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Big Bear Lake

Vacation rentals are plentiful in the area, from cabins to condos to private homes. Some can accommodate up to 20 people and can be rented on a weekly or monthly basis. For a wide range of rental properties, all pictured in detail online, contact the Village Reservation Service (tel. 800/693-0018 or 909/866-9689; www.villagereservations.net), which can arrange for everything from condos to lakefront homes, or call the Big Bear Lake Resort Association (tel. 800/4-BIG-BEAR [442-4232]; www.bigbear.com) for referrals on all types of lodgings.

I also recommend Apples Bed and Breakfast Inn, 42430 Moonridge Rd. (tel. 909/866-0903; www.applesbigbear.com), a crabapple-red New England-style clapboard that blends hotel-like professionalism with B&B amenities (and lots of frilly touches); and Gold Mountain Manor, 1117 Anita Ave. (tel. 800/509-2604 or 909/585-6997; www.goldmountainmanor.com), a woodsy 1920s lodge that's now an ultracozy, affordable B&B.

Lake Arrowhead

Arrowhead has far more private homes than tourist accommodations, but rental properties abound, from cozy cottages to mansions; many can be economical for families or other groups. Two of the largest agencies are Arrowhead Cabin Rentals (tel. 800/244-5138 or 909/337-2403; www.arrowheadrent.com) and AAA Resorts Rentals (tel. 800/743-0865 or 909/337-4413; www.lakearrowheadrentals.com). Overnight guests in rentals enjoy some resident lake privileges -- ask when you reserve.

Two other options are Chateau du Lac, 911 Hospital Rd. (tel. 909/337-6488; www.chateau-du-lac.com), an elegant and contemporary four-room B&B with stunning views of the lake; and the Saddleback Inn, 300 S. Hwy. 173 (tel. 800/858-3334 or 909/336-3571; www.saddlebackinn.com), an inn and restaurant that still boasts historic charm while offering some up-to-date amenities, all at a prime location in the center of the village.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.