Nestled on a sprawling mountain lake with Spokane to the west and the Coeur d’Alene National Forest to the east, Coeur d’Alene has become a favorite of families craving outdoor entertainment. Whether you’re boating on the lake, whitewater rafting, or enjoying the playground and splash pad of McEuen Park, the biggest city in the northern Idaho Panhandle has something for all ages. Here are 12 great Coeur d’Alene activities to do with kids when you’re not kicking back at your relaxing waterfront Coeur d’Alene vacation rental.
1. Explore Coeur d’Alene Lake
Covering a length of 25 miles, this lake surrounded by mountain wilderness and waterfront mansions offers endless entertainment options. Put your boat in the water in Coeur d’Alene and cruise along the shoreline, giving older kids a chance to water ski or tube behind the boat before docking your craft at your vacation rental. You can also rent some stand-up paddle boards or kayaks for the family, and the truly adventurous older kids and teens can even try paragliding.
2. Hike the Tubs Hill Nature Trails
Featuring an easy nature trail skirting the perimeter of Tubs Hill, this hike is ideal for families with kids of all ages. Enjoy the breathtaking lake views, and come prepared with swimsuits and towels to take a dip in the quiet coves along the trail. Kids can also read the plaques posted along the two-mile trail identifying native plants and points of interest.
3. Go Whitewater Rafting
If you’re visiting Coeur d’Alene with older kids, take a break from relaxing days on the lake with an exciting rafting trip down the Clark Fork River, the Spokane River, Salmon River, and others. ROW Adventures and Coeur d’Alene Adventures both offer guided trips through the rapids.
4. Pet the Animals at Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch
This hidden gem of the Coeur d’Alene area is a must-see if you’re traveling with younger kids, offering the chance to pet soft alpacas, learn about the animals from the friendly ranchers, and complete crafts and hands-on farm activities. Besides alpacas, kids also get to see and interact with horses, goats, chickens, llamas, and dogs. Be sure to call the ranch in advance for the best tour experience.
5. Relax at the City Park Beach
Conveniently resting in the heart of Coeur d’Alene, this quiet lake beach offers a stretch of sand perfect for building sandcastles, kicking back on some recliners from your vacation rental, or going for a swim. This is also a take-off point for many tours and water-sport rentals. Be sure to catch a performance during the summer concert series or a movie in the park if you get the chance.
6. Bike the North Idaho Centennial Trail
An exhilarating experience for people of all ages, a bike ride along the paved trail that stretches for 60 miles offers spectacular views of Coeur d’Alene Lake. Plus, the trail cuts through the city, so you can stop at a playground or for a few scoops of ice cream when the little ones need a break.
7. Check Out the Museum of North Idaho
An easy walk from the Lake Coeur d’Alene City Park, this little museum features a number of charming exhibits detailing the local history. Kids of all ages can enjoy the steamboat miniature replica, old photos from the early days of northern Idaho, and historic artifacts. Be sure to stop by the Fort Sherman Chapel nearby for a few photos next to the historic building.
8. Go on a Horseback Ride
There’s no better way to explore the rugged mountain terrain of the northern Idaho wilderness than by horseback. Hit the trails with your older kids at Red Horse Mountain Ranch, Rider Ranch, or one of the other local riding stables to mount a trusty steed and follow a guide through the woods.
9. Take a Lake Tour
Ready for a relaxing cruise along the lake? Lake Coeur d’Alene Cruises offers several options for family cruises such as a late-morning brunch cruise, a scenic cruise, and a special Journey to the North Pole cruise during the holiday season, shoving off from the Lake Coeur d’Alene Resort. Kids of all ages have a blast seeing the lake from the top deck, while the enclosed lower deck is perfect for getting away from the wind chill.
10. Get a Bird’s Eye View From a Seaplane
Book a sky tour with one of the seaplane companies in Lake Coeur d’Alene for an unforgettable family experience that older kids are sure to love. Be sure to take a few pictures of the lake from the sky before touching down again for an exciting water landing.
11. Visit the Triple Play Family Fun Park
Situated just a few miles north of Lake Coeur d’Alene, this entertainment hot spot has something for all ages. Splash and play in the pools and water slides of the indoor water park, play some games at the arcade, or cruise down the track on the go-karts. Triple Play also offers water cannons, bumper boats, black light bowling, and much more for a day of family fun.
12. Kick Back at McEuen Park
To keep your tiny tots entertained, stop by McEuen Park to enjoy the largest playground in Coeur d’Alene, or let your little ones cool down on the splash pad. Older kids can play a game on the tennis and basketball courts, walk along the docks, or check out the sea wall overlook. This park also houses the trail head for Tubs Hill as well as a section of the Centennial Trail. Traveling with the family dog? Be sure to stop by the off-leash dog park.
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