Blake Walsh

25 Best Things to Do in Lake Arrowhead, CA

  • Published 2022/12/02

Lake Arrowhead, a piece of Californian paradise situated in the backdrop of the infamous San Bernardino Mountains, is a nice spot if you want to spend some quiet time in nature.

Its beauty is undeniable, and there are a lot of places to check out here.

Now let’s look at the 25 best things to do in Lake Arrowhead.

Find Your Zen With the Stars at the MSAS Observatory

With its sprawling land, breathtaking views of the night sky, and high elevation, it’s no wonder that Mountain Skies Astronomical Society selected Lake Arrowhead to host the only custom-built Robert Brownlee Observatory in Southern California.

MSAS provides astronomy education to children and adults through events, such as community stargazing nights, equipment loans, and even starry laser art on special occasions.

Through the years, the MSAS Astronomy Village transformed into a cultural hub that attracts hundreds of individuals, both young with families and adults, looking to learn more about astronomy.

There was a need for a library to meet the robust demand for local information on all things related to space.

As a result of this vital need, an MSAS board commissioned it on December 19th, 2000, unanimously naming the space after long-time supporters and generous donors Webster and Mary Alice Parker.

What really makes you want to go to Mountain Skies Astronomical is their research-grade telescope.

The telescope’s 17.2″ diameter f/8 Ritchey-Chretien, in particular, has a massive 102-mm front corrector plate that allows for a large, dark field for detailed viewing.

Enjoy a Boat Tour With Lake Arrowhead Queen

View of Lake Arrowhead Queen on the water

Chris Allan /

The Lake Arrowhead Queen boat tours leave from Lake Arrowhead Village Peninsula, just a short distance from Arrowhead Pine Rose Cabins.

Boats go out every half hour, so you’ll have plenty of time to get on a boat tour and get a closer look at Lake Arrowhead’s beautiful homes.

In addition to viewing stunning lakeside properties, you’ll also see how celebrities, like Shirley Temple, built their dream homes up on picturesque Lake Arrowhead.

The cost of tickets for the Lake Arrowhead Queen is $24.95 for adults, $22.95 for seniors (60 years and up), and $19.95 for children (11 years and under).

View of a docked Lake Arrowhead Queen

Steve Cukrov /

You only need to purchase your tickets at Leroy’s Board Shop before getting on the boat tour.

Children, 12 years and under, must wear the required Personal Flotation Device that comes with your ticket (yours will be given to you when you buy it!).

You need to call them ahead of time regarding rates for boat charters since they differ depending on the time you choose to charter your boat for/and how many people you’re bringing on board.

There are no advanced sales except for groups, so let them know how many people expect to show up to prep accordingly!

Aerial view of a cruising Lake Arrowhead Queen

Kilmer Media /

Have a Fun Day at Skypark at Santa’s Village

Are you looking for another fun family day?

Lake Arrowhead is full of those idyllic, fun times with your family.

Let us head over to the Skypark at Santa’s Village to have a fun afternoon.

Though it is an adventure park, it is not like anything of your normal parks.

There are lush green forests of almost 230 acres of space.

There are a lot of activities where you can take part.

Be it summer or winter, Skypark at Santa’s Village has something to offer.

Hiking, trekking, cycling, or even running—everything is possible here.

Winters are special here.

The entire Santa’s Village looks like a Christmas miracle.

Get Up on Water Skis Like a Pro With McKenzie Water Ski School

If water skiing sounds like something you want to learn, check out the professionals at McKenzie Water Ski School.

In the quaint Village of Lake Arrowhead, you can find this Water Ski School at 28200 Highway 189.

McKenzie offers a combined experience of over 70 years to teach anyone to ski.

Their instructors have unique skills that will allow them to deliver lessons in a fun way while still ensuring you learn the skills you need in no time.

Whichever skill it is you want to learn under their guidance, they’ll be happy to guide you on your way with their friendly expertise.

You can also hold an event here, such as birthday parties, mid-sized groups, and corporate outings.

They welcome many visitors, but because their classes are top-rated, it’s important to reserve a spot before coming for a lesson.

Dine and Dance at The Tudor House

In 1928, notorious gangster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel opened The Tudor House as a speakeasy and casino.

No one knows what activities transpired here during its days as a hot spot, but there were rumors about movie stars who made pilgrimages here to enjoy Bugsy Siegel’s famous moonshine.

There’s little to know about The Tudor House’s history other than it was apparently highly exclusive.

The resort boasted luxuries, such as an Olympic-sized pool, tennis courts, riding stables, and a private gas station.

As if that weren’t enough, some historians believe that Bugsy may have invested well over one million dollars into its upkeep, while others report that he spent two million.

Now, The Tudor House stood as magnificent as it was once before!

Whether you’re plotting a romantic date night or a corporate party for eight hundred, The Tudor House is the place to be.

Once a private residence, The Tudor House now allows sitting back and enjoying a moment in history by hosting weddings and business meetings in an old stone mansion with clean lines, vaulted ceilings, and a grand stone fireplace.

Take a Stroll Around Lake Arrowhead Village

Entryway of Lake Arrowhead Village

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If you are looking for some of the best Californian entertainment, Lake Arrowhead Village is the perfect spot.

Do you want to go out on a fancy date with your spouse? This is the spot.

Wanna go on a shopping spree? Again, this is the location for you!

Lake Arrowhead Village is one of the most premium spots for this trip.

There are a lot of branded stores and restaurants.

Welcome sign of Lake Arrowhead Village

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This is a perfect spot to spend the evening out in the town.

The place also hosts a lot of events and festivals throughout the year.

If you are in time for the Oktoberfest, do pop in for a visit.

Are you in town for Christmas?

Don’t miss out on the Christmas Parade!

Buildings along Lake Arrowhead Village

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Check Out the Mountain History Museum

Want to take a quick break from nature and learn a bit about Lake Arrowhead’s past?

If yes, you can find out about a lot of things that you initially had no clue about here in the iconic Mountain History Museum in Lake Arrowhead.

Mountain History Museum’s main role is to preserve the stories of the past.

The logging industry was quite famous here, and there are all kinds of facts about that here.

Also, Arrowhead is home to a lot of rich people and celebrities.

Come here to get a better knowledge of them.

Go Camping at Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area

The waters of Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area

bon9 /

After trekking, playing with your kids, skiing at the best resort, how about you go camping under the starry night?

Here at Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area, there are some of the most amazing camping sites that you could check out with your family. Come on, follow us!

Silverwood Lake is where you can go fishing as well as swimming.

View from a hill at Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area

Nina Alizada /

Also, there are other options here for you to enjoy.

The only problem is that it is prevalent and might get a bit crowded.

Make sure you get there quite early!

Find Your Inner Artist at the Mountain Arts Network

In Lake Arrowhead, there’s a local co-op art gallery called Mountain Arts Network.

Mountain Arts Network aims to promote the arts and artists through culturally enriching events and workshops.

It specializes in finding value in community members and giving them a platform for expression.

It’s an organization that’s part of a larger countywide system that works to bring people together with one common goal: that is, to uplift each other as humans through artistic expression, foster creativity across disciplines, create bonds between individuals, and promote cultural understanding.

If you find yourself in Lake Arrowhead, you should definitely check out the arts and crafts community of Mountain Arts Network.

Whether you want to try your hand at acting, painting, singing, or anything else that’s creative, there’s something for everyone.

Watch the Skies at Mountain Skies Astronomy Village

Are you into space and astronomy?

Let us take you to the Mountain Skies Astronomy Village.

Watch the beautiful stars and the planets in this huge planetarium.

Ever since it opened its doors to the public back in 1999, the center has been famous among the public.

And, if you are a space enthusiast, this is a haven for you!

There are even some outdoor arrangements from where you can watch the starry sky!

Plan a Staycation With Your beloved

Daytime view of Lake Arrowhead

Feoktistoff /

We have to agree on how gorgeous California is for the newlyweds.

Also, many people choose California for their honeymoons too.

And Lake Arrowhead is one of the most romantic places in the said state.

So, take our advice on it and take your loved ones on a weekend staycation to Lake Arrowhead!

There are a lot of spots here that are decorated with different shades of greens and blues.

The mountain ranges are stunning for your first skiing trip.

And, if you are here during the falls, the color contrasts are too good to be true.

Wanna go camping under a night sky filled with stars with your better halves?

Lake Arrowhead is the best place.

And, you can even get to find a lot of hotels that are best for this romantic getaway!

Observe the Indigenous Animals at Wildhaven Ranch

Do you like the wild?

Are you into exploring nature and how they live their lives in nature?

If yes, the Wildhaven Ranch is one of the best places to check out if you want to see wild animals other than inside a zoo.

The locals prepared the ranch as more of a rehabilitation sanctuary that takes care of all the indigenous species.

They have a lot of programs that you can enjoy when you visit.

Have a Relaxing Stay at Saddleback Inn

Lake Arrowhead is known for plenty of great accommodations you can book on your vacation, and Saddleback Inn is no exception.

This historic inn was established in 1917 and has always been committed to providing premium resort lodging until today.

Located on South State Highway 173, this hotel offers you relaxing personalized lodging perfect to end the day from all your Arrowhead trips.

You’ll get to experience excellent modern amenities and friendly service for a truly memorable stay.

You’ll also enjoy a variety of menu selections at the restaurant grill and catch seasonal entertainment at Saddleback Inn.

Enjoy a Great Music at the Lake Arrowhead Village Concert Series

Have a fun summer with Southern California’s best outdoor music event at the Lake Arrowhead Village Concert Series.

This free annual concert series runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend.

Arrive early and enjoy some drinks at the Beer Garden.

Join the fun, dance, and sing to the music performed by talented acts in tribute to popular bands and local artists in the music scene.

Enjoy the night with an array of country to rock music and hits from the 70s to 90s.

The Lake Arrowhead Village Concert Series is also a major fundraiser for Operation Provider, helping families at Inland Empire with their needs.

Grab Your Tea & Coffee Exchange Beverages

Whether you’re looking for a quick coffee fix or a healthy tea to boost your day, Tea & Coffee Exchange is the place to grab one.

Its Lake Arrowhead location is found on Highway 189 and they also have two other branches in Big Bear Lake and Hollywood.

Order from their Coffee Espresso flavors on the menu like Americano, Cafe Latte, Cappucino, and Café Breve; you can also try something unique like the Hot Cider Chocolate.

Get your Macchiato, Mocha, or Americano iced; you can also sample some Iced Tea available in Black Tea, Green Tea, and Herbal Fruity selections.

For something sweet, you can order Espresso Dairy-Based Frappes and Creamy Frappes or Fruity Smoothies on the menu.

You’ll also enjoy food varieties like Breakfast Sandwiches, Hand-crafted Paninis, and Crêpes to pair with your drinks.

Drop by the Tea & Coffee Exchange!

Unwind and Enjoy the Views at McKay Park

After lots of activities and nature trips, you can find a place to just slow down and relax at McKay Park.

Lake Arrowhead’s only public park is located just off Highway 173 and Torrey Road.

The facility was dedicated to longtime resident Audrey MacKay and her grandson, Deputy Jeremiah MacKay.

You can catch stunning views of the village and Papoose Lake from the deck, enjoy a relaxing stroll on the walking path, or take your furry best friend to the dog park.

The park is perfect for your family’s day out with its large picnic area and gazebo to enjoy your barbecue lunch.

Your little ones will have so much fun in the playground area with kiddie rock climbing walls, swings, a zip line, and a jungle gym they can climb and conquer.

If you want to get active, McKay Park offers exercise equipment, a volleyball, and a basketball court you can access.

Taste Good Eats and Drinks at The Lakefront Taproom Bar & Kitchen

Enjoy delicious food and drinks on the patio with picturesque lake views at The Lakefront Taproom Bar & Kitchen.

This full-service gastropub is located on State Highway 189 and offers hand-crafted dishes, rotating taps in cans and bottles, wines, and seasonal cocktails.

Take bites of delicious starters like Beer Mac and Cheese, Cheese Curds, or Crispy Cauliflower Bites tossed with your choice of flavorful sauces.

Munch on hearty salad varieties like The Seasonal, The Chopped Caesar, and Tap Room Salad and add crispy or grilled chicken or seared Ahi tuna for more flavor.

Try their burger varieties all served with a juicy 8-ounce American Kobe Wagyu Beef patty; their menu includes The Tap Room Burger, Barbecue Bacon Burger, or the Aged Cheddar Burger and more.

They also serve delicious sandwiches, hotdogs, and brats on the menu; you can also request your orders to be made gluten-free or vegan.

Aside from the great food, you can also enjoy free live music at The Lakefront Taproom Bar & Kitchen every Friday and Saturday night.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Visit the Lake Gregory Regional Park

People at Lake Gregory Regional Park

Phil Scoville from Provo, UT, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Lake Gregory Regional Park is 10 minutes’ drive away from Lake Arrowhead.

Here in Lake Gregory Regional Park, you can have a perfect family day!

It is filled with entertainment.

Aerial view of Lake Gregory Regional Park

Esteban Gomez-Beltran /

There are a lot of waterslides where you can revisit your golden childhood days along with a couple of pools too, which is quite appealing to the eyes.

Also, there is a lake inside the park where you can go boating.

This is also a slice of heaven for the fishing lovers, for there are many trouts available in this lake.

Go Cycling at Rim Nordic Ski Area

Rim Nordic Ski Area is 22 minutes’ drive away from Lake Arrowhead.

There are plenty of spots to check out if you happen to be in Lake Arrowhead, especially during winter.

There is a lot of skiing areas, like the Rim Nordic Ski Area.

But, these are among the best.

The snow decorates the mountains like a white gown glistening in the sun.

You can try out cross country skiing here.

Even if it’s summer, it’s fine since there are a lot of summer activities to check out too.

Tourists mainly try out their luck in cycling or mountain biking when the snow is gone.

Whatever the season might be, you can have plenty of fun here.

Go Skiing at Snow Valley Mountain Resort

Welcome sign of Snow Valley Mountain Resort

Rosamar /

Did you plan to visit Lake Arrowhead in the winter?

If yes, that’s perfect.

Snow Valley Mountain Resort is only 24 minutes’ drive away from Lake Arrowhead.

Here, there are tons of things to check out, especially during the cold winters.

And the best part is when the snow falls and becomes all powdery, you can go skiing.

In such an event, Snow Valley Mountain Resort is a perfect place for all skiers out there.

It is not exactly in town, but the few miles you shall be driving are all worth it.

The snow is beautiful here.

Have you ever tried snowboarding?

Here at Snow Valley Mountain Resort, you are allowed to do so.

Also, if you are an amateur, you can find many experts who provide classes and will help you learn the art of skiing and snowboarding.

The Snow Valley Mountain Resort is the best place to check out if you love the snow.

Go Swimming in Aztec Falls

Next is Aztec Falls, which is only 14 minutes’ drive away from Lake Arrowhead.

This is quite a popular spot where tourists love to feel the water.

The Pacific Crest Trail places it, and the best part about this spot is that the sun shines bright and the water is cool.

Do stop by the Aztec Falls and get your clothes wet!

Climb the Strawberry Peak

Daytime view of Strawberry Peak

Noah Sauve /

Want to go see some mountains now?

If yes, we will be taking you to see an amazing peak of the iconic San Gabriel Mountains of California.

And the peak we will see today happens to be the highest one in the area.

Now let me tell you a bit about Strawberry Peak, which is only 2 hours’ drive away from Lake Arrowhead.

The Strawberry Peak stands at the height of a mighty 6,164 feet.

Did you guess how did the peak get its name?

Yes, you can see a lot of strawberries all around the peak.

You can go hiking to the top.

It might be a tough one, but the moment you get to the top, you will be blessed with the most splendid scenes!

See the Different Shades of Greens at Heaps Peak Arboretum

Welcome sign of Heaps Peak Arboretum

Rosamar /

The next place we will take you to is one of the top attractions near Lake Arrowhead that brings a lot of people to it every day.

Welcome to Heaps Peak Arboretum, which is only 6 minutes’ drive away from Lake Arrowhead.

Have you wondered about flora and fauna of California?

Here in Heaps Peak Arboretum, you can see a lot of native species that are being taken care of in a huge area of land of almost 30 acres.

A booth at Heaps Peak Arboretum

Rosamar /

This area was almost on the verge of destruction due to the lumber industry, but passionate men and women found this place.

And, now you can see how well-maintained it is.

If you love nature and have a keen interest in the different local plant and flower species, Heaps Peak Arboretum is just for you!

Do have a look, breathe in some leaves-scented air, and have a wonderful day here!

Visit the Animals at Big Bear Alpine Zoo

Do you love animals?

Want to see some cute exotic species from up close and interact with them?

Follow us for we might know a good place just for you.

Let us introduce you to the Big Bear Alpine Zoo.

The zoo is not exactly in the heart of Lake Arrowhead, but if you travel to the eastern part, you shall come across the gorgeous Big Bear Lake, which is only 46 minutes’ drive away from Lake Arrowhead.

The zoo is near this mystic lake and offers an impressive backdrop.

But there is something that draws the tourists more than the beautiful surroundings.

And that happens to be the animals.

This is more of a shelter than a zoo, for all the hurt or injured animals are brought over and cared for.

Final Thoughts

There’s nothing like Lake Arrowhead to bring with you when you explore all that it has for you and your loved ones.

Exploring the gorgeous spots here with your companions will bring endless possibilities for things to do in Lake Arrowhead, and I hope that this list inspires and excites you.

Anytime you need a quick reminder of how spectacular Lake Arrowhead really is, make sure to refer back to this post.

Hopefully, I’ve done my job in making it easy to enjoy Lake Arrowhead once more!

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