This post finds me in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I am here with my folks. My dad is seeing a specialist about his Lyme disease and to say my parents are terrible travelers is kind of an understatement. So I offered to come along and hopefully make the trip a little easier for them.
Spending time in Coeur d’Alene (or CDA as the locals call it) is anything but a hardship. This area of my home state is beautiful and there is plenty to do. I have done a couple of things with my folks, but mostly I am on my own and without a car. Luckily, it is not too hard to have a good time here, even without a car. Below are some suggestions for what to do if you are like me and have a little time to kill in beautiful Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Take a bike ride
This area is rife with options for riding your bicycle. I won’t touch the subject of mountain biking since I could not be less informed. I just know that if you like to do it, there are plenty of places to go. For those of us who like a nice paved path, one does not have to search too hard to find a good one. Both the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes and the Route of the Hiawatha are super close to CDA. But if even those are too far, you can do what I did and hop on the North Idaho Centennial Trail, a 23-mile long trail that runs right through town. It is not too hilly and has fantastic views.
If you do not arrive with your own bicycle, there are a couple of shops in town that can set you up. I headed to Vertical Earth, a friendly shop that had me riding down the street in under 15 minutes. A half day cost me $25. I rode around for a couple of hours, taking in the beautiful sights around me. It was an excellent way to see both the city and the surrounding area.
Eat at Hudsons Hamburgers
There is a reason this hamburger joint has been in business since 1907 and is a favorite with the locals. It is small and a little overwhelming if you do not know what you are doing. Luckily, the menu is limited so it is not too hard to make a choice on the spot (which is what happened to us). There were seats available when we walked in, but we wanted to eat outside since the weather was so nice. By the time we got our burgers, there were no seats available and the line was out the door. It was a very good burger and super cheap. I definitely recommend it. Just prepare yourself to wait in line and/or be a little overwhelmed when you first walk in.
Hike Tubbs Hill
This little gem is located within walking distance of downtown. Tubbs Hill is over 120 acres with several miles of hiking trails. Lake Coeur d’Alene borders three sides of it so the scenery is nothing short of spectacular. There is a 2.2 mile interpretive trail (pick up a guide at the visitors center) that follows the perimeter. You can complete that in under an hour, or find a secluded beach and relax. Either way, Tubbs Hill makes a great place to spend some time.
Follow the boardwalk
The boardwalk around Coeur d’Alene Resort is the longest floating boardwalk in the world. Sounds impressive, right? Well, it will not take long if you decide to walk around it. It is just under ¾ of a mile. Whether you think that is far or not, it is a fun thing to do. If you are lucky, you will have sunshine and blue skies. This gives you the opportunity to take some great photos.
Cruise the lake
I’m not going to lie, this was not the most exciting thing I did. In fact, as we were docking, I overhead another passenger say, “Well that was kind of boring but very relaxing.” Lake Coeur d’Alene Cruises offers a couple of options for getting out on the lake. I signed up for the 90-minute scenic cruise which takes you around part of the lake and provides commentary on the area and its history. You get to see some incredible houses and catch a view of the floating green (Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course boasts the world’s first, floating, movable green). But there is a lot of downtime. And I do not think I would enjoy the cruise in less-than-fair weather. But I did enjoying views and I learned a lot.
Splurge at Wolf Lodge
A local told us that Wolf Lodge was her favorite place to eat. Lucky for us, were we in the area (it’s located about 20 minutes east of CDA…in the middle of nowhere). We arrived just after they opened for dinner (they are not open for lunch) and a good thing we did. This place is very popular and reservations are recommended. Had we not arrived early, we would not have gotten a table. After trying the steak, I can see why this place is so popular. The atmosphere and décor also contribute to a fun and unique experience.
Go shopping in Coeur d’Alene
Downtown CDA is not large. In fact, you can easily see it in a day in my opinion. But there are fun shops to slip into and explore. My bag will definitely be a little heavier going home. I especially enjoyed KnitKnit and Mix It Up. Both had unique offers and made for a fun shopping experience.
Take a break at Shenanigans
A coworker of mine told me about Shenanigans Toy Emporium. She said it was an ice cream shop that made delicious crepes. She was right. They serve up other tasty treats as well. Given they also sell toys, I was worried they might be trying to do too much. But I have no complaints about my order and would definitely recommend this place. However, I did not do any toy shopping so I cannot vouch for that part of the shop.
Coeur d’Alene is beautiful and fun city in Northern Idaho. Whether you find yourself killing time or planning a special vacation, you will not be disappointed.