This summer has been all about ditching routine schedules, slowing down and spending time with family and friends. I knew I wanted to find the time for a family trip this summer, but traveling with small children isn’t always ideal, so I began to research the best local-ish vacation spots in Southern California. I stumbled upon Green Valley Lake which neighbors Big Bear, but offers a less congested atmosphere. (Bonus points for being a mere 2 hour drive away from Orange County.) My next mission was to find a killer Airbnb for my family and me to stay; and boy did we score.
When I saw The Flying Squirrel pop up in my Airbnb app, it was basically love-at-first-A-frame-site. I will admit it; looks matter. I am a bit of a visual storyteller (aka a photographer), and I wanted our home-away-from-home to not only be clean and cozy, but cute and aesthetically pleasing as well. #noshame
Our vacation felt like it started the moment we booked The Flying Squirrel, as the hosts Juan and Jennifer were so kind and hospitable. It was evident that they take great love and pride in their mountain home by the lake, and I knew that our stay was going to exceed any expectations we had. I was excited, to say the least. When we arrived, we were able to easily let ourselves in via electronic lockbox. I opened the door, and immediately felt the weight of our daily lives lift away. I was met with eclectic, modern, beautiful decor. I peeked my head around the corner to find the most captivating view off of the back deck. From the moment we booked The Flying Squirrel, I daydreamed about this view and drinking my morning cup of coffee surrounded by trees. It did not disappoint. Every inch of this cabin was drenched in thoughtfulness and intentionality. Before we even finished bringing our bags in, we had Johnny Cash spinning on the record player. The Flying Squirrel was everything I had imagined and more.
Once we were settled in, we referenced the in-cabin binder for info on all of the fun, local things to do. We took a short walk to the lake to explore and found friendly people fishing, boating and paddleboarding. We sat and fed the ducks, (make sure to bring some crackers or bread for this!) The girls loved this so much. We hiked around a bit and returned home for a cozy evening in, complete with baths in the cabin’s beautiful tub.
Morning two started off perfectly slow, including morning coffee and breakfast out on the back deck soundtracked to an old Hank Williams record. I was able to take a morning run around the lake, which was heaven. We decided to venture in to Big Bear for the afternoon. My one piece of advice is, if anyone in your family is prone to motion sickness, come prepared. We learned the hard way that Frankie gets car sick on windy, mountain roads. Regardless of the great pukefest of 2019, we had a great time in Big Bear, and enjoyed a yummy dinner at the local Brewery and were happy to return ‘home’ to Green Valley Lake afterward.
Our third day was spent at the lake, and this was my favorite day of all. We rented a ‘ducky’ paddle boat, stand-up paddleboards and swam in the lake all day. We ate lunch on the beach, and just had a great day in the sun and water. It was just what we all needed. In the evening we took a family hike where we collected ‘treasure’ for the kids to paint, then returned home for a BBQ and s’mores.
Our last full day in Green Valley Lake, was spent relaxing, hiking and spending some more time at the lake. We hung out in ‘the meditation room’ (I named it that), playing games and laughing. At night we had family dinner in, made s’mores again and had a movie night. (The cabin comes stocked with games and movies). It was a great way to wrap up our much-needed getaway from the OC.
Check-out the next morning, was seamless and easy, (despite some sibling rivalry). We were all a bit sad to say goodbye to the cabin, but equally as grateful for the time we had at The Flying Squirrel. This was the perfect location for an easy family getaway, in Southern California. It was close enough for it to feel effortless, but far enough to feel transported somewhere else. I also cannot express enough how incredible our hosts were. They were easily accessible and crazy hospitable. The Flying Squirrel provides every comfort and convenience a person could want or need. We can not wait to come back again and again, and will continue to recommend this to everyone we know. You can watch my ‘GVL’ highlight in my Instagram stories, for a full behind-the-scenes view of our epic trip.
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