Vacation Rental Market Analysis: Big Bear, CA

The Evolve Team
The Evolve Team
October 9, 2023

The charming mountain town of Big Bear offers a little something for everyone. 

Home to two ski resorts with thrilling alpine terrain and can’t-miss lake activities like paddle sports, boating, and jet skiing, it’s fit for outdoor lovers and families alike. And with A-frame cabins, rustic boutiques, and a friendly downtown atmosphere in The Village, this welcoming California hideaway invites travelers to slow down and relax. 

This blend of laid-back, small-town feel and year-round access to outdoor recreation is why roughly 7 million visitors flock here annually. It’s also why a Big Bear investment property is such an appealing opportunity for interested buyers

To help you understand the earning potential in this top vacation rental market, we created a free, downloadable vacation rental market analysis. Inside, you’ll find:

  • Rental income potential by property size
  • Average occupancy by property size
  • Average daily rate by property size
  • Average days booked in advance
  • Average length of stay
  • Vacation rental inventory by property size
  • Occupancy rate by month

The findings in this analysis are based on Evolve’s Big Bear market averages in the last year and provide a general baseline for performance potential.  If you’re wondering if buying a cabin in Big Bear is a good investment, this information is designed to help inform smart buying decisions when searching for the right Big Bear investment property.

Download Our Complete Big Bear Vacation Rental Investment Analysis

Blue icon of a cabin with mountains and stars

Why Big Bear Is a Great Place to Own Vacation Rental Property

Big Bear’s calming presence serves as a constant reminder to get out and explore nature. Year after year, weekenders hit the trails in San Bernardino National Forest, glide down the slopes at Big Bear Mountain Resort, and go fishing on Big Bear Lake. That’s part of what makes the area one of the best places to buy a lake house or a ski property, as investors can earn year-round Big Bear rental income in either scenario.

Vacation rental owners here can expect high demand during two seasons. Occupancy rates rise during the winter holidays and remain strong until the ski season ends in March. Then, demand picks back up in early summer before peaking in July — when city dwellers look to beat the heat and escape the urban bustle with a mountain and lake retreat.

The median home value around Big Bear Lake currently hovers at $597,000, which is higher than the national average. However, when you look at the actual city of Big Bear — just east of the lake — prices drop to around $409,000. This means there’s ample opportunity to find an investment property within your price range and still maximize your profits.

But keep in mind: the city requires specific licenses for short-term rentals. While this is not uncommon in the vacation rental industry, investors may have more red tape to get through when entering the market. Be informed prior to buying a Big Bear investment property, and tap local real estate professionals who can help you move through the process more seamlessly.

Blue icon of a crystal ball with the words "Profit Prediction" inside with stars

How Much Money Can You Earn with a Big Bear Vacation Rental?

As a highly sought-after California hotspot, the Big Bear vacation rental market presents strong revenue potential for buyers. In order to gauge just how much Big Bear rental income you could expect, there are a number of important factors to consider:

Property Size

There are plenty of reasons to think big when searching for your perfect Big Bear investment property. According to our data, five-bedroom homes earn the most revenue on average (and Evolve’s top revenue-earner last year had six bedrooms). This is likely because they cater well to large groups of friends and multi-generational families. Give travelers the gift of space and boost your Big Bear rental income potential by finding as much room as possible.

Of course, larger homes come with higher price tags. So if you’re looking for a lower upfront cost, you’re also in luck. A two-bedroom property was our top performer last year for the most nights booked. Plus, two-bedrooms have the most available inventory across both Big Bear Lake and Big Bear City. This gives investors more room to play within their budgets without sacrificing returns.

Property Location

Our real estate experts say lakefront cabins are prime purchases if you can swing it (and that’s true for lots of our top places to buy a cabin). Not only are these homes often the most scenic, but they generally provide easy access to Big Bear Village, popular hiking trails, and the Snow Summit base.

However, our experts note a Big Bear investment property away from the water can be just as valuable (and in some cases, earn faster returns on investment). That’s because prices are lower, but proximity to local attractions remains a huge draw — especially if you buy close to Bear Mountain Ski Resort or near the three local bus routes with shuttle services to the slopes. Wherever you zero in on homes for sale, consider these kinds of conveniences that might turn a looker into a booker.

Property Amenities

While a Big Bear getaway is sure to be filled with exciting adventures, you’ll want to outfit your vacation rental with all the top amenities and provide that home-away-from-home feel. To accentuate the area’s charm and double-down on comfort, go the extra mile by upping your interior design efforts, too.

Since Big Bear visitors are often looking to connect with nature, create outdoor spaces that allow your guests to revel in the scenery and spend more time outside. Grills, fire pits, and hammocks are great additions to any property. Spacious decks are especially valuable for homes that overlook the lake or mountains. And a hot tub can be a great investment, giving guests the chance to soothe achy muscles after a day of hiking or skiing.

When your guests do head out for an adventure, it’s likely they’ll have some gear. So make sure your home has space to easily store skiing, hiking, and fishing gear. A mudroom or other finished space with built-in shelves and hooks can help the whole group stay organized. Plus, this added space makes it easy to de-layer and unload when they return.

Download Our Full Big Bear, CA Vacation Rental Market Analysis

Big Bear’s cozy mountain town charm, stunning lakefront, and variety of year-round outdoor activities draw in visitors year after year. And this major travel demand presents a strong opportunity for vacation rental investment. 

To get a more detailed look at how you can perform with a Big Bear property investment, download our free Big Bear Vacation Rental Market Analysis today. Inside, you’ll find tons of helpful insights like:

  • Inventory breakdown based on property size
  • Average daily rates based on property size
  • Expected seasonality in vacation rental demand
  • Average length of stay in high and low seasons

With our report, you can steer clear of ending up head over skis on your Big Bear investment property and start your rental journey with confidence.

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