It's a good time to remind people what a beautiful and fun place Coeur d'Alene, Idaho is. As the city proudly proclaims, almost "every street ends in a park or on a beach."
In many ways, it's where Spokanites go to get away - for a day at least. The small resort town vibe, the expansive Lake Coeur d'Alene, and specialty shops along Sherman Avenue engage the senses and make a person feel refreshed.
Below is a list of things my wife and I enjoy doing in the "Lake City," but you'll find there's much more to explore.
1 City Beach
The best things in life are free, I'm told, and walking the paved path, lush lawn, or sandy beach proves the rule.
The view is pretty, the people - and pet - watching is good here, and some shaved ice, popsicle, or ice-cream treats are sure to be nearby.
Parks and Rec
You can find a full list of Coeur d'Alene beaches and parks here.
2 Lake Coeur d'Alene Cruises
Cruising Lake Coeur d'Alene is a summer tradition, with cruises for families, cruises for music fans, and "booze cruises" - a rite of passage for those celebrating their first season as an adult, and a must for those that refuse to grow up.
Whether you're gulping soda or sipping a fancy cocktail, nothing beats watching the sunset on an evening cruise.
3 Art Community
I fancy myself an artist, so I find inspiration in Coeur d'Alene's galleries, filled with gorgeous paintings, impressive sculptures and other fine art pieces. Most of it is too expensive for my wallet, but I always feel richer for taking the time to look.
Okay, full disclosure: I don't golf. But I have ridden around the Couer d'Alene Resort Golf Course in a cart while helping to host events there, and it is an amazing, world-class property. How do I know? Who else has a world-famous floating golf-green... That was featured in a Tiger Woods video game?
The shops along Sherman Avenue are mostly one-of-a-kind, so grab that nostalgic candy from your youth at Mrs.Honeypeeps Sweet Shop, clothing and decor from All Things Irish, and something for the little ones at Figpickels Toy Emporium.
Beverly's is a no-brainer for special, romantic occasions. Dockside is another fine choice. And there is no end of affordable eats on Sherman Ave, ranging from burgers and brews, Italian and vino, fish and chips... You name it. And if you want to drive away from the Lake for a bit, there's a Texas Roadhouse nearby; one of the few big chain restaurants that excite my wife and I.
7 Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort
In my opinion, there are two casinos in the area (the other in Airway Heights), that are several notches above the competition. Coeur d'Alene Casino easily makes the cut with a wide selection of brand-familiar slot machines like Wonder Woman, the Flintstones, and Willy Wonka, along with onsite Bingo, Golf and live events. The food is fantastic as well! My wife and I love the fish tacos at Red Tail Bar & Grill.
8 Silverwood Theme Park and Boulder Beach
Technically, Silverwood is in Athol, which is fun to say because it sounds like... you know. But if you have the kids in tow, or are a big kid yourself, it would be hard to pass up a day at this Western themed fun-park, with world-class rollercoasters and other dizzying rides.
Bring your swimsuit and rent a locker to spend a day at Boulder Beach, full of huge waterslides, a wave pool, a lazy river and more wet attractions. The best summer day money can buy!
9 Scarywood Haunted Nights
In October, Silverwood Theme Park becomes Scarywood. In addition to the rollercoasters (at least one of which will run backwards for the Halloween celebration), Scarywood adds several haunted experiences, each with a different theme, making these the best scares this side of Universal Studios.
10 Triple Play Family Fun Park
If Silverwood is number one on your North Idaho bucket list, you may consider staying at Triple Play Family Fun Park in Hayden. Yes, you can sleep there, as the bumper cars, mini-golf, dark ride, laser tag, and more are attached to a family friendly hotel. And Raptor Reef, an indoor waterpark - with a dinosaur theme! So even if mom and dad are tired and want to take a nap, the excitement never needs to stop. And since the waterpark is indoors, you can have summer-style fun AND celebrate Halloween up the street. Or Christmas.
11 Holiday Lights at the Coeur d'Alene Resort
The Holiday Light Show at the Coeur d'Alene Resort is a can't-miss in the winter. By that I mean, you can't miss it - just follow the glow. And make sure it leads you to both sides of the hotel, because the twinkling beams of holiday magic are both on land, and on water.
Coeur d'Alene is a gem in our region, much like the Bavarian Village in Leavenworth, or the wine scene of Walla Walla. Places like this deserve to be treasured, preserved, and enjoyed by everyone.