventures on Oahu

Taking a family vacation to the island of Oahu? Sure, you’ll lounge on the beach, build sandcastles and play in the water; but why not dig a little deeper into the culture, traditions and excitement . . .

Read more

Family Getaways in Southern California

Family Getaways in Southern California

Southern California resorts and hotels that families love! Looking for a family getaway where there’s relaxation for adults and fun for the kids? These SoCal resorts offer plenty of amenities . . .

Read more

San Diego Family Magazine Logo

Be Family Informed – Sign up for our Newsletters below!