Idaho is a well-kept secret within the United States and is quickly growing due to its business-friendly tax laws, nice weather, and beautiful landscape all around. Northern Idaho, in particular, is filled with scenic views and plenty to do. Travel at any time of the year because there are recreational activities for every season.
If you like the great outdoors, you will not be disappointed by the range of things available to do in northern Idaho. From all types of water sports (kayaking, boating, whitewater rafting, fishing, etc.) to hiking, biking, and horseback riding. There are also loads of local farmer’s markets to visit. In the winter any snow sport you can think of is offered, especially skiing and snowmobiling.
Lake Pend Oreille
Take a cruise on beautiful Lake Pend Oreille, with prices ranging from $20-$50 depending on the cruise chosen. They offer themes such as lake history, birds of prey, dessert and eagle watching, dinner cruises, and more.
Fishing is also popular on the lake, where you’ll find rainbow and lake trout, large and smallmouth bass, lake whitefish.
Western Pleasure Ranch
Looking for a real “dude ranch” experience? Western Pleasure Ranch delivers memories you’ll never forget. Starting with horseback riding through breathtaking Idaho terrain, the ranch also offers cabin rentals and lodging.
Focusing on creating true experiences, there are all-inclusive packages which include lodging, a riding horse for the week, meals (including cookouts, campfire music, and a dinner cruise), plus a variety of evening activities.
Other things to do on the property include trap shooting, archery, mountain biking, hiking, cattle sorting and a hot tub. It’s family friendly, and there are special adult-only weeks which range in price from $1750 – $2000 per person, depending on your lodging choice.
Winter activities include a log cabin getaway with skiing for two nights $440 - $620 per couple. There are also packages for snowmobiling, a spa, and cross-country skiing.
Silverwood Theme Park & Boulder Beach
For $79 per person ages 8-64 and $44 ages 3-7, you get two days of action-packed fun for the whole family. The roller coasters and rides are the main attraction, with raving reviews and “thrill levels” ranging from low to high. The waterpark is very large and accommodates for all ages, with cabanas for rent. Bring your RV to hookup for the weekend. Unwind at the end of the day with a magic show, train stunt show, and other entertainment. Try your luck in the arcade, go souvenir shopping, and dig into some delicious foods throughout the park.
Silver Mountain Resort
Located in Kellogg, this resort has two mountain peaks with 1,600 acres and 73 trails for skiing and snowboarding, plus a Terrain Park. Also included are a gondola, a 700 ft moving carpet lift, a world-class beginner area, and snow tube park. The resort also houses the state’s largest indoor water park.
Other activities for everyone to enjoy include a 40-trail bike park suitable for the whole family, mine tours, ATVing, rafting, golfing, and more. Every overnight stay includes passes to the waterpark, and the one-bedroom condos (which include a kitchen) sleep a family of four and start around $260 per night.
Another fun pit-stop about 35 miles from Kellogg, is the old 1880s underground gold mine that offers guided tours all year. Adults admission is $14, and children ages 4-16 is $8.50. One hour of gold panning is included with a mine tour (seasonal).
Season passes for the mountains plus indoor water park are available, and these prices do increase during peak season:
The Idaho Club
This is the only Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course in Idaho. Mr. Nicklaus has built renowned golf courses all over the world that provide golfers with a world-class experience while incorporating the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape. With a meandering river throughout the 18 holes, the wetlands create a unique and beautiful golfing experience that any enthusiast will enjoy.
This area also has access to every other outdoor activity you can think of from swimming and boating on Lake Pend Oreille, hiking on great trails, and more.
Schweitzer Mountain Resort
The Schweitzer Mountain Resort includes a full-service spa and plenty of entertainment after a chilly day skiing on the hill. If you visit in the summer, there are over 20 miles of trails with incredible mountain views for biking and hiking. Bike rentals and safety gear are provided for serious downhill bikers, plus a shuttle and lift tickets to the top of the mountain.
Try ziplining on a dual 700’ line, where you can ride with your friend or child side-by-side. One ride is $12, and the Ultimate Fun Pass for $35 includes unlimited foot passenger lift rides, zipline rides, the rock climbing wall, and more.
When you need to unwind from all your mountain activities, treat yourself to the Solstice Spa.
The resort hosts events all year round including:
If you’re looking to relax and enjoy a show or two, visit Panida Theater to see comedy, magic, orchestras, bands, and more. Ticket prices depend on the show you’re seeing but start at around $10 each.
Golden Hill Trail
This is a very popular trail for biking and hiking that is on the difficult side, with 3.7 miles in total. You’ll head through a forest and end up with spectacular views of Lake Pend Oreille and the mountains. See the trail map here.
This trail is 7 miles round-trip and offers great views of Lake Pend Oreille, Sandpoint, and the Cabinet Mountains. The difficulty level is considered “more difficult” but has been completed by kids ages 8-10. It’s about a 500 ft per mile ascent with switchbacks. Pack water and a lunch to eat at the top!
This 2-mile loop is free to use and good for biking and walking with a variety of historical stops and views of Lake Coeur d’Alene. It’s near the Coeur d’Alene resort and downtown. Just take some food and water along. On summer days it is known to get a bit busy but there is access to a nice beach on the lake. Hiking shoes are suggested, and possibly swim shoes for the rocky beaches.
McEuen Park and Dog Park
This 22-acre park is full of fun things to do besides hiking and biking. Take the kids to the very large playground and splash area, play tennis, basketball, or utilize the pavilion and 4-acre area set up with capacity for 5,000-person events. Feel free to launch your boat from here or jump onto one of the trailheads for the Tubbs Hill trail.
The off-leash dog park is a welcome change for those who walk their dogs in other areas, which are mostly very dog-friendly, but many do require leashes.
Coeur d’Alene National Forest
The city of Coeur d'Alene is known as the “Heart of North Idaho”, and is a great hub for fun activities for you, your family and friends.
The national forest has over 70 miles of paved trail to bike ride. This fairly flat path follows the Union Pacific Railroad from the town of Plummer to Mullan. Along the way, you’ll find outhouses, tables, and kiosks. The trail is free to use and has been part of an environmental remediation project, so it’s asked that riders stay on the trail and eat at the waysides.
A popular part of this trail used frequently by families is the Harrison trailhead to Chatcolet Bridge. The east end of the trail is used for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in the winter. Learn more about this trail system here.
Lake Coeur d’Alene
Lake Coeur d’Alene is known for its fishing, especially for large kokanee and chinook salmon. Bass tournaments are also held on the lake every year. You’ll also find northern pike, rainbow trout, and more.
Rent a boat or jet ski for a few hours or a few days. There are a variety of boat rentals available around the lake as well as other water toys to choose from.
This list only begins to cover the many activities to do and places to go in northern Idaho, believe it or not! With mountains and lots of fresh bodies of water, every season brings something new to do for family, friends, and solo travelers.