Lake Arrowhead is a gorgeous fresh water lake way up at 5,800 feet above sea level and a wonderful retreat far from the heat of a Houston summer. We recently spent a week in this cozy little vacation town and enjoyed the slower pace and crisp mountain air. Lake Arrowhead is only about a 2 hour drive from the LA area, but we flew in and out of Ontario, a super easy little airport about halfway between LA and the mountains.
Where to Stay
There are many homes available for rental throughout the year, but be sure it comes with lake and beach club access or you’ll be missing out on the best part of the area! I recommend the Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa, especially for first time visitors.
The resort is in a perfect location right on the lake with their own private beach and a hiking trail directly into Lake Arrowhead Village, a pedestrian-friendly complex on the water with lots of shops and restaurants. In addition to private lake access, this beautiful property offers you a full service restaurant serving meals all day, a snack shop, a spa (AHhhhh, a real vacation!) and an outdoor pool.
There are tons of activities available onsite for a small fee, including fishing and kayaking. My boys went fishing for the very first time (which is kind of amazing since I spent my childhood vacations on freshwater lake fishing trips). We didn’t catch anything, but we sure had fun trying!
We took out two kayaks on a guided tour of the lake and got an up-close look at the beautiful lakeside homes, as well as a pretty good workout! The sweeping views from the water is breathtaking.
What to Do
Lake Arrowhead is not the place to go to if you want constant entertainment, but it IS the place to go to for a step back from the busy pace of everyday life. Relax, nap, BBQ, eat long dinners, hike, take a bike ride, spend a day at the beach, let your kiddos play at the park without any time limits…ENJOY a true vacation!
Be sure to get on the water in a boat! Whether you have your own boat or rent one, in a kayak or aboard the Lake Arrowhead Queen, make sure you spend as much time as you can on this gorgeous lake. We had a great tour guide and learned a lot about the history while we were on the Lake Arrowhead Queen (it’s a man-made lake filled by snow melt and rain water). The captain let our big boy drive the boat for a few minutes, what a thrill for him! There’s a real Old-Hollywood and Disney contingent in Lake Arrowhead and the locals have all the inside scoop on celebrity residents past and present.
What to Pack
Think casual layers – you are in California after all! Mornings and evenings have a wonderful crisp chill in the air, but mid day can be downright hot, especially in full sun. Thin long-sleeve shirts are easy to roll up and tuck in a backpack. I’m a big fan of the long sleeve jersey tees from J.Crew for my boys and my husband lives in their grown-up version. I had my J.Jill anorak with me the entire time and my staple jacket was perfect for hiking and looking cute at the same time.
Hats are a necessity, even though the air is crisp, the sun is bright, especially on the water. Keep your eyes and face shaded with a cute hat.
Closed-toe shoes are a must for hiking. Long live Keen shoes for kids, especially in summer. Waterproof, great for the beach and for hiking. We even wear ours with a thin sock if we think something might get in it. They were the one and only pair of shoes I packed for the boys and they did not disappoint!
Depending on the age of your children, I also recommend a carrier, such as the Boba 4G. We’ve had our Boba for YEARS and we still use it all the time for our little guy. We wear him on our backs and it makes hiking much more fun for everyone…he even sneaks in a quick nap here and there (see above).
We had such a wonderful trip full of laughter and quality time together. Have you been to Lake Arrowhead?
Author: Candace Thomas