Alyssa has been writing about exciting travel topics for Trips to Discover since 2013. After living the big city life in Chicago, Washington, DC, and Atlanta, Alyssa sold the bulk of her possessions and became a digital nomad, living full-time in her camper and working from wherever she could find an outlet and an internet connection for her laptop.
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If you enjoy mountains, forests, and waterways that are perfect for outdoor recreation, then you’re going to fall in love with Coeur d’Alene. This northern Idaho town is perfect for getting outside to play and experience the rugged beauty of nature. Here are the top things to do in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
The Tubbs Hill area is a natural destination that spans about 120 acres of land near Lake Coeur d’Alene. Here you’ll find lots of great opportunities for hiking, scenic views, and photo opportunities. Check out the 2.2-mile interpretative trail, visit the nearby McEuen Park, and bring your dog along on a leash.
The city of Coeur d’Alene is affectionately referred to as “Lake City” because of it’s proximity to amazing lake recreation. Lake Coeur d’Alene is a great place to go boating, kayaking, sailing, and swimming. It’s fun to rent a boat when you visit the area to get out on the water and simply relax while enjoying the peaceful scenery. There are also guided cruises offered on Lake Coeur d’Alene that you can book to enjoy views of the island golf green, learn about local history, and enjoy a delicious meal. Meanwhile, fly fishing is a popular activity in the Coeur d’Alene area, and there are local guide shops to set you up with everything you need to make a big catch.
Coeur d’Alene has a charming downtown area that’s worth exploring during the day and at night as well. A top spot to check out is Sherman Avenue, which is lined with art galleries, shops, and eateries. The most to see and do here is between 5th Street and the Coeur d’Alene Resort. The Kootenai County Farmers’ Market is also worth stopping by to pick up some fresh produce and browse the unique crafts for sale. Depending on when you visit, you may be able to check out a festive parade, holiday lights, or local event when you’re in downtown Coeur d’Alene.
You might not expect to see alpacas in Coeur d’Alene, but there’s a great ranch here worth visiting called Seven Stars. The Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch is run by long-time Alaskans who moved to this 40-acre plot of land on Folsom Ridge Road. You can visit and take a 90-minute guided tour in the summer at 11am and 5pm and in the winter at 11am. In addition to the adorable alpacas here, you can also see llamas, cattle, goats, horses, dogs, cats, chickens, mini donkeys, and mini horses here. The farm even has a two-bedroom cottage available through Airbnb that is cozy, newly renovated, and really lets you interact with the farm animals in a meaningful way.
It’s also interesting to see Coeur d’ Alene from high above the water, which is why parasailing is a popular activity here. You can book a parasailing ride over the Coeur d’Alene River for a tranquil ride that’s more peaceful than packed with adrenaline. CDA Parasail offers standard single to stratosphere double rides. The rides last about 10 minutes, extend out with 600 to 800 feet of line, and some packages include photos of your big adventure. The local parasailing company also rents paddle boats, paddle boards, and kayaks if you arrive in town without your own gear and want to get out onto the water.
To get some exercise and see the northern Idaho landscapes up-close, plan to take a bike ride on the North Idaho Centennial Trail. This is a 24-mile trail that is free from cars and perfect for checking out the local scenery. The trail, which used to be a railroad line, provides for scenic stops along the way to rest on park benches and also opportunities to hop off the trail and explore parts of town. If you’re up for a long-distance ride, take the Centennial Trail to where it connects to the Spokane River Centennial Trail and cross the border into Washington.
The Coeur d’Alene area is also a great place to be if you love winter sports, and the Silver Mountain Resort offers top-notch skiing and other snow sports. There are 73 trails, 1,600 acres of terrain, and two mountains here to check out on your skis or snowboard. It also gets over 300 inches of snow annually and has resort lodging options in the condo developments. The resort is about 30 miles east of the city and also offers a golf course and the largest indoor water park in Idaho. In the summer, families come here for hiking, mountain biking, and gondola rides.
Bald eagle viewing is a popular thing to do in the Coeur d’Alene area, so bring your binoculars to try to see some flying majestically through the sky. The Tubbs Hill is a common area where you may see bald eagles, especially in the winter. The Bureau of Land Management’s Lake Coeur d’Alene Eagle Watch Week is at the end of December each year, but the bald eagles migrate through here from November all the way through February. Suggested viewing areas are Higgins Point, Mineral Ridge Boat Ramp, and Mineral Ridge Trailhead. The weekly counts of bald eagle sightings in recent December weeks range from 209 to 367.
This national forest is just east of the city and covers over two million acres of land. There is so much open space to explore here on the hiking trails, lakes, and campgrounds. In this forest region, you can see stunning waterfalls and also native animals, such as elk and grizzly bears. It is part of the Idaho Panhandle National Forests, along with the St. Joe and Kaniksu National Forests. Plan to stay at one of the four developed campgrounds along the Upper Coeur d’Alene River, the Hayden Lake developed campground or one of the two Coeur d’Alene Lake campgrounds to make a weekend adventure out of your trip to Coeur d’Alene.