Camping at Big Bear, California

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    Campground Around Big Bear Lake

    Reflection Of Trees On Big Bear Lake Against Sky
    Dmitry Smolyanitsky/EyeEm/Getty Images

    Discover campgrounds located around Big Bear Lake, California. Big Bear is a popular getaway spot, busy year round. In summer, it's cooler than the inland deserts and in the winter, you can go skiing. It's about 100 miles from Los Angeles and 150 miles from San Diego.

    At 7,000 feet elevation, Big Bear's mountain location is a nice change from the coast and the desert. The biggest event of the year is Oktoberfest, a German-style beer festival that draws huge crowds.

    Plan Ahead

    Big Bear Lake is surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest and many of these campgrounds are run by the National Forest Service. Some campgrounds are first come/first served, but others take reservations, which can be made at recreation.gov as early as 6 months ahead or as late as 24 hours in advance. Some have minimum stay requirements on holiday weekends.

    Expect Big Bear to very busy all summer, in October for Oktoberfest, and during winter ski season. Although the campgrounds may not be so busy when it's cold.

    Campgrounds Near the Lake

    These campgrounds are located around Big Bear Lake, mostly on the south side.

    • Big Bear Shores RV Resort: Big Bear Shores is the nicest RV spot in the area, with an outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, and 24-hour security. All of their sites have a cement parking pad, cable television, and full hook-up services, but other extras vary. Some sites are on the lakefront.
    • Holloway's Marina RV Park: This is a big, commercial park with large, level sites and lake views. There’s also a marina with boat rentals, a laundry room, and a convenience store. All of their sites have full hookups, table, barbecues and cable TV.
    • Pineknot Campground: In the National Forest at an elevation of 7,000 feet, next to the Snow Summit Ski Area, Pineknot can accommodate tents and camping trailers. They have drinking water and flush toilets.
    • Serrano Campground: Located on the north shore of the lake, Serrano has tent and RV sites with hookups and a dump station. It's the only national forest campground in the area with showers. The trailhead for the Cougar Crest Trail is across the street. They have limited drinking water and flush toilets.
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    Big Bear Area Campgrounds

    Big Bear Lake in the Fall
    Brent Winebrenner/Getty Images

    These campgrounds are in the Big Bear area, but not right at the lake. They are National Forest campsites and have minimal facilities.

    • Big Pine Flat: Big Pine Flast has green meadow sites along with drier, high desert sites. It's on Forest Rd. 3N14, 7 miles NW of Fawnskin at an elevation of 6,800 feet. Tent camping only. They have drinking water and vault toilets.
    • Hanna Flat: A family campground on Forest Road 3N14, 2 1/2 Miles NW of Fawnskin in Big Bear Lake at an elevation of 7,000 feet. Camping trailers and tents are allowed. They have drinking water and vault toilets.
    • Holcomb Valley Campground: In the Holcomb Valley, just north of Big Bear Lake. This campground is for tents only, with no water and vault toilets.

    Other Ways to Camp Near Big Bear

    So-called “dispersed” or undeveloped camping is also possible in the San Bernardino National Forest. These sites are all more primitive than the ones listed above. Expect them to have no water, no electricity, and no toilets. Some allow fires, but restrictions are tight and permits are required.

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    Map of Places to Camp

    Map of Campgrounds Near Big Bear Lake
    Google Maps

    If you want more details than this map provides, you can get them on this Google map of Big Bear campgrounds