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At the southern end of the Idaho Panhandle near the Washington Border, Coeur d’Alene is a scenic city filled with fun things to do. The city’s most defining feature is the massive Lake Coeur d’Alene backdropping the downtown district to the south. Waterfront attractions like Tubbs Hill and Coeur D’Alene City Park are located here, and popular recreational activities surrounding the lake include hiking trails, camping, fishing, and boating.
But Coeur d’Alene’s appeal extends well beyond the lake. The city is infused with the stunning natural environment encompassed by the Idaho Panhandle. These natural surroundings provide opportunities for mountain hiking, bicycling, and easy traveling to some of Idaho’s best state parks. And with snowy ski resorts not far away, recreation in Coeur d’Alene extends throughout the year.
It’s the culture and community of Coeur d’Alene that also draws a crowd. This people appeal is most prevalent in the lakeside downtown district, where several local shops, restaurants, and green spaces catch the eye. Make the most out of a visit with our list of the top things to do in Coeur d’Alene.
➡️ See more posts about Lake Couer dAlene
1. Lake Couer d’AleneLake Coeur d’Alene
Lake Coeur d’Alene is one of Idaho’s best lakes and one of the largest natural lakes in the state. Campgrounds, hiking trails, and beaches line the shores of the 25-mile lake, and popular activities atop the water include jet skiing, fishing, kite surfing, and launching a watercraft at one of twelve public boat launches.
The northern shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene creates a beautiful backdrop for the city and is the most developed area for tourists. Spots near the water like Tubbs Hill and Coeur d’Alene City Park offer excellent views across the lake and toward the opposing mountainsides. Other areas like McEuen Park and The Coeur d’Alene Resort also provide enjoyment near the water.Docks on Lake Coeur d’Alene | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane
Simply looking out over the water from the beach at Coeur d’Alene City Park adds to the experience of visiting the city, especially when seaplanes land near the shore. A great wildlife spectacle occurs every winter on the lake when hundreds of bald eagles fly in to feed on spawning kokanee salmon, making for a great photo opportunity and reason to visit.
For those looking to get on the water themselves, nearly every type of watercraft can be rented from surrounding marinas and concessionaires, as well as a variety of chartered fishing experiences. Lake Coeur d’Alene Cruises, near City Park, also offers daily scenic cruises.
2. McEuen ParkAvista Pavilion at McEuen Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane
McEuen Park is a centerpiece public space for the city and the perfect place for the entire family to spend the day. Home to the city’s largest playground, McEuen Park also features basketball courts, impressive pavilions, and a leash-free dog park. The abundant green space is also conducive to activities like tossing frisbees, picnicking, and laying out.
Public art lines the bike trails and pedestrian paths that cross through the abundant green space of the park. Other eye-catching installments include a beautiful grand plaza area with landscaped waterfalls and garden beds. And a nearby Veterans Memorial facilitates a peaceful time for reflection during the day.Waterfall at McEuen Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane
The trailhead for Tubbs Hill can be found at the southwest corner of the park next to the water. This popular trail system is one of the best spots in town to catch the sunset. And the adjacent Rotary Harbor House provides summer-fun concessions and seating with a view overlooking the lake.
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3. Stroll around Downtown Coeur d’AleneDowntown Coeur d’Alene | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane
With shopping, dining, and live entertainment, something is always happening on the streets of downtown Coeur d’Alene. Backdropped by a beautiful waterfront area, the downtown area has over 100 retail stores, including specialty boutiques, fine art galleries, and antique shops for special treasures.
Dining can be enjoyed throughout the day in downtown, starting with breakfast spots like The Garnet Cafe and ending with Beverly’s for fine dining in the evening. Another iconic spot in Coeur d’Alene, Hudsons Hamburgers, has served up hot Huddy Burgers since 1907. This classic no-frills burger spot is a must-visit on any trip.Hudsons Hamburgers | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane
Community celebrations that take place in the downtown district include holiday lighting events and festive parades. And a weekly Farmers Market takes place on Wednesdays throughout the warmer months of the year.
Official site: http://www.cdadowntown.com/
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4. Hike at Tubbs HillHike at Tubbs Hill | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane
Tubbs Hill is a publicly owned natural space featuring elevation and overlooks of Lake Coeur d’Alene. It’s located near downtown, with the main trailhead adjacent to McEuen Park. Miles of hiking trails stretch up and around Tubbs Hill including a 2.2-mile lakeside interpretive loop, which circles the entire hill.
Great for anytime-of-the-year nature walks and bald eagle viewing in the winter, Tubbs Hill is a popular outing for families, trail runners, and photography enthusiasts. Tubbs Hill is accessible via different trailheads from surrounding city streets, though the main trailhead is located next to the Rotary Harbor House in McEuen Park. This trailhead provides restrooms and concessions, alongside interpretive information about the area.Tubbs Hill | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane
Tubbs Hill encompasses 165 acres and offers a few different routes to follow. The two most prominent trails include the Main Trail, which circles the entire space, and the Summit Trail, which climbs to the top of Tubbs Hill. For the best views, it’s recommended to check out the Main Trail, where lakeside cliffs overlook the water. Several side trails extend from this Main Trail for other sneak peeks at the lake.
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5. Bike the North Idaho Centennial TrailNorth Idaho Centennial Trail | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane
The North Idaho Centennial Trail is a 23-mile pedestrian path that takes in some of the best sights of the region. It stretches from the Idaho/Washington Border to Higgins Point on the eastern shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Bicycling is a popular way to navigate the trail, and walkers, joggers, and strollers are also commonly seen sharing the pavement.
Originally a railroad line, scenic stops on the Centennial Trail include Heyburn State Park, McEuen Park, and Mineral Ridge Scenic Area. Across state borders into Washington, the trail connects with the Spokane River Centennial Trail, which extends to some of Spokane’s top attractions including Riverside Park.
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6. Enjoy the Nice Weather at Coeur d’Alene City ParkCoeur d’Alene City Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane
On the waterfront west of downtown, Coeur d’Alene City Park features 16 acres of beach and landscaped green space complete with an inviting playground. For an easy way to connect with the surrounding scenic environment, a cement promenade separating the beach and green space is lined with trees and is great for afternoon strolls.
From the beach area, passing boats on the lake add to the attractive backdrop, as do the seaplanes that touch down on the water.The historically themed and recently renovated Fort Sherman Playground is a big hit within the city park for young children and parents alike.
Coeur d’Alene City Park holds a variety of engagements and is a center for community attractions and events. A few park events include movies in the park and live music in the bandshell. The North Idaho Centennial Trail passes right through the park, encouraging further exploration heading toward the campus of North Idaho College.
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7. Get a Good View on the Mineral Ridge National Recreation TrailMineral Ridge View of Lake Coeur d’Alene | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane
Mineral Ridge is a historic, scenic area east of town. It’s also home to a 3.3-mile National Recreation Trail that overlooks Beauty Bay of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Starting from the paved parking area and picnic shelters of the trailhead, the trail consistently ascends and switchbacks up Mineral Ridge. The total elevation gain is approximately 700 feet, giving this hike a rating of easy to moderate.
Interpretive markers along the trail correspond with a guidebook published by the Bureau of Land Management. The guidebook is typically available at the trailhead and details the flora, fauna, and history of this early developed recreation site. Also at the trailhead are covered picnic shelters and vault toilets.
The view overlooking Lake Coeur d’Alene atop Mineral Ridge is well worth the moderate effort. The top offers a couple of different scenic overlooks and additional picnic areas, but the best view comes from the westernmost point of the route, approximately two miles into the hike. Come winter, this viewpoint is a popular place to spot the hundreds of migrating bald eagles making their way through the area.
Official site: https://www.blm.gov/visit/mineral-ridge-scenic-area-and-national-recreation-trail
Read More: Best Hiking Trails in Idaho
➡️ See more posts about Take a Trip to Silver Mountain Resort
8. Take a Trip to Silver Mountain ResortMountain biking at Silver Mountain | Justin Brockie / photo modified
Forty minutes east of Coeur d’Alene, Silver Mountain Resort is a family-friendly getaway featuring skiing, mountain biking, and year-round retreats into nature. Over 70 named ski routes define much of the winter fun at Silver Mountain. Other cold-weather attractions include winter festivals, day camps, and North America’s longest gondola.
Lift-accessed mountain biking and hiking trails provide miles of fun things to do during the warmer months of the year. Tee-times are recommended at the adjacent Galena Ridge Golf Course, and the indoor Silver Rapids Waterpark at the resort appeals to young swimmers throughout the year.
Address: 610 Bunker Avenue, Kellogg, Idaho
Official site: www.silvermt.com
➡️ See more posts about Visit the Museum of North Idaho
9. Visit the Museum of North IdahoMuseum of North Idaho | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane
Adjacent to Coeur d’Alene City Park and the downtown district, the Museum of North Idaho presents multimedia exhibits covering the history of the Coeur d’Alene region. From railroads to recreation and including logging history and artifacts of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, every aspect of Coeur d’Alene is on display at the museum.
Photos and information about the 1941 Playland Pier and 1958 introduction of Hydroplane Races on Lake Coeur D’Alene are particularly interesting permanent exhibits. Other slices of Coeur d’Alene on display include the Scandinavian explorers that settled in the region and the municipal evolution of the nearby McEuen Park. The museum also oversees the historic Fort Sherman Chapel just a few blocks to the west.Fort Sherman Chapel | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane
A store at the museum offers a great selection of local-history publications and handmade jewelry and crafts. Free admission is offered during the city’s Art Walk on the second Friday of each month.
Address: 115 Northwest Boulevard, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Official site: http://www.museumni.org/
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10. Stay at The Coeur d’Alene ResortPhoto Source: The Coeur d’Alene Resort
Overlooking Lake Coeur d’Alene between Coeur d’Alene City Park and McEuen Park, The Coeur d’Alene Resort is a landmark place to spend the night. It offers over 300 accommodations ranging from lake-view tower rooms to spacious suites oozing with style. And with a central downtown location, guests never have to drive their car after arriving at the resort.
It’s not just the rooms and suites that put The Coeur d’Alene Resort on the map. The facility offers several guest experiences that add up to an incredible vacation. Most notably, the resort operates a professional 18-hole, par-71 golf course just a few blocks east on the lakeside. A famous 14th hole floating green is the most prominent feature of this popular course.
The resort offers other amenities, including spa services and several dining options. Special packages and deals are often available for different types of vacations. It’s also a popular spot for large corporate events or special occasions, including weddings. The resort also features standard hotel amenities, including an outdoor pool, fitness facility, and complimentary breakfast in the mornings.
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11. Enjoy the Day at Cherry Hill ParkCherry Hill disc golf course | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane
Cherry Hill Park is another excellent open space located northeast of downtown on the other side of Interstate-90. Several park amenities draw a crowd here, including a leash-free dog park and BMX track. The outdoor space also features a local-favorite 18-hole disc golf course. Tennis and pickleball courts are also available.
The playground areas at Cherry Hill Park are also a popular amenity. The playground resembles a large firefighter’s helmet and is dedicated as a 9/11 Memorial Playground. The surrounding Fallen Heroes Plaza at the park provides interpretive information and memorials for fallen heroes from Idaho and beyond.
Cherry Hill Park is also a popular place to visit in winter. The large hill adjacent to the parking lot is a magnet for sledding and kid-friendly winter recreation. After any snowfall in Coeur d’Alene, expect crowds of multi-colored sleds flying down the hill.
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12. Camp at Farragut State ParkCamping at Farragut State Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane
Forty minutes north of Coeur d’Alene on the southern tip of Lake Pend Oreille, the largest lake in Idaho, Farragut State Park is a sprawling natural space nestled within the mountains of north Idaho. The park encompasses an impressive 4,000 acres and serves as an important piece of history, once being home to the Farragut Naval Training Center during the second World War.
Hikers, cyclists, and horse riders use the miles of trails that span throughout the park. Lake enthusiasts also find their fill with available boat launches and swimming access at places like Beavery Bay Beach. And as one of the best places for camping in Idaho, the park offers over 200 sites, including access to shower houses and modern restrooms.Disc golf hole at Farragut State Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane
Farragut is also a well-known disc golf destination, with four professional 18-hole courses spread throughout the forest and meadows of the park. A beginner’s putt and approach 18-hole course is also on the grounds. All the disc golfing at Farragut is accessible from a single parking lot within the park.
Address: 13550 ID-54, Athol, Idaho
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13. Explore Coeur d’Alene National ForestCoeur d’Alene National Forest | D. Taylor in Idaho / photo modified
Encompassing the large swath of forest directly east of the city, Coeur d’Alene National Forest is part of the larger Idaho Panhandle National Forests, which covers 2.5-million acres of land between Idaho, Washington, and Montana. Numerous recreational activities stem from the forest land throughout the year. Some popular activity outlets include miles of multi-use trails; rustic campgrounds; freshwater lakes; and opportunities to fish, hunt, and experience nature.
One of the most popular recreation spots of the forest accessed from Coeur d’Alene, Hayden Lake is reached via a 20-mile drive from the city. Remote spots within the forest like the Little Guard Lookout rental cabin enable unique overnight experiences, and popular developed areas to spend the night include the Honeysuckle and Bumblebee Campgrounds.
Come winter, the landscape of the national forest lends to snowmobile and cross-country skiing adventures. The entirety of the Panhandle National Forest can take a lifetime to explore, and other areas of high interest include Priest Lake farther north and the St. Joe River area south of the city.
Official site: https://www.fs.usda.gov/ipnf
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14. Weekend Trip to Heyburn State ParkHeyburn State Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane
Heyburn State Park is the oldest state park in the Pacific Northwest and is less than a 45-minute drive south of Coeur d’Alene. The sprawling state park encompasses over 5,500 acres and lends access to three stunning lakes: Chatcolet, Benewah, and Hidden Lakes. The St. Joe River also meanders nearby.
A few of the popular activities at Heyburn state park include hiking, bird-watching, and riding bicycles on the 73-mile paved Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes. Aquatic recreation is also popular with so much water nearby. The park provides swim spots and kayak, canoe, and paddleboard rentals at Rocky Point Marina.
Heyburn is also a popular spot for camping. Nearly 130 sites spread throughout the park cater to primitive tent camping and full hookup RVs alike. Cottage rentals and group campsites are also available. Hawley’s Landing is a popular campground at Heyburn, featuring immediate access to a lakeshore trail and beautiful bird blind.
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15. Drive to Falls ParkFalls Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane
Ten miles west of Coeur d’Alene, Falls Park is a family-friendly and universally accessible play area. This popular city park is based around the Post Falls Dam, which helps regulate water levels in nearby Lake Coeur d’Alene. Alongside viewing platforms of the various hydrodynamics, Falls Park also features a large playground area including an ADA-compliant swing.
The half-acre children’s fishing pond is also popular at the park and features accessible fishing bridges, shoreline, and platforms. Other nature trails in the park and interpretive information make Falls Park a fun destination or detour for a day.
Address: 305 West Fourth Avenue, Post Falls, Idaho
More Related Articles on PlanetWare.com
More to Explore in Idaho: This state offers much to explore and experience, from seeing the attractions of Boise to spending time at the best resorts in the Idaho. Other cities worth exploring include Twin Falls and Idaho Falls. For a look at highlights around the state, see our article on Idaho’s top tourist attractions.
Exploring nearby Montana: Bordering parts of Idaho on the east is Montana, another state worth taking some time to explore. The top-rated tourist attractions of Montana range from glacier-strewn peaks to underground caverns. The hip and historic cities of Bozeman and Missoula are both fun to visit and provide a collegiate appeal, and the resort town of Whitefish, which features access to world-class skiing and Glacier National Park.
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