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Can You Swim in Big Bear Lake In 2023? (6 Things to Know)

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Do you already know that Big Bear Lake is a man-made lake that was created in the late 19th century to hold water and supply it to citrus plants in Redlands?

But that was history, what I want to know is whether I can swim in it or not and if yes, what are the things that I need to know before jumping into the lake. If you too have the same questions then keep reading this article.

Can You Really Swim In Big Bear Lake?

Yes, you can but in the summer months as the Big Bear Lake gets painfully cold in the winter. That said, if you are up for some cold water swimming, you can head towards Big Bear Lake in the wintertime. 

Can You Swim In Big Bear Lake

When swimming in the Big Bear Lake, one has to remain 50 feet from the shoreline and 20 feet from a private dock or any other recreational spot. These guidelines are set by the lake’s management, and visitors can only plunge into the refreshing water when they abide by the instructions. 

The Temperature in Big Bear Lake 

Big Bear Lake takes water from the frozen mountains, which means the water in the body is essentially snowmelt. As a result, the stream’s temperature is always rather chilly. However, it becomes quite soothing in the summer season. 

During the winter months, from November through April, the water temp stays around 12 degrees Celsius (or 55 degrees Fahrenheit)[source]. On the other hand, when the air turns balmy, the water reading goes up to 21 degrees Celsius (or 70 degrees Fahrenheit) from May through October.  

Read Also: Can You Swim In The Salton Sea, California?

The Effect of Air on the Lake’s Temperature

The coldness or warmth of the air current over Big Bear Lake also affects the water’s temperature. However, the impact stays limited to the top surface, meaning the surface water temperature gets colder or warmer depending on the air, which may not necessarily transfer to the deeper layers. 

In simple words, when the atmospheric temperature is significantly warm, the water at the top of the lake becomes relatively toasty than the rest of the water. So, a tourist may jump into the stream hoping to take a dip in temperate water through and through, only to find that the deeper they get, the comparatively colder the lake gets. 

Best Swimming Spots in Big Bear Lake 

The Californian water body is an excellent location to beat the heat and revitalize the body with a much-needed swim in the summer months.  

While there are multiple spots to take a dip in the Californian lake, three locations, in particular, are considered the best for swimming; China Island, East Road ramp beach, and the Meadow Park. 

China Island

Garstin Island, aka China Island, is one of the most popular swimming places in Big Bear Lake, situated right off the westernmost lake shores. Once you reach the bank of the lake near the Island, you will have to wade your way through the water or ride a boat to get to the massive boulders that make up China Island. That’s the point where people have a grand old time frolicking around the calm water. 

Tourists can find parking a mile from the main location on the California 18 highway. From there, a quick on-foot journey will bring you to the banks near China Island. 

When you get ready to dive into the water near the giant rocks, be sure to assess the water level. Moreover, check if there are any boulders under the water (as there are many that also happen to be close to the water surface) because you don’t want to bump yourself on one and get hurt. 

East Road Ramp Beach

Situated at 41911 North Shore Drive, the East Road Ramp Beach is another exceptional spot for a dip in the Big Bear Waters. It’s considered one of the best locations for families visiting the Californian water body. 

The area is brimming with benches and restrooms, the essentials to have an incredible fun-filled picnic day. If you have kids, East Road Ramp beach is unquestionably the best-suited swimming point for your family. And if you are up for some fishing after a relaxing swim, the on-site fishing dock will serve you right. 

The Meadow Park

Like East Road Ramp Beach, the Meadow Park is well-suited for families as it is laced with public restrooms, snack stands, and swimming essentials. Typically, this location is occupied by families, and rightfully so as the on-site facilities offer everything kids want at a picnic. 

A Bonus Mention: Private Docks

If you don’t like to swim with crowds and prefer to have a peaceful time, you can book any of the Big Bear Lake cabins that come with a private dock. That’s right! 

Several lodges offer a private dock. This means you can check into the facility, take a breather, and head on out for a swim without having to wait for the crowd to fizzle out. On top of that, you don’t need to pack any snacks or medical aid boxes as the cabin you book will provide you with everything you need. 

Are There Any Sea Creatures In Big Bear Lake?

As of now, there have not been any reports of sharks or other sea animals in Big Bear Lake. However, you can spot wild animals, such as coyotes, in the nearby area, aka the wilderness. Aside from that, squirrels, raccoons, and cute chipmunks are often seen. 

Facts to Know About Big Bear Lake When Planning To Go For Swimming

  1. The water in the stream is pretty clean, thanks to the local water plant that processes the water and keeps it sparkling. 
  2. The maximum depth of Big Bear Lake is 72 feet (or 21.9 meters), while the average is 35 feet (or 10 meters). 

Things Carry When Going To Big Bear Lake 

  • Change of clothes
  • Towels
  • First aid kit
  • Sunscreens and bug sprays
  • Mosquito repellant
  • Wetsuit/swimsuit
  • Bags to carry your wet clothes 
  • Flip flops 
  • Any personal belongings that you might need

Ending Note

Big Bear Lake is arguably the best picnic place in the summer. If you wish to rejuvenate yourself, you should plan a trip to the second-largest freshwater lake in Southern California.

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