Outdoorsy mom and young son walk on a ridge looking out at lake Coeur d'Alene.

Lake Life and Beyond: 25 Ways to Enjoy Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

With outdoor adventurers, foodies, celebrities, and family travelers flocking to northern Idaho, you might wonder, what’s so special about Coeur d’Alene?

Where do I begin? With Lake Coeur d’Alene at the base and the Coeur d’Alene mountains surrounding the city, Coeur d’Alene is a haven for those who love BIG nature.

But that’s not all Coeur D’Alene offers; it also has fantastic food, a thriving art scene, and fun festivals that happen year-round.

As a family who lives next to Couer d’Alene and loves to continually explore all the new offerings in our area, here’s our list of 25+ fantastic things to do in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, for every type of visitor.

*Most of this list of things to do in Coeur d’Alene is geared toward spring through fall, but check out our winter post for Couer d’Alene if that’s when you’ll be exploring. Also, if you want a kid-specific post, check out our article on the best things to do in Coeur d’Alene for families.



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*This Thing To Do in Coeur d’Alene post contains affiliate links, which means we might earn a small commission if you purchase from them. This is at no extra cost to you. We only suggest what we think is helpful to you.



*If you want to see the activities I suggest below in video format, check out the Instagram reel we made in partnership with Visit Idaho about some of the best things to do in Coeur d’Alene. Give us a follow while you’re there!


QUICK GUIDE TO COEUR D’ALENE, IDAHO

Here’s a quick guide to help you with planning your trip to Coeur d’Alene.

CLOSEST AIRPORT

The best airport for getting to Coeur d’Alene is the Spokane Airport (GEG), located in Spokane, Washington. It’s 20 miles from the Idaho border and about a 40-minute drive from Coeur d’Alene. 

You will need to rent a car to get around Coeur d’Alene and explore the areas around the city. You can find car rentals at the Spokane airport or in Coeur d’Alene.

You can rent a car and search for the best deals through Rentalcars.com.

WHERE TO STAY IN COEUR D’ALENE

The CDA Resort
sleek high ceiling room with brown leather couch, white chairs, and potbelly stove in corner.
Luxury Suite Rental. Image courtesy of VRBO.

We’ve stayed at several hotels in Coeur d’Alene, and all of them have been excellent in different ways. Here are some great hotels and home rentals in Coeur d’Alene that range from budget to luxury accommodations.

The Coeur d’Alene Resort: The CDA Resort is the most high-end lodging choice in CDA. It offers lake-view rooms, restaurants, a golf course, a spa, and rentals to help you enjoy your stay. The biggest perk is that the resort is on the water and right next to Coeur d’Alene City Park. It’s in downtown CDA, so the location is excellent, and you are within walking distance of countless shops and restaurants. You can see prices and reviews for the CDA Resort here.

Springhill Suites By Marriott: This is an excellent mid-tier hotel that has a pool and free breakfast. It’s right outside of downtown CDA, so it’s not walkable to the main attractions, but downtown is an easy five-minute drive away. It’s a great choice for families since it’s an all-suites hotel, and in the warmer months, they have a small splash pad and a three-hole putting green. You can see prices and reviews for the Springhill Suites on Booking or TripAdvisor.

Best Western: A budget-friendly choice, the Best Western has basic rooms with comfortable beds. They have a pretty nice free buffet breakfast that my five-year-old was very pleased with. They also offer free dinners for kids with a paying adult. Best Western is located a seven-minute drive from downtown CDA. You can see prices and reviews for the Best Western on Booking or TripAdvisor.

Riverstone Village Rental Home: Another option is to rent a vacation home through VRBO. It’s a great option for groups or families since you can cut costs by cooking meals and pay a comparable price to a hotel but get your own home! This two-bedroom home sleeps 5 and comes with adult beach cruisers. It also has bunk beds and kid’s toys, making it a great home for traveling families. You can read reviews and see prices here.

Luxury Executive Suite: This one-bedroom guesthouse is the perfect getaway for a couple or small family. Luxurious amenities like high-end appliances and a rain shower help elevate this chic rental. It’s also within walking distance from the lake, restaurants, and the Coeur d’Alene Resort. You can read reviews and see prices here.

You can also browse VRBO here and apply your own filters to find the house that’s right for you.

GOOD TO KNOW

Coeur d’Alene is pronounced by locals as core-duh-lane. In French, it means “heart of the awl,” which is what the French traders called the Native Americans they met in northern Idaho. The name refers to the sharpness of the trading skills exhibited by the tribal members in their dealings with visitors. The name stuck and is the name for the lake, the mountains, the city, and the English name for the Coeur d’Alene tribe.

Coeur d’Alene is often shortened and referred to as CDA. I’ll be doing that in the article!

RECREATE RESPONSIBLY

Since many of the things to see in Coeur d’Alene center around outdoor activities, we invite you to be good stewards of the land by practicing the tenets of Leave No Trace. The Leave No Trace movement is rooted in backcountry exploration, but the basic principles of respecting wildlife and proper trash disposal apply to everyone. We want to leave Idaho beautiful so everyone can enjoy its incredible landscape.


25+ FUN THINGS TO DO IN COEUR D’ALENE, IDAHO

Enjoy Lake Coeur d’Alene

If you’re coming to Coeur d’Alene, it’s a given that you’ll want to spend time enjoying the beauty of Lake Coeur d’Alene. It is the second-largest lake in northern Idaho and has 135 miles of shoreline to explore. Fun ways to enjoy the lake include by kayak, boat, stand-up paddleboard, or a lake cruise.

Popular beaches to sit out and play in the water include the city beach at Coeur d’Alene City Park and Sanders Beach. Sanders Beach is a quieter beach with no amenities, while Coeur d’Alene City Park has bathrooms, rentals, and a playground for kids.

You can rent kayaks and paddle boards at Coeur d’Alene City Park, conveniently located next to the Coeur d’Alene Resort. You can also arrange a rental ahead of time and even have the gear delivered to your vacation home through Kayak CDA.

Rent A Pontoon Boat

Escape the summer crowds by renting your own pontoon boat and relishing the privacy. If chill lake vibes aren’t your thing, you can take it up a notch by renting wakeboards or tubes and zig-zagging your friends or kids around.

You can get a boat rental from CDA Pontoons, where they take off from the public launch at McEuen Park. Rental times range from 3-8 hours, and for an additional fee, you can add on a wakeboard, tube, or waterskis. Coeur d’Alene is popular in the summer, so I suggest getting a rental as soon as you know you want to hit the lake. CDA Pontoons offers a great weekday discount, so check that out if you’re enjoying the lake on a weekday.

You can see prices and secure a boat rental here.

Parasail over Lake Coeur d’Alene

Looking for more adventurous things to do in CDA? How about flying 800 feet over the lake? Get a birds-eye view of the lake with Couer d’Alene Parasail. You can go alone or in tandem, and kids as young as four can enjoy the ride. In truth, parasailing may seem like an adventure sport, but once you’re up in the air, it’s a beautiful and, dare I say, relaxing way to take in the splendor of Lake Coeur d’Alene.

Tip: I highly recommend booking a tour before sunset. The colors and overall mood are pretty incredible!

You can see prices and book a tour here.

Walk Tubbs Hill

Tubbs Hill in Coeur D’Alene is a 120-acre park in downtown CDA along the water. The trails vary from easy to moderately challenging, making it a great park for all ages. If you’re visiting the park in summer, you’ll want to bring your bathing suit so you can try jumping off rocks or wading into the water at the pebble beach areas.

It’s a beautiful respite that locals and visitors alike flock to for its beautiful views and access to the lake. In the winter, it’s a great spot to see eagles hunting for fish in the lake.

Hike the Mineral Ridge Trail

If you’re looking for a more intense hike or want to explore outside of downtown Coeur d’Alene, take a scenic drive to the Mineral Ridge National Recreation Trail. This 3.3-mile loop trail offers stunning views of Lake Coeur d’Alene, specifically Beauty and Wolf Lodge Bay. It has an elevation gain of 767 feet and is a moderately challenging hike. With lots of breaks, we did it with our five-year-old. The first half of the hike is a series of switchbacks that take you up to the first viewpoint, Caribou Cabin. After that first viewpoint, the hike gets easier, and the views get better and better!

Hike The Surrounding Area

mother and son sit on bench looking out at a blue lake in Idaho. The young boy points to a green mountain in the distance.
Hiking at Farragut State Park.

Tubbs Hill and Mineral Ridge Trail are two of the most popular trails in CDA. That doesn’t mean they aren’t worth doing! However, if you’re looking to escape the crowds completely, you’ll need to get in your car and explore the epic mountains and ridges surrounding the city. Check this article for a list of amazing hikes near Coeur d’Alene to find a trail that best suits your desires.

Explore the City Parks

kids playing at splash pad in McEuen Park in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
The splash pad at McEuen Park.

Coeur d’Alene is home to two extraordinary city parks, Coeur d’Alene City Park and McEuen Park. Both vibrant parks have festivals, live music, beautiful sights, walking paths, and playgrounds.

Coeur d’Alene City Park is where you’ll find a large strip of public beach where you can sunbathe and play in the water. Both are excellent and highly recommended if you’re looking for fun and free things to do in Coeur d’Alene with kids.

McEuen Park has the advantage of having a fantastic splash pad in the summer. McEuen Park is also where you can access Tubbs Hill. In the summer, the park has its annual Live After 5 concert series. You can see the event page and lineup here.

Stroll Downtown Coeur d’Alene

When visiting Coeur d’Alene, you’ll want to reserve some time strolling through downtown to take in the shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Sherman Avenue is the main thoroughfare, but it’s best to wander the streets and see where you end up. From the All Things Irish store to the Blackwell Gallery, there are plenty of fun local shops to make every type of visitor happy.

Kootenai County Farmers Market

lush collection of fresh vegetables at farmers market

From May to September, the Kootenai County Farmers Market is abuzz with fresh produce, flowers, and local artists from all over the region. The market is the biggest farmers market in North Idaho and has two different locations. On Saturdays, the market is in Hayden, Idaho (a 15-minute drive from downtown CDA) from 9-1:30 PM, and on Wednesdays, it is in downtown CDA from 4-7 PM.

Segway City + Food Tour

A unique and fun thing to do in Coeur d’Alene is to book a guided Explore Coeur d’Alene Segway Tour. This highly rated activity takes you through downtown and the main attractions in Coeur d’Alene, making it a great choice for someone who wants to see everything in one day. Plus, segways are really fun! You’ll wear headsets while the guide teaches you about the history of the area. When we were in Coeur d’Alene, we saw the tour pass by us, and it seemed like they were having a lot of fun. Learn more about the tour here.

Another option that they offer (and my preferred tour!) is the Segway Taste of Coeur d’Alene Tour. You’ll jump on some segways, zoom around downtown Couer d’Alene, and try out local food in Coeur d’Alene. You’ll sample from some of Coeur d’Alene’s best restaurants, including Carambola for Latin-inspired dishes, Bangers and Mash for creamy mashed potatoes, and local hand-crafted beer and cider. It’s an awesome tour and perfect for foodies. You can see what other kinds of food they offer and book a tour here.

ATV Tour

Have a true North Idaho experience by riding through Idaho’s famed forests on an ATV. You can either ride alone or with a friend, and you’re free to take the pace that suits you, whether that’s calm and chill or wild and adventurous. You’ll see parts of North Idaho that many never see. A great activity for the entire family. You can learn more about the itinerary and book an ATV tour here.

Check out Local Artists

Coeur d’Alene has a thriving art scene, mainly in part due to excellent organizations like the Coeur d’Alene Arts and Culture Alliance, which ensures the art scene is alive and flourishing. You can check their website here to see what events are currently happening. You can also stroll downtown and check out fantastic galleries like The Art Spirit Gallery, Cisco’s Gallery, and Coeur d’Alene Galleries.

For a fun night out, you can go to Pinot’s Palette, an art studio that offers evening “sip and drink” classes for every skill level. Drink a little wine and follow a template, or paint your own unique piece of art. They even offer classes for kids!

Zipline Over The Trees

One of the best things to do in Coeur d’Alene for thrill-seekers is to spend a day ziplining at Timberline Adventures. With seven zip lines, two sky bridges, and heights of 400 feet, you’ll be sure to get an adrenaline boost. You can choose from four tours, including a S’mores tour and a treehouse lunch adventure. We loved our time there and highly recommend it!

Bike the Trails

Biking the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes.

A fantastic biking trail in Idaho is the 1,311-mile Centennial Trail, which starts in Washington, crosses the state line, and meanders down to Southern Idaho. The North Idaho Centennial Trail is 23 miles and is a multi-use trail for pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles. With views of the Spokane River and Lake Coeur d’Alene, it’s a great way to take in the lush scenery of North Idaho. The trail can be easily accessed from Downtown CDA, whether you hop on at McEuen Park or near the CDA Resort. If you need bikes, you can rent them from the Coeur d’Alene Bike Company, conveniently located in downtown CDA. Here’s a map of the part of the trail that runs through CDA.

An alternative option to the North Idaho Centennial Trail is the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes. I prefer the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes since it’s quieter and easier to navigate with kids. The Centennial Trail has portions that follow along the highway, so I like the more tranquil ambiance of the Trail of the CDAs.

The Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes is outside of CDA, but it’s a beautiful drive and a great way to explore the little towns outside of CDA. Here’s a good map of the trail.

BIKE RENTALS
If you need bikes, you can rent them from the Coeur d’Alene Bike Company, conveniently located in downtown CDA.

You can also rent e-bikes ( my favorite!!) from Tour CDA. They offer better prices for e-bikes than the Coeur d’Alene Bike Company. E-bikes are regular bikes with an electric motor to assist when you choose. You can see prices and secure a rental here.

Ice Cream at Panhandle Cone

Try out Idaho’s best ice cream (according to Yelp) at Panhandle Cone and Coffee. Sourcing their ingredients locally, they have a variety of flavors that will make every ice cream fan happy. How does Salted Caramel & Brown Butter Cookie, Buttermilk Huckleberry, or Roasted Strawberry sound to you? Check their Instagram page for seasonal offerings and up-to-date news.

Golf on A Floating Green

Tee off at the only floating green in the country. Located at the CDA Resort Golf Course, the 14th hole is a floating green in Lake Coeur d’Alene. Depending on the day, the tee ranges from 90 to 220 yards—a unique challenge that many never make! Every year, divers pull thousands of golf balls from the lake. Besides the thrill of a unique floating green, the course is renowned and a must-do for any golf enthusiast.

Fine Dining at Beverly’s

For a fine dining experience in CDA, reserve a table at Beverly’s for a luxurious and romantic dinner overlooking Lake Coeur d’Alene. The restaurant boasts a two-million-dollar wine collection and is a must for anyone who loves steak dinner.

While Beverly’s is a fantastic splurge, plenty of other restaurants in town offer great food at a more affordable price. For an in-depth guide to eating in CDA, read our post about great places to eat in Coeur d’Alene or check out our Instagram reel about eating in CDA.

Insider Tip: Beverly’s is tough on the wallet. I can’t lie. If you make a reservation before 5:30, you can opt for the “Lakeview Menu for Two” for $80. It’s a bargain compared to what you would pay! We did it for the two of us and ordered from the kid’s menu for our son. Bam! You have to ask for the menu since our waiter didn’t offer it to us.

Sip North Idaho Wine at CDA Cellars

Fine wine might not be the first thing you think about when you say North Idaho, but Coeur d’Alene Cellars has been crafting wine out of Coeur d’Alene since 2002. With a beautiful tasting room and delicious small bites, the winery is a great way to spend an evening sampling local wine. They also have events and live music, so check their website to see what’s happening.

CDA Resort Spa

If you’re looking to luxuriate and be senselessly pampered, then booking a treatment at the Coeur d’Alene Resort needs to be on your must-do list. With beautiful lake views, you can choose from a couples massage, facials, body treatments, and more.

Alpaca Farm Tour

Auburn colored alpaca staring at the camera at an alpaca farm in COEUR D'ALENE.

Fifteen minutes outside downtown Coeur d’Alene is Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch, a family-run alpaca ranch that welcomes visitors to meet its alpacas, goats, sheep, rabbits, and mini horses. The ranch offers a daily guided tour that includes insight into what it does and plenty of interaction with the animals. We had a great time on this tour and were pleasantly surprised by how well the owners ran it. It’s clean, fun, informative, and fantastic for families or animal lovers.

You can see our Instagram reel about the tour here.

Museum of North Idaho

For history buffs looking for things to do in Coeur d’Alene, a stroll over to the Museum of North Idaho offers valuable insight into the region’s history. The small museum explores the area’s history of logging, railroad production, steamboats, recreation, the Coeur d’Alene tribe, and more.

Old Mission State Park

Old mission in a blue sky near coeur d'alene idaho

A 30-minute drive from downtown CDA is Idaho’s oldest building, the Cataldo Mission. Now a state park, the church was built between 1850 and 1853 by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and Jesuit Missionaries. It’s a beautiful park that sits high on a ridge with sweeping views of the Coeur d’Alene River and mountains. For an extra fee, you can visit the excellent museum that tells the story of the mission and the complex relationship between the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and the missionaries. We highly recommend the museum!

Whitewater Rafting or Scenic Float

Take to the water and see why Idaho has some of the best white water rafting in the country. ROW Adventure Center in Coeur d’Alene is a premier adventure company that can take you out for the day and assure your safety. The St. Joe River near CDA is an excellent choice for beginners who want light thrills, and the Lochsa River is ideal for experienced rafters looking for big thrills.

If you’re traveling with a young child or want something more relaxed than whitewater rafting, take a scenic float trip down the Coeur d’Alene River with CDA Adventures. It’s suitable for all ages and is ideal for anyone who is looking to calmly float down the river and soak up nature while learning about the area from the guide. The guide stopped a few times at rocky beaches to let us swim and play in the water.

Silverwood Theme Park

roller coaster in North Idaho

Located in Athol, Idaho, about a 40-minute drive from Coeur d’Alene, is Silverwood Theme Park. The park has seventy rides, four roller coasters, a steam engine train, and live shows that families and the young at heart will thoroughly enjoy.

In the summer, you can also visit  Boulder Beach Water Park, a waterpark that includes a lazy river, two wave pools, a kid’s splash area, and multiple water slides. It’s perfect for anyone who has explored the city and is looking for fun options for other things to do near Coeur d’Alene.

CDA Casino and Resort

Are you feeling lucky? Then make the 30-minute drive from downtown CDA to the Coeur d’Alene Casino. This award-winning resort has a 60,000-square-foot casino with almost 1200 video gaming machines. The property also has a golf course, a spa, a restaurant, and an upscale hotel.

Silver Mountain Resort

Mother and son walk a gravel road in the distance on a mountain ridge.

About forty minutes from downtown CDA is Silver Mountain Resort, an excellent ski resort that offers fun outdoor activities year-round. The mountain bike park is a premier park in Idaho and is highly recommended for anyone who loves mountain biking. If mountain biking isn’t your thing, take your pick from huckleberry picking, hiking trails, golfing, and an indoor water park. The water park is primarily for hotel guests, but they do offer a limited number of tickets daily for visiting guests.

They also have the longest scenic gondola ride in North America, at 3.1 miles long. It’s a beautiful way to take in the Bitterroot Mountains.

Farragut State Park

Beaver Bay is a shallow swimming area at Farragut State Park.

Farragut State Park is a fantastic park rated by Conde Nast as the best state park in Idaho. Located on the southern tip of Lake Pend Oreille, what was once a World War II-era naval training station is now 4000 acres of land to hike, bike, fish, kayak, swim, camp, and explore.

In addition, they have an aerial adventure course from Tree To Tree Adventure Park that features zip lines, Tarzan swings, and ladders. You can also check out the 18-hole disc golf course for all skill levels. It’s a fantastic state park and highly recommended for anyone looking for fun day trips from Couer d’Alene. Day visitors can enjoy swimming at Beaver Bay or hiking the beautiful Shoreline Trail.



READ NEXT: A Local’s Guide To Farragut State Park


Explore Outside of CDA

There is so much to see just outside of Coeur d’Alene that is an easy car ride away. We are partial to the charming lake town of Sandpoint, but there’s also the wild and reclusive Priest Lake and the mining town of Wallace.

For more guidance on what to do outside of CDA, check out these posts about the towns just outside of Coeur d’Alene.



That’s our complete list of fun things to do in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. There are always new activities in Coeur d’Alene popping up, so let us know if we miss any.

Happy Travels!

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