Sandpoint, Idaho is a small and beautiful, forested town that lies in northern Idaho, just south of the Canadian border. Tucked among the Pend Oreille River, Pend Oreille Lake, Kaniksu National Forest, and Coeur d’Alene National Forest, Sandpoint gifts visitors with almost unlimited access to nature. Take the family to a gorgeous Sandpoint vacation rental and recharge your life among the forests and mountains by hiking, boating, and exploring the local wildlife. Before heading out into the wilderness, check out these top Sandpoint vacation rental locations for a place to stay.

1. The Waterfront

Pend Oreille River
Source: Flickr/D.Taylor In Idaho

Sandpoint’s waterfront not only offers a multitude of rental property possibilities on the Pend Oreille River, but it also offers easy access to city life. Spend time with the kids out in the sun and water one day and take them to the Bonner County Historical Society or the ArtWorks Gallery for an educational experience the next.

2. Schweitzer Mountain

 Schweitzer Mountain

If your family trends more toward mountain activities, be it hiking and biking or skiing and snowboarding, opt for Schweitzer Mountain just north of the city. Introduce your kids to the wonders of nature via the 2.5-mile nature trail, or take teenagers on the more challenging five-mile overland trail. Pair hiking with geocaching for a treasure-hunting adventure, or take horses up for some huckleberry picking.

3. Seasons

Season

Located on the Lake Pend Oreille-side of Sandpoint, the Seasons neighborhood lies on a thin strip of land with water on both sides. Cruise on the lake – and take your kids for some family fun – or walk a few hundred feet to Sandpoint Byway Trail, which meanders along the water for miles. If you want to get the entire sand and sun experience, stop at the Sandpoint City Beach Park where you can enjoy some sunbathing while the little ones frolic in the water.

4. Downtown Sandpoint

Downtown Sandpoint
Source: Flickr/Glenn Scofield Williams

Stay close to the water while enjoying the urban life in downtown Sandpoint, just across the way from the Seasons neighborhood. Rent a boat at Action Water Sports or hike along Serenity Lee Trail with the family during the day, and relax at night with some burgers and fries at Spuds Waterfront Grill and fresh baked goods at Pandhandler Pies Restaurant.

5. Dover

Dover
Source: Flickr/Roland Taylor

Get away from the big city at Dover, a little town just a few miles west of Sandpoint. Vacation rentals here are also located on or nearby the river, so you have plenty of water access. Spend time kayaking at Balto Dog Park, a semi-private area that’s perfect for introducing kids to the finer points of boating.

6. Ponderay

Ponderay
Source: Flickr/D.Taylor In Idaho

Ponderay lies just a few minutes north of Seasons Sandpoint on the Pend d’Oreille Bay. The Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail offers a convenient and scenic hiking experience, as the area is surrounded by trees on one side and water on the other. After spending a day with the kids, take some adult time and relax at the Sandpoint Elks Golf Course, or drive to downtown Sandpoint and enjoy fine dining at the Hydra Steakhouse or quick grub at Second Avenue Pizza.

7. Kootenai

Ponderay, Kootenai

Like Ponderay, Kootenai lies just north of Sandpoint along the water. Choose a vacation rental on Kootenai Bay for access to open water, or opt for something a little more private along the inlet. Boat around Boyer Slough and explore all the inlets and crannies with your adventurous kids.

8. Sunnyside

Sunnyside

Sunnyside abuts the Kaniksu National Forest and Pend Oreille Wildlife Management Area as well as Lake Pend Oreille, making it the perfect place for nature lovers to find a vacation rental. The spread out houses and plethora of trees allow you to reconnect with your family without distraction. Launch your boat at Hawkins Point and explore the streams and wetlands of the Pend Oreille Wildlife Management Area. Point out to your kids the redheads, mallards, goldeneye, and other fowl that migrate through and winter in the area, or hunker down and wait for the unique courtship dance of the western grebe.

9. Trestle Creek

Trestle Creek
Source: Flickr/D.Taylor In Idaho

Trestle Creek lies across from Sunnyside. Although it’s only a small community, it has the most important things aside from vacation rentals: a boat launch and recreation site. Take your boat to the Pend Oreille Wildlife Management Area or up along Trestle Creek. In fact, Trestle Creek winds through Kaniksu National Forest where you can hike along a number of trails. For instance, the beetop-roundtop trail ends at an elevation of 6,151 feet, offering spectacular views. Go berry picking with the little ones or horseback riding.

10. Lignite

Lignite
Source: Flickr/cifraser1

Lignite lies just south of Sandpoint across the river. Thanks to I-95, you can get from Lignite to Sandpoint in just minutes for a little time in the city, or you can bike or hike along the Serenity Lee Trail for an uninterrupted view of the water. Lignite boasts many waterside vacation rentals, perfect for docking your boat, as well as a branch of the Pend Oreille River for a more private water experience. If you stay inland, launch your boat at Springy Point or Bottle Bay.

11. Broten

Broten

Broten, south of Sunnyside and across the lake, boasts some of the most private vacation rentals with few houses and plenty of uninterrupted coastlines, ideal for getting away from it all. Dotted with ponds and Gamlin Lake, you have plenty of opportunities to interact with the water even if you don’t claim a waterside house. Bottle Bay not only offers a public boat launch but also provides dockside gas so that you can do all the necessary prep before pushing off.

12. Bronx

Bronx
Source: Flickr/D.Taylor In Idaho

Bronx doesn’t boast water access or big city draw, but it’s within a few minutes drive of both Sandpoint and Schweitzer Mountain, allowing you the best of both worlds wrapped in a package of privacy and rural beauty. Take your kids to wander along Sand Creek and Schweitzer Creek, the perfect sizes to wet the feet of little ones, or drive to the mountains for some huckleberry picking.