West coast favorites with year-round fun
By Mimi Slawoff
Escape sizzling summer heat with cool and exciting adventures at California’s mountain resorts. California’s beautiful beaches may be the main summertime attraction, but fewer crowds, cooler temperatures and a boatload of family-fun activities are enticing reasons to visit these seven California mountain resorts.
Nestled below towering granite peaks, June Lake is a wallet-friendly alternative to neighboring Mammoth. The quaint mountain town, comprised of a general store, restaurants and lodging, straddles the scenic June Lake Loop (made up of June Lake, Gull Lake, Silver Lake and Grant Lake). Hike on the Parker Lake Trail to a glittering alpine lake or paddle on the unique Mono Lake, an ancient saline lake where tufas (limestone formations) grow in abundance.
Tip: Enjoy creature comforts at the modest but amenities-laden Double Eagle Resort and Spa.
Double Eagle Resort and Spa (Photo: booking.com)
Looking for a place to spend an unforgettable vacation at June Lake? Double Eagle Resort and Spa is just what you and your family will love. Yosemite National Park’s eastern entrance is 19.3 kilometers away from the park. This resort has a restaurant, a spa, and an indoor pool. Every day, breakfast, lunch, and supper is served at the Eagle’s Landing Restaurant. There are many different wines and aperitifs available in the on-site bar, Eagle’s Nest Saloon.
Close to all the fun spots: Less than 500 meters separate the Double Eagle Resort from June Mountain Ski Area. The distance between Double Eagle Resort and Spa and Mammoth Lakes is about 40.2 kilometers.
Amenities for the whole family: Visitors may unwind in the hotel’s hot pool and fitness center after a day spent outdoors. On-site spa services come in many different varieties. The Double Eagle Resort and Spa is within walking distance of cross-country ski tracks.
Comfortable and soulful: Each room and cottage has a fireplace and a private bathroom with complimentary amenities. The Double Eagle Resort and Spa has a balcony in some of its rooms. The two-bedroom cottages have a patio and a fully functional kitchen.
Even before the snow melts in June, visitors make tracks to this world-class Eastern Sierra ski resort for mountain biking, hiking, fishing and scenic gondola rides. While biking trails are suitable for all ages, guided tours are recommended for first-timers navigating the extensive Mammoth Mountain Bike Park.
Tip: Rent gear at the Adventure Center.
Mammoth Mountain Inn (Photo: booking.com)
If Mammoth Mountain is your destination of choice, Mammoth Mountain Inn is the one you should pay attention to. On Mammoth Mountain, it is situated at a slope-side elevation of 9,0 m. It has ski-in/ski-out access and is just a short distance from the Main Lodge.
Various activities offered: In the winter, Mountain Mammoth Inn provides skiing, gondola rides, and snowmobiling. Visitors can enjoy bicycling, hiking, or sightseeing throughout the summer. This home is close to the Adventure Center and the Panorama Gondola.
Greatly convenient: Town shuttle services are provided by Mammoth Mountain. Visitors may unwind in the jacuzzis or swim in the heated outdoor pool. The building has storage for bicycles and skis.
Foodie’s dream: The Mountainside Grill delivers food with a Californian flair for dining. The Dry Creek Bar and Yodler Bar both serve drinks.
(MORE: Find other kid-friendly attractions in Mammoth.)
Located 17 miles from the southern gate to Yosemite National Park, Bass Lake is a destination in itself. Water sports include water skiing, kayaking, jet-skiing and boating. There’s also a swimming pool. Thrill the kids with a tube-towing pontoon (equipped with a BBQ grill and CD player) and cruise around the lake for hours of fun and laughter. Relax at the Pines Resort, featuring chalets with kitchens. Don’t feel like cooking? The resort’s restaurant, Ducey’s on the Lake, serves filet mignon, crab-crusted mahi-mahi and more.
Tip: Request a lake-view chalet.
The Pines Resort & Conference Center (Photo: booking.com)
If you are targeting your next trip to Bass Lake’s shore, you should check The Pines Resort & Conference Center – a lakefront California hotel that features an outdoor pool, a full-service marina, and facilities for participating in water sports. It is 22.5 kilometers away from Yosemite National Park.
Location and activities: The Pines Resort & Conference Center is 12.9 kilometers away from the Madera Wine Trail. The motel provides quick access to fishing thanks to its Bass Lake shoreline location. Tours can be arranged by request to explore the beauty of the surrounding nature.
If you’re seeking a food delight: Visitors to Ducey’s on the Lake may enjoy roasted prime rib and a glass of Cabernet while taking in a waterfront sunset. There are also widely consumed American icons like hamburgers and French fries available.
After a day of hiking, mini golf, kid-friendly bungee jumping and roller-skating, families can gather for drinks and snacks in shaded lounge areas in the European-style Village at Northstar. The laid-back luxury village features condos, boutiques, restaurants, an ice cream shop and a movie theater.
Tip: The Kid’s Adventure Club entertains ages 4 – 12 with nature hikes, games and activities.
Northstar California Resort (Photo: Expedia.com)
An absolutely gorgeous place to stay while visiting Truckee is the Northstar California Resort. It is a kid-friendly establishment in North Lake Tahoe that has a leisure center, and a number of eateries.
Entertainment for your family: Tennis courts, swimming pools, spas, a video arcade, and a fitness facility are all available on-site. At Northstar, there is an adults-only clubhouse with leather couches, a fireplace, and a library.
Convenience and sightseeing proximity: Drive time to Kings Beach in Lake Tahoe is 10 minutes. The travel to Reno-Tahoe International Airport takes 45 minutes. Northstar California Resort is about one hour’s drive from South Lake Tahoe.
Additional benefits: There is a guest laundromat on the property. It will only take around ten minutes via car to get to Truckee. A cable TV in every room is an additional way to entertain your kids while you are resting in your room.
Big Bear Lake
Situated in the San Bernardino National Forest, Big Bear is about a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. The sparkling, manmade lake is the hub for numerous summertime activities, including fishing, standup paddle boarding (SUP), kayaking and parasailing. Bike along a lakeside trail or down the mountain. Winter’s bobsled runs transform to waterslides in summer at Alpine Slide. More adventure? Fly above treetops on a zip line or go on a rope climbing tour.
Tip: Visit the Big Bear Alpine Zoo.
Holiday Inn Resort The Lodge at Big Bear Lake (Photo: booking.com)
When staying at Big Bear Lake, you can’t miss a chance to experience a great quality time at Holiday Inn Resort. The Lodge at Big Bear Lake at IHG Hotel is in just 5 minutes drive from Holiday Inn Resort’s Alpine Slide. The Big Bear Lake Lodge. It is 8 miles from the Big Bear Solar Observatory. Northwoods Resort and Conference Center is located 6.4 kilometers away from Holiday Inn Resort. It’s 136.8 kilometers from Palm Springs International Airport.
Family vacation amenities: The Big Bear Lake Northwoods Resort and Conference Center has a sauna and a steam room. There is a gift shop and a gym accessible. There are gift shops, concierge services, gaming rooms, and laundries available.
Food to enjoy: Stillwell’s Restaurant provides breakfast, lunch, and supper and serves fresh steaks and seafood. Cocktails, wine, and beer are available.
(MORE: View a family trip plan: 3 days in Big Bear with kids.)
Squaw Valley, Olympic Valley
Ride the aerial tramway to High Camp at 8,200-feet elevation for stunning views of Lake Tahoe and numerous outdoor activities, including a slack line park, croquet, ladder toss, disc golf and swimming.
Palisades Tahoe Lodge (Photo: booking.com)
If you need a comfy and affordable place to stay, Palisades Tahoe Lodge is a wonderful resort that offers activities at Palisades Tahoe ski and snowboard access – including ski-in/ski-out access. For relaxation, visitors can use the sauna, fitness center, and massage services.
Tip: Tour the Olympic Museum showcasing memorabilia from the 1960 Winter Olympics that took place at Squaw.
Mimi Slawoff, a Los Angeles-based journalist, contributed this to www.MiniTime.com.