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Elvis in Big Bear Lake

Elvis in Big Bear Lake
See the mountain setting that hosted hillbillies, Mounties, and the King

The verdant San Bernardino Mountains and valleys around Big Bear Lake, and its neighbor Cedar Lake, frequently stood in for those of the Ozarks, Appalachians, and Canadian Rockies in early filmdom. Examples include 1936’s The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, 1941’s The Shepherd of the Hills, and Elvis Presley’s 1964 Kissin’ Cousins—all classic stories of mountain feuds and moonshine.

The sawmill featured in the Presley film is still standing, and you can see it at the Cedar Lake Camp, which was part of the area’s “back lot” (some of it originally built for movies) and is now rented out to groups. To reach further back into the area’s history, a cluster of vintage cabins and barns marks the Big Bear Historical Museum, which outlines the growth of the area from its early Gold Rush days.

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Southern California

Discover the Inland Empire

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54
December
Average (°F)
Dec - Feb
68°
High
39°
Low
Mar - May
80°
High
43°
Low
June - Aug
94°
High
55°
Low
Sept - Nov
91°
High
43°
Low

With its inviting destinations and uncrowded wilderness, this region feels like an insider’s secret amid the bustling excitement of Southern California.

Mount San Gorgonio—nicknamed “Old Grayback”—is the tallest peak in Southern California, at 11,502 feet/3,506 meters.

Surprising alpine scenery around Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear beckons, with pine-scented trails in summer and winter sports when the snow flies. If you’re into action, get the adrenaline rush of seeing the world’s best NASCAR racers compete at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. For a dreamier escape, float in a hot-air balloon above rolling Temecula Valley wine country. 

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Chip Morton/Alamy

Spotlight: Temecula Valley

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The Inland Empire area offers under-the-radar wine finds, locavore cuisine, and rolling scenery

A historic town square surrounded by vineyards and rolling hills, with mountains rising in the distance: The...

Santa and Mrs. Claus play with a dog at Skypark at Santa's Village
Courtesy of SkyPark at Santa's Village

SkyPark at Santa’s Village

Hike, bike, ride ziplines, and even meet Santa near Lake Arrowhead

Glide through a forest on a zipline, try out mountain bikes on well-maintained trails, or maybe even sit down for tea with Mrs. Claus. Located...

Riverside
John Bilous

Riverside

Visit this Inland Empire city to learn about its citrus past, stay in a world-famous inn, and tour gardens and galleries

Sixty miles east of Los Angeles, Riverside boasts a number of firsts, including...

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The bald eagle, America’s national bird, flies south from Alaska and Canada to spend winter in the San Bernardino Mountains.
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Glen Ivy Hot Springs Spa in Corona is home to Club Mud, California’s only therapeutic red clay mud bath.
SPECIAL FEATURE
Kid-friendly fun zones, special kids' menus & amazing wine for the grownups

Sure wine country is romantic, but now it’s a surprisingly great destination for families too, with a growing number of vineyards trading in elegant tasting rooms for kid-friendly fun zones that...

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John/Flickr
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Temecula Valley is known for its variety, growing and producing over 50 different varietals of wine; from Cabernet Sauvignon to Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot to Mourvedre, Viognier to Chardonnay.
Big Bear Lake
Getty Images

Big Bear Lake

Escape to Southern California’s mountain wonderland

Just two hours from Los Angeles, the San Bernardino Mountains offer a cool, pine-scented escape. At an altitude of 6,759 feet (2,060 meters), Big...

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Dave Lauridsen

Route 66

Get your kicks on America’s legendary highway

Back in its glory days, Route 66 began in Chicago and ended along the bluffs overlooking the Pacific, a 2,451-mile journey through farmlands,...

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Courtesy of Auto Club Speedway

Auto Club Speedway

Rev up for racing action at this classic track

Whether you’re into NASCAR or drag racing, Auto Club Speedway delivers all kinds of thrills for fans of powerful cars and high-speed action. The 2...

Route 66

Route 66
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This idyllic oceanfront city, bounded by a 3.5-mi/5.6-km-long beach, feels more like a weekend getaway spot than a city just a few minutes west of downtown Los Angeles. Hang out on the city’s broad beach or lively Pacific...

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Protecting an astounding 1.6 million acres/647,497 hectares of pristine desert wilderness, the Mojave National Preserve lets you hear singing sand dunes, explore weirdly contorted Joshua trees, and hike up volcanic cinder cones. Take time to explore, and let the desert’s magic unfold.

Don...

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The first Balloon and Wine Festival was launched in the spring of 1984 and was a monumental success for a town of only 9,000 residents. More than 4,000 people attended, as 35 balloons were launched from the Rancho California Plaza.
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Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Inland Empire Outlets

Find bargains on brand names at major outlet centers

The only thing better than scoring the perfect outfit or designer shoes is to get them for a bargain price. That’s why shopping in the Inland...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you're in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you'll find it here. Want to sample fresh produce? Try our farmers...

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SPECIAL FEATURE
Where to save on Gucci, Versace, and other big-name brands

With bucket-list magnets like Rodeo Drive and Union Square, California has undeniable star power when it comes to shopping. But all those fashion finds and gifts for everyone back home don’t have...

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Robert Sheie/Flickr
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Brian Stevens

San Bernardino Museums

Discover local and natural history and see art from around the world at area museums

Two local museums let you experience everything from the natural side of the Inland Empire to the treasures of ancient Egypt.

The San...

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Brian Stevens

Idyllwild

Nature and the arts find a perfect balance in this quaint mountain hamlet

Backed by mountain wilderness and filled with galleries, Idyllwild is a haven for both outdoor recreation and the arts.

Steep forested...

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San Bernardino National Forest is the largest urban forest in the United States.
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Alex Farnum

Lake Arrowhead

Escape to an exclusive mountain haven

The drive from San Bernardino to Lake Arrowhead is a quick one—just 23 miles/37 km. But as you twist and climb from the busy valley and into the...