When fall comes around, the mountains start calling my name. Everything in me starts longing for cooler weather and a change of scenery. So when our friends invited us up to their cabin at Big Bear Lake for Labor Day weekend, we were already packing before we’d hung up the phone.
After a surprisingly peaceful drive (thanks, Frozen!) on Saturday morning, we arrived to Big Bear Lake Village ready to stretch our legs and explore…
After finding coffee, of course. This place was adorable and chock-full of goodies.
Parent-fuel in hand, we set out with the babies in tow to enjoy the drop in temperature and see what there is to see in Big Bear Village.
It being a holiday weekend, it was pretty crowded but nothing too crazy. We wandered pasts rows of small boutiques and novelty shops…
…And more bears than my boys could count.
We let the wild things stretch their legs and release their cooped-up-in-a-car energy…
And then headed up to the cabin for some down time and killer homemade chicken and dumpling soup made by this sweet momma.
Afterwards, it was time for more exploring. Big Bear’s giant trees and endless pinecones and branches are the ultimate fodder for a three-year-old’s imagination.
At least half the job of a boy mom is learning to be really excited about rocks and sticks.
And the other half is knowing when to give cuddles and kisses.
Being devoted Harry Potter fans, wand play was bound to happen at some point…
And Kai found more than enough pinecones to satisfy his nature-hoarding tendencies.
Eventually they tuckered out and ended the night with Daddy’s perfect Sir Topham Hat impressions. We bundled them up and sent them to bed so we could enjoy some pumpkin pie, drinks, and much-needed adult conversation.
We kicked off the next morning bright and early at a local favorite spot that our friends recommended.
Kai may have been more excited about the sticker decor than the food, and thank goodness for that because without so many to look at, the forty minute wait with two-under-four in tow might have been a mild form of torture.
We wound up the trip with a stop at the Nature Discovery Zone, which could also be re-named: Kai & Rafe’s Heaven on Earth. The indoor portion had stuffed versions of local wildlife to see, while the outdoor portion had all kinds of areas to explore and engage with.
There were sand boxes, building stations with wood planks, a natural wood music station, a chalkboard corner, and a climbing web.
Kai was fascinated with the music station and natural hideaway spots tucked between the trees…
While Rafe preferred slathering himself with dirt, throwing wood chips, and sneaking away to snack on chalk #partofthiscompletebreakfast
They both left looking like they had been playing in a chimney, but they loved every second of it and it was the perfect spot to get all their manic energy out before the ride back down to Coronado.
After a much-needed bath for the boys, we packed up and said goodbye to Big Bear Lake, grateful for the mountain-air reprieve but ready to get back to our beachside home.
Have you been to Big Bear Lake? Comment below with your favorite local spots; we’d love to have more to check out the next time we head up!