Lake Arrowhead, California

Lake Arrowhead, California

Lake Arrowhead is a popular lakeside village in the pines. It is less than two hours from the Pacific coast by car. But, the setting seems far removed from the ocean. The upscale community is sequestered a mile above sea level in gentle folds of the San Bernardino Mountains. At this elevation, a mild four-season climate supports a luxuriant pine forest along the shore of the prettiest little reservoir in Southern California.

While initial development started more than a century ago, the dam and the village it inspired weren’t completed until the 1920s. The community quickly became known as a hideaway for the stars, especially after Hollywood began to use the pine forest and scenic lake for an alpine backlot. The exclusive air of a genteel high country retreat has been carefully maintained since the earliest development.

A spire-top dance pavilion from the early days became the centerpiece for an alpine-style shopping complex that opened in 1981. That little commercial district, which serves as Lake Arrowhead's downtown, is nestled in the pines on a gentle slope above a picturesque bay of the three-mile-long lake. In addition to numerous mall-like shops and factory outlet stores backed by year-round piped-in music, there are several family-oriented restaurants, privately controlled beach and dock facilities, boat tours, and the high country's only major lakefront resort hotel. Nearby is a famed Olympic-sized covered ice rink, plus a couple of romantic bed-and-breakfast inns offering fine views beyond the pines.