Destination: Big Bear, California

Destination: Big Bear, California
A California “Alpine Resort,” Big Bear’s A Breath Of Fresh Air Offering Free Gas To Visitors


Did you know that Southern California has a breathtaking vacation spot that seems like you’re visiting an Alpine resort?

It’s Big Bear, the area in the mountains between Los Angeles and Palm Springs. It’s famous for its ski trails and Big Bear Lake nestled in the heart of the San Bernardino National Forest.

Just a couple of hours drive from L.A., it’s a world away, with a relaxing atmosphere and scenery that makes you go “Wow,” while you take a deep breath of the crystal clear air.

Too expensive to travel there with gas prices soaring? The good folks at the Big Bear Lake Resort Association want to help visitors by offering a $100 gas card. That’s for guests booking five or more nights at participating lodges in the area. For booking three or four nights, participating lodges are offering a $50 gas card, and a $25 gas card for one or two nights stay.

“We felt the only way to fight the gas price was is to up the ante on our gas cards,” said Big Bear Lake Resort Association CEO Ken Brengle. “We figure guests who stay three or more nights should receive more value. What better way than fill up their gas tanks.” What a wonderful way to roll out the welcome mat.

Talking with the association’s ultra charming public relations manager, Dan McKernan, we learned that there’s a lot going on in Big Bear this spring and summer, starting with the Wild West Storyfest galloping into town May 24 and 25.

It’s a unique western-themed event that features professional storytellers, poets, stage performers and published authors. There’s continuous live entertainment on two stages, Wild West reenactments, and writers workshops.

Special guest for the Wild West Storyfest is author Alan Geoffrion, best known for his book “Broken Trail,” which starred Robert Duvall in the award-winning television movie.

This is the first annual Storyfest to be held at Big Bear, and it’s set to be a thrill for buckaroos of all ages with authentic cowboy performers. They’ll be spinning real life stories about ranches, horses, wranglers, romances, saloons and family life. Wild West reenactments will be presented by the Pistols & Petticoats troupe.

Just about anything to do with cowboy traditions and good wholesome family entertainment will be part of the two day Wild West festival, for a $15 admission ticket. And then there’s the special campfire dinner theater the first night. Something for everyone at really affordable prices. For more information call 1-800-4BIG-BEAR (1-800-424-4232).

The Storyfest activities aren’t the only draw for Big Bear. There are many activities for nature lovers. Have some fun boating, off-roading, horseback riding, mountain biking and golfing. Oh yes, if you love to go fishing, Big Bear lake is now filled to the brim.

For photographers, there is an abundance of wildflowers this time of year. The late bloomers are just getting started because of the heavy winter snowfall, which is now melting to water the flowers. The flowers will blossom through the end of July.

It’s interesting to find out from McKernan that these beautiful plants are not seen anywhere else in the world. And you can go picnicking or hiking around the fields, to enjoy the flowers up close. But please don’t pick bouquets of the wildflowers, because many are endangered native plants and protected by law.


Big Bear has one of the best websites for visitors to find out where to eat shop and play, as well as information on the wonderful lodges and activities. Go to, and get ready to enjoy a scenic drive to view the colorful wildflowers, green pines, and blue skies. Plus you’ll be greeted up in the mountains with down home hospitality, and free gas!

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.