Nestled away in the northwest of Idaho is the scenic city of Coeur d’Alene. Surrounded by majestic mountains, forests, and rivers, it lies alongside the sparkling lake of the same name.
Due to its natural riches, many people come here to relax, unwind, and enjoy some outdoor activities amidst its spectacular scenery. While its varied landscapes offer up some marvelous things to do in Coeur d’Alene such as hiking and adventure sports, sailing and watersports can be enjoyed out on the large lake, too. Here as well you can often spot eagles diving down and snatching fish up from the water.
Formerly an important center of mining and forestry, its lively yet laidback downtown now instead primarily caters to tourists. Dotted with parks and museums, it has enough shops and restaurants for you to amuse yourself before heading off and exploring Idaho’s great outdoors.
In this post, we'll cover:
14. Coeur d’Alene National Forest
Covering a huge area to the east of the city are the almost endless and idyllic confines of the Coeur d’Alene National Forest. Besides boasting lots of stunning scenery and nature, it has all kinds of fun outdoor activities for you to enjoy.
Part of the Idaho panhandle, its rugged mountains and verdant woods have been protected as part of a park since 1906. As well as being home to miles and miles of gorgeous nature trails, you can fish, swim, and kayak about its lovely lakes and rivers.
In addition to hiking and biking, you can hunt in the forest and stay overnight at its rustic campsites. Some great cross-country skiing and snowmobiling can also be had in winter.
13. Museum of North Idaho
If you want to learn all about the history of the region, then the excellent Museum of North Idaho is simply a must. Lying alongside both City Park and the lakefront, it contains loads of interesting old artifacts and interactive exhibits.
First opened to the public in 1973, it now occupies a large modern building not far from downtown. Packed with well-done displays and dioramas, it covers everything from Scandinavian settlers and the fur trade to leisure, logging, and local Native American tribes.
Other sections look at steamboats, sawmills, and the expansion of the city over the centuries. Asides from browsing its collection of jewellery, beadwork, and antique equipment and tools, you can attend talks and temporary exhibits at the museum.
12. Play Golf
Over the last few decades, Coeur d’Alene has developed into a major destination for golf enthusiasts and professionals, too. In total, around half a dozen immaculate courses can be found in the area, set in scenic spots alongside lakes and forests.
Of these, the exquisite Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course has attracted high praise and international recognition for its challenging holes and unique layout. Particularly noteworthy is its floating green out on the lake which is only accessible by ferry.
While it is known for its exceptional service and upscale amenities, there are other pristine greens around town to try out. Both the Circling Raven Golf Club and Prairie Falls Golf Club are popular options as is the city’s public golf course.
11. Silverwood Theme Park
The largest amusement park in the Northwest, Silverwood is home to over sixty thrilling rides and rollercoasters. Besides classic carnival games, bumper cars, and carousels, it also has a wild and wet waterpark for visitors to splash about in.
Since opening in 1988, the fun-filled theme park has delighted generations of young and old alike with its exciting attractions. After experiencing its exhilarating inverted and spinning roller coasters, you can try out its drop tower, log flume, and Ferris wheel.
Scattered about the park are snack stands and souvenir stalls, while a narrow-gauge railway winds its way here and there. On top of all its slippery slides and wave pools, it hosts an annual Halloween event called Scarywood which attracts hordes of costumed revelers. Sure to delight all the family, it lies half an hour’s drive north of town.
10. Silver Mountain Resort
With a spa, indoor waterpark, and underground mine tours also on offer — Silver Mountain is not just your regular ski resort. A year-round destination, its shining condos, shops, and Morning Star Lodge are located just forty minutes’ east of Coeur d’Alene.
Established in 1968, the enormous resort sprawls across two snow-coated mountains and occupies the vast valley of the same name. Its total vertical drop reaches an impressive 2,200 feet with its 75 trails being serviced by several chairlifts and the longest gondola ride in North America.
Aside from skiing, snowboarding, and tobogganing about its slopes, visitors can relax and unwind at the spa, play rounds of golf, and take a tour of its historic mine. In summer, the surrounding mounts are a treat to hike and bike about.
9. Farragut State Park
Another stupendous nature spot to hit up is the fantastic Farragut State Park at the south end of Lake Pend Oreille. With the majestic Coeur d’Alene Mountains rising up all around it, the quiet lakefront park is the perfect place to enjoy some outdoor activities.
Formerly a training base for the US Navy during WWII, it was eventually turned into a state park in 1966. Nowadays, plenty of picnic areas and cozy campsites are strewn along its shoreline, alongside facilities for archery and disc golf among others. A small museum on the history of the naval facility is also located on-site.
While some people prefer to hike, cycle, or horseback ride along its shimmering shores, others dive right in for a refreshing dip. Boating and watersports can also be enjoyed out on the beautiful lake.
8. McEuen Park
Recently renovated, McEuen Park is home to loads of outstanding amenities and attractive outdoor spaces. Lying along the Centennial Trail, its playgrounds, splash pad and playing fields are tucked away in between Tubbs Hill and downtown.
Covering quite a large area, it encompasses lush lawns, rock features, and a small stretch of the lake waterfront. As well as both basketball and tennis courts, there are pavilions, outdoor gym equipment, and a leash-free dog park. Some interesting public art installations also line its pedestrian paths and cycle trails.
While the city’s largest playground and splash pad will appeal to kids, the park’s amphitheater has some superb live music for everyone to enjoy. In addition, you can also stop by its moving military memorial or rent boats at its marina.
7. North Idaho Centennial Trail
If you want to see more of the city and its surroundings, don’t skip the North Idaho Centennial Trail. Stretching 24 miles in length, the picturesque paved path takes you right from Higgens Point all the way to Washington.
After following the lake’s northern shoreline and then the Spokane River to the border, it continues on as the Spokane River Centennial Trail. While walking, jogging, running or cycling the rambling route, you can bask in divine views over its twinkling waters. From time to time, eagles and eaglets can be spied above the reflective lake.
The path also passes through some wonderful parks and pristine nature spots. While some parts are calm and quiet, others snake their way through bustling neighborhoods and built-up areas.
6. Zipline through the forest
Another even more exciting way to see more of Coeur d’Alene is to zipline around its nearby forests and mountains. From downtown, Timberline Adventures whisks you on unforgettable tours through the trees at hair-raising speeds and heights.
The top-rated outdoor adventure company in the area, they have seven world-class ziplines for you to try out. While shooting about the canopy and down steep mountainsides, you can enjoy sweeping views of the valleys, lakes, and rivers below.
They also have two lofty sky bridges and auto belaying stations to explore. Visitors can also stop for a tasty lunch amidst the treetops while drinking in the epic panoramas on show. With expert guides on-hand, you’ll feel safe, secure, and learn more about the region’s landscapes and landmarks.
5. City Park
Back in the center of town is the scenic City Park which occupies the waterfront west of downtown. Besides its beautiful views and beach, it has plenty of paths, picnic areas, and playgrounds for locals and tourists alike to enjoy.
Lining the lakefront is a lovely tree-lined promenade for you to stroll along peacefully. Alongside it is the park’s soft, sandy beach and a secluded swimming area. From its long boardwalk you can rent kayaks and arrange sightseeing cruises or parasailing trips around the lake.
The sprawling park contains lots of landscaped green spaces, a spacious playground, and basketball and volleyball courts. Movie nights and live music performances are regularly held at its bandshell as are community events and festivals.
4. Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch
On the southeastern outskirts of Coeur d’Alene, you can find the Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch perched atop a ridge. Home to dozens of the distinctive creatures, the working farm also has bunnies, goats, and other animals to stroke and feed.
While ambling its pastures and paddocks, you can see the animals frolicking about and enjoy superb views over the surrounding mountains and forests. Although the miniature horses, donkeys, and llamas are very cute, the highlight is of course its huge herd of alpacas.
Asides from exploring the farm, you can also stay overnight at its cottage with its owners Andy and Sonia being very friendly and welcoming. Before heading off, make sure to stop by its gift shop and purchase some warm alpaca wool blankets, rugs, and sweaters.
3. Tubbs Hill Nature Trails
Protruding out into the lake just south of downtown is the hulking great Tubbs Hill. Now protected as a park, the rugged and rocky peninsula is crisscrossed by a myriad of enticing nature trails.
As the humongous hill is surrounded on three sides by water, hikers often come across spellbinding vistas over the lake. Some gorgeous scenery and nature is also on show with its diverse landscapes, including some rough terrain, coniferous woods, and pebble-strewn coves. As well as enjoying all its phenomenal panoramas, you can sunbathe and swim at some of the hidden spots along its shores.
Popular with locals and tourists alike, the picturesque park and its peaceful nature trails feel a world away from the city center.
2. Downtown Coeur d’Alene
A very charming spot to explore, Downtown Coeur d’Alene is home to lots of little shops, local bars, and booming businesses. Bordered by both City Park and McEuen Park, its bustling blocks lie just a stone’s throw from the lake.
The main place in town to eat, shop, and go out, its streets are lined by over a hundred retail stores and specialty boutiques. Antique stores and art galleries are also scattered about as are coffee shops, fast food outlets, and family-run restaurants.
During the warm summer months, a vibrant farmers market takes place, while decorations and fairy lights are strung up around Christmas. At any time of year, locals and visitors can enjoy some lively nightlife in the numerous bars and nightclubs that dot downtown.
1. Coeur d’Alene Lake
The city’s standout sight and defining feature though has to be the large and lovely lake upon which it lies. Formed during the last Ice Age, its tranquil waters are enclosed by forest-covered mountains with beautiful beaches, bays, and viewpoints lining its shores.
One of the largest natural lakes in the state, it has all kinds of exciting outdoor activities for visitors to try out. Besides hiking and biking about its lakefront parks, you can swim and splash about in the lake with lots of wonderful watersports being on offer. These include not just kayaking and boating but jet skiing, kite surfing, and parasailing too.
While sunbathing or enjoying some of its action-packed activities, keep an eye out for the amazing eagles which often swoop about above the lake’s reflective waters.