Your Guide to Lake Arrowhead

If you haven’t noticed by now, we’ve been bouncing over to Lake Arrowhead a lot this summer. Hopping on an airplane right now, especially with our 1.5 year old daughter, just doesn’t feel right to me. And I cannot believe that in the 12 years I’ve lived in Los Angeles, I only just discovered Lake...

Your Guide to Lake Arrowhead

If you haven’t noticed by now, we’ve been bouncing over to Lake Arrowhead a lot this summer.

Hopping on an airplane right now, especially with our 1.5 year old daughter, just doesn’t feel right to me. And I cannot believe that in the 12 years I’ve lived in Los Angeles, I only just discovered Lake Arrowhead this summer. It’s one of those places I had always heard of people traveling to, but because I was busy jetting off to Mexico, Europe and other parts of the world prior to Covid-19, I was sleeping on the amazing destination that was in my own backyard.

Lake Arrowhead is a quick 1 hour 30 minute drive from Los Angeles and it has served as an incredible escape for my family. To say that we love it there is an understatement. I grew up driving to Concan, Texas every weekend to our family house on the river. Lake Arrowhead gives me the same laid back, fun vibes and I honestly cannot get enough of this feeling that reminds me so much of my Texas roots.

The more laid back attitude you have going in to the trip, the more laid back of a trip it will be overall.

If you are an OCD planner (like I used to be) you will have to hang your planning hat at the door upon checking in. Lake Arrowhead is super duper laid back. You just kind of have to roll with the flow and everything will sort itself out.

As we have been spending a lot of time there, a lot of you have been writing in with questions about lake access, rentals and more so I thought I would do a full round-up including information you need if you’re interested in traveling to Lake Arrowhead.

Getting There

To get to this deep blue mountain lake your best bet is by car. If you are driving from Los Angeles the ride will take you about an hour and thirty minutes with no traffic. If possible, be sure to leave before 2 p.m. to beat late afternoon traffic and if you are leaving on a Friday, I’d suggest departing by noon. When you exit the freeway you will begin a twist and turn climb from the busy valley into the picturesque mountains that feel like you’ve escaped to a different world. Be sure to account for additional stops along the way up the mountain for any fellow car sick passengers or photo opportunities. There are plenty of places to pull off to the side of the road.

If you are traveling by air, the closets airport to Lake Arrowhead is Ontario International Airport. The commute from this airport is just under one hour.

Where to Stay

On our most recent trip, we stayed at this Lakefront house that I cannot recommend enough. With the heat waves that have been blowing through California, having A/C for June was imperative and most of the houses in Lake Arrowhead don’t have A/C. Not only did we sleep nice and cool, but this house has its own dock which was fantastic! The views were next level amazing and I honestly don’t have enough good things to say about the location. You can walk down the stairs and be directly on the path to walk around the lake. And because you won’t have boat access, it’s nice to have a dock to swim off of.

Here are a few additional places I’d suggest:

The Antler Lodge – wildly popular on Instagram and books in advance!

Modern A-Frame – with lake rights

Lake Front – with a dock and hot tub

North Shore

Pet Friendly Designer Retreat

and there’s always:

Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa

Also, if you’re looking for some true eye candy, be sure to check out Jenni Kayne’s absolutely gorgeous home renovation that she recently sold in Lake Arrowhead.

Lake Rules

If you are not a home owner in Lake Arrowhead you will not have access to driving a boat. So, unless you have a friend who owns a house and has a boat, I wouldn’t count on getting on the water.

There are, however, a few ways around this:

Lake Arrowhead Queen – This is a quick and easy way to get out on the water and I’ve heard it’s a really nice tour of everything there is to know about Lake Arrowhead.

McKenzie Water Ski School – Another fun option is to take a ski school class which is something we’ve done a couple of times. You can pack some beers, throw on some skis and also have your own private {small} boat to cruise around the lake on. Due to Covid-19, this option books up really quickly. They also don’t take reservations over the phone (in person only) so be sure to make a rezy as soon as you reach your destination.

Beaches – There are several public beaches around the lake but some of them have special rules due to Covid-19. When you rent a house, be sure to triple check with the home owner that you will have access to the beach. Some home owners are very nice and will walk you in with their passes, but otherwise the beaches are closed to tourists.

Where to Shop

There are plenty of options to purchase groceries in Lake Arrowhead. The first trip we made I remember we packed way too much food.

The Grapevine – a cute little wine {and cheese} shop

Pendleton – In the main village there’s a Pendleton!

The Lake House Collection – This is one of my favorite local shops to buy something extra special to remember your trip by. Next door is an adorable vintage furniture store.

 

 

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