Summer time is about expanding horizons, and a magnificent way to do that is by taking advantage of Southern California’s beautiful mountains. Today’s mountain resorts cater to all seasons throughout the year, especially summer. With accessibility to the beautiful outdoors and recreational activities such as hiking, mountain biking, swimming and golfing, the best local mountain escapes are not more than 90 minutes away from Orange County and offer guests a respite from the busy city life.
One of the more convenient mountain escapes is Mountain High in Wrightwood, just about a 90-minute drive from Orange County. While a popular ski resort in the winter months, summer isn’t too shabby. Visitors have a plethora of outdoor activities to choose from, including Sky High Disc Golf, endless hiking trails, trout fishing and overnight camping if that’s your thing. Sky High Disc Golf takes players up to 6,000 feet in elevation (it’s known as the highest course in So Cal) for a competitive 21 hole game, not to mention its exquisite scenery of snow-capped mountains and course features including deer, hawks and coyotes. Hiking in Wrightwood is breathtaking with endless amounts of trails including the great Pacific Crest Trail. It’s pretty easy to find a place to stay at any one of the charming hotels or motels.
8401 Mt Baldy Road
Mt Baldy, CA 91759
Zip-lining, mountain biking, disc golfing and hiking in beautiful Mt Baldy of the San Gabriel Mountains is a great way to spend a local summer weekend away. Just about an hour drive from OC, Mt Baldy offers some of the best hiking trails at 10,064 feet, an easy walk to view the San Antonio Falls, a 75-foot waterfall, trout pools for a real fishing experience as well as on-site furnished tent cabins (30 available). Guests who book one of these will receive a round-trip lift ticket for exceptional viewing, a dinner and breakfast for each guest and close proximity to the portable restrooms and Top of the Notch restaurant. An afternoon in Mt Baldy Village delivers on enchanting oak, pine and bay trees and a sunset cocktail.
Lake Gregory Regional Park
24171 Lake Drive
Crestline, CA 92325
Located in Crestline and just a short drive from Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino Mountains, Lake Gregory Regional Park is a wonderful destination for any age. The lake itself has 84 surface acres for swimming and water sports, which makes it a sought-after summer escape. The reason kids want to visit Lake Gregory is for the waterpark. Open to kids 7 years and older and at least 48 inches tall, the waterpark features all types of water slides, swings and diving platforms. It’s true summer fun. In the zero-depth water play park, children play and splash among kid-friendly and colorful water-spraying nozzles. The lake also rents out belly boards, aqua cycles, pedal boats, kayaks, stand up paddleboards, row boats and electric motor boats. And, if you just want to kick it, do it on the sandy beach looking out at the surrounding mountains, lake and activity. The surrounding community offers restaurants and lodges for overnight stay.
Mountain Lakes Resort
277 North Lytle Creek Road
Lytle Creek, CA 92358
Mountain Lakes Resort is an ideal local escape for families and groups of friends. Nestled in the San Bernardino mountains, this recreational area is embedded with history from the early 1700s. At an elevation of approximately 3200 feet, Mountain Lakes Resort has roomy campsites (available for RVs and tents) around the creek and lakes with hook-ups to water sewer and electric. Campers and hikers can picnic in the wilderness at the designated areas, hike on multiple trails throughout the mountain range, spot native birds and wildlife and go fish for trout and catfish. Generations of families return year after year to Mountain Lake Resorts for a true unplugged nature and campy experience, as well as fun activities such as swimming, paddle boating, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, horseshoes, baseball and volleyball, outdoor movie nights and karaoke.
Snow Summit Mountain Resort
880 Summit Blvd.
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
Snow Summit Mountain Resort is one of the most popular mountain vacations in Southern California during both the winter and summer seasons. From nine holes of golf to biking the mountain trails to spending a quiet relaxing day on Big Bear Lake, Snow Summit Mountain Resort has a plethora of recreational activities that fit the ideal mountain escape. The Bear Mountain Golf Course at 7,000 feet truly gives your golf ball real air in the Moonridge meadow area. The scenery is just spectacular amid the pine trees, summer breeze and blue skies. Take your cross-country bike up the life to the bike park in the mountain trails. There are over 60 miles of maintained trails including Mountain Top Trail, Pirate’s and Fern’s and Downhill Bike Park. There are many motels in the village to spend the night, or rent one of the many available cabins, condos or private homes.
Related: Best Hiking Trails In Orange County