Spend a Weekend in Lake Pend Orielle, Idaho
Average summer high 77
With waterfront dining and sandy beaches, plus adrenaline-pumping hiking and water sports at the ready, this sun-drenched enclave nestled along Lake Pend Oreille rivals California’s famous Lake Tahoe in all but the crowds.
Play: Start the day with a soul-warming cuppa joe at Evans Brothers Coffee (524 Church St.; 208.265.5553) to caffeinate for the 3,700-foot ascent up Scotchman Peak (scotchmanpeaks.org), a summit almost as famous for its resident (sometimes aggressive) mountain goats, as the 360-degree view that peeks into Montana’s Cabinet Mountains. Biking fiends relish the nine-mile Mineral Point Trail No. 82 (map available at sandpointonline.com), which loops around the lake to a serene picnic spot at the Green Bay cobblestone beach. Be sure to reward these efforts with a tart huckleberry milkshake at local hangout Dub’s Drive-In (703 U.S. Hwy. 2; 208.263.4300) on the way back to town.
Meet local heroes the Holland brothers at Action Water Sports (100 N First Ave.; 208.255.7100; actionwatersportslessons.com). The pro snowboarders (including two-time Olympian Nate) will gladly spin tales of glory while carting families out for wakeboarding lessons. Or, for an aerial view of the splendor, Sandpoint Seaplane Service (Dover Bay Marina; 208.290.3257; sandpoint.com/seaplane) makes sweeping tours of the Green Monarch Mountains and 300-foot-high Kootenai Falls.
Get a solid dose of sun (that’s why you’re here) at the sandy Sandpoint City Beach before strolling to chic clothing boutique Finan McDonald (301 N First Ave.; 208.263.3622; finanmcdonald.com) and rustic housewares purveyor Cabin Fever (113 Cedar St.; 208.263.7179) downtown. Once the sun sets, sip Cabernet at the Pend d’Oreille Winery tasting room (220 Cedar St.; 208.265.8545; powine.com), celebrate the state’s iconic potato with a loaded baker at Spud’s Waterfront Grill (102 N First Ave.; 208.265.4311; spudsonline.com) or catch a live show at restored 1920s vaudeville theater The Panida (300 N First Ave.; 208.263.9191; panida.org).
Stay: You can’t get any closer to the lake than the Best Western Edgewater Resort (56 Bridge St.; 208.263.3194: sandpointhotels.com/edgewater), which boasts en suite soaking tubs and a first-class workout facility; or, try the 29-room Lodge at Sandpoint (41 Lakeshore Drive; 208.263.2211; lodgeatsandpoint.com), a rustic-chic lodge settled on a 600-foot-long stretch of waterfront. Kate Calamusa