Best Things to Do in Crestline, CA

Top Destinations Mar 25, 2024

Located in the heart of the San Bernardino Mountains, Crestline, California, is a picturesque mountain retreat renowned for its serene beauty and a wide array of activities catering to both thrill-seekers and those in pursuit of relaxation. Often considered Southern California's best-kept secret, Crestline offers a peaceful escape from the bustling city life, located just an hour's drive from Los Angeles. This charming community, perched above the clouds, is not only about its stunning natural landscapes but also about the diverse experiences it offers, making it a perfect destination for visitors of all ages.

Crestline, CA 
Source: Sotheby’s International Realty

For those wondering where is Crestline California located, it's positioned strategically to offer panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the glistening waters of Lake Gregory, a centerpiece of the area's outdoor activities. Here, visitors can indulge in a range of things to do, from leisurely boat rides to adventurous hiking trails, such as the famous Heart Rock Trail. The lake itself invites families and friends to enjoy its sandy beaches and refreshing waters, with options for fishing, paddleboarding, and even a unique waterpark experience during the summer months.

1. Explore Lake Gregory Regional Park

Crestline, California, placed in the heart of the San Bernardino Mountains, offers a blend of serene landscapes and adventurous activities, making it a perfect escape from the bustling city life. Among its many attractions, Lake Gregory Regional Park stands out as a premier destination for visitors seeking both relaxation and adventure. This picturesque park, conveniently located within Crestline, serves as a focal point for a variety of outdoor activities, encapsulating the essence of Southern California's mountainous charm.

Lake Gregory Regional Park
Source: Alltrails

At Lake Gregory Regional Park, visitors can immerse themselves in the natural beauty that surrounds Crestline. The lake itself is a hub for swimming, with designated areas that ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for families and solo adventurers alike. The park's clean, fresh waters are inviting during the warm summer months, providing a refreshing respite from the heat.

2. Visit the Heart Rock Trail

Nestled in the heart of the San Bernardino Mountains, Crestline, California, is a gem waiting to be explored. Among the myriad of attractions it offers, the Heart Rock Trail stands out as a must-visit for anyone seeking the serenity of nature combined with a touch of whimsy. This trail, renowned for its natural heart-shaped rock formation at the trail's end, encapsulates the essence of why outdoor enthusiasts flock to Crestline.

Heart Rock Trail
Source: Hikespeak

Starting from the small, yet charming town of Crestline, the journey to Heart Rock Trail is in itself a prelude to the beauty that awaits. The trail is accessible to hikers of all skill levels, making it a perfect family adventure or a tranquil solo escape. As you navigate through the lush greenery, the sounds of the city are replaced by the tranquil whispers of nature, with the occasional bird song or the rustle of leaves underfoot.

The climax of this hike is, without a doubt, the heart-shaped rock, a natural phenomenon that has captivated visitors for years. Situated beside a picturesque waterfall, especially vibrant during the spring melt, this unique formation is a favorite among photographers and nature lovers alike. The site provides a serene spot to reflect, relax, and perhaps capture a few memorable photos against the backdrop of the majestic San Bernardino Mountains.

3. Spend a Day at SkyPark at Santa's Village

Among the most enchanting destinations is SkyPark at Santa's Village, a year-round family-friendly amusement park that harks back to simpler times while offering modern thrills and excitement. 

A mere stone's throw from Lake Gregory and within easy driving distance from Los Angeles, SkyPark is an ideal day trip for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The park seamlessly blends outdoor adventure with whimsical charm, offering attractions that cater to both the young and the young at heart. From mountain biking on meticulously maintained trails to soaring through the trees on ziplines, there's no shortage of adrenaline-pumping activities. 

SkyPark at Santa's Village
Source: SkyPark at Santa's Village

However, SkyPark at Santa's Village is more than just an adventure park; it's a place where magic comes to life, especially during the holiday season. The park transforms into a winter wonderland, complete with festive decorations, seasonal events, and the opportunity to meet Santa himself. Yet, the appeal of SkyPark extends beyond the festive period, offering a unique charm throughout the year with attractions like archery, rock climbing, and ice skating.

4. Discover the San Bernardino National Forest

Crestline is a hidden gem for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Surrounded by the majestic San Bernardino National Forest, Crestline offers an array of activities that cater to everyone's tastes, making it a perfect place for a weekend getaway or a prolonged retreat. The forest itself is a sprawling wonderland that extends around the town, providing a serene backdrop for numerous outdoor pursuits.

Camping in the San Bernardino National Forest is a must-do for visitors looking to immerse themselves in nature. With sites ranging from developed campgrounds with amenities to more primitive, backcountry options, there's a spot for every type of camper. The crisp, clean air and the canopy of stars at night make for an unforgettable experience. For those who prefer a day trip, picnicking at one of the many scenic spots offers a peaceful escape. Sycamore Ranch and other designated areas provide perfect settings for a family gathering or a romantic meal outdoors.

San Bernardino National Forest
Source: Treehuggers International

5. Relax at Lake Gregory Beach

Among Crestline many attractions, Lake Gregory stands out as a quintessential spot for relaxation and outdoor fun, making it a must-visit for anyone wondering about the best things to do in Crestline, CA. This picturesque lake, surrounded by lush forest and scenic views, offers a plethora of activities and amenities that cater to all ages and interests.

Lake Gregory Beach
Source: CA Hiking Adventures

A day at Lake Gregory Beach is the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of city life, especially for those coming from areas as far-flung as Los Angeles, which is surprisingly just a scenic drive away. The beach itself boasts clean, soft sand and designated swimming areas, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for families and solo adventurers alike. For those looking to add a little excitement to their visit, the lake offers water activities such as paddleboarding, kayaking, and even a waterslide that winds its way down the hillside, providing thrills for the more adventurous spirits.

Beyond the water, the beach area is equipped with amenities that enhance the visit. Picnic areas dot the landscape, inviting guests to enjoy a meal with a view. For a more unique dining experience, visitors can venture to nearby establishments like the Cedar Glen Malt Shop, known for its nostalgic ambiance and delicious menu, adding another layer to the day's experiences.

6. Stroll Around Crestline Village

This small town, located just an hour from Los Angeles, provides a refreshing contrast with its cool mountain air and scenic beauty, making it a perfect place for those looking to unwind and explore.

Crestline Village
Source: Village Living

As you wander around Crestline Village, the small-town charm is palpable. The area is dotted with unique shops offering everything from handcrafted goods to vintage finds. One can't help but be drawn into the cozy atmosphere of local businesses like Goodwin's Market Crestline, CA, a favorite among residents and visitors for its selection of fresh produce and friendly service. Not far from there, Sage General Store adds to the village’s allure with its collection of artisanal items and homemade treats, making it a must-visit for anyone seeking a taste of Crestline's community spirit.

7. Enjoy the Scenic Views from Silverwood Lake

Nestled within the serene embrace of the San Bernardino Mountains, Silverwood Lake offers an idyllic retreat not far from the quaint town of Crestline, California. This picturesque reservoir, known for its strikingly clear waters and scenic vistas, serves as a premier destination for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking a tranquil escape from the bustling city life. Crestline, positioned as a gateway to the natural wonders of Southern California, is just a scenic drive away from Los Angeles, making Silverwood Lake an accessible yet transformative getaway.

Silverwood Lake
Source: California Department of Water Resources

Boating enthusiasts will find Silverwood Lake particularly appealing, with its expansive waters accommodating everything from leisurely sailing to exhilarating water skiing. The lake's marinas offer rentals and all the necessary amenities for a day on the water, ensuring a hassle-free experience for both seasoned sailors and novices alike. Fishing is another popular activity here, with the lake teeming with trout, bass, and catfish. Anglers can look forward to peaceful hours spent along the shore or out on the water, basking in the tranquility of their surroundings.

8. Participate in a Local Event or Festival

Participating in a local event or festival in Crestline, CA, is a wonderful way to experience the vibrant community spirit and discover what makes this mountainous region so special. Crestline is more than just a scenic escape; it's a place where annual celebrations bring locals and visitors together, showcasing the area's rich culture and traditions.

One of the highlights of Crestline's social calendar is the Jamboree Days. This beloved event embodies the essence of community spirit, with activities that appeal to all ages. From the patriotic parade that winds through the streets to the live music that fills the air, Jamboree Days offers a slice of small-town America right in the heart of Southern California. It's a perfect example of the things to do in Crestline, CA, that make it such a unique place to visit.

Crestline's Jamboree Days
Source: Jamboree Days

Another can't-miss event is the Lake Gregory Duck Derby, a quirky and fun-filled day where rubber ducks race across the water, providing laughter and entertainment for families. It's events like these that highlight Lake Gregory as a focal point for community gatherings and outdoor activities, offering a contrast to the more well-known Lake Arrowhead but with its own distinct charm and array of things to do.

For those interested in the culinary scene, the Taste of Crestline food festival is a must-visit. This event allows you to sample dishes from the best restaurants in Lake Arrowhead and Crestline, including local favorites like the Cedar Glen Malt Shop, known for its delicious menu and nostalgic atmosphere. It's an opportunity to savor the flavors of the region and appreciate the local dining scene.

9. Visit the Crestline Café for a Local Bite

Situated in the heart of the San Bernardino Mountains, Crestline, California, offers an escape into the serenity of nature and the warmth of its small-town charm. Among its hidden gems is the Crestline Café, a beloved local dining spot that beckons visitors with its hearty breakfast and lunch menus. Situated less than a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, Crestline provides a picturesque backdrop for this cozy eatery, making it a must-visit for anyone exploring the area or searching for the best restaurants near Lake Arrowhead.

Crestline Café 
Source: Restaurant Observer

The Crestline Café stands out not just for its delicious food but for its role in the community's daily happenings. It's a place where locals gather to share stories over steaming cups of coffee, where hikers stop by to refuel after exploring the nearby Lake Gregory or venturing through the scenic trails of the San Bernardino National Forest. This café encapsulates the essence of Crestline, blending seamlessly with the town's array of attractions, from the serene Lake Gregory to the vibrant events that dot the calendar, enriching the mountain resort experience.

Visitors to the area, especially those looking for things to do in Crestline or Lake Gregory, will find the café conveniently located, offering a warm welcome and a taste of local cuisine. Whether you're craving a classic, hearty American breakfast to kickstart a day of adventure or a satisfying lunch to replenish your energy after visiting the numerous attractions around Lake Arrowhead and Lake Gregory, the Crestline Café has something to offer. Its menu, rich with comfort foods, reflects the simplicity and beauty of Crestline, making it a perfect place to dine while enjoying the scenic views and gentle pace of life in this mountainous retreat.

10. Take a Drive Along the Rim of the World Scenic Byway

Taking a drive along the Rim of the World Scenic Byway offers an unparalleled experience that showcases the beauty of Southern California's natural landscapes, especially for those wondering where Crestline, California, is located. This majestic route, famed for its breathtaking views, serves as a gateway to Crestline, a charming mountain town in the heart of the San Bernardino Mountains. 

World Scenic Byway
Source: Flickr

The journey along this scenic byway is a must-do for visitors seeking things to do in Crestline, CA. The road weaves through the mountains, providing stunning panoramic views that span from the desert floor to the Pacific Ocean on clear days. Along the way, travelers are treated to a diverse array of sights, from the verdant valleys below to the towering peaks above, making every turn a photo opportunity worth stopping for.

Crestline itself offers a variety of attractions, from the serene waters of Lake Gregory, a perfect place for those looking for things to do in Lake Gregory, to the cozy Cedar Glen Malt Shop, where visitors can indulge in classic American fare. The route also offers a glimpse into the vibrant Crestline happenings, from seasonal events to everyday mountain life. 

For those traveling from Crestline, CA, to Los Angeles, this drive provides a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life, highlighting the contrast between the serene mountain settings and the urban sprawl. The byway also serves as a portal to other nearby attractions, including the best restaurants in Lake Arrowhead and various Lake Arrowhead things to do in winter, showcasing the region's year-round appeal.

Conclusion

Crestline, California, offers a serene escape, combining the allure of pristine nature with quaint, small-town charm. Whether you're drawn to the refreshing waters of Lake Gregory, the scenic hikes along the Heart Rock Trail, or the year-round adventure of SkyPark at Santa's Village, Crestline serves as the perfect backdrop for both relaxation and adventure. Not far from the bustling city life, with Crestline, CA, to Los Angeles being just a scenic drive away, it's an accessible retreat for those looking to swap city skylines for mountain vistas.

Crestline, CA
Source: Coldwell Banker

The diversity of attractions in Crestline and its surrounding areas, from the cozy Cedar Glen Malt Shop with its inviting menu to the highly recommended restaurants in Lake Arrowhead, caters to all tastes and preferences. Winter in Lake Arrowhead brings unique things to do, from cozy bars to seasonal events, blending seamlessly with the peaceful, snowy landscape. For those wondering, "Does it snow in Crestline, CA?" the answer is a delightful yes, transforming the area into a winter wonderland, ideal for cozy retreats and snowy adventures.

Lake Gregory stands out not just for its beauty but also for the array of activities it offers. Comparing Lake Gregory vs. Lake Arrowhead presents a glimpse into the varied experiences the region offers, from leisurely lake days to vibrant local events, encapsulated in the term "Crestline happenings." The community’s heart can also be found in places like Goodwin's Market in Crestline, CA, and the charming Sage General Store, where local goods and friendly faces are in abundance.

FAQ

1. What are the best spots for fishing in Crestline?

Crestline offers prime fishing spots, including Lake Gregory, known for its trout, bass, and catfish, and Silverwood Lake, where anglers can find diverse fish. Both locations provide scenic views and a peaceful fishing experience amidst nature.

2. Can I rent equipment for activities like kayaking or paddleboarding in Crestline?

In Crestline, equipment rental for kayaking and paddleboarding is readily available, particularly at Lake Gregory. Local shops offer a wide range of options for all skill levels, ensuring visitors can enjoy the area's waterways and serene lake settings fully.

3. Can I participate in any local cooking classes or workshops to learn about the regional cuisine of Crestline?

Crestline hosts various local cooking classes and workshops that focus on regional cuisine. These sessions are a great way to dive into the local flavors and culinary traditions, offering hands-on experience in preparing dishes unique to the area under the guidance of local chefs.

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Emily Carter

With over 10 years of experience, Emily has extensive experience planning bespoke tours across the United States and Canada, specializing in eco-tourism and adventure travel.