Why North Idaho?North Idaho is known for its sparkling lakes and stunning mountain ranges, but you may not be aware of everything this incredible area has to offer. Whether you’re a thrill seeker, a foodie, an art connoisseur, a history buff or just love huckleberries, there’s something right up your alley in Coeur d’Alene and the surrounding areas.
The lake isn’t just to be looked at! You can relax, catch some sun and even cook on a luxurious pontoon boat with plenty of room for the whole family. More athletically-minded groups will love hitting the water on a ski or wakeboard boat and trying their hand at wakeboarding, wakesurfing and tubing. Depending on the lake, the boat traffic and the wind factor, the various North Idaho lakes range from calm to choppy—making them perfect for a variety of skill sets.
Boat Rentals by Vacation Rental Authority
Lakes, rivers and jet skis, oh my! You can cruise through the water—and maybe even catch a little air—on a sit down or standup jet ski. Locals even love taking the standup models in the rivers during the springtime when the water levels are at their highest.
Take on a fun challenge suitable for a variety of athletic abilities. Paddleboarding is all the rage for all ages. With a little core strength and a little more patience, you’ll be confidently gliding through the water in no time. If standing up simply isn’t your thing, you’ll have the same fun paddling your board from a seated position on your knees.
Kayaking and Canoeing
Get your heart racing on river rapids or calmly propel through smooth water for a relaxing (and scenic) ride. There are tons of great places to launch your kayak or canoe and endless sights to see. With one or two person options available, the whole family can explore together. Added bonus: It’s a fantastic arm workout!
From easy walks to the seriously steep, there’s a trail for everyone in Idaho’s National Forests. Our stunning—and not overcrowded—mountains provide ideal opportunities to truly immerse yourself in nature. You’ll find challenging hikes centrally located right in Coeur d’Alene or you can venture out all over the surrounding areas. From base to summit, you’ll have ample opportunities for gorgeous photos, too!
From mountain biking to easy riding on paved roads by the lake, we have it all! The North Idaho Centennial Trail can take you all over town and the paved Trail of the Coeur d’Alene’s stretches 72 miles. The Route of the Hiawatha mixes fitness with history as it takes you through 15 miles, 10 train tunnels (including the 1.66 mile St. Paul Pass Tunnel) and 7 sky-high trestles—all while learning about the history of the active train system that used to reside there. Coeur d’Alene locals love biking, so don’t be surprised to see a variety of bikes wherever you are in the community!
Idaho Parks & Recreation - Biking
Route of the Hiawatha
From fishing from a boat to fishing from the shore to fly fishing and even ice fishing, there’s no shortage of opportunities here! Score tonight’s dinner or spend the day catching and releasing in sunshine. Keep an eye out for world-class blue-ribbon trout, cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, bull trout, northern pike, kokanee, chinook and tiger muskie.
Harness your spirit for adventure ziplining through spectacular North Idaho forests. Guided by certified professionals, local courses offer a variety of packages—including photos—for a safe and fun adrenaline-filled day.
Check off a major bucket list item when you parasail above the sparkling waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene. You can ride single or double and there’s the option to add 200’ feet of extra line! This option also includes free digital photos that you’ll love displaying in your home.
Coeur d'Alene Parasail
Coeur d’Alene and the surrounding areas are proud to host a wide variety of athletic events that draw in competitors from all over the world. Yearly events include Ironman 70.3, Coeur d’Alene Marathon, Hayden Lake Marathon, Coeur d’Alene Triathlon, Hayden Lake Triathlon, Spokane’s Bloomsday, Spring Dash, and more! Plus, there’s never a shortage of fun 5K races, mud runs and obstacle courses. Whether you’re a participant or a spectator, the energy at these events is always contagious!
Not unlike the rest of the world, the Northwest loves its coffee. There are tons of fabulous little shops, often with art for sale by local artists, that also offer food and dessert selections. You’ll also notice drive thru coffee stands seemingly everywhere you look! A staple of the Northwest, these small local businesses have great coffee, quick service and are a must try—especially if you don’t have these type of stands in your neck of the woods.
From sandwich shops and juice bars to family-friendly sit down restaurants and romantic fine dining options, North Idaho has it all! You may be surprised to learn that we have as wide of a dining spectrum as larger cities. Do you want a down home breakfast with rustic décor? We have that. Or maybe you prefer a modern feel with familiar favorites and unique twists. We have that, too. You’ll notice many of your favorite chains as well as a plethora of amazing local choices. Whatever you and your stomach are in search of, you’re bound to find it here.
Beer, Wine and Cocktails
When it’s time to unwind with an adult beverage (you are on vacation, after all), Coeur d’Alene has you covered! A growing frontrunner in the Northwest craft beer scene, you’ll find many breweries and local wines served throughout the area. There are even two distilleries—Bardenay and Up North—who make craft cocktails using their own locally distilled spirits.
Bardney - Coeur d'Alene
Up North Distillery
A great way to remember a favorite vacation is something wonderful to bring home. Local shops include art, jewelry, clothing, accessories, home décor and more! Many local business offer Coeur d’Alene specific art in prices ranges that work for everyone. You can’t bring home the lake, but you can bring home a beautiful art piece of Lake Coeur d’Alene or even an Idaho themed t-shirt!
We have no shortage of local events in Coeur d’Alene and the surrounding areas. From wine tastes to family events in the park, there’s always somewhere to be and something to do. Local favorite reoccurring events include Art on the Green; Art Walk (every second Friday April-December); Car D Lane; Lost in the 50s; 4th of July Parade, Festival and Fireworks; The Festival at Sandpoint; Live After 5 (Wednesdays June 14-September 6); Downtown Coeur d’Alene Wednesday Farmers Market (opens in May); Hayden Saturday Market (opens in May); Spokane Pig Out in the Park; and the Holiday Light Show, Parade and Fireworks (the day after Thanksgiving).
Family-friendly beaches open to the public can be found all over Coeur d’Alene and the surrounding areas. From sand to pebbles to grass, you can take your pick of where you want to post up. Ranked the “Cleanest City in the U.S.” by Expedia in 2016, our public beaches are no exception. Downtown Coeur d’Alene boasts miles of shoreline and Honeysuckle Beach on Hayden Lake is another local favorite.
It’s not a picturesque family day without a trip to one of North Idaho’s many public parks. Clean and pristine, you’ll find playgrounds, BBQ areas, picnic tables, sports fields and dog parks all throughout the area. Downtown Coeur d’Alene is home to Fort Sherman playground in the City Park, McEuen Park (includes playground equipment and a splash pad), McEuen Dog Park, Memorial Field and G.O. Phippeny Park. We also recommend taking a trip over to Manito Park. This 90 acre public park in Spokane is beloved by locals and has 5 gardens, a conservatory and a duck pond.
Historical Sites and Museums
The Inland Northwest is rich with history and interesting sites to visit. On the museum front, check out the Museum of North Idaho, Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture and the Fort Sherman Officers’ Quarters. A popular spot for all ages, the Cataldo Mission is a must-see historical landmark 30 minutes from Coeur d’Alene. Take the kids on a 45 minute drive to Kellogg, ID and they’ll have an adventure being gold minors for the day at the Crystal Gold Mine. Head 30-45 minutes to Spokane, WA and you can visit the Bing Crosby House, the Campbell House and the Hutton Settlement. There are also many public and private buildings throughout the area on the National Register of Historic Places.
Old Mission State Park
The state fruit of Idaho, you’ll see huckleberry dishes, drinks, desserts and a variety of products all around. Definitely don’t miss out on enjoying a huckleberry treat during your trip. Our favorite picks are: huckleberry margaritas, huckleberry beer, huckleberry jam, huckleberry taffy, huckleberry cheesecake and huckleberry lip balm.
Experience a bird’s-eye view of North Idaho’s magnificent lakes, rushing rivers and breathtaking mountain ranges on a seriously cool seaplane tour. Local pilots offer a variety of options for your flight itinerary.
Coeur d'Alene Sea Planes
Wildlife Sightings and Birdwatching
From the mountains to the skies, North Idaho is filled with opportunities to view incredible wildlife. During your trip you very well may see elk, deer, moose, caribou, turkeys and squirrels. Birdwatchers can look forward to sighting a wide variety of birds including seagulls, hawks, chickadees, grouse and yes, Bald Eagles! Please be respectful of all wildlife and mindful of things that could harm them or get them into trouble—like an unsecured trash can.