Ready to plan your next vacation, filled with outdoor adventures like biking, swimming, thrill rides, and boating? Check out what the city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho has in store for families who enjoy some adventure along with their relaxation. You’ll fall in love with the northwest after taking a dip in the majestic Lake Coeur d’Alene and relaxing alongside beautiful evergreen pines.
6 Reasons to Fall in Love with Coeur d’Alene
Recently named one of the top fall foliage drives in America, the city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho has beauty a plenty to entice those looking for an outdoor getaway. Coeur d’Alene is the largest city in the northern panhandle of Idaho and the second largest metropolitan city in Idaho. Our family has enjoyed six vacations to the city, so here’s a look at what we love about the place affectionately called CdA and why it’s a perfect location for a your next family vacation.
Lake Coeur d’Alene
The heart of the city rests along the majestic Lake Coeur d’Alene, a cool 25-mile-long body of water surrounded by the iconic Pacific Northwest evergreen trees. We’ve enjoyed many an afternoon lounging in the sunshine and cooling off with a quick dip in this beautiful lake. You can even rent a vacation home and boat to explore the coves and wildlife along the shoreline. If you’re a sucker for sunsets, you might want to book a ticket aboard the sunset lake cruise, something we’ve considered but have yet to experience.
City Park Beach
One of our family’s favorite ways to enjoy Coeur d’Alene is at City Park and Beach. We often stop at a local Subway store to grab some sandwiches then head to the paid parking lot for the park. The park is huge, stretching across 16 acres, and includes the sandy City Beach, a perfect spot for swimming and sandcastle building. We often find ourselves heading out for some exercise and boat watching by taking at stroll along the long dock that juts out from the edge of City Beach and features a towering bridge that gives you a new perspective on the lake and surrounding shoreline.
Ft. Sherman Playground
Once you’re done at the beach, head into City Park for the kids to get their wiggles out at the large Ft. Sherman playground. It’s a massive wooden-castle playground that has seen many games of hide-and-seek from my kiddos. I’ve also heard “just one more time mommy” many times at the spinning tire and swings. Adults will find benches around the playground, so it’s a good time to enjoy your favorite drink and watch as your kids play.
Silverwood Theme Park
Probably one of the biggest draws for our family visits to Coeur d’Alene is Silverwood Theme Park, located about 45 minutes north of the city center of CdA. The park has two sections, Silverwood Theme Park, which features roller coaster rides, attractions and shows, and Boulder Beach, their waterpark featuring slides, a wave pool, and a lazy river. Your park admission offers entrance to both parks and they’re connected by a short walkway. Take note that the waterpark is only open during the summer season. In the fall Silverwood runs a Scarywood Haunted Nights on the weekend evenings, so plan your trip accordingly.
For our family, the log ride at Silverwood is always a favorite, although be warned you might get a wet surprise at the end. The train ride is also a great way to get off your feet for a while; however there is a staged robbery on the train during the ride, so prepare your kids in advance. On the waterpark side, we love the family raft slide, but expect to practice patience while waiting in line. We also love relaxing in a tube as we float along the lazy river.
Mornings and afternoons are the peak time for the waterpark. Attendance will lighten as the day goes on as people head over to spend their remaining time at Silverwood which typically has a later closing time. Here’s an insider secret: the park gates typically open before the scheduled open time, so arrive early to get a leg up on the crowds.
North Idaho Centennial Trail
Being active as a family is one of our favorite ways to enjoy a family vacation, and the North Idaho Centennial Trail is a great way to get out and exercise as a family. We’ve taken some walks along the multi-use trail, and often see bicycling families enjoying time together. The 24-mile trail begins at Lake Coeur d’Alene, so don’t get too overzealous and forget to allow for the return trip time when planning your outing.
IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene
One of the more notable times our family has visited CDA was for the IRONMAN triathlon when my husband completed the grueling 140.6 mile swim, bike, and run course. He remarked that it’s amazing how so many of the city residents come out to cheer on the athletes and keep them going during the trying race.
The city really gets behind supporting the IRONMAN event and athletes, so much so that IRONMAN has now added a 70.3 (half) course race to the city as well as the full event. Even if you’re not a triathlete, taking part as a spectator is quite exhilarating and inspiring. Take note of the dates for these two races (June and August) because it will greatly affect your accommodation options and pricing.
These are just a few of the great activities Coeur d’Alene has to offer families. There are also amazing holiday events like the Holiday Light Show, as well as a quaint downtown shopping district featuring fun stores like Figpickles Toy Emporium and regular artwalk events. Golfers will rejoice at the beautiful Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course, and skiers can hit the slopes at the nearby Silver Mountain and Schweitzer Mountain Resorts.
What would be your adventure of choice in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho?