Visit Lake Coeur D'Alene is one of the best things to do in Coeur d'Alene Idaho

11 Fun Things to Do in Coeur d’Alene Idaho (5 are Free)

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Coeur D’Alene is a beautiful little town found along the northern shores of Lake Coeur D’Alene in Idaho. The town is nestled in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains. The possibilities for fun things to do in Coeur D’Alene for families are endless.

This is part of our series on Idaho from our recent RV road trips. This area is a particularly wonderful area to camp. I wrote about our favorite places to camp here.

Don’;t worry you don’t need to own an RV either, you can rent one from RVShare (and even have it delivered).

The top 11 things to do in Coeur d’Alene that we found on our recent trip there.

11 Fun Things to Do in Coeur d’Alene Idaho (5 are Free)
  • McEuen Park 
  • The Art Spirit Gallery 
  • Canfield Mountain Natural Area
  • Lake Coeur d’Alene Fishing & Boat Cruise
  • Coeur d’Alene City Park and Swim Beach
  • Kootenai County Fairgrounds 
  • Salvation Army Kroc Center 
  • Museum of North Idaho 
  • Tubbs Hill Park
  • Higgens Point
  • Tony’s on the Lake

First, a little background before your visit. The city derived its name from a Native-American tribe that was living along its rivers and lakes during prehistoric times. In the late 18th to early 19th century, they were visited by

French fur traders who called them “Coeur d’Alene, which means the heart are sharp as an awl” referring to the local traders who they saw as being smart and wise in business (source). 

The pollution in Northern Idaho is generally spread out so although small with 51,000 residents, it’s actually the largest urban center in North Idaho( Census Bureau). 

Map of family-friendly things to do in Coeur d’Alene: 

As a traveling family, we highly recommend Coeur D’Alene to anyone but especially for parents who want to enjoy the best vacation experience with their children.

In fact, our family has had multi-generational gatherings here and everyone loves it.

The region is ideal for outdoor activities such as picnicking, nature walks and hiking being close to Canfield Mountain Natural Reserve, as well as the Coeur d’Alene National Forest.

One of our favorite activities though was going to the playground and lake for some fun water sports activities.

1. McEuen Park 

Splash Pad at McEuen Park

This park is one of the favorites that we have visited on our travels.

This is a family-friendly lakeside recreational area with a colorful playground for kids to play in, a splash pad, a huge grassy area to run, and a large off-leash dog area. We also saw families playing tennis at the available court and the nearby basketball court. 

The parents and grandparents could easily navigate the paved pathways and sit on benches to watch the kids play.

Additionally, this park houses a boat launch dock, mooring center, and trailhead that leads directly to the forested Tubbs Hill.

Most importantly there is a restaurant with huckleberry ice cream at the boat dock.

Your family will also enjoy beautiful views of the city’s skyline which lies just a short distance away.  

  • Website
  • Location: 420 East Front Avenue 
  • Hours: 9am to 5pm 
  • Cost: $1 per hour for parking and $2/hr. for Mooring 
  • Events: Free bouncing castles for kids, live music and beer grounds 

2. The Art Spirit Gallery 

Founded in 1997, this magnificent museum features quality artwork by various local artists exhibiting the region’s cultural diversity. The venue has more than 200 exhibitions for your whole family to enjoy.

It was started by Steve Gibbs as a way of promoting interest & awareness of the region’s diverse talents and creativity.  Apart from paintings, the center also has unique curations made by local sculptors which your kids can view.

  • Website
  • Location: 415 Sherman Avenue Coeur d’Alene 
  • Hours: 9am6pm 
  • Cost: Free to walk in 

3. Canfield Mountain Natural Area 

Visit this 24-acre open space park on weekends for outdoor hiking & biking activities. The area consists of rugged hilly terrain which can be fun for a family with the right hiking gear and experience.

Toddlers who are not used to difficult hikes may be better off at Mc Euen Park or other flatter trails.

You are also welcome to bring along your dogs an uphill jog.

  • Website
  • Location: 2231 E Mountain Vista Dr. 
  • Hours: Open 24 hours 

4. Lake Coeur d’Alene Fishing & Boat Cruise 

Lake Coeur D'Alene

The beautiful mountain lake is the focus of the town and is a total length of 25 miles and 1 to 3 miles in width. We enjoy exploring the docks, watching the eagles, and splashing in the swim area

The lake is a great spot for catching some local tasty fish. This is on our list of things we want to do on our next trip to Coeur d’Alene.

After fishing, you can prepare your catch by the shoreside with your family. The fish include chinook salmon, bull trout, black crappie, and brown trout among others that live within its waters. 

Boat rides are available for hire if you want to take your family for short boat trips around the lake’s upper section. For a long time on the water, there are 6hr cruises that end at St. Joe River towards the south end.

  • Contact: 
  • Location: 115 S 2nd Street 
  • Hours: 12.30-6.00pm 
  • Cost: $26.25 per adult and $18.25 for kids aged between 6-17yrs 
  • Discounts: Free daily sightseeing cruises and 50pct discount for St. Joe River Tours. Free cruises for kids below 5yrs old 

5. Coeur d’Alene City Park and Swim Beach

With the Fort Sherman playground for kids and toddlers, a large sandy beach for relaxing near the water, and even a large green space where you can hold picnics.

This vast beachside park is another family favorite of ours. We are a little partial to water so when the kids got to play here, we were dragging them out to go home.

With 16 acres of land, there is enough room for everyone to spread out without feeling crowded. 

For more family fun, there are also barbecue pits, summer concert series, movies in the park, and volley/basketball courts.

  • City Website
  • Location: 415 Fort Ground Drive 
  • Hours: 8.00am to 5.00pm 
  • Events: Free movies in summer

6. Kootanai County Fairgrounds 

Kootenai County Fairgrounds RV Park Coeur d'Alene

We actually camped at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds RV Park. Over the weekend that we were there we awoke to 4H horse competitions and a dog show.

This little charming place hosts many events throughout the year. If your kids enjoy animals, outdoor events, or concerts, you should check the schedule during your visit.

The RV park may be the best-kept secret camping spot in Coeur d’Alene. Each site is spacious, has full hookups and plenty of grass for the kids to play on. Plus it’s very central and about half the price as the other campgrounds. You will give up some of the standard amenities like playgrounds, shower houses, and laundry though.

Sometimes with a family you have to be creative to find the best accommodations. See our tips to help you find affordable kid friendly accommodations .

  • Fair Grounds Website
  • Location: 4056 N. Government Way
  • Hours: Depends on the Event
  • Cost: Check the website for event and parking tickets. RV camping $40 per night

7. Salvation Army Kroc Center 

This center seems to have something for everyone. They have a pool with water slides, a climbing wall, a worship center, a performing arts center, an exercise area, kid care and so much more.

We have not had the chance to visit here but the facility caught our eye as we drove by one day and it’s on our to-do list for your next visit.

The center covers an area of 130,000 square feet and is open to visitors throughout the week. If you will be visiting Coeur d’Alene for a while you can buy a membership or day passes are available.

With a day pass you have access to the Aquatic Center, Fitness Area, Gym, Game Room, Climbing Wall, Drop-in Classes and Public Areas during open hours

  • Aquatic Center Website
  • Location: 1765 W Golf Course Rd 
  • Hours: 5am to 9pm weekdays, 7am to 9pm on Saturdays, and 8am to 6pm Sundays 
  • Cost: day passes $12 adult, $10 students/ seniors/ military, and $8 youth
  • Discounts: A scholarhsip program is available for vairous classes.

8. Museum of North Idaho 

This museum holds artifacts that record the region’s rich history. The exhibits include collections of souvenirs, ancient writings, silver jewelry, and of course items from the gift shop.

Additionally, the venue is wheelchair accessible, making it a great multi-generational stop.

  • Museum Websit
  • Location: 115 Northwest Boulevard 
  • Hours: Open from Tuesday-Saturday starting 11am to 5pm 
  • Cost: Adults $4, Children $1 and Families 10$ 
  • Discounts: Free admission during the Art Walk on the second Friday of each month.

9. Tubbs Hill Park 

Tubbs Hill Coeur d'Alene

Another location right on the lake and adjoining Mc Euen Park is Tubbs Hill.

Tubbs Hill is a beautiful lakeside park with several hiking trails that you can follow with your family members to the peak.

The park sits on a 120-acre piece of land that’s covered with vegetation, and shallow dams where you can fish at your own leisure.

  • Website
  • Location: 208 S 3rd Street 
  • Hours: 6am to 10pm 
  • Cost: $1 per hour for parking and $2/hr. for Mooring 

10. Higgens Point 

This scenic spot overlooking a lagoon is ideal for bird watching and checking out the salmon run which occurs at the start of winter.

Coeur d’Alene is home to a healthy population of eagles that live in the massive trees found nearby. They soar high above and swoop down to catch fish. The sight is amazing and worth the stop.

  • All Trails Website
  • Location: N Idaho Centennial Trail 
  • Hours: 8am to 9pm 
  • Cost: $5 boat launch fee

11. Tony’s On the Lake 

Tony's On the Lake Coeur d'Alene with kids

It’s a classic Italian-style restaurant that serves tasty meals from the country such as; Lasagne, Ribollita, Ossobucco, and Pizza Margherita among others.

The best part is the huckleberry ice cream! You can get it from the walk-up window and enjoy it on the grass outside with the kids. We did this after playing at McEuen Park.

For families who like sitting down to a meal, dining is interesting in the open-air outdoor seating which overlooks the adjacent lake. 

  • Tony’s on the Lake
  • Location: 6823 Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive 
  • Hours: 4-9pm 
  • Cost: Meals start from $6 
  • Discounts: 20pct Off for Tony’s Pizza Coupons 

Planning Your Trip: Getting There

You can drive to Coeur D’Alene on Interstate 90 highway, and take Exits 11 up to 15. We have taken a couple of road trips there and enjoyed the beautiful mountain drive before arriving in Coeur D’Alene.

We have also flown via the regional airport in Spokane. This nearest commercial airport and is about about 40 miles towards the west. We have scored some really cheap flights for our family even to this is a small airport.

Get the secrets to finding the cheapest flights for your family to anywhere – from a mom of 6

Are you planning a family trip to Coeur d’Alene? Or just wondering if it is the ideal travel destination for your family?

We say yes since it has several attraction sites that are ideal for both adults and children.

Of course, the town is also full of little shops and restaurants where you can dine with your family in the evening after exploring the surroundings. 

The city with the lake has so many recreational activities for families. As you can see most of our list of things to do in Coeur d’Alene with kids is outdoor recreation.

All of these suggestions for things to do should be added into the Family Travel Fever vacation planning guide. Make sure to check out our vacation packing checklist so you don’t forget anything.

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  1. I love your article on Lake and city of Coeur d Alene Idaho. I grew up there for 5,years. The last summer I walked mile and a half to the beach I hard soles on my feet from all the walking. ( then end of the summer I I badly cut my foot inside my own house not the miles I walked to the beach to home.

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