Where to Swim in Big Bear Lake for a Safe Summer Vacation


Big Bear Lake, CA. Swimmers and boaters enjoying the lake.

Understanding where to swim in Big Bear Lake is critical for a great Summer vacation experience. The lake is large and there are many areas where swimming is not allowed. Boaters often create large waves that can make it difficult (and dangerous!) to swim near the shore.

So, for those planning a trip to Big Bear Lake this summer, we’ve compiled a list of some fun swimming areas where it is safe to take your family. 

Big Bear Lake Swimming Areas

Meadow Park

Meadow Park is ideal for parents who want to take their children swimming on the lake in a secure environment. A lifeguard is on duty, and there are water toys, a floating dock, a snack bar, and public restrooms nearby. Meadow Park is one of the greatest places to swim at Big Bear Lake, but this park also has lots of other activities available. The basketball and tennis courts, as well as the slides and swing set, may be used by visitors while they aren’t in the water. There’s enough there to make a full-day trip.

The park also has the McDill Swim Beach. This is a tiny beach with a small fee to get in. With your entry fee, you receive picnic tables, sandy beaches, clear water, and an exciting inflatable slide.

Garstin Island

The lake is ideal for all kinds of swimmers, and the more daring ones can locate a variety of swimming and wading sites around the lake; just keep in mind there are no lifeguards and that you must swim within 50 feet of the shore. Another popular spot for a dip is near China Island (known as Garstin Island), where you may swim around among the rocks or leap from the rock formations into the water below.

Near Big Bear Dam

Big Bear Dam, located on the northern shore of the lake, has a beach that varies in size according to the water level and makes for a nice swimming spot. When the water is lower, there are large, flat rocks to sun on; when it’s higher, you can take a dip right from the shore.

Boulder Bay Park

Boulder Bay Park is great for wading and swimming, but it’s also a popular spot for kayaking. Boulder Bay Park stands out all year long as a fantastic location for visitors and locals to get lost in the beauty of nature.

At this beautiful Big Bear park, visitors have the option of not only swimming but also kayaking, fishing, or picnicking. The water cools down a little at the end of summer, but the beach becomes lush green and one of the most beautiful locations in the region as fall approaches.

East Boat Ramp Beach

The East Boat Ramp beach is ideal for families with little children, as the water is shallow and perfect for those who are just learning to swim.

Is it Safe to Swim in Big Bear Lake?

Swimming is allowed in Big Bear Lake under certain conditions:

  • You’re within 50 feet of the shore or within 20 feet from a private dock.
  • You’re within designated swimming areas
  • You’re wearing a life jacket while doing water sports or boating. Any time you swim off the side of the boat or swim between watercrafts, you must wear a life jacket.

Cold Water Risks

Warm air does not always imply warm water in lakes, streams, or seas. 55° water may not seem very cold, but it can be deadly. If you don’t prepare for the impact of sudden immersion into any temperature of water, diving into cold water becomes hazardous. Warm air temperatures might give boaters and beach goers a false sense of security, so arrive knowing the conditions and how to safeguard yourself if you are going to be on or near the water.

Cold water exchanges heat up to four times faster than cold air. Cold shock can induce significant variations in breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure when your body hits cold water. Even confident swimmers in still seas may drown if they have a sudden gasp and fast breathing alone.

That all being said, there are still many great places to take a dip in Big Bear Lake. So, we’ve compiled a list of the best places to swim in Big Bear Lake, complete with some must-knows to ensure a safe and happy vacation.

Stay with Big Bear Getaway this Summer!

Looking for a summer getaway? Why not stay with us at Big Bear Getaway! We have everything you need to enjoy your time in the mountains, including cabins, cottages, and more – including pet-friendly vacation rentals and ones with hot tubs. Plus, our location is perfect for anyone who wants to explore the great outdoors. So come and join us this summer for an unforgettable experience!

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