For some waterside downtime, head to Lake Fulmor (pictured), nestled in the San Jacinto Mountains and just 10 miles from town. Statuesque pines encircle the lake, which crisply reflects surrounding boulders. Before heading out, pick up a fresh deli sandwich from Nature’s Wisdom (54235 Ridgeview Dr.). Picnic tables with BBQ pits and a few flat bedrocks make ideal spots for whiling away the afternoon. To stretch your legs, take a half-mile stroll on the easy loop around the lake.
STAY: Dream easy at the Strawberry Creek Inn. Its nine rooms (and one cottage) are instantly welcoming, as are hosts Rodney and Ian. Cozy up to the wood-burning fireplace in the reading room or relax in the garden hammock. Wake up to gourmet organic breakfasts like puffed pancakes with fresh fruit and toasted almonds or a corn strata casserole served family-style in the sun-filled dining room. A short set of stairs takes you down to Strawberry Creek, where strawberries are ripe for picking in summer. It’s a half-mile walk to town on a sun-dappled path that chases the bubbling creek. For a less expensive option, try sister property Strawberry Creek Bunkhouse. The knotty-pine interiors and open-beamed ceilings have a kitchen or kitchenette plus a private balcony. For tent camping, the forested and relatively private Idyllwild Campground in Mount San Jacinto State Park has 31 developed sites within walking distance of town.
Lake Fulmor is located 10 miles north of the town center on Hwy. 243. Parking requires an Adventure Pass ($5/day pass; $30/annual pass). You can usually buy passes at the Mount San Jacinto State Park Ranger Station, but call ahead to ensure they have them available (909-382-2922). No swimming. The lake is dog-friendly! Strawberry Creek Inn (no dogs) is located at 26370 Hwy. 243; 951-659-3202. Strawberry Creek Bunkhouse (dog-friendly) is located at 25525 Hwy. 243; 951-659-2201. Rates at the inn start at $109 per night; rates at the bunkhouse start at $89. Camping at Mount San Jacinto State Park (951-659-2607) is $25 per night. Make a reservation through reserveamerica.com Dog-friendly.