Big Bear Queen Lake Tour

Written by K. Hart at
Big Bear Queen Lake Tour
Captain Chris Bellows
topside cruise
solar observatory


Modeled after Mississippi paddlewheel boats, the Big Bear Queen Lake Tour offers leisurely boat rides.

Launched in 1973, the Big Bear Queen replaced the Old Sierra, the original boat tour dating back to the 1930s. This makes it the longest-running tour on Big Bear Lake. With its unique hull design, this iconic vessel has been captivating passengers for decades.

At the helm of this historic tour is Captain Chris Bellows, a native of Big Bear Valley and a true embodiment of the spirit of adventure. Raised in the valley, Bellows is an avid outdoorsman passionate about skiing, mountain biking, and, most importantly, sailing. 

His experiences in the 1980s crewing for Hobie's catamaran in California competitions laid the foundation for his lifelong love of the water. 

In 1989, Bellows took over the Big Bear Queen, continuing a family legacy, as his father had been the owner and captain for decades prior. This transition was a continuation of a tradition, a passion for sailing and sharing Big Bear's beauty with others​​​​.

Fun Facts & Cool Features

The 90-minute narrated cruise aboard a classic paddlewheel boat is an immersive journey into the heart and soul of Big Bear Lake. Running daily from May to October, the tour provides an intimate glimpse into the lake's history and natural beauty, showcasing sights like Garstin Island, celebrity homes, the iconic dam, and the solar observatory​.

With a capacity of 55 passengers, the Big Bear Queen is ideal for various events, from intimate family gatherings to grand wedding parties. This versatility, combined with the option for food catering, transforms each tour into a personalized, memorable experience. 

The tour's diverse offerings include a sunset supper cruise, a romantic sunset cruise, and private parties, each tailored to create unique memories under the guidance of Captain Chris Bellows, who has been navigating these waters since childhood​.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the tour is its focus on several key points of interest around Big Bear Lake. 

Highlights include the Big Bear Solar Observatory, one of the world's largest and most advanced solar telescopes; Holcomb Valley, the site of Southern California's largest gold rush in the 1860s; the Big Bear Dams, which created the world's largest man-made lake at the time of their completion; China Islands, Big Bear's first lakefront vacation spot; and Eagle Point, a prime habitat for the American Bald Eagle. 

Getting There

Here's how you can get to Big Bear Queen Lake Tour from Big Bear Lake:

  • Head north on Pine Knot Ave.
  • You will arrive at your destination that is at Pine Knot Marina.
  • Address: 439 Pine Knot Ave, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315.


Here are the current ticket prices for the lake tour:

  • Adults: $30 
  • Seniors (65+) and military: $27 
  • Children (3-12): $20 
  • Children under 3: free 

Check their website for pricing on other tour packages. 

Prices are subject to change. Please check their website for updates.

  • If you have mobility issues or can't walk to the boat, the staff will pick you up from the parking lot and bring you close to the dock.​
  • The Big Bear Queen is pet-friendly, so bring your furry friends along.​
  • There are no restrooms on board; plan accordingly.
  • The standard tour, as well as the Sunset and Moonlight Cruises, are all 90-minute experiences.


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