For those of you in Southern California… Big Bear Lake in the summer is awesome! Everyone usually goes for the winter, but biking, hiking, kayaking and swimming is great here! Also, cabin prices are way lower since it’s the off season!
On the far western part of Big Bear Lake, there’s an island made of granite boulders named Garstin Island. It is colloquially called China Island (and Treasure Island) because it has several “Chinese” huts built right into the granite that were used by the Chinese that helped build the Big Bear Dam over 100 years ago.
Fun fact: When the original dam was completed in 1884, Big Bear Lake got created and it was actually he largest man-made lake in the world at the time! The source of water for this lake is strictly by snow-melt and the water is awesome to swim in during the Summer.
The actual swimming area are the large granite boulders approximately 30′ to the left of China island.
Note: China island itself is private property so you’re not supposed to climb onto that rock.
How to get there…
Drive to mile marker 44.65 on highway 18 (Big Bear Blvd). Pin pinpointed on the map below is a turn out you could park at.
Unfortunately this turn out can only handle 6–8 car spots so if this is full, which it very well could be during a Summer weekend, you have to park somewhere further away and walk there.