The Outdoor Adventures Are Endless At This Charming Lakeside Town In California

In the heat of summer, you're always spoiled for choice when it comes to picturesque beaches in Southern California. With over 150 miles of wonderful shoreline and some of the best sun and surf spots in the United States to choose from, you might be forgiven for never straying from this area of the Pacific Coast. But there is far more to SoCal vacations than beaches, especially if you fancy trading saltwater for fresh — and one of the most convenient and fun locations is Crestline.

Residing at an altitude of 4,500 feet in the San Bernardino Mountains, Crestline is in a stunning area encompassing several small communities. Its centerpiece is Lake Gregory, a picturesque reservoir surrounded by forested hills that is great for cooling off during a heatwave. Crestline feels like a long way from the noise and clamor of the city, but another boon is its proximity to major metropolitan areas in the state: It's just a 30-minute drive from the heart of San Bernardino and around 90-minutes from Venice Beach. This makes it a great day trip from Los Angeles.

The attractive location means that Crestline is well geared up for visitors who come to the area for a wide range of outdoor activities and browse the many boutique shops and tempting restaurants in the lakeside town. Let's take a look at the best Crestline has to offer.

Outdoor activities in Crestline, California

Lake Gregory is the focal point for outdoor adventures in the Crestline region, and there is something for just about everyone to enjoy. Surrounded by picnic areas, beaches, and hiking trails, the alpine getaway offers a terrific range of water-based activities. The Lake Gregory Company is a good one-stop option, renting out kayaks, paddle boards, rowboats, and larger craft for visitors to explore the 84-acre lake. If you are bringing your own boat, they also sell launch passes for $10 a day. Families with kids can have plenty of fun at the inflatable water park, which features a wide range of floating slides and a shallow splash pad for the little ones. It's not exactly cheap, however, as an all-access pass costs $30 per head for everyone over 3 years old. If fishing is more your thing, the lake is kept well-stocked with trout, and you can get equipment from Lake Gregory Bait and Tackle. Year-round fishing passes are $10 a day.

On dry land, there is a gentle nature trail looping around the lake and a variety of other routes in the Crestline area that range in difficulty. One of the most challenging is the Glory Ridge Trail, a short but steep hike that rewards the effort with beautiful vistas of the surrounding mountains. Also near the lake is a skate park and tennis courts, and if you plan to cook, you can rent a shaded grill for the day.

Shopping and dining in Crestline

Lake Gregory and its scenic surroundings are the highlights of a trip to Crestline, but it is worth taking a break from the water to stroll through the town itself. The area is buzzing with visitors in the summer, and there are lots of interesting shops to check out. Those with an eye for antiques or unusual souvenirs will love browsing the quaint bric-a-brac and second-hand stores along Lake Drive and Crest Forest Drive. For supplies, don't miss Goodwin & Son's Market, a well-stocked grocery store that also has a traditional soda fountain serving ice cream sundaes and other sweet treats the old-fashioned way.

When it's time to grab something to eat or drink, Crestline has a decent range of restaurants and cafés to choose from. For tasty Mexican fare, head to La Casita Crestline for a delicious sit-down meal. For burgers, steaks, and barbecue accompanied by live music, Stockade Grub & Whiskey (established 1954) is a Crestline institution. Crestline Cafe has an extensive menu of diner-style favorites, and The Grill at Antlers Inn (also called The Grill at Twin Peaks) in the nearby town of Twin Peaks is good for special occasions, putting an Asian spin on some American classics.

For a taste of Crestline nightlife, the Bear Claw Saloon offers a good range of beers and cocktails accompanied by regular events, while Rim of the World Sports Bar has draft ales, live music, and big screens to ensure that you won't miss the game even on vacation.