One of the most beautiful spots in the United States sits right here in Idaho. Why more people haven’t made the trek to the awe-inspiring Coeur d’Alene, we don’t know. It is so beautiful, we almost don’t want to tell you too much about its splendor … but it’s too good not to share!
Day One: Lake Coeur d’Alene
You could easily spend your entire week on Lake Coeur d’Alene. This natural lake is the backdrop of the Coeur d’Alene community. Whether you want to get on the water or soak it in from dry land, there is something perfect for you surrounding the lake.
For those fond of land, take the lake in from the Coeur d’Alene city park and watch the seaplanes land. And, depending on the season, you’re sure to spot bald eagles as they flock to the area during the salmon spawn. There are also plenty of beaches surrounding the lake’s 100 miles of coastline. Walk to the beach from the city park or go more remote. There’s room for everyone!
If you want to get out on the water, you can rent most any watercraft. There are 12 boat launches around the lake, plus you are allowed to jet ski, paddleboard, and kite surf on the lake. The lake is big enough that the fishermen can get in on the action and end the day with a good catch.
After a long day on the lake, kick back and relax at Dockside restaurant. There is something on the menu for everyone’s tastes – fun cocktails for the adults and kids’ fare. You must save room for a Dockside dessert, especially the Gooey.
Day Two: Discover the History
The Coeur d’Alene history is full of interesting characters and the Museum of North Idaho is a great place to get an overview of the region and how it ties to the past. The museum features history on the major machines, organizations and people that shaped the area, including the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, the forest service, steamboats and railroads. You can also take a living history walking tour with a local historian who becomes Steamboat Captain Peter Sorensen. Check out the museum’s website for details and package deals.
While downtown, take in the art galleries scattered about. The Coeur d’Alene Galleries is especially interesting with its Western and wildlife art. The Art Spirit Gallery features fine art from local and regional artists who use a variety of mediums. It is well worth a stop to find a unique piece.
For a leisurely lunch or dinner, make a reservation at Beverly’s. This fine-dining experience is wonderful and will be a highlight of your stay.
Day Three: Bike It
Rent a bike and set out on the North Idaho Centennial Trail, a 23-mile-long trail going from the Idaho/Washington border to Higgins Point, which is six miles east of Coeur d’Alene at the end of Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive. You can walk, jog or bike this paved trail. Originally a railroad line, the path has some of the most stunning views of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Stop off at one of the most gorgeous spots, Mineral Ridge Scenic Area, to enjoy your packed lunch and take some time at Heyburn State Park. Eventually, the trail hooks up with the Spokane Centennial Trail that connects you to many of Spokane’s top attractions.
Day Four: Resort to Adventure
Just about 30 miles east of Coeur d’Alene is Silver Mountain Resort. No matter the time of year, there is something for the entire family to do here. Boasting the nation’s longest gondola ride, you can also hike, bike, ski, snowboard, snow tube, golf and make use of its indoor waterpark. If you’d like to make a long day of the resort’s activities, you may want to jump on one of Silver Mountain Resort package deals.
Day Five: Take it to the River
Stop by the Kootenai County Farmers’ Market to stock up on fresh meat, cheese, honey, fruits, and vegetables before a day at Falls Park. You may also find a quirky piece of art you can’t live without.
At Falls Park, you’ll find the beautifully preserved, and still used, Post Falls Dam. The city park surrounds this structure, which puts on a spectacular show in the spring with the mountain runoff and the water from Lake Coeur d’Alene. In the winter, the ice that forms is a majestic sight. Along with the viewing platforms for the hydrodynamics, the Falls Park features a large playground complete with an ADA swing. The children’s pond is a great place to take the kids fishing and your entire family can hike the surrounding trails that have interpretive signage to fill you in on the area’s history.
If you want to stay in Coeur d’Alene, hike the Tubbs Hill Nature Trail. The trailhead is found in the southwestern corner of McEuen Park. There are several miles of hiking that are anything but short on scenic views.
There you have it. Coeur d’Alene is chock-full of beauty, adventure, history, and fun for the young and old. Just be sure to bring your hiking shoes and a swimsuit. If you forget, don’t sweat it, you’ll find an outfitter just around the corner.