View of trees and a laptop while working remotely in Lake Arrowhead

21 Best Things to Do in Lake Arrowhead (in 2023)

With so many fun things to do in Lake Arrowhead, you’ll want to book a cozy cabin and stay a while; breathing in the fresh mountain pine. 

As a Southern California local who only lives an hour from Lake Arrowhead, I’ve made countless trips to the mountain town throughout the years. It may be a private lake, but there are still plenty of things to do here for guests. Lake Arrowhead is one of my top day trip destinations due to its selection of hiking trails, breweries and bars, and fun outdoor summer concerts.

Before we dive right into fun Lake Arrowhead excursions, be sure to check out our where to stay in San Bernardino County guide!

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21 Best Things to Do in Lake Arrowhead

Lake Arrowhead Queen

Boat around Lake Arrowhead with a guided tour, the only way to do so on a residents-only lake.

The Lake Arrowhead Queen during a boat tour

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (909) 336-6992 | Lake Arrowhead Queen Website | Hours: 10 am-6 pm daily | Entrance: $32.95, adults, $29.95, over 64, $19.95, ages 2-11, free under 2 

Lake Arrowhead may be a private lake reserved for residents, but you can still have some lake fun! Take a boat tour with the Lake Arrowhead Queen to explore the ins and outs of the lake and learn about Lake Arrowhead real estate.

This is the perfect afternoon activity for the whole family, especially in the summer when the cool lake wind hits just right. Big parties can even reserve a private charter for special events and can host both dance parties and dinner parties.

📚 Related Reading: Where to Stay in the Inland Empire

Lake Arrowhead Village

Shop from local boutiques right on the Lake Arrowhead waterfront.

View of shops at the waterfront in Lake Arrowhead Village

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (909) 337-2533 | Lake Arrowhead Village Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

The German style of Lake Arrowhead Village is reason enough to visit the quaint mountain town. Lake Arrowhead Village is arguably the most popular California mountain village, thanks to its array of restaurants and boutiques.

Even just walking around the perimeter of the lake and feeding the geese is a fun pastime activity downtown. You can also catch fun seasonal events downtown like the Oktoberfest celebrations and an annual village bonfire each December.

My favorite restaurants in the Lake Arrowhead Village include Papagayos Mexican Food and Lake Arrowhead Pizza, both of which I always wash down with some sweets from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

Downtown Concerts

Catch your favorite classic rock cover band on the Lake Arrowhead Village outdoor stage, one of the absolute best things to do in Lake Arrowhead during the summer.

A band performing on a stage in  Lake Arrowhead
Watching a live performance from the grassy area

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (909) 337-2533 | Downtown Arrowhead Website | Entrance: prices vary per event

Summer is my favorite time to visit Lake Arrowhead for the concert series alone. The great thing about this outdoor venue is that you can hear the music from just about anywhere in the village!

The concert series specializes in classic rock tribute bands. I’ve personally seen Led Zeppelin and Neil Young cover bands perform at the Arrowhead stage but other past performers have included Tom Petty, Bruno Mars, Johnny Cash, and Foo Fighters cover bands.

Mountain History Museum

Learn more about the history of the area, including fun facts about the local flora and fauna and information on the first settlers in the area.

Overlooking view of boats on the Lake Arrowhead

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (909) 744-8625 | Mountain History Museum Website | Hours: 12 pm-4 pm Fridays, | Entrance: Free, donations accepted

The Mountain History Museum is one of the best free things to do in Lake Arrowhead. Learn about the local history of the area at this interactive museum, complete with information on the Lake Arrowhead Dam, the building of the village, and the Native people and early settlers of the area. 

Venture into the trenches of the underworld with a Lake Arrowhead Tunnel Tour from the Mountain History Museum. A $35 annual membership fee is required for this experience, however. 

Santa’s Village

Christmas magic is best experienced at Santa’s Village, complete with live holiday shows, charismatic characters, and an ice skating rink.

View of a Christmas tree at the Santa’s Village in Lake Arrowhead

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (909) 744-9373 | Santa’s Village Website | Hours: 10 am-6 pm Sunday & Tuesday, 10 am-9 pm Friday-Saturday, Closed Monday-Wednesday | Entrance: prices vary per day 

Lake Arrowhead transforms into a winter wonderland in the winter months. Lake Arrowhead sits at an impressive 5,000 feet above sea level and brings in annual snowfall, making the experience at Santa’s Village even more magical.

Your little ones will love the Northwoods Express train ride and Santa’s Workshop and Post Office, where they can send their very own letters to the North Pole. In addition, the whole family can enjoy the wintertime ice skating rink at the Lake Arrowhead Village, the interactive Christmas characters, and live entertainment.

Lake Arrowhead Brewing Company

Get to know the local flavors of Lake Arrowhead with a trip to this lakeside, forest-covered brewery.

View of the Lake Arrowhead Brewing Company logo
The Lake Arrowhead Brewing Co. logo

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (909) 744-8322 | Lake Arrowhead Brewing Company Website | Hours: 12 pm-8 pm Monday-Friday, 11 am-8 pm Saturday, 11 am-7 pm Sunday | Entrance: Free 

Lake Arrowhead Brewing Company is one of my favorite places to hang out with friends over 21. Not only is this one of the best places to meet locals and taste local mountain hops, but the brewery also has fun in-house games and events like their upcoming Brewfest.

The all-inclusive Lake Arrowhead Brewing Company welcomes families and dogs, allows outside food, and even has occasional food pop-ups. I typically order the Flatlander Blonde but the Mile High IPA and Blueberry Lemonade sour beers are other top choices. Lake Arrowhead Brewing is hands down one of the best California breweries.

Arrowhead Pinnacles Trail

While most other trails in the area are a walk in the park, the Pinnacles Trail is sure to give you a good workout.

View during a bike in Arrowhead Pinnacles Trail at spring season
The trail during the springtime

📍 Google Maps | Arrowhead Pinnacles Trail Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free 

No trip to the mountains is complete without hitting the hiking trails. However, because Arrowhead Pinnacles Trail is 4.6 miles roundtrip and has nearly 2,000 feet of elevation gain, this trail isn’t for the faint of heart.

Technically located just outside Lake Arrowhead, this trail is the perfect alternative to switch up a lazy mountain retreat. Be sure to download an offline map, however, as the trail can be difficult to follow at times. I use either Gaia or All Trails.

Lake Gregory Regional Park

Once you’ve had your fun on Lake Arrowhead, experience the fun of other alpine lakes in the area like Crestline’s Lake Gregory.

Aerial view of the Lake Gregory Regional Park
(photo: Esteban Gomez-Beltran / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (909) 338-2233 | Lake Gregory Regional Park Website | Hours: 10 am-5 pm daily | Entrance: $16 regional park fee per car

After you’ve explored Lake Arrowhead via the Lake Arrowhead Queen, take a short, 15-20-minute drive over to Lake Gregory Regional Park in Crestline. 

Rent an E-bike and tour around the perimeter of the lake or shimmy into your bathing suit and go for a dip. Boat tours, water slides, and water toys also await at Lake Gregory, making this outing a fun destination for all. 

🛎️ Looking for a Place to Stay? Crestline has some affordable house rentals just outside Lake Arrowhead. Browse these cool Crestline rentals and save big time on accommodation!

Strawberry Peak Fire Lookout

No hike is required to reach incredible heights at this lookout tower; you can even see the Mojave desert from the top.

Clear blue sky over the Strawberry Peak Fire Lookout
The view from the top on a hazy day

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (909) 382-2790 | Strawberry Peak Fire Lookout Website | Hours: 9 am-5 pm daily | Entrance: Free

The small town of Twin Peaks to the west of Lake Arrowhead offers fun, small-town activities like the Strawberry Peak Fire Lookout. You can drive right up to this lookout, which offers some of the best views of the San Bernardino Valley and neighboring desert areas.

Visitors can opt to climb three stories of stairs to have a high, clear view of the San Bernardino Mountains and the nearby Mount Baldy, one of the best hikes in Southern California.

Dogwood Tavern

Eat delicious bar food, order your favorite drink, and challenge your friends to fun bar games at this local hole-in-the-wall tavern.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (909) 744-9841 | Dogwood Tavern Website | Hours: 3 pm-12 am Sunday-Wednesday | Entrance: Free

The Dogwood Tavern is another favorite hangout spot in Lake Arrowhead. This cozy bar is off the tourist path, making it a local gem. Order your beer from the wooden bar then head over to the game section for pool tables, Pac-Man, or the punching bag arcade game.

Dogwood Tavern is located in Blue Jay, only 5 minutes from the village. The rustic cabin tavern offers quite a variety of bar food and drinks on tap. I personally like to order the Crispy Dill Pickle Chips and the Dogwood Veggie Burger, but there are plenty of carnivorous options as well.

Sawmill Road Loop Trail

This quick trail is the perfect hike to complete with pets or small children.

View in the woods during a hike in Sawmill Road Loop Trail
Flora along the trail

📍 Google Maps | Sawmill Road Trail Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free 

The Sawmill Road Loop Trail is a 2.8-mile hike in the San Bernardino National Forest hills. I love hitting this trail in the early morning with my dogs because I can start and finish it before meeting friends at the Lake Arrowhead Village for lunch.

Keep in mind that an Adventure Pass is required to park at most Lake Arrowhead trails. You can purchase these for a low fee of $5 from the visitor center if you don’t already have an annual forest service pass. National Park passes (America the Beautiful) typically work, but I’d double-check with a ranger just in case.

Lake Arrowhead Country Club

Try your luck at the 18-hole championship golf course at Lake Arrowhead Country Club – you don’t even have to be a member.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (909) 337-2441 | Lake Arrowhead Country Club Website | Hours: 7 am-6 pm Sunday-Wednesday, 7 am-7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday | Entrance: Membership prices vary

Hitting the 18-hole championship golf course is the best way to experience Lake Arrowhead Country Club. Unlike many country clubs, this golf course isn’t reserved for members only, it’s open to the public. 

Golfing on the scenic forest course is one of the best outdoor activities to do in the area with a view, but book an early tee time to avoid backed-up weekend crowds.

Tudor House

Dine while being wildly entertained at this dinner theater that hosts open karaoke, jazz quartets, and other theater performances.

View of a Tudor House with boats on the dock
The snow-frosted house with boat docks (photo: Chris Allan / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (909) 336-5000 | Tudor House Website | Hours: Sunday Brunch 10 am-2 pm | Entrance: Free

Visit the Tudor House dinner theater for a fun night out in Lake Arrowhead. This is one of my favorite things to do in the Inland Empire, on account of the fun array of live entertainment.

Some upcoming events at the Tudor House include a Champagne Sunday Buffet Brunch, Speakeasy Jazz nights on Wednesdays this month, Karaoke night, and a “Dracula!” live performance this October.

The Tudor House is only 6 minutes from Lake Arrowhead Village, but you may want to order a rideshare so you can enjoy the full bar experience.

Big Bear Lake

Arrowhead’s neighboring mountain town has it all, from a downtown shopping area to hiking trails and a Southern California-renowned ski resort.

Clear blue sky over the docks in Big Bear Lake
Big Bear Lake & docks

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (800) 424-4232 | Big Bear Lake Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

Big Bear Lake is tied with Lake Arrowhead for the most popular Southern California mountain town. The two destinations are 45 minutes from each other, making Big Bear an ideal day trip destination.

I highly recommend making the day trip if you’re visiting the San Bernardino Mountains in the winter. Big Bear has one of the best ski resorts in California, Big Bear Mountain Resort, that has plenty of runs for skiers, snowboarders, and sledders alike.

Additionally, Big Bear has fun mountain hikes like the Pine Knot Trail and Castle Rock Trail, both of which are dog-friendly and have been tested out (and approved) by my hiking pups.

👉 Read Next: Big Bear vs Lake Arrowhead Compared

Heaps Peak Arboretum

Explore protected local flora at this peaceful oasis.

The Heaps Peak Arboretum signage at the entrance
The Heaps Peak Arboretum sign (photo: Rosamar / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Heaps Peak Arboretum Website | Hours: 7 am-7 pm daily | Entrance: $5 per day, $30 annual pass 

Heaps Peak Arboretum is a nature haven for native trees, shrubs, flowers, and wildlife of the San Bernardino Mountains. What started out as a reforestation project after a wildfire in 1922 has since blossomed into one of the most abundant arboretums in the Southern California mountain region.

The 30-acre site includes many accessible-friendly walking paths, the perfect place to unwind for a while with a good book and perhaps a picnic. 

Mountain Biking at Skypark

Put your mountain biking skills to the test on the tracks and ramps of the mountain biking park.

📍 Google Maps | Skypark Website | Hours: 10 am-6 pm Sundays & Thursdays, 10 am-9 pm Fridays & Saturdays | Entrance: $55 park entrance fee

The Bike Park at SkyPark is the coolest place for mountain bikers to head in the Lake Arrowhead area. Here, two-wheelers can “hero dirt with epic views” on the man-made ramps underneath a canopy of San Bernardino National Forest pines. 

A ton of single-track mountain biking trails also line the park. Additionally, mountain biking novices are invited to take part in bike demos and bike lessons on any day of the week. Who says having single-track fun is only for professionals?

Mountain Arts Gallery

Browse local mountain art and support local artists at this quaint gallery.

View of people on a rental in Lake Arrowhead
My Arrowhead rental was within walking distance of the gallery

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (575) 257-9748 | Mountain Arts Gallery Website | Hours: 10 am-6 pm daily | Entrance: Free 

Support local artists at the Mountain Arts Gallery in Lake Arrowhead. This art store & museum is a great stop for both art collectors and appreciators alike. The establishment is housed in a lake-front location in the Lake Arrowhead Village and hosts an array of local mountain artists.

Wildhaven Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary

A wildlife refuge that nurses native San Bernardino Mountain fauna and engages the public in informative events.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (909) 337-7389 | Wildhaven Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary Website | Hours: 12:45-3 pm Saturdays only | Entrance: prices vary per event

The Wildhaven Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary is a non-profit organization in Lake Arrowhead, California. This wildlife sanctuary is also an education outreach and a rehabilitation center for endangered animals of the Southern California San Bernardino Mountains. 

Reservations are required to visit outside of the open Saturday schedule but the sanctuary is also open for special events like Bear Watch & Eagle Talk, Paws ‘N Claws, or a Wildlife Custom Private Tour.

Sycamore Ranch Winery

Have a wine-tasting session and delve into the local flavors of the surrounding mountains at the only winery around town.

Close up view of green grapes on a vine in Sycamore Ranch Winery
Green grapes on the vine

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (909) 338-1725 | Sycamore Ranch Winery Website | Hours: 1-5 pm Fridays, 11 am-5 pm Saturdays & Sundays 

Take a day trip to the neighboring mountain town of Crestline to go wine tasting on a sunny afternoon among the pines. Book a session in the tasting room to try the local San Bernardino Mountain flavors with a view. 

This award-winning winery competes with the top California wineries in Napa Valley. My favorite selections are the Sycamore Ranch cabernets but the white wines are also a fan favorite. Not a fan of wine? Don’t worry, the Lake Arrowhead winery also offers ciders!

Rim of the World Scenic Byway Drive

Don’t forget to look out the window as you drive up the Rim of the World Scenic Byway – this drive is one of the most beautiful things to do in Lake Arrowhead.

Panoramic view at the San Bernardino Valley
San Bernardino Valley view

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (909)382-2790 | Rim of the World Scenic Drive Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

There’s nothing like a scenic drive on a clear sunny day through the Southern California mountains. The Rim of the World Scenic Drive is one of the most picturesque roads in the area, you’ll definitely have to stop for photos once or twice.

I recommend eating at Hortencias on the way up. This Mexican food restaurant has one of the best views around, right on the edge of a scenic cliff overlook.

Lake Arrowhead Resort

Stay at this all-inclusive resort right on the water and gain non-local beach access.

Overlooking view of the Lake Arrowhead
Views of the lake

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (909) 336-1511 | Lake Arrowhead Resort Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Prices start at $130 per night

The Lake Arrowhead Resort has a lakefront location and offers an all-inclusive experience to its resort guests. Guests also have access to a private Lake Arrowhead beach, a deciding factor when visiting the otherwise private lake. 

You can still receive spa treatment even if you aren’t staying at the Lake Arrowhead Resort. Pop in and inquire about couples’ massages, mani-pedis, and more!

FAQs About What to Do in Lake Arrowhead

What are the best things to do in Lake Arrowhead with kids?

Skypark at Santa’s Village is one of the best things to do in Lake Arrowhead with kids. The Lake Arrowhead Queen boat excursion is also a fan favorite among kids in Lake Arrowhead.

What is there to do in Arrowhead in the summer?

Lake Arrowhead is bustling with fun summer activities. These include mountain biking at SkyPark, hiking the national forest trails, rock climbing, visiting the Heaps Peak Arboretum, and the Lake Arrowhead Village summer concert series

What is the best month to go to Lake Arrowhead?

December – January is the best time to go to Lake Arrowhead to experience a cozy Southern California winter wonderland. June-August is the perfect time to visit Lake Arrowhead for good weather and fun summer activities.

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You made it to the end of my guide on the top things to do in Lake Arrowhead! For more California mountain fun, be sure to also check out our guide to the best places to visit in California.

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