Post Summary: A complete guide from a North Idaho resident on the best things to do in Coeur d’Alene for families.
After having traveled through most of “the Gem State” looking for the best things to do in Idaho, I’ve come to realize that Coeur d’Alene is one the best destinations for families in Idaho.
It strikes the balance of having a smaller-town vibe with tons of fun things to do with kids.
No shade to small towns since I happily live in the small town next to Couer d’Alene, but sometimes you need more options on what to do! With a myriad of fun outdoor adventures and stimulating indoor entertainment, you’re bound to find fun things to do in Coeur d’Alene with kids.
Here’s our completely experienced-based guide on the best kid-friendly things to do in Coeur d’Alene for families, whether you’re visiting for the first time or a local family looking for inspiration.
We’ll cover all four seasons since, let’s be honest, that hiking trail won’t be so useful when it’s January and there’s four feet of snow on the ground.
Looking for more info on Idaho? Check out our other Idaho articles.
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*This Thing To Do in Coeur d’Alene with families 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.
THINGS TO DO IN COEUR D’ALENE WITH KIDS
In this article, we’ll cover the best things to do in CDA for families, but if you want guidance on where to stay and tips for visitors, check out our article on the best things to do in Coeur d’Alene that’s geared towards all ages.
OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES WITH KIDS IN COEUR D’ALENE
Spending time outdoors is where Couer d’Alene shines for families. The city is an outdoor lovers paradise whether you’re skiing at Silver Mountain Resort, hiking Canfield Mountain, or paddle boarding Lake Coeur D’Alene. The outdoor scene is phenomenal.
Here are our picks for the top outdoor activities for kids in Coeur d’Alene.
Tubbs Hill in Coeur D’Alene is a 165-acre nature park in downtown CDA perched along the lake. The park offers several hiking trails that wind through the forest and the water’s edge. It’s also a fantastic spot for spotting eagles. The trails vary from easy to moderately challenging, making it an excellent park for all ages.
The Main Trail is a two-mile loop perfect for kids, with several spots to climb down to the water’s edge and throw rocks or swim if it’s the height of summer.
You can take spur trails from the main trail, including one that will lead you to the summit. You can see a map of Tubbs Hill and the trails here.
Tubbs Hill is also a popular spot for jumping off the rocks into the water.
The park is conveniently located next to McEuen Park, so you can easily combine a two-hour hike on Tubbs Hill with a picnic and fun playground time at the park.
Seasons: The park is open all year, with the best and driest months being June to September. We hiked Tubbs Hill in winter when there was light snow and still had a great time. We suggest using traction cleats in the winter. Bear in mind that accessibility in winter is dependent on the level of snowfall that year.
LAKE COEUR D’ALENE
If you’re visiting Coeur d’Alene with kids, 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, and stand-up paddleboard.
A lovely beach for visitors is City Beach at Coeur d’Alene City Park. It’s an ideal spot for families since it’s downtown, has a bathroom, food, a nearby playground, and fun play areas for kids.
Sanders Beach is on the other side of Tubbs Hills and is typically a little quieter than City Beach. You’ll need to bring your own food since the beach has no amenities.
You can rent kayaks and paddle boards at Coeur d’Alene City Park, conveniently located next to the Coeur d’Alene Resort. You can arrange a rental beforehand and even have the gear delivered to your vacation home through Kayak CDA.
SEASONS: Summer is the best time for the lake, but you can still enjoy kayaking the lake from late spring to early fall. Conditions will be different every year based on the weather.
READ NEXT: Lake Essentials Packing List For The Ultimate Lake Vacation
RENT A BOAT
Explore the lake with your own pontoon rental. We think pontoons are the best for families since they’re roomy, and you can have a large group of people on it or a small group that’s really spread out! We like to add on a tube rental, but you can also opt for wakeboards and water skis for an additional fee.
Boat rentals can be found from CDA Pontoons. Conveniently located downtown, you’ll take off from the CDA public launch at McEuen Park. They offer a rental range from 3 hours to 8-hour rentals. If you rent a boat on the weekdays, they have an excellent full-day discount of $450 for eight hours. In the height of summer, rentals can get booked out, so book early!
LAKE COEUR D’ALENE CRUISE
A great way to experience the lake is to book a scenic cruise through Lake Couer d’Alene Cruises. They offer many different cruises, including river, lake, eagle-watching, brunch and dinner, and more. We did the “Journey To The North Pole Cruise” in the winter, which was amazing.
The cruise offerings vary for each season, so check out their website to see all the cruises they offer.
Seasons: All Year
Idaho is known for having some of the best white water rafting in the US. If you’ve never been white water rafting with your kids, there are plenty of options that are super fun but light on thrills. The premier company in North Idaho is Row Adventures, which offers a great lineup of choices.
They recommend the Clark River Tour for kids under ten years old, but they don’t allow anyone under 7. The meeting point is in Montana and over 2 hours away, so it’s a trek from CDA but worth it if you’re looking for adventure.
Seasons: May to September
SCENIC FLOAT TRIP
If you want something with fewer thrills than whitewater rafting or want things to do in Coeur d’Alene with young kids, try out a scenic float trip down the Coeur d’Alene River with CDA Adventures. It’s suitable for all ages and is a slow, calm float down the river. We did it with our five-year-old and enjoyed our leisurely day on the water.
The guide talked about the area and stopped a couple of times to let us play in the water. I suspect older kids might get bored by it, but it’s a good option for the 4-6 age range.
Seasons: May to September
Did you know Coeur d’Alene has the longest floating boardwalk in the world? At under one mile, the boardwalk is located at the CDA resort and loops around the marina. I have to be honest, I’m a little skeptical that this fun fact about Idaho is accurate, but their website claims it…so it must be true, right?
Either way, it’s a pleasant walk in the summer with benches and an ice cream shop to satisfy your sweet tooth. During the winter holidays, the resort lights up the marina with festive lights, so it’s nice to grab a warm drink and walk it in the evening.
The boardwalk is slim, with sections that have no rails, so you might want to skip it if you’re going with young kids and don’t have a stroller or toddler carrier.
Seasons: Summer is the nicest, but it can be walked all year.
When looking for free things to do in Coeur d’Alene for families, McEuen Park is high on our list. This fantastic park in Downtown Coeur d’Alene next to Tubbs Hill has the city’s largest playground, walking paths, public bathrooms, pickleball, basketball, and a fantastic splash pad in the summer. Pack a picnic or grab food from Carambola and spend the day enjoying this gem of a city park.
The park hosts Live After 5, a summer concert series with touring artists every summer. You can see the event page and lineup here.
Seasons: The park is open all year.
COEUR D’ALENE CITY PARK
Coeur d’Alene City Park isn’t far from McEuen Park and can be visited on the same day if you want to tour awesome city playgrounds. The park has a swimming beach, sand volleyball courts, restrooms, picnic shelters, and the super cute Fort Sherman Playground. It’s a wooden playground that’s fully enclosed and has a magical fort-like feeling.
Every summer, the park has a free summer concert series. You can see the lineup here.
Seasons: The park is open all year.
MINERAL RIDGE NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
Coeur d’Alene has plenty of hiking trails that are suitable for families. The already mentioned Tubbs Hill is a great starting point for newcomers to Coeur d’Alene, but there are plenty of other trails to explore. We really enjoyed the Mineral Ridge National Recreation Trail.
It’s a 3.3-mile loop that has beautiful views of Lake Coeur d’Alene. The first part is the most challenging, with a series of switchbacks and an elevation gain of 767 feet that will undoubtedly tire out little legs. However, we were able to do it with our five-year-old, albeit with a lot of breaks! Once you reach Caribou Cabin (the first viewpoint), the hike gets easier, and the views get better and better!
For more kid-friendly trails in Coeur d’Alene, check out this list from All Trails.
Seasons: The best hiking weather is from June to September, but hiking trails can be done all year, weather permitting.
SILVERWOOD THEME PARK
About 40 minutes away from Couer d’Alene is North Idaho’s biggest theme park, Silverwood. It’s a fantastic theme park with four roller coasters, seventy rides, live shows, and a cute steam engine train show that will delight the youngest of the young. In the summer, your admission ticket also includes access to Boulder Beach Water Park.
It’s a fantastic day out with kids. The park is popular, so if you’re visiting in the height of summer, get your tickets beforehand and arrive there EARLY!
In the fall, the park turns into Scarywood Theme Park, a fun haunted park that includes all the rides plus scary mazes and other Halloween-inspired events. It’s a must-do in the fall!
Seasons: The park is open from late spring (typically sometime in May) and closes every year after Halloween.
A forty-minute drive from CDA is the excellent ski resort, Silver Mountain Resort. If you’re visiting in the winter, skiing, tubing, cross-country skiing, and snowboarding are the main draw of the resort, but in the summertime, you can take your pick from mountain biking, hiking, golfing, scenic gondola rides, huckleberry picking, and an indoor water park.
That’s right…an indoor water park! While the park is mainly open to hotel guests, they offer a limited number of tickets daily for visiting guests.
The park is also home to the longest gondola ride in North America. It’s a 3.1-mile ride and showcases stunning views.
Seasons: Fully open for winter and summer with limited to no opening in the shoulder season. If visiting in the shoulder season, consult their operations calendar to see when they’re open.
SEVEN STARS ALPACA RANCH
Outside of downtown CDA is a family-run alpaca ranch that welcomes visitors to see and experience firsthand the silly delight of alpacas. Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch offers daily guided tours that include how they started the ranch, a farm tour, and interaction with the alpacas and the other animals on the farm.
I wouldn’t go with your kids with the intention of getting cuddly with the alpacas, though. They are super cute to look at, but the alpacas aren’t too keen on being your kid’s life-sized stuffed animal. However, the sheep and goats are very eager for petting, so your kids can enjoy petting them. We had a great time on the tour and highly recommend it for families and animal lovers.
You can see our Instagram reel about the tour here.
Seasons: The ranch operates tours all year and changes the tour according to the weather. We went in the summer, and it was sublime.
TIP: The ranch is close to the previously mentioned Mineral Ridge National Recreational Trail. You can combine a morning tour with an afternoon hike. Before heading out for the day, pack a lunch or grab sandwiches at Capriotti’s or Bakery by the Lake at Parkside.
If you’ve got an adventure-seeking kid, one of the best things to do in Coeur d’Alene with families is to take to the skies on a parasailing adventure.
Operated by Coeur d’Alene Parasail, the ride gives you a birds-eye view as you sail 500 feet over the lake. Kids as young as four are allowed on the tour, and you can go alone or in tandem.
The flight is typically 10 minutes long and is a spectacular way to take in the beauty of Coeur d’Alene, Hayden, and Post Falls. A great time to book a ride is just before sunset when the city gets bathed in a golden glow.
Seasons: May to September
Our top choice for things to do in Coeur d’Alene with kids who like thrills is ziplining with Timberline Adventures. The course is phenomenal! Reaching heights of 400 feet, the course has seven ziplines, two sky bridges, and a fun tree house where you can have lunch or s’mores, depending on the package you buy.
The minimum age requirement is seven, with a minimum weight of 80 pounds. If your child is seven and under 80 pounds, they might be required to ride with a guide or lightweight sibling.
Seasons: The zipline tour operates from May to October.
BIKE THE NORTH IDAHO CENTENNIAL TRAIL
The most popular trail in Coeur d’Alene is the North Idaho Centennial Trail. The paved multi-use trail for bikes and pedestrians is 23 miles and begins at the Idaho/Washington state line and ends at Higgens Point. Portions of the trail offer views of the Spokane River and Lake Coeur d’Alene.
For visitors to the area that don’t have bike hitches, the trail runs through downtown CDA, and you can hop on with your kids from McEeuen Park or near the CDA Resort.
One thing to note is that the trail does have sections where it weaves onto the road with designated bike lanes. If your kids are really young and having their bike on the road makes you uncomfortable, use this map here to see which sections go onto the road so you can avoid them and start before or after.
Personally, we like the area near Higgens Point the best. There are views of the water, parking spots, and bathrooms along the way.
Seasons: The trail is open all year, but the best months are from June to September. In the winter, you can use a fat bike or cross-country ski the trail if it’s covered in snow. When we walked the path in January, it had been cleared, and we saw plenty of bikers.
If you need bikes, you can rent adult and children bikes from the Coeur d’Alene Bike Company, conveniently located in downtown CDA.
You can also rent e-bikes (my favorite!!) from Tour CDA in downtown CDA. E-bikes are regular bikes with an electric motor to assist when you choose. Perfect for when you want to cruise up that hill without burning your thighs inside out. Tour CDA offers better prices for e-bikes than the Coeur d’Alene Bike Company. The e-bikes from Tour CDA are for ages 14 and up. If you are biking with younger kids, you can rent a bike trailer for kids who can’t bike or a tag-along pedal bike (ages 4-9) that attaches to the back of the adult bike. You can see prices and secure a rental here.
BIKE THE TRAIL OF THE COEUR D’ALENES
An alternative option to the North Idaho Centennial Trail is the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes.
I prefer this trail since it doesn’t follow along the highway like the Centennial Trail, making it quieter and safer for kids. It’s also stunningly gorgeous in sections!
It’s outside the main area of Coeur d’Alene, so you will have to hitch your bikes to your car and find a starting point along the trail.
The trail is 72 miles and mostly flat, shaded, and parts of it wander along the Coeur d’Alene River. You can learn more about it here, along with tips on good spots for families. We did Cataldo to Enaviille and enjoyed that section. Here’s a great map of the trail.
Seasons: The trail is open all year, but the best months are from June to September. In the winter, you can use a fat tire bike, or cross-country ski the trail if it’s covered in snow.
Seasons: The park is open all year.
MUDGY MOOSE TRAIL
Young kids and toddlers will delight in the Mudgy Moose Trail, a 2 1/4 mile path that begins at Tubbs Hill and ends at Independence Point. The trail tells the story of Mudgy The Moose and his journey to find his friend Mille. Along the way, you’ll want to look out for five life-size bronze statues where Mudgy stops in his search for Millie.
It’s a cute little trail, and it takes you by McEuen Park, Downtown CDA, The floating dock, the CDA Resort, and Coeur d’Alene City Park making it a great way to get acquainted with the area.
You can learn more and get a trail map here.
Seasons: All year
FARRAGUT STATE PARK
Farragut State Park is a phenomenal state park and is perfect if you want to go on an easy hike or play in the waters of the beautiful Lake Pend Oreille.
While the state park is fantastic for outdoor exploration, it also has two amazing kid-friendly attractions: an 18-hole disc golf course and an aerial obstacle course.
The disc golf course is free to visitors, but you must bring your own discs or buy some at the visitor center. Little Black Bear is a beginner course and perfect for young kids.
They also have Tree to Tree Adventure Park, an aerial obstacle course with wobbly bridges, ziplines, ropes, Tarzan swings, and ladders that are an absolute blast! They have an adventure course suitable for ages ten and up and a kids course suitable for ages 6-9.
Seasons: Farragut State Park is open all year, but the aerial obstacle course only runs from June to September.
READ NEXT: Learn more about Farragut and what to do in our complete guide to Farragut State Park.
From May to September, the Kootenai County Farmers Market is abuzz with local produce, flowers, and artists from all over the region. It’s the biggest farmers market in North Idaho and has two locations. On Saturdays, the market is in Hayden, Idaho (a 15-minute drive from downtown CDA) from 9-1:30 PM, and on Wednesdays in downtown CDA from 4-7 PM.
The downtown market is a lively affair and usually includes live music and yummy food trucks.
Seasons: May to October
FORAGE FOR HUCKLEBERRIES
With huckleberries being the official state fruit of Idaho, come July and August, locals and visitors start scouring mountainsides to pluck off the sweet-tart fruit.
North Idaho is prime huckleberry territory and a fun activity on a warm summer day.
If you don’t feel like discovering your own huckleberry patch (it’s a guarded secret), you can head to Silver Mountain in Kellogg or Schweitzer in Sandpoint, where they will direct you to huckleberry patches.
*Remember to be bear-aware (bring bear spray) when you’re picking and to hand-pick the berries. We want those berry bushes to last for years!
If you don’t feel like picking it yourself, go into town, and almost every restaurant and bar in Coeur D’Alene will have something featuring the beloved huckleberry.
Every winter, McEuen Park in downtown CDA opens up an outdoor skating rink. Sold in 90-minute sessions, reserving a spot is a must so you can glide to your heart’s content. For an extra price, you can reserve a heated dome with unlimited hot chocolate for your friends and family. You can learn more and book your tickets at CDA on Ice.
*For anyone feeling unstable or for kids who are first learning, they have walkers you can rent.
If you want to go ice skating outside of the winter season, you can do indoor ice skating at Frontier Ice Arena.
Seasons: November to January
EXPLORE OUTSIDE OF COEUR D’ALENE
Coeur D’Alene is an excellent jumping-off point for exploring the rest of North Idaho. You can explore nearby areas like Sandpoint, Wallace, Spokane, and Priest Lake State Park.
For more info on what to do in the area, check out these posts:
- 15+ Adventures in the Charming Small Town of Wallace, Idaho
- 25 Places To Visit In North Idaho
- 25 Fun Things to Do in Sandpoint, Idaho
Indoor Things To Do In Coeur d’Alene With Kids
Figpickels is a gem of a store in downtown Coeur d’Alene. Packed to the brim with kid’s toys, the shop has classic toys (legos, blocks, stickers, cars), but they also offer a fun variety of unique toys you might not be able to find elsewhere. I particularly like their small book section built to feel like a magical forest.
Seasons: All year
TRIPLE PLAY + RAPTOR REEF INDOOR WATER PARK
Triple Play Family Park is a mega complex of kids activities that will get your young ones jazzed by all it offers. There’s mini golf, zip lines, go-carts, an arcade, bumper cars, a laser maze, laser tag, bowling, a ropes course, and more.
Oh yes, and there’s also Raptor Reef, an indoor water park! The scope of what they offer can be overwhelming, so check out the website because you have to pay individually for things or sign up for a package. We stuck to the arcade when we visited, and our kiddo had a blast. Here’s a breakdown of different pricing options.
Seasons: Open all year, but certain attractions might close for winter.
The CDA Carousel is a historic hand-carved carousel that dates back to 1922. It originally landed in Coeur d’Alene in 1942 when it was part of the Playland Pier. When the pier closed in 1974, the carousel was sold and traveled around the country. In 2017, the Carousel reopened back in Coeur d’Alene (you can read the history and how it all went down here) and is a beloved staple of the CDA scene.
It’s a sweet little carousel that’s completely enclosed, so it’s a great choice for rainy days! At $2.50 a ride, it’s an affordable fun way to get out with young kids.
Seasons: May to September
Go for some nostalgic fun and take your kids roller skating at Skate Plaza. It’s a cute rink with an arcade area sure to delight kids. They offer plenty of open skate times on the weekend, and it doesn’t get too busy, but we suggest getting your tickets beforehand to secure a spot.
Seasons: All year
MUSEUM OF NORTH IDAHO
While a museum might not be your first choice for fun family things to do in Coeur d’Alene, the Museum of North Idaho is a great choice if you’ve got a kid who would enjoy looking at the interesting displays about logging, railroad production, steamboats, and the Coeur d’Alene tribe. Plus, kids four and under are free!
Season: All year
Where To Eat With Kids In Coeur d’Alene
There are many great choices of where to eat in Coeur d’Alene with kids, but below are two dining options and two dessert options.
Hudsons is a must when trying out food in Coeur d’Alene. It’s a tiny old-fashioned burger joint that’s been in business since 1907. The burgers are phenomenal and are touted to be the best burger in Idaho. I would certainly say it’s the best burger I’ve ever had in Idaho. It’s first come, first served, so don’t arrive at peak lunchtimes. Be prepared for a line.
Their burgers include a made-to-order fresh patty, lightly toasted bun, sauce, pickles, cheese, and onion—that’s it. Also, don’t expect fries with that order. Instead, make sure to save room for their homemade pie.
What kid doesn’t like grilled cheese? Even parents will like the categories of Oozy Classics, Uncommon, and Extreme grilled cheese creations. With fun flavor combinations, Meltz plays with the classic grilled cheese.
Dockside is a restaurant, but kids will love going here for their famous “Gooey’s.” It’s essentially a gigantic ice cream sundae served in a glass goblet. They are huge! Two to three kids (or adults) could share one gooey, or you can ask for a personal-sized Gooey. There are all kinds of fun flavors, like the magical unicorn gooey and the cookie monster gooey (complete with a blue cookie monster cookie on top). It’s fun and a great way to have a treat with your kids.
Panhandle Cone and Coffee
While Dockside above offers fun ice cream concoctions, we prefer Panhandle Cone and Coffee. It’s an Idaho-born business that sources local ingredients to make the best ice cream in Idaho. It’s earned that distinction from Yelp, and we have to agree. It’s phenomenal.
They have fantastic flavors like buttermilk huckleberry, roasted strawberry, and salted caramel & brown butter cookie.
READ NEXT: Check out more great places to eat in CDA in our article on favorite restaurants in Coeur d’Alene.
Seasonal Activities With Kids In Coeur D’Alene
Check out our favorite things to do in Coeur d’Alene for kids for each season.
Coeur d’Alene offers plenty of winter activities for families, including:
- Skiing and snowboarding at nearby mountains like Schweitzer and Silver Mountain.
- Ice skating at CDA on Ice.
- Sledding at Cherry Hill Park
- Snowshoeing at the 4th of July Recreation Pass Area
- Watching the convocation of eagles at Higgens Point
READ NEXT: For more in-depth winter recommendations, check out our article on what to do in winter in Coeur d’Alene.
As the snow melts away and the flowers start to bloom, Coeur d’Alene comes alive with springtime activities. Here are some of my top picks for families:
- Visiting the Coeur d’Alene Farmers Market for fresh produce and handmade goods
- Taking a bike ride on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes or the Centennial Trail.
- Exploring the Tubbs Hill Nature Trails
- White water rafting adventure on the Spokane or St. Joe River.
Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the beautiful lakes and parks in Coeur d’Alene. Here are some of my favorite summer activities for families:
- Swimming and sunbathing at City Beach or Sanders Beach
- The splash pad at McEueun Park.
- Attending the Coeur d’Alene Street Fair and Art on the Green
- Checking out the Coeur d’Alene Flea Market on the second Sunday throughout the season.
- Mountain biking at Silver Mountain.
- Foraging for huckleberries.
As the leaves start to change and the air gets crisp, Coeur d’Alene offers plenty of fun fall activities for families. Here are some of my favorites:
- Picking apples and pumpkins at nearby orchards in Washington like Green Bluff or Beck’s Harvest House
- Taking in the fall colors on a hike at Canfield Mountain.
- Attending the annual Scarywood Haunted Nights at Silverwood Theme Park
We hope you are inspired and found some fun ideas for what to do in Coeur D’Alene for families!
We’ll continue to update the post as the city introduces fun new things for kids.
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