The Getaway
15 Top Things to Do in Coeur d'Alene

Coeur d'Alene is a vibrant resort city in Idaho's panhandle known for its natural beauty and plethora of outdoor activities. This all-year outer Pacific Northwest destination was once a well-kept secret, but the cat is most certainly out of the bag these days, with numerous A-List celebrities purchasing enviable lakeside homes in the area—think George Clooney, Matthew McConaughey, and Kim Kardashian. Between idyllic summer days on the water and carriage rides after skiing in winter, you can see what all the fuss is about for yourself.

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01 Golf at Coeur d'Alene Resort

City view from lake looking at resort - Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Coeur d'Alene Resort offers visitors a bucket-list-worthy golfing experience, including its famous floating green on the 14th hole. The well-manicured course is so picturesque, with lake views and sprays of red geraniums, junipers, and gorgeous wildflowers. From golf carts with heated seats and ball and club washers to pre-round massages, prepare to truly unwind in between honing your game. A large pro shop has you sorted for gear and apparel, and Floating Green restaurant serves delicious food when you're feeling peckish. The friendly staff complement includes helpful caddies that make less experienced golfers feel comfortable.

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02 Explore Lake Coeur d'Alene

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho USA - August 5 2022: A busy summer day along the sandy beach of the lake at Independence Point, in the downtown resort district of rural Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Kirk Fisher/Shutterstock

Coeur d'Alene Lake stretches over 25 miles and ranges from 1 to 3 miles wide. It has an extensive shoreline with over a dozen boat launches and almost as many well-equipped marinas. Rent a pontoon from Coeur d'Alene Boat Rentals to spend a day on the water and see more lakeside towns. During the Christmas holidays, out-of-towners and locals gather after an early start to watch bald eagles eat a breakfast of sockeye salmon at Wolf Lodge Bay. In summer, the adventurous can dive recreationally to find Ford Model Ts and sunken steamboats on the bottom of this natural lake.

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03 Visit Coeur d'Alene City Park and Independence Point

You'll find Coeur d'Alene City Park just west of downtown. It's a popular, family-friendly spot, and you can bring your pup along, too. The park is a leisure hub with a slew of amenities, such as picnic tables, a skate park, the Fort Sherman playground, and areas to play pickleball, sand volleyball, basketball, and soccer. And that's not all. A swimming beach hums with activity during the warmer months, and a bandshell hosts lively summer concerts. Drinking fountains keep folks hydrated, and looping trails help joggers cover a 3-mile distance with ease. Independence Point is next to City Park, offering parasailing and other attractions.

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04 Stroll through Downtown Coeur d'Alene

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho USA - August 5 2022: Downtown Coeur d'Alene, Idaho during one of it's annual street fair and festivals as vendor kiosks and booths line the main street, Sherman Avenue, at summer. Kirk Fisher/Shutterstock

Founded in 1888, downtown Coeur d'Alene now has over 100 stores and plenty of places to grab a satisfying bite to eat. Plus, this cute, walkable town is always putting on special events like Car d'Lane or a 250-vendor-strong summer street fair. Pop into the retail spaces on Sherman Avenue for keepsakes and gifts, or head to the Coeur d'Alene Resort Plaza Shops for high-end boutiques. Downtown CDA is also home to several galleries like The Art Spirit Gallery if you're in the market for some new artwork.

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05 Hike Tubbs Hill

A large pond with waterfall inside the public McEuen Park near resorts and Tubbs Hill in the lakefront town of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

The Tubbs Hill Natural Area is bordered on three sides by Lake Coeur d'Alene, so expect stunning lake and city views and a wild feel right in the middle of downtown. The main nature trail here is a 2-mile interpretive loop and is easy enough for kids. Tubbs Hill has secret beaches and opportunities to go bouldering and cliff jumping. While some portions of the trail are flat, it's not considered wheelchair, stroller, or bike-friendly. Ample parking is available at McEuen Park.

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06 Silver Mountain Resort

Silver Mountain Resort is around half an hour from CDA. This year-round destination promises multiple activities to suit a wide range of interests. In the winter, hit the slopes for excellent alpine skiing and snowboarding, or go mountain biking in the summer. North America's longest gondola provides a scenic 20-minute ride to all the outdoorsy action. Plus, stays at Silver Mountain Lodging come with access passes to Silver Rapids Waterpark, the Gem State's largest indoor waterpark, where you can surf and splash in heated pools even when it's snowing outside.

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07 Dine at local restaurants

CDA's dining scene is varied enough to accommodate whatever your tastebuds are feeling for. Dine with peace of mind at celiac-safe Izzy's Comfort Kitchen, or down a flavorsome Sloppy Joe and much more at Moon Time. Bardenay Restaurant & Distillery serves thoughtful, high-quality regional dishes at reasonable prices. Try the refreshing huckleberry-flavored drinks, the cheese board with divine candied walnuts, and the trout spread. For mains, the fettuccine alfredo or beef pho usually goes down a treat. Dine in a spacious room or out on the patio for fab sunset views. If you have to wait to get a table, hang out by the pond.

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08 Experience the North Idaho Centennial Trail

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, USA - October 4 2021: View of the Centennial Trail sign along the north shores of Lake Coeur d'Alene near Beacon Point and the Centennial Trail in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

This paved trail covers 24 miles along the waterfront to Higgins Point and connects to the Spokane River Centennial Trail, which goes for 37 miles. It's a boon for runners, walkers, and cyclists in the area and has two statues capturing the link between the folks of yesteryear and today. You'll pass neighborhoods and woodlands and see lots of waterfowl and birds.

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09 Attend local festivals

Three festive caramel apples with nuts against a rustic wood background

In addition to a classic car weekend in June and a buzzy food, arts, and crafts fair (Art on the Green and Taste of Coeur d'Alene) in August, which is wheelchair and stroller-friendly, there's lots to look forward to on Coeur d'Alene's calendar. Also, in June, the more athletically-minded can look forward to an Ironman edition. Oktoberfest is more of a September event complete with German food, and in October proper, there's the Fall Apple Palooza, a harvest celebration full of mulled cider, caramel apples, and yummy pies. Toward the end of November, the festive cheer ramps up with a Sherman Avenue lighting ceremony parade, including marching bands and floats. The evening culminates with carols and fireworks at Coeur d'Alene Resort.

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10 Enjoy water-based activities

A man fishing outside at dusk on a lake in the summer on a wooden dock and a chair in Ontario Canada travel

Coeur d'Alene is a water sports mecca. Try your hand at seasonal activities like paddleboarding, parasailing, or fishing. Beginners and more experienced anglers can test the Coeur d'Alene River for Cutthroat Trout—Row Adventures can organize a private fishing expedition for you. Spring is a good time for kayaking; you can rent equipment from Coeur d'Alene Resort Marina. Check out Coeur d'Alene Adventures for scenic whitewater rafting and more fun on the water. Be sure to follow safety recommendations.

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11 Visit the Coeur d'Alene Resort Spa

The Coeur d'Alene Resort Spa is an oasis with a tranquil ambiance and professional therapists. Book a hot stone massage to ease sore muscles after a day on the water or golf course—couples' massages are possible, too, for a romantic date idea. Treat yourself to a mani/pedi or facial, relax in the sauna and hot tubs, or indulge in a spa package like the 6-hour Northwest Dream. You can also get a haircut at the on-site salon should the mood strike. Check the website for seasonal specials.

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12 Explore nearby natural attractions

boating and exploring at hayden lake in idaho state near spokane washington

Take a drive to Hayden Lake, a mere 15 minutes from Coeur d'Alene, for game fishing and birding. Between late fall and spring, horned grebes abound. The Coeur d'Alene National Forest is also fantastic for hitting the trails, hunting, and camping. Escape the crowds with a morning hike, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy the mountains, abundance of greenery, and sounds of rustling leaves. The Mineral Ridge National Recreation Trail is a manageable day route, but don't forget to apply your bug spray and sunscreen and carry hydration.

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13 Play at Triple Play Family Fun Park

Children on water slide kali9 / Getty Images

Triple Play Family Fun Park in Hayden Lake is a one-stop shop for boredom-busting. If you've been to Silver Rapids Water Park already, you can double down on the aquatic slides at the small indoor water park here. Or test your hand-eye coordination at various attractions, including a bowling alley, a mini golf course, laser tag, go-karts, bumper boats, and a ropes course. Call ahead to confirm whether an attraction is currently open to avoid disappointment.

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14 Go on a scenic cruise

Lake Coeur d'Alene cruises occur daily, but look out for themed seasonal cruises for St Patrick's Day, Mother's Day, and other special occasions. They're a great way to make memories with your travel buddies. The captain provides everyone with interesting information about the area, and if you opt for a cruise with a meal, dietary restrictions can be accommodated. For something a little different, hop on a luxury Spacruzzi Hot Tub Boat and cruise in style, sipping on some bubbly while you sit in bubbling water.

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15 Participate in winter sports

Andre Schoenherr / Getty Images

When summer bids farewell, Lake Coeur d'Alene prepares for a different breed of adrenaline junkie. You can ski or snowboard at places like Silver Mountain Resort or go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at the Fourth of July Pass Recreation Area. Your vehicle will need chains for the heavy snow en route. Take the elements out of the equation and make your way to Frontier Ice Arena for public skating sessions.

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