Surfing and skiing in the same day is a dream that seems impossible to execute—unless you’re in California, that is. The Pacific waves of Southern California are only a couple hours away from the San Bernardino Mountains, and with a bit of planning you can experience both within the same vacation.
That’s what Stephanie Be, digital influencer and founder of TravelBreak, will do on her six-day California trip starting February 5. She’ll begin in Surf City, USA—Huntington Beach—before heading to the alpine villages of Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear Lake to play in the snow. Follow Be's trip in real-time on Instagram (@StephBeTravel), and get inspired to plan your own California vacation with her itinerary below.
Day 1: Huntington Beach
Surfing is at the core of Huntington Beach’s culture. It boasts 10 miles of shoreline with consistent swells, making it the perfect location for competitions and, consequently, many surf shops and the International Surfing Museum. Huntington Beach has more than just waves, though—this Orange County city has a posh side too. You’ll find upscale retail and an artisanal food market at the outdoor Pacific City, which sits next to Paséa Hotel & Spa, a new luxury oceanfront property with a cool rooftop bar (read: perfect sunset spot) and a Balinese-inspired spa.
The surfer-chic Kimpton Shorebreak Hotel on Pacific Coast Highway is a comfortable overnight option, with beach-focused amenities such as cruiser bikes, chairs and umbrellas, and surfboard lockers. Settle in with some crispy calamari and a Dazed and Confused cocktail at the hotel’s Pacific Hideaway, where you can enjoy views of the Huntington Beach Pier while you dine. End your night at the Shorebreak’s fire pits with a s’more (or three).
Dig into a Banzai Bowl for breakfast en route to a surf lesson with Toes on the Nose. (After you’ve mastered the waves, don’t forget to pick up some classy surf apparel from the company’s retail store.) Or cruise the flat, dedicated beach bike path on comfy wheels from Surfboard and Bike Rentals. Next, eat a stacked burger while you taste beer at the American Dream, and check out the free Tuesday evening Surf City Nights, a farmers’ market and lively street fair on Main Street.
For dinner, peruse the raw bar and farm-to-table menu at Bluegold, or opt for its mysterious restaurant-within-a-restaurant LXSO for Vietnamese fare in an intimate 28-seat space. At The Bungalow, pick your favorite eclectic space—the lodge, main bar, study, or ocean-view patio—to enjoy a nightcap.
Day 3: Lake Arrowhead
Hop in the car for a two-hour mountain-view drive up to Lake Arrowhead on California’s Rim of the World Scenic Byway. A trip to this small mountain village is not complete without trying the decadent dessert-like waffles at Belgian Waffle Works. Then take a tour on the Lake Arrowhead Queen for surrounding mountain views and a dose of local history before checking into Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa. You’ll feel right at home in the woodsy lodge surroundings of The Grill at Antler’s Inn in Twin Peaks.
Day 4: Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear Lake
Get your adrenaline fix at SkyPark at Santa’s Village, a North Pole–themed activity center with rock climbing, ziplining, mountain biking, archery, and more. Grab a slice of pizza at Lou Eddie’s Pizza before zipping over to Big Bear Lake—a 45-minute curvy drive—to check into the lakefront Marina Riviera resort. Watch the sun disappear behind the mountains during a sunset horseback ride at Baldwin Lake Stables.
Day 5 & 6: Big Bear Snow
It’s crazy to think you’re only a couple hours from the Huntington Beach surf when you’re hitting the slopes at Big Bear Mountain Resort. “Bear,” as the locals call it, is home to Southern California’s only halfpipes and offers 32 runs over its 198 acres. Stay in your ski gear for dinner at one of the resort’s many restaurants. On your final day, explore one of the other ways to play in Big Bear’s snow, like Big Bear Snow Play, where an uphill magic carpet makes it easy to fly down a former ski hill on a tube over and over again.