A year-round destination best known for its skiing, hiking, and water activities.

By Travel & Leisure
May 31, 2012
Lake Arrowhead's Four Seasons Sports
Credit: Mingyen Hsu

Just 90 minutes northeast of downtown L.A., Lake Arrowhead is a community of sporty pursuits and pricey chateaux. Snow Valley skiing in the San Bernadino Mountains is popular in the winter; water skis and wakeboards rule Lake Arrowhead during summer months. The area is also home to California’s largest outdoor concert series, featuring live music every weekend from the Fourth of July through Labor Day.

Snow Valley Ski Area

Snow Valley has attracted Southern California skiers since the 1930s. This San Bernadino mountains resort lies northeast of Los Angeles and is about a two-hour drive from the coast. Snow Valley offers 12 lifts and 240 acres for both skiers and snowboarders to explore. The resort continues to improve its terrain park that includes rails, table tops, quarter-pipes, jumps, and jibs. Lessons are available for adults and children, and the resort offers weekday discounts, as well as free admission on a visitor's birthday. It's a good option for beginners because the slopes tend to be less crowded than other area resorts.

Belgian Waffle Works

This dockside restaurant on manmade Lake Arrowhead dates to 1982 and specializes in sweet and savory Belgian waffles, including a play on Benedict, with a waffle replacing the classic English muffin, and Hot Apple Annie with cinnamon ice cream, apples, raisins, walnuts, and whipped cream.

Casual Elegance

A string of paper lanterns leads to the entrance of this upscale New American restaurant, housed in a small cottage dating from 1939. Dine on filet mignon or rack of lamb, with a variety of preparation options, such as a coffee rub, honey-hazelnut crust, or vanilla-bean sauce, in one of several intimate dining rooms where white-clothed tables topped with fresh flowers.

Insider Tip: Tables directly beside the fireplace are often quite warm, so avoid them if you have a low tolerance for heat.

Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa

Located in the upper San Bernadino Mountains, this lodge overlooks Lake Arrowhead and is within walking distance of a number of village shops and restaurants. The interior lobby is decorated with upholstered armchairs, brown leather couches, brick-mantle fireplaces; the 170 guest rooms overlook either the lake or the mountainside. Breakfast is popular at the hotel, so arrive early to snag a coveted outside-deck seat for sunrise viewing.