Many people consider Crestline the Paragliding Capital of the Country. To locals, though, it is so much more.
Located in the San Bernardino mountains, Crestline is the closest mountain town to the major cities, and job and retail hubs, of San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, and Ontario. If you're one of those folks who thinks the sprawling Southern California valley is "a nice place visit, but I certainly don't want to live there," you'll love Crestline. Locals call it "Paradise in a small package." Actually, though, Crestline isn't that small. The latest Census data concluded that its population was 10,770. So worry not, there are plenty of friends to be made and activities to be enjoyed when you move to Crestline.
Moving to Crestline
Living on a mountain comes with quirks that city folk don't typically have to deal with. Besides the occasional wayward grizzly bear (don't forget: they usually don't bother you if you don't bother them!), there are sometimes those pesky wildfires to contend with when the Santa Ana winds kick up. Oh yes, a mountain wouldn't be a mountain without periodic mudslides and rock slides. But heck, you knew all of this already. Just like South Floridians contend with hurricanes so they can reap the rewards of beach living, Mountain People, as Crestliners proudly consider themselves, aren't going to let Mother Nature stand in the way of enjoying their own beautiful, laid-back mountain lifestyle.
Timing is Everything
If you are at all flexible about when you set out to look for rental apts on the mountain, it is wise to do most of your looking in summer, spring, or fall. In other words, don't whip out your trusty apartments locator guide in the winter if you can help it. To clarify: sure, you can browse, dream, and contemplate such questions as, "Hmmmm‰Û_. Do I want a 1 bedroom apartment? Or should I focus my search on 3 bedroom apartments?" But it's best to not act on your wish list until after winter. The weather is just too unpredictable.
Once the threat of blizzards and ice passes, you will find a glorious array of housing options in Crestline. There are economical studio apartments for rent, as well as one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. In some apartment communities, all utilities are included in your rent. That's a perk you'll appreciate in the dead of winter!
There are tons of single-family homes that back up to the National Forest or are a stone's throw from sparkling Lake Gregory. If you're looking for a condo for rent, you'll find lots of options in the historic Old Town area. The point is, if you do your research and spend some time with boots-on-the-ground, you'll find exactly what you're looking for.
Not only will you find your ideal housing setup (apartment, condo, townhouse, or detached home) in Crestline, you'll also find plenty of established neighborhoods from which to choose. Each neighborhood has its own distinct feel and vibe. But don't worry, you won't be pigeonholed once you choose a neighborhood. One reason why so many people move to Crestline is its huge sense of community and quaint, small-town feel. This is the kind of place where you'll get to know folks at the hardware store, post office and grocery store. Here are some examples of the types of neighborhoods you'll find in Crestline.
San Moritz: This upscale neighborhood is just minutes from Lake Gregory, and is a popular spot for detached single-family homes and rugged mountain cabins. The tranquil setting appeals to those who appreciate nature watching, boating and peace and quiet.
Top Town: On the other extreme, the Top Town neighborhood is located in town, along Crest Forest Drive, near historic Old Town Crestline. Top Town appeals to those who want to live near the action and be able to walk to hot spots like Top Town Pizza, Pazzo's Italian & Pizza, and Top Town Brewery.
Valley of Enchantment (VOE): This neighborhood of manufactured homes includes rentals of all sizes and easy access to the Heart Rock, one of Crestline's most popular attractions. The 1-mile round trip Heart Rock hike takes hikers to the heart-shaped pool that has been carved out of the cliff by years and years of flowing water. Often, there's also a waterfall!
Living in Crestline
Obviously, mountain activities are a huge draw. Sledding, snowman building, berry picking, hiking and mountain biking, are all part of life for those fortunate to live "up the hill," as locals say. Crestline also is home to one of the country's most active paragliding ports. The Chamber of Commerce sponsors a summer paragliding tournament, Jamboree Days (a huge July 4th bash), fishing derbies at Lake Gregory, an annual car show and the Redlands Bicycle Classic.
Lake Gregory is a huge draw for boaters, swimmers and anglers, especially in the summer. Don't overlook the huge water slide! Those who don't want to get wet will enjoy outstanding bird watching around the lake.
While there are all kinds of outdoorsy activities to enjoy in Crestline, locals say the best part of living in this mountain town is the strong sense of community. Walk through just about any neighborhood during a major holiday season, and you'll see decorations galore. Head to the local pub, Post Office, or the Loose Caboose restaurant and you'll hear locals trading battle stories about, and trying to predict, the weather.
Wherever you choose to live in Crestline, you'll never be far from a friendly face, the buzz of cicadas and the simple thrill of darting fireflies. You won't find many big-box retailers here, but that is by design. People move to Crestline to get away from the urban jungle and suburban sprawl. A quick commute "down the hill" will bring you to all the shopping you'll need; San Bernardino, Redlands, Rancho Cucamonga, and Ontario are all a short drive away. But folks from Crestline say they feel worlds away from the hustle and bustle of life down below. And that is precisely why they chose to move here.