I recently did my first camping trip (with the help of Mike) in the Serrano Campgrounds at Big Bear Lake. It wasn’t necessarily my first choice for my Spring Break, but at the time it was the only open, feasible campground at the time, as most other locations were suffering heavy snow or rain. Plus I wanted to be around a lake and plenty of forest (I didn’t want a desert for my first time).

Wasn’t expecting snow on our campsite

Sadly Big Bear Lake was colder than expected, but nevermind that. I was pleased that our campgrounds offered several clean bathrooms and showers with heated water, a fire pit with a “grill”, and water stations. Though the hot water was welcome in the cold, the way the showers worked are awful. The shower is operated by pressing a button (after adjusting water temperature) that shuts the shower off in a mere 5 seconds. In essence you’re forced to hold it down if you want a steady supply of hot water, which in the cold temperatures was much desired. In normal weather you would obviously just need to turn the shower on in quick bursts for a rinse.

There’s plenty of bars in the city as well, if you didn’t bring alcohol or want to drink in the warmth of a building.

The proximity of the campgrounds to the lake definitely allows you to get great views, and there is plenty of darkness (great for astrophotography!) despite the fact that there’s actually a little city nearby: Big Bear Lake City. The proximity to this city is a huge plus, offering access to many common stores like Walgreens (sadly no Walmart), Big 5, etc, and even common restaurants, with fast food like McDonald’s and comfort food such as Denny’s. Really helped in the unusually cold weather, as it was quite uncomfortable to try and cook food at our campsite the moment it was after 4pm.


Big Bear Lake as an area also has a ski resort, apparently, which wasn’t a surprise once I saw how much snow the area had. Guess this place would have more appeal if I was into skiing. The actual experience of booking and checking in was not difficult at all either; you can easily reserve most campsites from recreation.gov these days.

Skiiing anyone?