Near the western border of Idaho, just a hop, skip and a jump from the state of Washington, is Coeur d’Alene (known as “CDA” by the locals). This little town is truly a gemstone for all those who visit.
CDA was given its name by French fur traders referring to the Coeur d’Alene Indian tribe members. The term literally means “the heart of an awl (a very sharp tool).” The name reflects the French traders’ experience with the tribe’s traders as tough businessmen, “sharp-hearted” or “shrewd.”
Visitors to CDA are in for a great time. There is a host of shops, museums, galleries, parks, a very active nightlife and more. In addition, one of the prettiest lakes in the nation is in CDA. Along with the lake comes several options for recreational activities, including swimming, boating, parasailing, seaplane rides, waterskiing, cruises, and much more. There’s even a very popular beach, set alongside a beautiful park that makes for the perfect sun-filled day.
CDA offers an amazing variety of shopping options. The Downtown and Midtown areas are filled with quaint shops and boutiques for handmade items, antiques and locally-made souvenirs. You will find everything from Christmas decor to old fashioned candy, and whatever else may lie in-between.
After a long day of exploring all of the fantastic shops and boutiques, you’ll no doubt be ready for some tasty food to re-energize. There is a huge range of dining options, from fine dining to amazing coffee shops. No matter what type of shopping and dining experience visitors are looking for, Coeur d'Alene has something for everyone. Oh, and should you be looking for an amazing, filling breakfast, it may behoove you to stop in to Jimmy’s Down the Street for their world-famous biscuits and gravy, chicken-fried steak, breakfast scrambles and southern pecan rolls. They are open from 5:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and while they serve lunch, too, breakfast is served all day!
Barbara Walters, of media fame, once called the city of CDA “a little slice of heaven” and included it in her list of most fascinating places to visit. In addition, Good Morning America broadcast the 2007 CDA Christmas lighting ceremony, which is one of the largest in the nation.
Summer is the time of year when the little town boasts its weekly farmer’s market, where artisans, farmers, chefs and craftspeople show off their goods, offering them to the public for purchase. There is always an abundance of Huckleberries, along with the many products made from this tasty treat that is native to the northwestern United States and Canada.
The kids in your group are sure to enjoy the lakes and outdoors surrounding the city, but they would absolutely LOVE the nearby Silverwood Theme Park and Boulder Beach Water Park. During the summer, the theme park is a great place to cool down while enjoying all of the fun water slides and rides. It’s just minutes away from CDA on Highway 95 in scenic Northern Idaho.
In addition, Silver Mountain is a fun getaway for the entire family. It offers some great mountain biking, and there is even a gondola that takes riders (and their bikes) to the top of the mountain. During the winter it’s a ski resort, and during the summer, it’s a barrel of fun!
The North Idaho Centennial Trail is an excellent route to enjoy some hiking and biking along the river. This trail connects the Spokane and CDA communities, and spans a total of 60 miles. Other notable trails include the Route of Hiawatha and the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes. This Trail of the CDA is a bike path that follows the Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way from Mullan to Plummer, a total of 71 paved miles.
The wine coinsures in the group can explore the local wineries of the area, complete with wine tasting and guided tours. For instance, you may want to visit the Coeur d’Alene Cellars, which showcases its premium wine selections. They host live music weekly (usually on Saturdays) on their outdoor patio and built-in stage. You can find cuisine tastings, gift ideas, gourmet baskets, as well as wine-to-go and delicious culinary fare. The Inland Northwest Wineries of Spokane are host to a wine festival in November. The spring barrel tasting is in May. The majority of the wineries and tastings are located just off I-90 between CDA and Highway 2 in Spokane, so they are all very close to one another.
The state of Idaho is best known for its beautiful scenery, the expansive outdoors and the recreational activities that come along with such a setting. There are a great number of RV parks in the area, so you can set up camp in your Cruise America rental RV.
No matter the size of your group, or the reason for your visit, you will love Coeur d’Alene!