Planning the Perfect Oktoberfest Getaway

Oktoberfest Is Here!

Tomorrow is the opening day of Oktoberfest, and it will continue to run through October 27th.  Have you made your plans yet?  This is one of the year’s biggest events in Big Bear, and it’s something that many families make a regular yearly tradition.  If you’ve never been, it will take just one visit to see why it is so popular.

This weekend opens with a salute to America’s Heros.  Past and present military, law enforcement and fire fighters will get free admission.  There will be a special opening ceremony on Saturday night to offer thanks for the sacrifice of these brave men and women.

The fun of Oktoberfest starts each Saturday at noon with German bands, polka dances, and events for the entire family.  There can be some pretty big crowds, so here are a few suggestions to make your weekend more enjoyable.

Buy your tickets in advance

There can be a line to buy tickets during peak hours, so one quick way to get the fun started right away is buy your tickets in advance.  There are a variety of ticket prices and packages available, and you can purchase them at this link:

Come hungry!

Did we mention the beer?

One of the great delights about Oktoberfest is the wonderful food.  From amazingly tender pork roast to consistent favorites like the German Sausage Sandwich, you can count on finding so many food options that you’ll want to stay longer just to sample more of the wonderful cuisine.  Knockwurst, bratwurst, and Polish sausage abound, and virtually every dish will be topped with generous amounts of German potato salad and sauerkraut.

For the less adventurous among you, there’s also a full American menu available with hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries and the like.

Come thirsty!

There are over a dozen different beers to choose from as well as a good supply of wine too.  O’Doul’s Free Shuttle will be operating each evening offering a free ride back to your cabin from the festivities.

And when you finish sampling the amazing food and drink at Oktoberfest, be sure to visit the visit the Budenstrasse (Avenue of the Booths).  These shops offer an amazing assortment of fine chocolates, beef jerky, kites, old fashion clothes, gifts and artwork.  The Avenue of the Booths is an especially big hit with the kids.  You’ll find face painting, bounce houses, pony rides, and a petting zoo.

Be prepared to laugh and enjoy yourself

The entertainment never ends during Oktoberfest.  There are fun contests for the entire family as well as bands and dancing.  It’s a great time for the family to just relax have some  real fun.  Sundays are family day with half price adult admission and free for children 12 and under. The Children’s contests including Pretzel Eating and Boot Holding. Children’s contests take place at approximately 3:00 p.m. on Sundays and are free for children.

Enjoy it all from the comfort of your Big Bear Five Star Vacation Rental Cabin

Oktoberfest is even more enjoyable when you stay in one of our luxurious Big Bear Vacation Rental Cabins.  We still have a number of cabins available, so give us a call at 310-800-5454.  We’ll be happy to help you put together your first or fifteenth visit to Oktoberfest.  Browse all of our Big Bear cabins on this page.

We also have vacation rentals available  in Park City,Palm Springs/La QuintaSouthern California BeachesMammoth Mountain, and Villa la Estancia in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico.  And we specialize in helping our guests create vacations with memories that will last a lifetime.

If You Stay In a Hotel Instead of a Five Star Vacation Rental Your Car Insurance May Go Up

Summer is quickly passing by, and you have yet to plan your family vacation. That’s okay; we’re here to help. But you must listen to what we say, or you could end up with a life of regret. Seriously.

You take a real gamble with your vacation when you stay anywhere else but in one of our luxurious rental properties.  Aside from the fact that our feelings will be deeply hurt, you could well be destined for a real vacation nightmare. In an earlier blog we detailed the heartache you’ll face before you even get to sleep on your first day in a hotel vacation. We start this week’s blog on the night you arrive at your hotel after you’ve finally got the entire family in bed. It’s been a long day, and the family finally starts drifting off to sleep.

Be sure to ask for extra pillows. You're going to need them.

A few moments after you start to swim out into the warm fluffy ocean of vacation dreams, you learn that 4am is the exact right time for members of the Audubon Society to embark on their birdwatching trek for the day.  Now fully awake, again, the entire family listens intently as the birdwatchers slowly file past your room with each practicing a specific bird call they will be using to coax birds closer throughout the day.  While you’d really rather be sleeping,  you are all astonished at the amazing variety of bird calls produced by the 150 or so bird lovers passing just outside your door.  And as the hallway finally begins to quiet down, your room begins to brighten up.  The sun is rising on the first full day of your vacation.

When Timmy doesn't sleep well, he's grumpy all day

The entire family is grumpy, tired, and hungry. But since you’re not in one of our luxurious Five Star Vacation Rentals, there is no kitchen, no refrigerator, and no microwave. You’ve got to trek outside in search of food.

But first you have to find your car. A late-model white SUV sure seemed like a good idea at the dealership when you bought it, but now you’re looking at a sea of them in the hotel parking lot. No worry. You pull out your key dongle and holding it high above your head you trigger the car’s alarm. You hear a distant honking and start working toward the sound. In almost no time at all, you find your car. Unfortunately, you also find that some lovesick teenager has scratched the message, “I hate you Brad” across the hood of your car. It seems Brad also drives a late-model white SUV, and his ex-girlfriend is no better at finding his car than you were at finding yours.  Oh well.

Undaunted, you pile the family into the car and commence your search for food. You’re determined to make this a fun day. You tell them to look on the bright side. At least you’re not Brad, and your car insurance rates had to go up eventually anyway.

Is this really what you had in mind?

Most families get only one vacation a year, and many families can only get away once every few years or so. Your vacation time is too important to leave to chance. Every year families return from vacations with stories of fun things they did, but all too often these stories are tempered with tales of horrible hotel rooms, noisy neighbors and lousy parking. So let’s divide up your vacation and make sure this one is a winner. You start planning for fun things to do in one of our many destinations, and we’ll be sure to have only the most luxurious quality cabins, condos and homes ready for you when you arrive. Almost all of our units offer private parking in only the best neighborhoods. We promise that your car will not be marred with the message, “I hate you Brad,” or we’ll give you your money back. Honest.

This is not our actual staff, but we answer our phones just like these people

In the meantime, please call us at 310-780-3411 to book your vacation getaway. Browse all of our Big Bear cabins on this page.  If you’re planning a vacation somewhere other than Big Bear, please be sure to look at our luxury rentals in Park City,Palm Springs/La QuintaSouthern California BeachesMammoth Mountain, and Villa la Estancia in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico.  Regardless of where you may go, you’ll have the confidence of knowing that Five Star Vacation Rentals is working to make your vacation relaxing and memorable.

It’s our goal to make sure that you enjoy your second, third, and fourth stay with us even more than your first.

More August Reasons For Reserving Your Big Bear Vacation Rental Cabin

Summer is a perfect time to visit Big Bear.  The weather is great and there are tons of activities for the entire family.  In last week’s blog we covered some of the events coming up during the first half of August.  This week we’re covering the highlights for the last half of August.

Calling All Cowboys!

This is one of our favorites.  The 13th Annual Big Bear Cowboy Gathering will take place on August 16-19. The Gathering always features outstanding musicians, authors, storytellers and poets and this year looks to be the best. The fun kicks off Thursday night with a Ranch Dinner and Get-Together featuring many of the performers.  Evening shows are at the PAC on Friday and Saturday Night. Plus an outdoor mercantile and fun entertainment for the whole family Saturday afternoon and Sunday. On Sunday, you’ll find Cowboy Breakfast, Cowboy Church, and much more. Something for the cowboy in everyone! Check out the website for full details or call (909)380-1871. Tickets can be purchased at the PAC box office or on-line at  Visit their website for more details:

All summer long the Big Bear Cycling Association is sponsoring rides for participants of all ages and skill levels.  There’s really nothing like biking out in the fresh clean air of Big Bear.  Call us today to book your Big Bear vacation cabin rental.  Bike rentals are available, or pack your own.  Either way, a biking getaway is a great adventure for the family, and it’s even more fun when you end the day back at one of our Five Star Vacation Rentals!  Visit the Big Bear Cycling Association’s website for more details on scheduled rides:

August 17-19 the Arts Council of Big Bear Valley presents its 13th Annual Fine Arts Festival; “Art on the Lake”which  kicks off Friday evening with an opening night reception set to take place from 7 pm to 9 pm. Saturday and Sunday hours will be 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and admission is FREE. Come out to enjoy the amazing talents of local photographers, painters, jewelers, and sculptors. There will be 50 artists from throughout Southern California exhibiting and selling their work.  All takes place  under the tent at the Marina Resort on the lake. For more details call (909)585-5916.  See more info and details online at

The Annual Renaissance Faire continues on the 18th and 19th.  We have more information about this on last week’s blog.

The Mrs. Robinson Band Will Have You Dancing!

Mrs. Robinson is billed as the “Ultimate Tribute Band,” but we think they’re the world’s most talented chameleons.  On August 18th come out to  Bear Cave Event Center at the Bear Creek Resort to see this amazing band. Close your eyes during their performance, and you’ll be convinced you’re hearing classic Creedence, the B52’s, the Beatles, and more. General Admission seating is $15.00, Reserved $ 25.00. Doors open at 5:00 PM Concert starts at 6:30 PM.  The band’s website has more details: Be sure to pack your dancing shoes, ‘cuz you’re gonna need them!

On Sunday, August 19th, The Broadway Café at 1117 W. Big Bear Blvd. in Big Bear City, will sponsor a summer evening of old-time silent movie shorts with the incredible Bob Salisbury on the theatre organ.  Adult tickets are $15 and $10 for kids under 18.   The all inclusive price includes the movies and entertainment, and either a burger or hot dog dinner. Info can be found on the CATS web site at or at the Broadway Café at 909-585-7682.

Don’t let the summer get away from you without booking your Five Star Vacation Rentals cabin!  Call us today 310-780-3411 and one of our friendly staff will help you plan the ideal Big Bear getaway.  For more summer fun, we also have beach homes available for rent in Laguna Beach, Corona del Mar, Manhattan Beach, La Jolla, and Laguna Niguel.  Visit our Southern California Beaches page to see all our available properties. We also have vacation rentals available in Park CityPalm Springs/La QuintaMammoth Mountain, and Villa la Estancia in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico.

Get Away This August With a Big Bear Vacation Cabin Rental

Grab your bikes and head to Big Bear!

The summer is slipping away!  Remember last year you promised yourself that you would do something fun next year? Well, this IS next year.  Don’t let the time slip away.  The kids will only be this age once, and you have no idea what may come up next summer.  We have it on good authority from our in-house Mayan calendar expert that you may never get another chance to enjoy a summer vacation like you will this year.  And our Mayan calendar expert has never been wrong.   Okay, it’s decided.  You really need to book a Five Star Vacation Rental cabin in Big Bear!

August is a great month to visit Big Bear.  The summer is in full swing and you can escape the stifling heat of the Southern California low lands for the cooler crisp air in Big Bear.  It’s wonderful to know that when Los Angeles is reaching triple digits heat, you may need to pack a sweater for the cool Big Bear evenings. Here are a few events you can enjoy during your August visit to Big Bear:

Enjoy cycling for the entire family.  Several times each week there are organized rides, and there are lots of bike paths available, so  you can head out on your own too.  The Big Bear Cycling Association is one of the country’s most active cycling groups, and they have lots of opportunities for riders of all ages and skill levels.  Visit their website for more details:

Blues for the Zoo Benefit

On August 4th, you can come out and enjoy the 3rd Annual “Blues For The Zoo” Concert at Swim Beach. You’ll enjoy fine food, and local artisans on site.  The concert features festival seating, so beach chairs and blankets are welcome. No coolers please. Swim beach will be open to concert goers so plan on bringing swim suits as well. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 on the day of show at the gate. Children 10 and under are FREE.  Headlining the afternoon of music is Zydeco “crown prince” C.J. Chenier. According to Downbeat Magazine, “his vocals and accordion drip with top-line Louisiana hot sauce, keeping the good times rolling with energized adaptations of blues and Creole R&B classics.” Chenier carries on in the tradition of his father Zydeco great Clifton Chenier, playing accordion-based American blues and danceable two-steps, singing in both French and English.  No blues festival is complete without a guitar hero and Jimmy Thackery fits the bill. The six-string virtuoso is known to unleash an intense volley of rockin’ blues guitar, guaranteed to leave crowds emotionally spent.  So grab a couple of chairs, a blanket, and get ready to have an afternoon of toe-tapping fun!  Click here for more details and discount tickets

Tuesday Farmer’s Market at the Big Bear Convention Center continues every Tuesday throughout the summer.  It features great fresh fruit and vegetables for your cooking.  But there’s plenty of other fun stuff too, with unique arts, crafts, and other home made items.

The Antique Car Club’s Fun Run takes place Friday August 10th through Sunday August 12th. The Fun Run features a car show with 500+ cars – roadsters, classics, antiques and hot rods, lining the streets of Big Bear Village. Friday is registration day from 9-5 pm for participants at the Bartlett Parking Lot, Saturday is the day to view the cars on display from 9-4 pm and the Fun Run drive around the Lake takes place at 4pm at the end of day on Saturday, and the awards ceremonies are on Sunday starting at 9:00 am.  For more information call, 909-866-3938 or visit their website:

Fun at the Renaissance Faire!

The 11th annual Big Bear Valley Renaissance Faire takes place August 11-12 & 18-19. 10 am to 6 pm in beautiful downtown Fawnskin on the north shore of Big Bear Lake!!   New entertainers as well as your good old favorites!! The Knights of Mayhem, Adam Reid “the Bawdy Juggler”, the Belles of Bedlam, Victoria Goring, Gallows Humor and many more have already signed on for entertainment! As always 5 stages and a complete children’s game area!!  Advance tickets may be purchased by calling 1-800-4BIGBEAR or on website. For more details please call (909) 237-0448 or visit the website:

On August 11th, you can enjoy a live performance by The REUNION BAND – “They can’t use THE LETTERMAN name anymore. Now they are: “REUNION”. They will be singing their hits! Master of Ceremonies will be our great John Grandi. After Glow Party – dancing to The White Water Band, wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres. All for a donation of $50 to support Big Bear charities.

On August 12, you’ll enjoy the Theatre at the historic Knickerbocker Mansion: Wyatt Earp presents “Doc Holliday” under the Mansion Tent.  Tickets are $20 for adults and  $10 for student admission.  Special dinner (optional) follows in the Knickerbocker Mansion Dining Room.  Reservations are required for dinner. For more info and reservations, call the Arts Council of Big Bear Valley at (909) 585-5916 or visit their website:

And this just covers the first half of August!  As you can see there’s plenty of great stuff to do while you relax in the amazing comfort of your Five Star Vacation Rental cabin in Big Bear.  Call us at 310-780-3411 to book yourvacation.  Remember, your vacation time is just too important to leave to chance.  Don’t rent a hotel room where you will be surrounded by strangers and fighting for parking.  Your family deserves a vacation that will be something you’ll all be talking about and laughing with delight over for many years to come.

Browse all of our Big Bear cabins on this page.  If you’re planning a vacation somewhere other than Big Bear, please be sure to look at our luxury rentals in Park City,Palm Springs/La QuintaSouthern California BeachesMammoth Mountain, and Villa la Estancia in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico.


Studies Show You Should Stay in a Five Star Vacation Rental Instead of a Hotel

Well, that may not be exactly what the studies said, but hear us out on this.

We’ve been doing some reading on why people take vacations and the benefits of a good vacation.  There is a surprising amount of agreement among many experts that (we feel) shows why you should choose Five Star Vacation Rentals for your next family getaway.

Surveys show that the number one reason for going on vacation is to relax together as a family.   At Five Star Vacation Rentals, we offer a unique opportunity to make your precious vacation time more enjoyable and more relaxing for your entire family.

Here’s just one example.  Let’s imagine that you plan a family vacation and make reservations at a nice hotel in Big Bear or near the ocean in Southern California.  This is the way most people plan their vacations, so what could be wrong with that?  Well, let’s take a closer look.

Please be patient while we prepare your table

You travel most of the day and arrive at the hotel in the early evening.  The first thing most families do after checking into their room is to get something to eat.  Unlike a Five Star Vacation Rental, your hotel room does not have a full kitchen with a stove and refrigerator, so you head out to the nearby restaurant.  This is where the trouble begins.

You have to wait over an hour for a table because the place is packed with other families who checked into their rooms just a few minutes earlier than you did.  When you finally get a table, it’s right next to the kitchen, and the guy in the booth next to you is a long-haul trucker taking a load of live skunks to a nearby nature preserve.  With the kitchen noise on one side and the aroma on the other, you all decide to cut your losses and just order whole wheat toast with grape jelly.  To go.

Once back at your room, you eat your cold toast and start channel surfing as the kids bounce up and down on the beds.  There’s not much on TV, so you’re thankful the beds have plenty of bounce to them.  The pool is closed for repairs, but the kids soon discover the fun of playing with the ice machine down the hall.  Your youngest daughter returns to the room and tells you she overheard a conversation between two guests walking down the hallway.  “Daddy,” she asks you, “what’s a ‘Probation Officer,’ and why would somebody try to hide from one?”  At a Five Star Vacation Rental the only guests down the hall are the ones you brought with you.  Big difference.

Before you know it everybody starts yawning, and its time to call it a night.  It’s been a very long day.  Unlike a Five Star Vacation Rental which would have three or more full bedrooms, there are only two beds in your hotel room.  You get the kids tucked into one bed where they commence squirming and fighting over the blankets.  They quiet down after just a few short hours, and everybody starts falling asleep.  With any of our vacation rental cabins you could each have your own bedroom.  Another big advantage in our favor.

A few moments after you start to drift off to the wondrous land of vacation dreams, you learn that the Ukrainian hockey team in the room above you has just arrived home for the night and needs to get in just a bit more practice for tomorrow’s match.   While you’d really rather be sleeping, the entire family marvels that there is a distinct difference between the sound made by a body check and that of a body slam when heard in your room below. Your oldest son tries to recreate the sound with his little  sister, but he quickly learns she just doesn’t sound the same when slammed to the floor.  Fortunately, the doctor at the Emergency Room assures you that your daughter’s arm will be perfectly fine after the cast comes off in about 8 weeks.  Once you all return to the room, you find the hockey team upstairs has finally gone to bed, and so do all of you.  It’s been a very long day.

But wait, there’s more . . . in our next installment. Be sure to watch our blog for more on this sad tale about the utter despair suffered by most people who choose to stay anywhere other than with us at Five Star Vacation Rentals.

In the meantime, don’t leave the quality of your next vacation to chance.  Call us at 310-780-3411 to book your next holiday with confidence.  We guarantee your stay with us will be free of any interruptions from a Ukrainian hockey team, or we’ll give you your money back.  No other company in the entire vacation rental industry offers this guarantee.

Browse all of our Big Bear vacation rental cabins on this page.  If you’re planning a vacation somewhere other than Big Bear, be sure to look at our luxury rentals in Park City,Palm Springs/La QuintaSouthern California BeachesMammoth Mountain, and Villa la Estancia in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico.  Regardless of where you may go, you’ll have the confidence of knowing that Five Star Vacation Rentals is working to make your vacation relaxing and memorable.

Five Star Vacation Rentals Big Bear Guest Testimonials

Five  Star Vacation Rentals was started in a very different way than most vacation rental companies.  That’s one of the reasons we consistently find our guests calling us for return visits.  Before we ever got into the vacation rental business we were guests at vacation rentals. We’ve seen first hand the difference quality management can make in a guest’s overall experience. We’ve combined this with our background in hotel management and guest services to create a level of service that we’re confident cannot be duplicated elsewhere.

We’re continually pleased to see guests become regular visitors to our properties.  Some find a favorite rental they want to keep returning to, and others enjoy the fact that they can choose any of our rentals with the confidence that they will have a great experience regardless of which unit they choose.  Here are just a few of the many testimonials we’ve received:

Cabin #1: "Thrilled"

Softball Team Scores a Great Getaway With Big Bear Cabin #1
“Just a quick note, our softball team (35 and over) were thrilled with the cabin.  It is absolutely beautiful and fit the 10 of us to a tee.  We appreciate the great deal you gave us, and all the women wanted your website for their future stays in Big Bear.  Hope to do business with you again.”
Submitted by DeDe G.  after staying in our Big Bear Cabin #1 Bear Mountain 4 Bedroom.  Click here to see more info on this cabin.


Big Bear Cabin #3 is “Nice, Clean, and Cozy”

Cabin #3: "Great Rental"

“Hello Kevin,
We just wanted to send along a heartfelt ‘Thank You’ for a wonderful stay at your cabin #3 this last week. We enjoyed our stay very much in this wonderful home at a very nice location. Looking forward to staying with you again soon. May God Bless!”
Submitted by John & Diana C after staying in our Big Bear Cabin #3.

John D. and his family also stayed in Cabin #3, and sent us this note:

“First off I want to say thank you for the great rental in Big Bear this weekend. We had a great time and enjoyed our stay. We plan to rent from you many more times in the near future. Cabin was very nice, clean and cozy.
Thank you for the great customer service.”   View more info or book Cabin #3 online here.

Cabin #5 "Like Home"

Our Big Bear Cabin #5 Rental Is a Lakefront Dream
“Dear Mr. & Mrs. Cobb,
Had to take the time and thank you.  The cabin was well beyond our expectations.  It was in a perfect location andit was roomy, comfortable and felt like home.  All of us loved it.
We have also now recommended this cabin to two of our friends and more to come.  We think you will get a call in the near future from a friend of my husband asking for this or one of your other cabins.  A relative from San Diego is also planning on using this wonderful find in the near future.  We have a great number of friends who probably will be in contact.  We can’t recommend it enough.  Again, thank you.
The low hassle and professional handling of this matter was more than appreciated.”  Submitted by Patty C.  View more pictures and details about Cabin #5 here.

We encourage you to look over all our Big Bear vacation rental cabins and see the many recommendations provided by previous guests.   It’s important to us that your experience in any of our cabins builds a great memory that will have you returning year after year.

Call us at 310-780-3411 to book your vacation getaway now. Browse all of our Big Bear cabins on this page.  If you’re planning a vacation somewhere other than Big Bear, please be sure to look at our luxury rentals in Park City,Palm Springs/La QuintaSouthern California BeachesMammoth Mountain, and Villa la Estancia in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico.  Regardless of where you may go, you’ll have the confidence of knowing that Five Star Vacation Rentals is working to make your vacation relaxing and memorable.

Congratulations to Vanny Chow, The Winner of Our Oktoberfest Cabin Rental Contest!

We’d like to thank everybody who submitted an entry for our Big Bear photo contest. We had some really great entries, and it was very difficult to choose the winner.

Riley Chow, you're a winner!

Our judges selected Vanny’s photo because it seemed to capture the essence of a Five Star Vacation Rentals getaway to Big Bear. It’s clearly fun for the entire family and a memorable event.

The photo features Vanny’s son Riley. He was about 2 years old at the time, and was clearly delighted about something. We reached Vanny by phone, and she gave us some background on the photo:

“It was taken out in front of one of those great knick knack stores in the village. They had a little jelly bean vending machine out in front, and I bought some for Riley. I think it was the first time he ever had jelly beans.” She gave Riley one of the jelly beans right before she snapped the photo. Riley clearly approved of the treat.

And we learned that Vanny feels the same way about Five Star Vacation Rentals. She rented from other companies in the past, but found “some rentals we tried didn’t even provide the basic amenities.”

She has rented from us two years in a row and really likes our service and great selection: “Five Star has so many different properties, and we’ve tried a couple of them. We had our car get stuck in the snow in the driveway once when we were supposed to check out, but they extended our checkout time at no charge and even got us help to get out!”

Weekends from September 15th through October 27th

Vanny mentioned she really appreciates that our cabins are prepared so she can just arrive and relax. The cabins she rented both had all the necessary amenities so she could get settled in right away.

Vanny’s advice for anybody considering a Five Star Vacation Rentals Big Bear getaway is very straight forward: “Definitely do it. It was a great experience. No need to worry about anything. The cabins are very clean and all have full amenities, so you can enjoy your stay without having to worry about anything.” She adds that she had such a delightful stay “I told everybody about it – all my friends and family. I even put it up on my Facebook page!”

Well, Vanny, we appreciate your kind words, and are glad your stay exemplified the experience we strive to deliver to each of our guests. Congratulations again on your win, and enjoy your upcoming stay in Big Bear for Oktoberfest!

Oktoberfest is one of the biggest events of the year in Big Bear. There’s fun for the entire family with lots of great bands, shows, and exotic beers to sample. We’re currently accepting reservations for Oktoberfest which runs weekends from September 15th through October 27th. But be sure to book early as we sell out most years. You’re definitely not going to want to miss this!

Call us today at 310-780-3411. Browse our Big Bear cabins on this page.