Tucked away in the expansive San Bernardino National Forest, Lake Arrowhead is a picturesque and cozy community. A true marvel of nature, the dazzling lake and the forest and mountains surrounding it offer plenty of fun activities for curious wanderers.
If you are thinking about making this wonderful community a stop on your next outdoor adventure, consider adding these ten fun things to do in Lake Arrowhead to your trip itinerary.
1. Explore the San Bernardino National Forest
Known as “the Alps of Southern California,” the San Bernardino National Forest is Lake Arrowhead’s main attraction. Hikers and backpackers can find hours of outdoor enjoyment on hundreds of miles of hiking trails spanning the two tallest mountains in Southern California.
Shooters might test their aim at one of the national forest’s many shooting ranges or during hunting season in approved areas. Meanwhile, anglers can fish sustainably along the reserve’s miles of streams or in one of its ponds.
If horseback is your favorite way to tackle trails, you’ll be pleased to know that all National Forest roads and trails, except their nature trails, allow horseback riding. For people who prefer to experience nature from the safety of their vehicle, the forest boasts one of the best off-highway vehicle systems in Southern California and two scenic drives that are part of the National Scenic Byway System.
Whatever outdoor activities you like, the San Bernardino National Forest has plenty of fun things to do next time you’re in Lake Arrowhead.
2. Find your sport at the SkyPark at Santa’s Village
A Christmas-themed family-oriented spot, SkyPark at Santa’s Village should make your list of fun things to do in Lake Arrowhead.
Hike or bike down the winding trail network, glide above the park on a zip line, climb to the summit of a rock wall or tower, or try your hand at fly fishing, shooting, archery, or even ax throwing. Depending on the season, you can make figure eights in their rink in either ice skates or rollerblades.
With the Discovery Playscape providing kids with playhouses and obstacle courses, SkyPark at Santa’s Village offers fun things to do for nature lovers of all ages.
3. Survey the area at the Strawberry Peak Lookout
Open for the fire season of Memorial Day to December, the Strawberry Peak Lookout serves a critical role in warning about and observing fires near Lake Arrowhead. You’ll want to bring binoculars on your trek up the 80-foot tall tower to make the most of the jaw-dropping view of the San Bernardino National Forest and surrounding mountains. Although the lookout tower is only three stories tall, its peak is at an elevation of 135 feet, making it a supreme viewing location for the surrounding area.
4. Experience black bears up close at the Wildhaven Ranch
If you’re an animal lover, Wildhaven Ranch is one option on this list of fun things to do in Lake Arrowhead you shouldn’t miss. Their group tours involve black bears, indigenous mammals like bobcat, raccoon, fox, coyote, and deer, and impressive birds of prey and native snakes. These tours allow you to experience wildlife up close while learning about the importance of preservation. Brave adults also have the opportunity to feed the black bears for an added fee.
5. Visit the Lake Arrowhead Village
Settled on a peninsula jutting out into Lake Arrowhead, the Lake Arrowhead Village is a charming shopping center featuring over 50 waterfront shops, outlet stores, specialty shops, and restaurants. Walk along the gorgeous lakefront, chow down on a delicious plate of decadent Belgian waffles at the Belgian Waffle Works, or enjoy some music at one of the Village’s summer night concerts.
6. Tour Lake Arrowhead on the Arrowhead Queen
Departing from the Lake Arrowhead Village, the Lake Arrowhead Queen Paddleboat Tour takes visitors on a relaxing one-hour cruise around the lake’s perimeter. While you enjoy the unique and stunning view of Lake Arrowhead and the surrounding region, the humorous tour guide will regale you with stories about the lake and the surrounding area’s rich history.
7. Learn how to water ski at the Mckenzie Water Ski School
If you are more interested in getting out on the water more directly, then taking water ski lessons at the Mckenzie Water Ski School might be a good idea. Their instruction covers a two-mile course and can teach you how to water ski in as little as 15 minutes. Since water skiing is the dominant water sport at Lake Arrowhead, learning the sport is one of the best ways to get out on the lake.
8. Sample some wine at the Sycamore Ranch Vineyard and Winery
Located just west of Lake Arrowhead, the Sycamore Ranch Vineyard and Winery provides nature enthusiasts three and a half acres of vineyards, gardens, and orchards. The Ranch’s gardens and vineyards are so gorgeous Sunset Magazine featured them, making this destination well worth your list of fun things to do in Lake Arrowhead next time you visit, even if you aren’t a wine fan. If you do like to partake, Sycamore Ranch offers a variety of hand-crafted wines and ciders.
9. Book a private picnic in nature
Most people love a good picnic, but few like having to arrange one. Picnic Perfect will put together your picnic for you, allowing you to spend less time preparing food and supplies and more time enjoying yourselves while eating together and marveling at the forest canopy or the beautiful Lake Arrowhead.
10. Pitch a tent at one of the local campgrounds
Once finished with fun for the day, consider pitching a tent at one of the local campgrounds. You’ll spend less money than you would at a hotel and gain the invaluable experience of Lake Arrowhead’s natural nightlife.
Although SkyPark also has a campground, the San Bernardino National Park offers several campgrounds across the more than 800,000-acre park. At the Dogwood Campground southwest of the lake, you can relax with a hot shower after your outdoor adventures.
Whether your thing is hiking, biking, marksmanship, connecting with the wildlife, sightseeing, water sports, wine tasting, or camping, you are sure to find plenty of fun things to do in Lake Arrowhead.