Question About Relocation to Lake Arrowhead

Updated on February 25, 2009
L.T. asks from Rancho Cucamonga, CA
8 answers

Does anyone live in Lake Arrowhead, or know anyone who lives there? What is the cost of living like for a young family of 5. How bad are the winters? What are utilities like? Are people friendly?

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answers from Los Angeles on

Hi L.:
My parents owned several homes up near Arrowhead.They started with a small cabin and finally retired there,purchasing a larger cabin.Its beautiful in the mountains,and its great,if you love living in a small town community. You don't get nearly the smog,we get here.I use to stand outside their place and look down on all the muck below.The cost of living ,will be a little more,so you may want to stock up,by shopping down the mountain,and taking it up.Its always a good idea,as there will be times you are snowed in a little while,till the plows get to your road.The people are friendly,however,the other mother here,was correct. The shops are having a hard time,and many have closed their doors.The roughest part of living up there for them,was daddy worked down the mountain,and there were plenty of mornings,he had to take that scary trip down,in very dense fog.If your hubby works in the city,there will be some missed days at work as a result of that and heavy snow days.My husband and I have thought about retiring there,because of the scenery,and the calm of it all,but the only reason we have considered it, is because we know there would be no dire need to leave the mountain.I'd go up during the winter,and stay in a cabin with the whole family. See how you like it,talk to a few people in town,and ask them the pros and cons of living there.I wish you much luck in your decision.J. M

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Hi L.~ My husband"s parents have a house up in Arrowhead and they go up almost every weekend. We go up every few months or so. We have found groceries more expensive and usually bring up what we can for the long weekends. Many, many stores inthe Village are closing and they seem to be havign a great deal of trouble keeping/getting new businesses to stay. When we have gone in the winter it is sometimes snowy and cold. Depending on the road you live on it may or may not be paved regularly. I would suggest going up for a week or two and staying in the hotel or renting a home if possible and trying to live like you normally do and really see if it is what you are looking for. We absolutely love visiting up there and find it so relaxing but I can't really see us living there full time. Summers are great on the lake but we always have the little ones in life jackets if they set foot near the dock. But, I wonder if that life loses something if you are around it all the time.. we see it as a vacation for a 4-5 day weekend.

Good luck in you decision.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I live In Lake Arrowhead. It is beautiful during any season. Cost of housing has gone down but it can still be considered high. Are you planning on buying or renting? Utilities re very dependent on the house you live in. For instance my first house built in 1982 had very high utilities which I didnt know was high until I moved. Utilities were gas during winter, 400 now during winter in the new house 150. So it really depends. Everyone is friendly but I have been up here 3 years and it seems that unless u grew up here you won't be making lot of friends. It is a little clickish. But everyone is nice to everyone. The school LAE is one of the best schools for elementary and I also heard the high school is great. There is currently still feet of snow on the ground and the roads are tight in areas. After it snows a lot you can be pretty stuck for day or so. But during the summer the lake is fantastic. There are a couple of parks and the village is neat. Only part I don't really like is the drive down the hill. It takes 45 minutes to get to target, home depot, etc. Overall it is a great place. If you have any other questions please feel free to ask.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Hi L.. I have lived here since 2003 and I can't imagine moving away. The winters are "winters"but, bad compared to what. Colorado, or Los Angeles. For our family winter is a time for fun in the snow. We ski and my little guy (7 yr old) ice skates, sleds, and generally loves the winter. The utilities do go up, we burn wood to keep the costs down and we have a fairly small house and a small family (3) so our utility bills average about $120 every month. We are very conservative and use sparingly. The people are very small town minded here and you can make friends and get into the community within a yr. The cost of living is higher up here gas/food and we have only a few stores (no Target, Wal-Mart) one Rite-Aid a few markets and a few outlet stores in the Village. One of the best advantages is the lack of city influence on my son. He has no pressures from gangs or some of the things young kids are seeing now a days. In the middle school and high school I know if a child wants drugs they could find them, but the child would have to make that choice (it's not normally brought by a peer). Another amazing thing is NO traffic. There are many beautiful days up here. The spring time until about Oct- November is just amazing, as well as the fresh beautiful snow. There is families that come up and cannot handle it though. No big night life here, no shopping unless you drive down the hill. Just really think about it and be very honest if it is something your family (really you and spouse) can adjust to and enjoy. Dad would be shoveling and bring in the fire wood and it just a more rustic hearty life style, but as I started in the beginning, I wouldn't want to move away, and if so only to the ocean were I can't afford it and it's soooooo crowded. If you want to email me [email protected] and I'm K.. Good luck!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I live in LA, I have 6 children. It is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. There are alot of home schooled children up here, mine are in public school, not organized enough to home it. Depending on the area, winters are not too bad. I love it. If you can just stay home! But if the hubby works, then you will need chains or 4x4. We have all the seasons here, winter is GREAT! Depending on the area you pay plow as individuals or it is your association fees. My road is not a "county maintained road" so a few of us on the block pitch in and get it plowed when we can no longer get out! You will have to shovel the drive and steps/deck depending on where you are. If you are on the North side of the Lake, then the snow is less and melts faster, if you are on the south side, it hangs around longer and tends to be thicker(more of it). There are alot of surrounding communities. The Community is GREAT, it is a small town feel for the most part. Are you looking to rent or buy? The utilites are not too bad, not much different than other areas. We use the fireplace in the winter to do alot of the heating, that help ALOT, we do not have A/C, The newer homes do, but not the older ones, we don't need it, use a fan and you are good. There are a couple grocery stores Staters being the big one, and Jensens fine foods. What area are you looking into? E-mail, [email protected]

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answers from Las Vegas on

Don't know much on what the cost of living is but my sister lives up in the mountain and is always complaining about the snow so be prepared.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My family has had a second home in Lake Arrowhead for over 20 years. Since we bought our home such a while ago, I can't really speak to the the cost of living or utilities (barely use them) but the people are very friendly (very small-town feel). The winters are not very bad. Actually, it only snows there when it rains in SoCal and since (until this year) we have had little rain, they have little snow.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Hello L.,

I am a new homeowner at Big Bear Lake as of October. We live in Rancho Cucamonga and travel up to our cabin on the weekends. I can tell you this about mountain living from a person who has never lived in snow. From a fresh perspecitive....

I drive up the front way to Big Bear through hwy 330. If you have a low profile car, get good tires or buy a 4-wheel drive. Most residents have jeeps or SUV's.
I drive slow when it snows, watch for icy roads... I have learned to put on chains...
I can do it in 5 minutes, it just takes some practice...

Learn the easy routes off the mountain in case of traffic, conjestion or bad weather...

This winter we had lots of snow... I have been told that most winters are fairly mild with 3-4 feet at a time. Not the snowed in drama of the East Coast.

If you have a dog, you will meet most of your neighbors within days of moving in!!
On our street, most everyone walks their dog by 5pm and the neighbors are friendly.
That is how we met ours.

I have found that not everyone on my street is a full-time resident. Mountain homes in Arrowhead and Big Bear are classified as: Full-time, Weekender or Renter. There are people who have a management company rent out their homes... Cool, etc.
We are lucky to have a tight neighborhood watch and have had no problems.

The one piece of information that a neighbor gave me was....
Go to your City Hall and purchase the orange posts to go on either side of your driveway.
They cost me $16.00. This will tell the snow plow that you are a full time resident and he will not "burm" up your driveway when he is clearing the streets... a burm from a snow plow can be up to 6 feet to shovel out.

Learn what a cord of wood is and go to a reputable dealer for your fireplace wood. Don't get cheated. Educate yourself on how each company stacks your delivered wood so you get your monies worth.

Cover all drafts in your home with a simple towel under the door and you will have a nice cozy heated home. There are fireplace grates (the metal piece you place the wood on in your fireplace) that have hollow pipes in them to regulate the heat and bring it out into the room instead of back up the chimney. Also, get "energy efficient" thermostats on all heaters. Our first bill was $350 and now it is $165.00. A big difference. I called our local gas company and got the tips from them.

Get involved in your children's activities and you will soon make lots of friends.
Lake arrowhead is only about 30-40 minutes away... we have a lot to offer here.
A discovery center, ski resorts, sledding resorts, bowling alley, movie theater and K-mart. and... many mom and pop places to get good food.

Best of luck to you as you make the mountains you home!