Imagine this: you do a Google search for “nutritional value of blueberries” and instead of Google returning the most relevant results, it returns results based on who paid Google the most. You are now forced to comb through the results based on who has the most financial might and not necessarily who provided you with the answers you were looking for. Completely unacceptable, right?
Luckily Google does not do this, but, astoundingly, all vacation rental listing websites behave exactly this way! Here is an excerpt from HomeAway’s and VRBO‘s subscription-level information on how subscriptions will impact search result rankings on their websites:
In essence, what this means is that the most important criteria used for returning search results on these sites is listing providers’ subscription levels. Combine this with the fact that calendars are not kept up to date on these sites and rental restrictions such as minimum night requirements are not taken into account when returning results, and searching vacation rentals becomes downright overwhelming and utterly frustrating!
Of course, this makes sound business sense for HomeAway: listing providers who pay them the most should get the most benefit, and there is nothing more beneficial than showing up high on search results.
Just as the Google founders believed that a search engine should do what’s best for the user, at Zaranga, we believe that a vacation rental search engine should do what’s best for the traveler. If we can make you – the traveler – happy, we’ve done our part to evolve this industry. Our engineering team has built an industry-leading vacation rental search engine where search results are ordered based on what’s most relevant and likely to be booked. Minimum-night restrictions, applicable discounts, reviews, real-time booking availability, the number of bookings, etc. are just a few of the factors used by Zaranga’s search engine to determine search rankings. Notice how every factor used by the search engine is utilized in order to make your search experience as easy and fast as possible while at the same time pushing property managers to provide you with a better service.
We’d love to get your feedback and suggestions. Drop us a line at email@example.com.
For vacationers across the country, Southern California is obvious destination choice. It’s mild climate, wonderfully diverse terrain, and eclectic communities mean that no matter your interest, you are sure to find something to love about SoCal. But not all resort communities are created equal, and Big Bear Lake truly is Southern California’s premier four season resort community. We could give you a 101 reasons why you should spend your summer vacation at Big Bear Lake, but we only need 10!
1) Optimal Climate
While the rest of Southern California sizzles in the summer months, the coolness of Big Bear Lake and the community’s high altitude create a perfect reprieve. With temperatures that rarely soar past the early eighties, you may just think about spending every summer here!
2) Plenty of Culture
You don’t have to be an outdoor enthusiast to enjoy Big Bear Lake, there is exhaustive list of concerts, live performances, festivals, exhibitions and more! You can easily plan your trip around any number of events and never be bored.
3) Shop to Your Heart’s Content
With over 120 vendors to choose from, many of them talented local artisans who have been a part of the Big Bear Lake cultural fabric for decades. You are guaranteed to find something out of the ordinary.
4) New Zealand Jet Boats
Big Bear Lake is home to the only New Zealand Jet Boat experience west of the mighty Mississippi. Why laze around lakeside when you can be tearing across it with the equivalent of a fighter pilot at the helm. It will be the most thrilling 30 minutes of your life!
5) Family Friendly
If you’ve been hunting around for a location that caters to families, look no further because Big Bear Lake has something fun for every member of the family from toddler to teenager. Just about every outdoor activity imaginable in the region can be enjoyed by families of all ages,
6) Anglers Haven
Every angler who knows a thing or two about catching the big one knows that Big Bear Lake is one of the top fishing spots in all of Southern California. The largemouth and smallmouth bass are always biting, and with the annual 50K trout derby, and the lake teeming with catfish, crappie, blue gill and sunfish, you’re sure to head home with a cooler full of beautiful fish.
7) Friendly Locals
Southern California is known for its hospitality, and Big Bear Lake is no exception. If your idea of a fabulous afternoon involves a wander around the village, shooting the breeze with bubbly shopkeepers, and rubbing shoulders with visitors from around the country, Big Bear Lake is just the resort down do that.
8) It’s Closer Than You Think
Big Bear Lake is a quick 2 hour drive from downtown Los Angeles, two-and-a-half-hours from San Diego and 3 hours from Las Vegas. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick weekend on the slopes, or a long weekend lazing around on the lake, everything that Big Bear Lake has to offer is a short drive away.
9) Even Furry Family Members Are Invited
Who says you have to leave the furriest members of the household at home? Big Bear is regarded to be one of the most pet-friendly resort communities in the state of California. There are plenty of pooch-friendly patios, there are plenty of nature trails to frolic in, and for the water babies, the lake is a welcome treat. Heading out onto the lake for the entire day? Throw you pup into a lifejacket and have them keep you company while you reel in the big one.
10) Hundreds of Outdoor and Indoor Activities
Big Bear Lake truly is a four season resort and the list of activities is abundant. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, Big Bear Lake has exactly what you’re looking for. Cycling, hiking, fishing, camping, boating, whatever it is, Big Bear has it all. And for those extremely rare days when the sun doesn’t make an appearance, there are plenty of indoor activities like the FunPlex, shopping, museums and more.
Big Bear’s close proximity to major cities like Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas make it the perfect destination for weekenders, but if you wish to spend longer, rest assured that there are more things to do than you could possibly take part in within the short amount of time you’re here.
Big Bear lake has been attracting tourists to its pristine shores since the era of horse drawn coaches. It’s been a popular filming location for Hollywood for the last seven decades and today, hundreds of thousands descend upon the tiny local population all year round. While it’s winter fun draws ski enthusiasts from across the nation, summer at Big Bear Lake is seemingly endless and full of action. Aside from the various summer outdoor activities on offer, Big Bear Lake’s summer event line-up is definitely something you’re going to want to check out if you have some vacation time on the books. Here are 7 events that bring back Big Bear visitors year after year:
1) Fishin’ For 50K Trout
The annual Fishin’ For 50K Trout’ derby is always a massive draw, with sportsmen from all over the country trying to catch the allusive $50K tagged trout. The competition is open to trout anglers of all ages, and entry costs to the contest are minimal. The derby is generally held at the beginning of June, and this year, a 9 year old angler managed to snag herself $200 for her 2.10lb catch!
2) Music in the Mountains Concert Series
Everyone loves live music, and enjoying it in an open air amphitheater is a great way to spend an evening. After a long hike, or jarring biking session in the mountains, and after you’ve enjoyed a quiet dinner and some cocktails in the village, head on over to the Discovery Center Amphitheater. The event is annual and the 2013 summer concert series features tribute bands that represent a blend of rock, reggae, Calypso and Soca music.
3) Big Bear Old Miners Association Chili Cook Off
You’re going to want to bring an empty stomach for this one! Every year, the Bartlett Lot in the village hosts the Big Bear Old Miner’s Association International Chili Society Sanctioned Chili Cook Off (whew, that was a mouthful!). Local, and national chili enthusiasts vie for the big cash prizes, awards and the opportunity to bring their chili game to the World Championships. There is no admission costs for foodies, and tasting kits are just $5. There is plenty of live music, good drink, and of course, oodles of Chili to be had!
4) Tour De Big Bear
Save yourself the massive expense of traveling to Europe and catch a Tour right here in the San Bernardino County. This summer, watch or participate in the 4th Annual Tour de Big Bear. It’s touted as Southern California’s ‘most challenging high altitude ride’ and at 7000 feet, it certainly lives up to its reputation. International cycling announcer Phil Liggit has deemed Stage #6 of the tour “one of the best cycling stages we’ve seen in America, ever!”So if you are a cycling enthusiast, and you’re going to be in Big Bear in July, you’re definitely going to want to check this out.
5) Blues for the Zoo
If you’re going to be around during the first weekend of August, you’re definitely going to want to check out the 4th annual Blues for the Zoo, a charity fundraiser that supports the Big Bear Alpine Zoo. Enjoy outdoor music entertainment, sumptuous foods from around the world, performances, and local artisans, all at the Swim Beach Outdoor Amphitheater. This is a popular event so you’ll want to purchase events ahead of time.
6) 12th Annual Big Bear Renaissance Faire
Fancy an afternoon in the Medieval times? During the month of August, the Big Bear Renaissance Faire puts on an impressive display of various medieval themed entertainment including an authentic jousting tournament. Five stages, including a children’s stage and adult-only stage, provide non-stop live entertainment, while the festival itself is a fury of medieval themed foods, crafted beer, costumes, and artisans. The faire takes place annually at Pedersen Sawmill.
7) Art On The Lake
For the discerning art enthusiast, ‘Art On the Lake’ invites artists from the surrounding mountain communities and includes those from Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County, San Bernardino, Riverside, Redlands and Desert communities. For the last twelve years, Big Bear Lake has been the scene of one of the finest art shows in Southern California. This August, more than fifty artists will display their works, so bring a few extra bucks, because you just may snag yourself a masterpiece.
Family vacations are all about creating memories, and the best family-friendly destinations are those that are able to cater to the interests to all members of the family, no matter their age. California is chock full of great vacation areas, but not all of them provide the same quantity and quality of activities that Big Bear Lake has on offer. If this is your first time to Big Bear Lake and you’ve got the family in tow, here are 10 activities for family friendly fun at California’s beloved Big Bear Lake:
1) Baldwin Lake Stables & Petting Zoo
There is plenty of year round fun to be had at the Baldwin Lake Stables & Petting Zoo, an equestrian ranch located a quick 7 miles east of Big Bear Village. With trail rides ranging from an hour to a half a day. For the little ones, hand-led pony rides are available, and for the rest of the family, the staff at Baldwin take great care in matching you up with the perfect horse to ensure your trail ride is an experience to remember.
2) Big Bear Alpine Zoo
Bears, Bobcats and Burrowing Owls, oh my! These are not exactly animals you see hanging around the neighborhood, well, unless you happen to live in the Big Bear Valley! Round up the troops and head off to the Big Bear Alpine Zoo where over 190 animals and 80 different species are housed. Chat with the onsite Docents about what it’s like to raise American foxes, or what the diet of a Mountain Lion consists of. Hours of fun and essential education are to be had at the Big Bear Alpine Zoo!
3) Snowplay at the Inner Tube Parks
Maybe strapping on a bunch of equipment just isn’t in the cards for the day, but you still want to spend the day outside, playing in the snow. If that’s the case, there is no better place than Big Bear Lake! Two renown inner tube parks invite families of all ages to enjoy the thrill of
down-hill fun, without all the added expense of renting ski or snowboard equipment. The Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain, and Big bear Snow Play both offer covered Magic Carpet rides with fun Plexiglass tunnels! And with no climbing hill to schlep up after every ride, you and the family can spend more time sliding and less time climbing.
4) Endless Fun at the Big Bear FunPlex
Sometimes you just want to escape the cold for an afternoon, and the Big Bear FunPlex is the perfect haven from the elements with a 16 lane bowling facility, a skating rink, laser tag, and bumper cars. This unique facility is the only one its kind in the region and its open year round, so on those blistering summer days, the FunPlex is the perfect locale for some cool summer fun.
5) A Day on the Slopes
If you’ve chosen Big Bear Lake as the mountain resort for your kids learn how to ski or snowboard, you couldn’t have picked a better spot! Big Bear Mountain Resort offers the largest area for beginning ski and snowboarders. One ticket will provide the whole family access to both Big Bear Mountain Resort as well as Snow Summit. The resorts have a combined acreage of 436, 26 lifts, four-high speed chairs and 1,800 vertical feet. These resort mountains are the ideal locale for snow enthusiasts of all skill levels.
6) Family Fun on the Trails
Professional mountain bikers around the world and region descend onto Big Bear Valley every summer because it offers up some of the best, most picturesque and adrenaline pumping terrain around. The difficulty level ranges from super easy to ultra challenging, so families of all ages can enjoy time on the trail without worrying about possessing the right skill level. The Sky Chair atop of Big Bear offers breathtaking views, and thrilling challenges while, the gentle slopes of the North Shore Bike path offer up a leisurely ride.
7) A Paddleboard Session
One of the best thing about Big Bear Lake in the summer is, well, the lake of course! The lake offers plenty of water-based activities that the whole family will love. If you’ve ever wanted to introduce your littles ones to surfing but aren’t ready for them to learn at the mercy of the ocean’s waves, stand-up paddleboarding is a great place to start. Paddleboards are long, sturdy and teach the importance of balance.
8) Off- Roading in Big Bear Country
Let someone else doing the driving for once! There are plenty of off-road trails you could explore on your own, but why do that when you can hire an off-road specialist who knows all the back-country secrets of the region. A company like Big Bear 4X4 whisks their clients into the forest, and has you exploring ridges, steep canyons, beautiful meadows and babbling brooks. The kids will love all the bumps and jumps, and you’ll enjoy the unforgettable views.
9) Wave Dance with a Jet Boat Tour
If you and the family feel the need for speed, take a jet bout tour with Big Bear Parasail. Jump in and feel the thrill of the wind whipping through your hair on the only New Zealand style jet boat ride west of the Mississippi. Your onboard tour guide will narrate and navigate you around the lake, all the while dipping, swinging, and slingshotting you across the waves!
10) Zip Through the Trees
Ziplining is a must-do activity anytime of year, and during the summer months, Snow Summit’s East Mountain Express chairlift becomes the Scenic Sky Chair, a gentle speed zip line, perfect for families of all ages. Increased friction in the zipline slows ridders down so they can take a few moments to enjoy the scenery rather than just whip by it at hair-raising speeds!
During the summer months, Southern California’s largest recreational lake welcomes hundreds of thousands of outdoor enthusiasts every year. The lake and surrounding mountains become a paradise for fishermen, jet-skiers, hikers and mountain biking junkies. However, this year round resort area also offers up some of the best options for snow fun in region. So if you’re already thinking about where to take the family for a winter vacation, here are 10 ways to entertain yourself at Big Bear Lake.
If getting back to nature is your thing, take off the skis, leave the snowboard back at the lodge and throw on a pair of snowshoes, because there is no better way to explore pristine winter settings. Snowshoeing allows you to check out all the winter animals frolicking about, gives you the opportunity to socialize with new friends, all the while getting a fantastic cardio vascular workout!
2) Zipline Tours
Get above it all without a set of heavy skis being strapped to your feet. At Big Bear Lake, you don’t have to hit the slopes to get the heart pumping! Soar through through the trees, over rocky canyons with sweeping views for as far as the eye can see.
3) Cross-Country Skiing
Take a break from heart pounding black diamonds, slow it all down, and enjoy a zen-like afternoon gliding through the forests around Big Bear Lake. There are myriad paths that snake up and around the lake, and with some of the best back country guides in the business, you’ll love it up here.
4) Helicopter Tours
There is no better way to enjoy the exquisite beauty of Big Bear Valley and the San Bernardino Mountain range that surrounds it than from the cozy seat of a helicopter. Let Helicopter Big Bear sweep you up above it all, and with a number of different itinerary options to choose from, and an experience pilot and guide behind the controls, it’s the experience of a lifetime.
5) Ski & Snowboard Bear Mountain Resort
With some of the steepest and most challenging terrain in Southern California, Bear Mountain Resort is home to several world-class terrain parks. Nearly 2000 acres of winter fun await the most discerning of skiers and snowboarders. First time on the slopes? Don’t stress, Bear Mountain boasts the largest beginner area in the region!
Playing in the snow has no age limit, so whether you’re four or seventy-four, spending the day at the Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain is guaranteed fun for all! Both inner tube parks located at Bear Mountain are the only facilities in Souther California to have Magic Carpet lifts up the hill!These state-of-the-art lifts feature moving conveyor belts, cutting your climb time in half so you can spend more time whipping down the hill!
7) Indoor Fun at Big Bear FunPlex
Sometimes you just want to stay warm and dry, and if you’re looking for some indoor fun, check out the Big Bear FunPlex. Enjoy activities like lazertag, bumpercars, the Himalyan Coaster and a fabulous indoor arcade. An onsite restaurant keeps the family fueled and the fun ongoing. If it’s an adult-only afternoon, check out the Ally Oops Sports Bar for an afternoon of cocktails, sports on the big screen and plenty of laughs.
8) Winter Trail Rides
Who says trail rides are only fun in Summer? Climb atop a trusty steed and enjoy the serene sound of hooves on fallen snow. Join a small contingent of horseback riders and guide on a tour of Big Bear Valley’s beautiful backcountry and when you’re finished, spend some time feeding the resident goats, sheep, bunnies and chickens.
9) Winter Fun at the Big Bear Alpine Zoo
It’s easy as pie to find activities to keep the whole family entertained, and with the plethora of year round activities, the only issue is trying to narrow down the choices. A day at the zoo is something that everyone can agree on, with over 190 animals, 80 different species and a number of exhibits unique to the region, the Big Bear Alpine Zoo is a great winter activity option.
10) Enjoy a Little Après-ski
The best thing about a long, hard day on the slopes, is the Après-ski experience with good friends. Big Bear Valley offers a dining and cocktail selection like no other, and whether you like fine dining or have a hankering for a some home-style cooking, you are spoiled for choice. From wine bars, to pizza parlors, rest assured when your day on the mountain comes to a close, a cozy fireplace and a robust glass of merlot await your weary bones.
There’s more than just a lake in Tahoe. The entire summer is stuffed full of activities that cater to all ages and tastes. Here are some of the highlights still to come this summer!
Tahoe City Solstice Festival, June 20th to 23rd – This four-day festival features several events that highlight the traits and characteristics of Tahoe. With a classic car show, fireworks, and the Tahoe City Wine Walk on the 22nd, this festival is a great chance to immerse yourself in the local culture.
Adventure Sports Week, June 21st to 30th – A week of sporting events, competitions, music, and family activities means there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Concerts at Commons Beach, June 23rd to September 8th – Local, regional, and national performers bring their talent to Commons Beach every Sunday for 12 straight weeks.
Red, White, and Tahoe Blue, July 3rd to 6th – Four days featuring a variety of activities, including parades, wine tastings, ice cream-eating contests, a carnival, and even the most extreme rubber ducky race in the history of mankind. There’s no better way to celebrate the country’s birthday.
6th Annual Beerfest and Bluegrass Event, July 6th – Celebrate Independence Day weekend the good old-fashioned way! Over 30 regional breweries serve up world-class beer with live bluegrass music and children’s activities at the Village Rink. Tickets are $30 in advance or $38 at the door.
Truckee Tahoe Airfair and Family Festival, July 6th – If your idea of a good time gets going around Mach 2, then stop by the Truckee Tahoe Airport for this festival. This event is free to attend and includes free parking. All proceeds go towards supporting local youth programs.
Brews, Jazz and Funk Festival, August 10th to 11th – Great music and great beer converge in this two-day celebration, with bands playing from 2pm to 6pm on both days. A $5 donation gets you in the door and selections from over 40 breweries means that you’ll never go thirsty, at least for these 2 days.
Peaks and Paws, August 24th to 25th – Don’t leave your pets at home for this one. This two-day event features activities for both humans and animals! There’s music and beer for the people and pet-friendly activities for the furriest member of your family. All proceeds benefit the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe.
24th Annual Foam Fest, August 31st – Bring summer to a close with one of the longest-running festivals in the Tahoe area. The best craft beers are highlighted during the famous “Hit the Slopes” raffle, which gives away prizes ranging from season passes to skis and snowboards!
There’s much more happening in Tahoe all summer long, but these are just a few of the biggest events that make a Lake Tahoe vacation the right choice for cooling down this summer! If you are looking for a place to stay, we have a wide selection of fantastic Lake Tahoe vacation rentals that are a perfect complement to your fun-filled activities during the day.
About the Author:
Tristan Roberts is a husband, father, and lake lover hoping you’ll spend some time with him this summer in Lake Tahoe. When he’s not cooling down by the shore he works as a Lake Tahoe real estate agent for CB Lake Tahoe.
Lake Tahoe is a one-stop shop for the perfect family vacation, but the planning process can be a little overwhelming. With an abundance of activities on offer, the all-season allure of the region offers families the convenience of being able to vacation any time of year. Though Tahoe is renown for its world class ski resorts, nationally rated bike trails, and jaw-dropping scenery, its myriad towns are chalk full of culture, culinary mastery, fabulous festivals and more. Lake Tahoe’s towns make for great weekend jaunts and provide an optimal base for families looking to indulge in local outdoor activities while enjoying all the comforts of home.
Perched at the headwaters of the Truckee River on Lake Tahoe sits the snow capital of Tahoe City. Hailed as the ‘Gateway to the Lake’, this charming lakeside community epitomizes Tahoe life. A paved lakeside pathway allows families to spend picture perfect afternoon walking, strolling or cycling down along the river and across the historic Lake Tahoe Dam. Spend a morning wandering the Foothill Farmer’s Market, teeming with fresh local produce, and the afternoon learning to sail. Take the kids to Commons Beach and let them blow off some steam on the jungle gym, or grab some popcorn and a blanket, and snuggle up lakeside for a fantastic movie under the stars. An impressive line-up of summer concerts and a myriad of winter festivals delight music lovers of all ages, and culture fanatics will love the city’s selection of century old haunted heritage sites! Colorful eateries and unique shops dot friendly streets, snow-capped mountains hover in the distance, and warm smiles greet you wherever you go. Tahoe City is an ideal mountain town for the active, outdoor loving family. For places to stay in Tahoe City, check out our selection of vacation rentals in Tahoe City.
Developed in 1961 by a group of free-loving San Franciscans, Alpine Meadows has long been a beloved favorite of local skiers and snowboarders, and has an impressive following from visitors across the country. Every year, an estimated 402 inches of powder snow fall here each year, making it the longest running ski resort in the entire Lake Tahoe region. Your family will love zig-zagging through tree lined runs, and for beginners, there are plenty of gentle bowls to learn the ropes. This resort town hosts one of the only youth snow competition for children under the age of 12 in the region. During the summer months, the fly fishing is second to none, the cycling trails are infinite and the Ward and Scott peak hikes are awe inspiring. For places to stay in Alpine Meadows, check out our selection of vacation rentals in Alpine Meadows.
Nestled halfway between Truckee and Lake Tahoe sits the Squaw Valley, a postcard perfect panorama of alpine scenery. Once the scene of the Squaw Valley Olympic Winter Games in 1960, visitors to Squaw Valley have embraced the spirit of adventure, exploration and love of nature. The winter months provide 3,600 acres of pristine ski and snowboard runs across 6 peaks. Young families love the gentle meandering slopes and Olympic level athletes can’t get enough of Squaw’s steep cliffs and challenging bowls. The summer months bring miles of bike paths, hiking trails, roller skating and swimming all accessible by the mountain’s Aerial Tram. For places to stay in Squaw valley, check out our selection of vacation rentals in Squaw Valley.
The modest stretch of small Lake Tahoe communities alongside Hwy 89 is known collectively as the West Shore. Often coined as the “Black Forest” for its thick wooded appearance, the West Shore’s 9,000 year old history is both long and fascinating. Once the home to the region’s earliest residents, the Washoe Indians, the area is also the scene of the gold rush and home to the regions oldest bar, Chambers Landing. May 2008 marked the opening of the Tahoe Maritime Museum, an impressive facilities emulating historic wooden boathouses from Homewood. The unique museum is open year round and provides a great interactive experience for visitors of all ages. The area features an Olympic Hill ski jump, and a number of Olympic Nordic course trails available to advanced ski enthusiasts. Be sure to pay Homewood Mountain Resort and go for a wander through it’s charming pedestrian village. For places to stay in West Shore, check out our selection of vacation rentals in West Shore.
South Lake Tahoe
Your very stop in South Lake Tahoe should be one of several visitors’ centers. Scoop up a map, and have a quick chat, because there are so many activities available in the area, you won’t know where to start first! A stop in at ‘Explore Tahoe’, a fabulous interpretive center located at the Heavenly Village Transit Center on Highway 50. The ‘Explore Tahoe’ experience uses interactive exhibits to educate visitors about the plethora of activities available in the area, as well as information about the local wildlife. Hiking enthusiasts will love the array of trail options available on the Tahoe Rim Trial, and once the snow melts in the beautiful Sierra’s, sweeping views of pristine waterfalls await. In the mood for a something a little artsy? Check out Valhalla at Lake Tahoe, home of the renown annual Valhalla Arts & Music Festival, and the site of ongoing dance, theatre and art exhibits all year round. For families who love to spend all their time in the great outdoors, the city of South Lake Tahoe is second to none when it comes to camping facilities. In fact, the public campground is so popular with visitors, that spots often sell out early on in the season so make sure to call ahead and get a reservation! For places to stay in South Lake Tahoe, check out our selection of vacation rentals in South Lake Tahoe.