Explore North Idaho’s lake country in a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard
Idaho is home to more than 2,000 lakes, not including rivers and minor waterways. Many amazing lakes are in North Idaho and — even better — easy to explore under your own power… paddling along in a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard (SUP).
First, a quick primer to North Idaho’s lakes, starting with the smallest ones. FERNAN LAKE, feeds into Lake Coeur d’Alene and is a designated family fishing spot with an easy-access dock. Its entire southern edge is undeveloped, making for a peaceful float tucked into the shadow of the tree-covered slope.
SPIRIT LAKE is in the northernmost part of Kootenai County surrounded by hiking and biking trails and with three boat launches. HAUSER LAKE is shallow — only 40 feet deep — and surrounded by mostly flat, open terrain so an easy beginner’s lake for learning to paddle.
As the name suggests, TWIN LAKES is two lakes: One very narrow and in some parts quite shallow, but connected by a thoroughfare. Head to the farthest end of Upper Twin to paddle amongst lily pads and waterfowl.
Of the larger lakes around Coeur d’Alene, HAYDEN has three access points: Honeysuckle Beach and Tobler’s Marina on the southwest end and Sportsman’s Access to the north. With 40 miles of shoreline and 3,800 surface acres of water, get away from motorized traffic, especially on the east side of the lake.
By far the largest lake in Kootenai County, LAKE COEUR D’ALENE has a whopping 31,872 acres of water to explore. Put in at any of 16 boat launches to explore 125 miles of shoreline, ranging from windy bays to secluded coves dappled in sunlight.
ROW ADVENTURE CENTER founder Peter Grubb recommends Tubbs Hill for paddling right around town, and both Mica and Beauty Bay for paddling a little further out. New to kayaking or just want a little more structure to your kayak experience? Book a trip with ROW, with special accommodations for kids to safely learn this wonderful sport (rowadventurecenter.com).
North Idaho College’s OUTDOOR PURSUITS program will rent you a sailboat, kayak, canoe or SUP at their Sunspot rental location (nic.edu) on Yap-Keehn-Um beach. From there, paddle up into the mouth of the Spokane River or over to Tubbs Hill.
Other local rental options include SUPs at the COEUR D’ALENE RESORT (cdaresort.com/play/activities/paddleboards), and SUPs or kayaks and KAYAK COEUR D’ALENE (kayakcda.com). Rent a SUP or kayak from COEUR D’ALENE ADVENTURES, or book a guided excursion or class (cdaadventures.com).
And if you’re looking for your floating community, consider becoming a member with the COEUR D’ALENE CANOE AND KAYAK CLUB (cdacanoekayakclub.com), an educational and advocacy organization which also organizes Thursday night paddle events on various area waterways.
For more information about recreating on North Idaho’s waterways, including locations beyond Coeur d’Alene, visit IDAHO PARKS AND RECREATION (parksandrecreation.idaho.gov) and discover your next best day on the lake.
Summer’s here, and so is the Coeur d’Alene Flea Market. Shop 20+ vendors selling locally made handmade goods, antiques and artisan foods the last Sunday of every month. Free, 9 am-2 pm, at the Roosevelt Inn.
Get ready for the ultimate girls’ night out, complete with premium wine tasting and a walk-around designer marketplace. Even better, proceeds benefit North Idaho’s most vulnerable kids who rely on Idaho Youth Ranch. $150 VIP ticket/$100 regular admission, all seating is reserved; 6-9:30 pm, at the Coeur d’Alene Resort; 208-664-4322; winewomenandshoes.com/iyrcda.
Fourth of July Parade
The fireworks are canceled this year, but the celebration continues in Coeur d’Alene. The city’s charming small-town parade will wind its way down Sherman Avenue from 15th Street all the way to Government Way starting at 11 am. Then head to City Park for activities, live music and food until 7 pm. Social distancing and cloth face masks are encouraged. Vendors will accept credit only — no cash. Free.