Sun, sand, and surf are surprisingly easy to find in the Gem State! Fortunately, for an inland state, Idaho has a great number of beaches that offer everything you love about the beach, and without the crowds. Many of Idaho’s lakes are in the mountains or in remote wilderness locations, but plenty are easily accessible and family-friendly with loads of activities and amenities nearby, making it easy to build new family memories with your kids. The only problem will be trying to choose which one! Just remember to plan ahead because vacation rentals in more popular areas like Redfish Lake can get full up to six months ahead. So, grab a lounge chair and beach towel, an umbrella for some shade, and find your Idaho vacation rental so you can enjoy the beach!
1. Cascade Lake
Cascade Lake has stunning water-front beaches, perfect temperatures, and a number of camping opportunities. You can swim at the beach, take a water sports boat tour, or rent jet skis, WaveRunners, and boats. Lake Cascade State Park, on the southwestern side of the lake, offers lake-view camping, swimming, and much more, and Tamarack Resort, overlooking the lake, offers kayak and paddleboard rentals from the golf shop. Have fun!
2. Lake Coeur d’Alene
There are more than 55 lakes within easy driving distance of Coeur d’Alene in north Idaho, but Lake Coeur d’Alene itself is by far the most scenic. There’s also plenty to do like swimming, lake cruises, kayaking, boating, paddleboarding, sea plane tours, and lakeside dining. If you really want a thrill, try to Jetovator, the world’s first water-propelled flying bike. If all that sounds like too much, just sit back for some sunny beach time. No matter what activity to choose, you’ll have a five-star experience in Coeur d’Alene.
3. Lake Lowell
Just outside Boise on the Boise River, Lake Lowell is an ideal getaway from the heart of Idaho. Boating, swimming, and fishing are just a few of the many activities you can enjoy at this beautiful oasis. Other popular things to do here are bird watching, hiking, and hunting. Plus, there are picnic tables, BBQ grills, restrooms, a disc golf course, and a story trail.
4. Redfish Lake
Redfish Lake is one of Idaho’s most beloved lakes offering both sandy beaches and rocky shorelines. Take a lake cruise or shuttle ride to the main trailhead for the Redfish Lake Drainage, or rent anything that floats including paddle boards, canoes, kayaks, and even paddle boats. Take your pick!
5. Payette Lake
Payette Lake has many beaches like the ever popular Davis Beach, perfect for drinking in the sunshine. Wiggle your toes in the sand or get your adrenaline pumping on a jet ski, kayak or paddle board, available for rent from Mile High Marina. Enjoy a breathtaking sunset on an evening scenic cruise with McCall lake Cruises, or head to Ponderosa State park for swimming, fishing, boating, and camping.
6. Priest Lake
This hidden jewel of Northern Idaho is home to dozens of sandy beaches, including Huckleberry Bay, Reeder Bay, and much more. There are even some beachfront vacation rentals available, making swimming fun and relaxing easier than ever. To rent canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and powerboats, check out Blue Diamond Marina. If you just want an excellent day full of large sandy beaches and swimming areas, head to Priest Lake State Park.
7. Lake Pend Oreille
Lake Pend Oreille is a deep-water lake and home to a U.S. Navy submarine research center, but it’s mostly known for its unique history and incredible sunsets. It has dozens of beaches, from the heart of Sandpoint at City Beach to Green Bay, and the shoreline is dotted with vacation rentals and resorts. Sandpoint’s City Beach is a local favorite for swimming or launching a kayak, and Farragut State Park offers public beach access and spectacular lake views. Visit the local marinas for rentals and services, or take a narrated lake cruise aboard the Shawnodese.
8. Bear Lake
Bear Lake is a massive Caribbean-blue lake that spans the border of Idaho and Utah in Idaho’s southeastern corner. Often called the “Caribbean of the Rockies” for its intense, turquoise-blue water, this lake is best known for its waterskiing, swimming, sailing, jet skiing, and fishing. Paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, and watercrafts of all sorts can also be rented at local shops and marinas. Whether you get on the water, build a sandcastle, or just take in the scenery, Bear Lake will give you a vacation you won’t forget!
9. Salmon River
The Salmon River is known as “The River of No Return.” In the area between the towns of Salmon and Riggins, the river flows flow through a canyon that is five thousand feet deep and nearly two hundred miles long. It’s one of the last undammed mountain rivers on the continent and courses untamed through the largest wilderness in the lower 48 states. Legend Beach, in the middle of the Clearwater National Forest near Legend Creek, is our favorite spot along the scenic Salmon River for warm sand, cool water, and the best private beachfront views you can get in all of Idaho.
10. Pettit Lake
Pettit Lake is located just south of Stanley in the Sawtooth Valley. This large alpine lake with smooth beaches and pristine aquamarine water is perfect for floating and lounging by, fishing, kayaking, and canoeing. Spend the night nestled at the base of rolling hills and majestic peaks at Pettit Lake Campground.
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