Planning a weekend getaway to Lake Arrowhead?
Find out the best things to do and what we loved about this California mountain town up at 6,000 feet …
The heat wave has been neverending in LA this week. We live on the Westside and most people don’t have air conditioning. So we’ve taken to lying on the couch, barely lifting a finger and complaining about the heat.
We finally decided to do something about it and booked a getaway to Lake Arrowhead, just a 2-hour drive from Los Angeles and up in the mountains where the temperature is almost 10 degrees cooler (in celsius) then it is down in the Inland Empire.
Getting There – If you can somehow beat the traffic, your best bet is to leave at 10 or 11 AM in the morning after the rush hour has died down. We stopped in San Bernadino for supplies at Trader Joe’s and drove about 30 minutes uphill to arrive at our lovely little rented cabin in the woods just outside of Lake Arrowhead Village.
Where to Stay – There are lots of cabin rentals online on VRBO or Airbnb. If you prefer a little more luxury, Lake Arrowhead Resort is right in the village with great views of the lake. We spent a lot of time hanging in and around our cabin, going on long walks and hikes in the area. Luckily, the WiFi was fast in our rental so we were able to have ourselves a little working vacation and remember what cool air felt like again.
What to Do – Lake Arrowhead Village does a great job organizing events and festivals every weekend and we arrived just in time for their Oktoberfest celebration which featured live entertainment, German food and beer.
Lake Arrowhead Village – The village is the heartbeat of the town and there is some shopping, cafes, restaurants, and a children’s village (with rides) to explore. Do make sure to check out the Pendleton outlet to score yourself a cozy blanket.
Stater Brothers is a huge grocery store right in the village where you can you stock up on more food and supplies. Just around the bend is Jensen’s, another grocery store that’s a little bit fancier. We spotted about three gas stations to fuel up and a McDonald’s, Subway and Domino’s for fast food. There’s also a Rite-Aid near the village if you forget anything.
Heart Rock Trail – One of my favourite hikes was the super easy Heart Rock Trail with an easy elevation and maybe a loop that took us about an hour total. The creek was very low because of the drought, but it was beautiful to be amongst the trees – breathing in the smog-free air. We parked our car at the dead end and followed the well-worn trail into the woods.
We were rewarded with this beautiful natural heart in a rock, carved out naturally by the waterfall (non-existent right now).
Heaps Peak Arboretum – If you’re traveling with children or someone like me that likes nature walks vs big hikes, then head to Heaps Peak where there is a 1-mile loop on a fairly flat grade. There are washrooms here, parking and an accessible nature trail as well. It was beautiful to walk BINGO here and he loved sniffing everything.
Since it was so sunny during the day, we went on most of our hikes just before dusk to enjoy the cooler air. DO be aware of coyotes though! We spotted one in front of our cabin, so don’t let your pet too far out of your sight!
Where To Eat – We spent a lot of our time cooking, but we did sneak out for some delicious waffles and breakfast at Belgian Waffle Works in Lake Arrowhead Village. GET the WAFFLE FRIES! If I had more time, I would have gone to these highly recommended restaurants: BIN 189 for lunch, The Grill at The Antlers Inn, Lou Eddie’s Pizza and Stone Creek Bistro.
Have you been to Lake Arrowhead? What are your favourite things to eat, see and do?