Discover a cool rural getaway with lots of outdoor recreation and the kid-welcoming Silverwood theme park in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. This incredibly picturesque town is on the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene, surrounded by more than 55 lakes within easy driving distance. Outdoor attractions, hiking and biking galore, and scenic beauty make it the perfect vacation destination. Come at any time of year to experience the authentic Northwest.
With 109 miles of shoreline, the glimmering lake and the town are the focus of seasonal festivals, fairs, local concerts, eclectic eateries, shopping and much more. There’s so much to do, you’re guaranteed to find something for every member of the family. So hop in a car, take a drive, and lose yourself in Idaho’s beautiful lake country.
Coeur d’Alene Starts at the Museum of North Idaho
To experience the rich history of this old-fashioned town, The Museum of North Idaho is a definite must. Steamboats, logging, and agriculture are among the areas of expertise this museum specializes in, as well as local community history. The museum’s exhibits are open seasonally, April to October, yet special events (like their spooky October Cemetery Tours) are held year-round.
Summer Activities & Local Fun in Coeur d’Alene
Anyone fascinated by antique automobiles visits Coeur d’Alene in June, for the Car d’Lane Classic Car Show. is always a fun annual celebration. Hundreds of cars ride through the main street proudly showcasing their much appraised automobiles. What’s great about this annual car show is that the cars are not judged based on the “best in show,” but rather trophies are given based on individuality such as the “police department’s pick” (think a Crown Royal with police lighted rims), “a mayor’s pick,” and a “people’s choice award.” Drive up in September for the Coaster Classic Car Show, a celebration of old cruisers going into its 20th year.
Stop into town each August for the Coeur d’Alene Street Fair, showcase of arts and crafts. It takes place over the first weekend includes more than 250 venders, daily entertainment, and much more.
Fall & Winter Events in Northern Idaho
Early October is typically the start of the leaf-peeping season. It’s especially intense near the water, so Coeur d’Alene, built around the lake of the same name, gets busy. The town hosts their own interpretation of the traditional Oktoberfest. True to tradition, the Oktoberfest celebrations are typically a weekend in mid-September. Get ready for the Gran Fondo bike races, then kick back with live music, German food and the very best of harvest brews. Festivities include 20 tasting stations where guests can sample varieties of beer and wurst. Buy a commemorative 16oz stein for entry and pay nominal fees for each tasting. Children and designated drivers enter free.
Halloween is its own extravaganza as Silverwood morphs into Scarywood. Read more about Haunted Idaho attractions here.
Coeur d’Arlene Resort in Coeur d’Alene touts the largest on-the-water holiday light display in the country. We are not sure about that claim but it certainly is impressive. Stroll the festive light show with at least 1.5 million lights and take a lake cruise for “Journey to the North Pole.” This attraction has a cute Santa’s Toy Workshop which is home to the tallest floating Christmas tree in the U.S. It’s open Nov. 15, 2022–Jan. 2, 2023; nights are capped off by fireworks.
Schweitezer Mountain, a member of the IKON Pass, is about 55 miles north of Coeur d’Alene. With 300″ of annual snowfall dusting 2,900 acres of terrain, it is the largest ski resort in both Idaho and Washington states. For the 2022 season, there are several pass options. Choose from Humbird, Selkirk Lodge, White Pine and on-mountain condos for the most convenient family accommodations. Having facilities so close to lodging makes this a popular snow sports choice. In summer, hike and mountain bike their trails.
Exploring the Lake’s Wildlife in Coeur d’Alene
Coeur d’Alene is also the home of the longest floating boardwalk, so be sure to check that out when you’re strolling along the lake — it goes on for 3/4 mile.
For a relaxing cruise, explore the bays and inlets of this beautiful lake. Most cruise companies, which leave from Independence Point just west of the Coeur d’Alene Resort, schedule regular summer departures. Be sure to bring your camera, there is lots of wildlife.
Depending on when you book your excursion, you can tailor your trip to see different things. Bald Eagles viewing is best done November to February. Some outfitteres do a Fall Leaf tour to the St. Joe River. Standard Wildlife Viewing trips run all year round. Prices for the trips vary, depending on what you want to include in your cruise.
Coeur d’Alene by Air and River
If you prefer a guide through air rather than by foot, Brooks Seaplane Service offers the wonder and excitement of a seaplane flight over the majestic waters of North Idaho. These sightseeing and charter flights from what has been rated “one of the most beautiful” places in the world run from March to October.
ROW Adventures, an adventure travel company, offer a variety of exciting outdoor activities, including white water rafting, fly fishing, kayaking, biking and hiking. ROW, based in Coeur d’Alene, markets itself as the most experienced adventure outfitter of Northwest Idaho, experienced guides dating back to their opening in 1979. Guided whitewater trips range in difficulty and length, the excursions lasting from a half day to six days. Visitors should note that age restrictions do apply for some of the activities.
Silverwood Theme Park: The Largest Theme Park of the Northwest
Located in the majestic region of Northern Idaho, Silverwood Theme Park, the largest theme park in the Northwest region of the U.S, offers 65 exciting rides, including five roller coasters. Open three seasons, this park caters to all generations. Take a load off on their steam train and put your feet up during the live entertainment. Plan your schedule to have a meal at one of their savory eateries.
With rides for the whole family, including a toddler pool Polliwog Park at Boulder Beach and the two new amusement rides, the Frog Hopper Tower and the Butterflyer, there’s sure to be something for everyone of every age.
From Camping to B&B Luxury: Where to Stay in Coeur d’Alene
Book the most luxurious option in town, the lakefront Coeur d’Arlene Resort and a golfer’s paradise. From 338 rooms spread over three wings, choose lake, mountain or town views. In addition to well-known chains like Best Western and Holiday Inn Express, there are some really great bed and breakfasts.
Built in 1905, the McFarland Inn Bed and Breakfast is located in the garden district of Coeur d’Alene. Small but charming, each of the rooms are uniquely decorated with plenty of small-town appeal. Enjoy a morning gourmet breakfast. Return early each evening for the wine and appetizer sessions. Complimentary snacks are also available throughout the day. Take advantage of free bike rentals to ride the Centennial Trail and see more of Coeur d’Alene on bike.
Just down the road from the McFarland Inn is the Roosevelt Inn. This five-story, red brick Victorian mansion converted from an old schoolhouse has 14 guest rooms and suites. Here, breakfast is served daily. Massage treatments and a sauna are also available, a perfect escape for mom while dad and the kids are off at the Silverwood Water Park. Don’t worry kids, the Roosevelt Inn has a 24-hour hot tub for you, too.
Camping is always an option for more outdoorsy families. We recommend trying out the cabins at Farragut State Park. Just over 30 minutes and 25 miles away from downtown Coeur d’Alene, the one-room cabins at Farragut State Park are relatively inexpensive and sleep up to five people. For complete information, please see the Idaho State Park’s website.
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