Nestled a mile high in the San Bernardino Mountains and the San Bernardino National Forest, beautiful Lake Arrowhead, California provides your family with an ideal location to connect with nature year round. The lake offers summer activities, such as swimming and boating, while the mountains have numerous hiking trails. During winter, the snow-covered area features skiing, ice-skating, and snowmobiling. Lake Arrowhead vacation rentals in cabins, homes, and condos dot the village-like communities that surround the lake and nearby hills. Check out these different spots when looking for your mountain getaway.

1. Lake Arrowhead Village

Located on the south end of Lake Arrowhead, the village features shopping, dining, and entertainment just steps from the shores of the lake. Set up base in a vacation rental within walking distance of the Bavarian-style town for a convenient dinner after a day in the mountains. Take the kids to Lollipop Park for some bumper cars, mini golf, or amusement rides, or head out for a lake tour on the Arrowhead Queen. For more time on the lake, rent your own boat, or learn to water ski at the McKenzie Water Ski School.

2. Blue Jay

Located just east of Lake Arrowhead Village, the small community of Blue Jay features vacation rentals including cabins and homes a short distance from a few shops and restaurants. Relax after a day exploring nature with a movie at Blue Jay Cinema. For the quilting enthusiast in your family, time your vacation so you’re in town during the annual Blue Jay Quilt Walk. Satisfy the adults in your family by visiting during the autumn Brewfest or the Spirit of Blue Jay wine event, then keep the kids satisfied by taking the quick drive over to the lake for some time in the water.

3. Sky Forest

Located in the hills south of Lake Arrowhead, Sky Forest features easy access to the Rim of the World Highway, which features breathtaking mountain drives. The highway also makes it easy to reach local hiking trails and ski resorts, as well as tourist attractions such as Mountain Skies Astronomy Village, which hosts workshops and sky watchers throughout the year. Of course, you can also just watch the stars from your vacation rental tucked into a luscious forest.

4. Cedar Glen

Cedar Glen lies on the eastern shore of Arrowhead Lake, just a few minutes from the main village. The area is also home to the smaller Papoose Lake and provides easy access to a hiking trail along the shoreline of Arrowhead Lake. Connect with nature at Wild Haven Ranch, which includes a wildlife sanctuary for endangered indigenous species, and education center for visitors that operates tours each Saturday. While there, you can get a close-up look at a black bear.

5. North Bay

As with rentals in most communities around Arrowhead Lake, vacation rentals near the North Bay, which is on the northwest end of the lake, offer a mix of cabins and large houses. In addition to being close to the lake, these homes have quick access to the trailhead for The Pinnacles, a hike which provides epic views of the San Bernardino Valley in addition to large rock formations. If your family prefers off-road driving rather than hiking, several trails near the Pinnacles are open to all-terrain vehicles, which you can rent from Enjoy the Mountain Outfitters.

6. Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks is a few miles west of Lake Arrowhead in the shadow of Strawberry Peak. Vacation rentals include cabins and home, as well as a handful of lodge rooms. There are few amenities in Twin Peaks itself, but the community has quick access to Lake Arrowhead, the Rim of the World Highway, and Lake Gregory, making the area central to ample hiking, skiing, and aquatic activities. If you want to stay in town for a night, head over to the Grill at Antler’s Inn for relaxing meal in a rustic setting.

7. North Shore

Disappear into the forest with a vacation rental on the north shore of Lake Arrowhead. Relax on your deck and enjoy views of the lake, or wander through the pine forests while you let the cares of everyday life drift away. While the shops of Lake Arrowhead Village are just a few minutes away, once you settle in with a fire, you may not want to go anywhere. If you bring your canine friend on your vacation, be sure to check out Mackay Bark Park, where your furry pal can run off-leash while you enjoy views of the lake. There’s a playground for your little human ones as well.

8. Crestline

Set about eight miles west of Lake Arrowhead on the shores of Lake Gregory, Crestline is the ideal place to relax and enjoy the mountain air. Spend an afternoon at Lake Gregory Regional Park, which includes inflatable water toys, paddle boats, and more. When you need a break from playing in the lake, head to Rim Bowling and Entertainment Center for bowling, video games, and pizza.

9. Running Springs

If mountain adventures are more to your family’s taste than relaxing by the lake, consider a vacation rental in Running Springs, which is about 15 minutes southeast of Lake Arrowhead. The town provides quick access to the nearby Snow Valley Mountain Resort, which makes Running Springs an ideal place to stay during the winter. Spend the day on the slopes, then head back to your rental or one of the local restaurants, such as for a warm drink and a meal.