Best Northwest Lake Getaways: Lake Coeur d’Alene

The pristine location hits all the right notes, with natural beauty and city comforts side by side.

By Nia Martin


June 15, 2017

This article originally appeared in the July 2017 issue of Seattle Magazine.

Check out the rest of our 26 Best Lakeside Getaways in the Northwest here.

Situated between the Washington-Idaho border and a national forest, the Lake Coeur d’Alene region sparkles with activity on water and land, attracting visitors who want an outdoor experience, complete with jaw-dropping views and urban amenities.

For the ultimate luxurious stay, check in at The Coeur d’Alene Resort and request a room that overlooks the lake and surrounding wilderness. Indulge in a visit to the spa, shopping arcade, swimming pool or golf course, famous for its floating 14th hole on the lake itself. Or relax and rejuvenate in quieter digs off the beaten path at the Abbotswood House, which offers an indoor pool, billiards and a cozy helping of English hospitality; it’s run by the daughter of Winston Graham, famed novelist of the Poldark series.

Once your accommodations are settled, head out to the 165-acre Tubbs Hill natural area. Perched on the north edge of the 25-mile-long lake and easily accessible from downtown Coeur d’Alene, the area offers lakeshore hiking trails and hidden beaches popular for swimming and prime sunset viewing. Looking to kick it up a notch? Rent water transport, from jet skis to a pontoon boat, or even opt for a culinary cruise at Coeur d’Alene Boat Rentals and leave the land in your wake.

In the city of Coeur d’Alene, browse some of its independent shops. For fashionistas, T-Blue Boutique carries a delightful collection of womenswear, shoes and accessories in a charming Tiffany blue atmosphere. Grab a cup of coffee (or glass of wine or pint of beer) and a book at The Well-Read Moose, which showcases its community of local authors and artists. Shenanigans has a colorful assortment of new and vintage toys, but you’ll also want to stop in to satisfy your sweet tooth with its candy and ice cream offerings.

With ample grassy knolls along the downtown waterfront and summer averages in the 70s and 80s, a picnic is a must. Choose from a cornucopia of fresh food at the twice-weekly Kootenai County Farmers’ Market (one at night and one during the day, each with their own location). For a night on the town, former Seattleites Autumn and Viljo Basso, owners of the Bluebird in midtown Coeur d’Alene, put a twist on Northwest fare with dishes like miso-glazed fried chicken and Parmesan wild Pacific halibut, along with a list of wines and brews to toast your stay.

Insider Tip
Coeur d’Alene is the site of many popular outdoor events that draw a crowd. The Coeur d’Alene Classic Pickleball Tournament (8/17–8/20) and Ironman  triathlon (8/27) occur on back-to-back weekends, so plan for accommodations and transportation accordingly.

GETTING THERE: Lake Coeur d’Alene sits near the Washington border in Idaho, just east of Spokane, about a five-hour drive from Seattle.

The Coordinates
Abbotswood House, 3620 N Honeysuckle Drive; 208.667.5608; From $125.
Coeur d’Alene Boat Rentals, 1001 E Sherman Ave., Suite 2; 208.660.3944
The Coeur d’Alene Resort, 115 S Second St.; 208.209.5031; From around $280/summer
Kootenai County Farmers’ Market, Saturday, 9 a.m.–1:30 p.m., at southeast corner of U.S. Highway 95 and Prairie Avenue, Hayden; and Wednesday, 4–7 p.m., Sherman Avenue and Fifth Street; 720.589.3833
The Bluebird, 816 N Fourth St.; 208.665.3777
Shenanigans, 312 E Sherman Ave.; 208.664.0955
T-Blue Boutique, 404 Sherman Ave.; 208.765.2583
Tubbs Hill, 208 S Third St.; 208.769.2252
The Well-Read Moose, 2048 N Main St.; 208.215.2265


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