Make a big splash

By: Shannon Brooks
Happy dog on boat at Big Bear Lake.
Photo by Visit Big Bear.

It’s not hard to get lured in by the lake lifestyle, especially when your canine companions are welcome on the water. Running seven miles long and half-a-mile wide with 22 miles of shoreline, Big Bear Lake is renowned as the best freshwater fishing destination in Southern California. It’s also a hot spot for watersports and pleasure cruising.

All pups aboard for kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding and boating excursions! Be it SUPs, fishing boats or pontoons, watercraft rental options are plentiful from marinas anchoring the lake.

Find rentals at Big Bear Marina, Holloway’s, Pine Knot Landing and Pleasure Point. Note that lake use permits are required to take out any kind of vessel (kayaks and paddle boards included) and you can get those at the marinas as well. In terms of where and when to steer your crew for a paddle, Boulder Bay is home to the calmest waters and conditions are at their glassiest in the early morning hours.

You can also take in the scenic beauty of the lake from shore. Stroll along the Alpine Pedal Path, a 3.2-mile paved trail that traces the shoreline and offers easy access to beaches for sandy games of fetch. Better yet, pack a picnic and make a day of it!

Safety tips: Dog life vests are always a good idea, and while dogs are welcome to go in the lake, the temperatures are only safe for swimming summer through early fall. If Fido takes a dip, be sure to rinse them off after. And never let them drink lake water.


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