Located at an elevation of 5100 feet in the wonderful San Bernardino National Forest, which is sprinkled with many types of trees, this spot is nicknamed the "Alps of Southern California" and is famous for being one of the West Coast’s best-kept secrets. Besides being a spectacularly beautiful, cozy, and picturesque mountain resort, the great things to do in Lake Arrowhead are the top draw to this area and explain why more and more people want to visit here!
While exciting activities like backpacking, hiking, cycling, horseback riding, and others are popular activities in this paradise, the area offers even more than that. In this article, we will list some of the fascinating things to do in Lake Arrowhead. Beware: this will likely tempt you to add this hidden gem to your travel bucket list!
Skiing enthusiasts rejoice: there are a lot of ski resorts located around Lake Arrowhead. Snow Valley is about a 15-minute drive away, while Snow Summit and Bear Mountain are about 45 minutes away from Lake Arrowhead.
The climate in Lake Arrowhead is ideal for skiing: it is cold enough for snow, but it hardly ever drops below zero in the daytime. So, whether you’re a beginner, seasonal, or professional skier, this is a great place to come hit the slopes in the winter.
2. Water Skiing
Not a fan of snow but still looking for extreme sensations? Water skiing may be just the sport for you! This is another fun activity you can do in Lake Arrowhead. In summer especially, you will see people enjoying water skiing and boogie boarding in the area. You may even watch some high-speed races from the shore, or simply take lessons from professionals.
The water skiing season here lasts from May through to December. If you are looking for less extreme things to do in Lake Arrowhead however, then you might want to consider getting the Arrowhead Queen Lake Tour (see section 6 below). This tour takes you around the lake by paddleboat. It lasts approximately one hour and shows you some of the stunning homes that sit along the shore and overlooking the lake.
Another water-related activity you can make the most of here is fishing. The fishing scene in Lake Arrowhead is one of the best you can imagine. Big German brown trouts, mouth basses, bluegills, and crappies are just a few of the fish species you can hook in Lake Arrowhead.
Every year, rainbow trouts are placed in Lake Arrowhead. However, you have to keep in mind that even though the lake is private, state fishing regulations apply. This means that you will need to obtain a state fishing license to be allowed to fish in Lake Arrowhead.
4. San Bernardino National Forest
The San Bernardino National Forest surrounds the entire lake shore and offers a host of things to do in Lake Arrowhead and around. The protected status of the forest ensures that the natural beauty of the area will be preserved for everyone to enjoy, and prevents the region from becoming overly developed.
The star of the San Bernardino Forest’s rich wildlife is the southwestern arroyo toad, a rare type. Some exciting activities to enjoy in these 823,816-acre woodlands include hiking, camping, mountain biking, and horseback riding. If you're travelling as a family or with a small group, especially with children or teenagers, a really fun way to discover the area is on this 2-Hour Small Group Scavenger Hunt Game in Big Bear Lake just nearby Lake Arrowhead. It will take you on an exciting interactive quest and make sure you take in all the sights on the way - it's a great half-day adventure!
In the section of the park near Palm Springs, the stunning Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains have been granted National Monument status and are a fantastic playground for outdoor lovers. By far our favorite way to reach the 10,834-feet-high San Jacinto State Park is on a Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Ride, which is an attraction in itself.
Book one of our recommended activities near Lake Arrowhead now:
5. Deep Creek Hot Springs
One of North America's popular hot springs, the Deep Creek Hot Springs are another reason to visit Lake Arrowhead. They are located within the San Bernardino National Forest. The landscape that surrounds Deep Creek is exceptional within southern California, and the area's recreation opportunities are valued at the regional and national levels.
The thermal hot springs themselves are unique and important to the local community. You must hike to Deep Creek to reach them, but the springs and the nearby scenic canyon are an easy trek. It's well worth the effort to be rewarded with a warm soak in these natural waters!
6. The Arrowhead Queen
If you want to see the lake from the best vantage point - that is, the lake itself! -, then get on a paddleboard. This is undoubtedly one of the top things to do in Lake Arrowhead for those who are visiting for the first time and who are keen to learn more about the lake itself. While riding the Queen, you’ll be able to experience the lake from a whole new level.
The boat tour takes about an hour. It comes with a narrating tour guide who will show you the sights not to miss and share interesting facts about Lake Arrowhead's history.
No matter what time of the year you visit the lake, you will be happy to know that the Arrowhead Queen sails every day, year-round. And because it has a heater inside, you're guaranteed a comfortable sailing experience even when the weather is chilly outside. The boat leaves from the dock every 90 minutes.
7. Skypark at Santa’s Village
Another of the top things to do in Lake Arrowhead, and one you shouldn’t miss, is a visit to the SkyPark at Santa’s Village. This is a very nice outdoor adventure park that is ideal for everyone, especially if you're visiting during Spring. Most of the attractions here are located outdoor, amid the gorgeous scenery of the mountains. This allows you to enjoy beautiful views and fresh air as you fly through the trees on a zipline, ice skate, or cycle on the trails of the Bike Park.
If you're looking for a bit of a challenge and a workout (and amazing photo opportunities!), then you can hike up to the Top of the World summit and enjoy the breathtaking views. There is also a wall for rock climbing if you want to test your agility and gravity. This place has many attractions designed to appeal to all ages, so it's an especially good bet if you're visiting with your family.
8. Wildhaven Ranch
Wildhaven Ranch is not only a wildlife sanctuary, but it also serves as an educational facility. It’s open only three times a week and can only be visited by prior reservation to minimize disruptions for the animals. They offer a protecting environment, where wild animals that cannot be released into the wild are taken care of and allowed to live in peace.
You can visit the ranch to experience what it truly has to offer. At Wildhaven, you will encounter majestic animals such as bobcats, bears, falcons, raccoons, hawks, owls, and eagles. Again, before visiting, make sure to make a booking by filling out the reservation form or calling them on the number provided on their website.
As you succumb to the charm of the area's boutiques, one of the tempting things to do in Lake Arrowhead is to go on a shopping spree, or at least window-shopping! Lake Arrowhead Village is filled with shopping stores that will delight you if you're looking for designer clothes, shoes, accessories, or even home decorations.
However, if there is something that Lake Arrowhead is even more famous for in terms of shopping, that is antique shopping. If you're an antique lover seeking some special items and unique pieces, there are a lot of shops that will cater to you all over the area. Vintage shops in Cedar Glen, Sky Forest, and Crestline are some of the best-kept secrets in Lake Arrowhead. These interesting stores offer all kinds of treasures, from homemade candles to vintage clothing, gorgeous botanicals, and a lot more.
10. Celebrity Watching
Since the 1930s, Lake Arrowhead has been a famous retreat for VIPs and celebrities alike. It's easy to see why the area has long been a popular spot for popular people. It's not too far from Los Angeles, but still far enough to escape the city's busy life and to recharge in nature.
So, if you're looking for a chance to spot some famous Hollywood stars, then you may want to try your luck here. Although, that would only come as a bonus to the beauty the lake itself has to offer.
Where to stay in Lake Arrowhead
As a popular retreat for relaxation and recreation, Lake Arrowhead offers a great range of accommodation, from lakefront hotels to cozy inns and beautiful private holiday homes. Note however that due to the area's popularity as a vacation and city break destination, lodgings get booked up fast. Make sure to reserve ahead of your trip to have more options to choose from.
Our top picks:
Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa: Treat yourself to an indulgent stay at the top-rated, 4-star Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa. This gorgeous property comes with an impressive range of facilities, including a fitness center, a restaurant, a bar, and a shared lounge. In summer, you'll be able to cool down in the superb outdoor swimming-pool, while you'll be glad for the luxurious sauna and hot tub in winter.
The resort is also set right by the water, which means that it affords stunning lake views. It even boasts its own private lake beach, where you can relax and soak up the sun on comfy loungers when you're not out making the most of all the things to do in Lake Arrowhead.
With its beautiful design, perfect location, and impressive range of facilities, this hotel is our go-to in Lake Arrowhead if you have the budget for it. Prices start around $240 for a King Room, while a $30-$40 upgrade will get you a balcony and lake view.
Arrowhead Lake Inn: For a more affordable option, opt for an Economy Room (around $106 a night), a Queen Room ($149), or a Suite (from $181) at the charming, 3-star Arrowhead Lake Inn. Located only a 4-minutes' walk from the lake shore, this early 20th-century B&B oozes character with its lovely property features and homely decor.
The Inn receives rave reviews for its free breakfast, which includes yummy baked goodies such as cinnamon rolls and bagels, its cute, quirky look, and its kind and attentive owners.
Lake Arrowhead Home: This highly-reviewed, fully-equipped holiday home is our favorite for families and groups of friends. With 5 bedrooms, 2 living rooms, and 4 bathrooms, it can comfortably sleep up to 11 people and is the perfect base from which to go out and enjoy all the fun things to do in Lake Arrowhead.
You don't risk running out of space or getting bored in this huge property that includes such luxuries as a spa bath, a large terrace with a barbecue, and a billiards & games room. Pets are also allowed in the house, so this is a great choice if your party includes furry friends!
Browse more accommodation options in Lake Arrowhead at the best price guaranteed.
Lake Arrowhead sees about 310 days of sunshine a year. While that might not be too impressive for those who live in Southern California, note that the area also experiences four entirely different seasons! This means that there is snow on the mountains during the winter, yet with day temperatures that hardly fall below zero and are normally around 60 ºF.
There’s no doubt that Lake Arrowhead is one of the best resort spots on the West Coast. It offers striking scenery, a beautiful environment, high-end dining, and a lot of exciting activities. Hopefully, this article not only gave you an idea of the best things to do in Lake Arrowhead, but also convinced you to actually go and experience them.
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