Mountain Cool: A Big Bear Kind of Summer

A lake experience that isn't too far off? We'll be right up.

MOUNTAIN SPOTLIGHT: When the words "heat wave" start getting tossed about in Southern California, you can bet locals think three things. One? If all the fans in the house are working and the frozen treat makers are up to snuff. Two? If a visit to the beach would bring some relief. And three? What might be happening up in our mountain areas. It turns out the upper elevation destinations closest to the SoCal cities have plenty doing, from chili cook-offs to outdoor adventures to music to ample opportunities to be lakeside in a spot that's at least a few degrees cooler (yep, it can get toasty in the mountains, too). Big Bear has plenty doing now that summer's officially here, including...

OLD MINERS DAYS: The summer-long party is still yee-hawing -- that's totally a word, right? -- around the mountain town, with some golden to-dos just ahead. Like? There's a chili cook-off and chuckwagon dinner on July 13, the Outhouse Races on that same day (really), and a Doo Dah parade on the last Sunday in July. Seriously, when's the last time you ate a chuckwagon dinner? Has it been more than a week? You need to remedy that, pronto.

SNOW SUMMIT: One might hear "snow" and think it is time to dig out the ol' parka, but wait a sec: Snow Summit Adventure Park is all about outdoor adventuring. And the sporty spot just introduced a few new features this month, like a new hiking trail and a Flying Squirrel Zipline. We want to see a photo of the first person to dress like a flying squirrel on the Flying Squirrel Zipline. There. We said it.

FOURTH OF JULY: Big Bear does it up big on pretty much every holiday, but Independence Day up the big hill is extra sparkly. Literally, with fireworks over the lake. A Rotary Club barbecue and other old-time-y charms fully flower lakeside in early July, so don your tall Uncle Sam hat and head up. (You have one of those, too, in addition to an old miner outfit and a flying squirrel costume? Awesome. We're giving you a high five from afar.)

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