Where to carve out your spot in the sand in North Idaho
Coeur d’Alene, Hayden, Hauser, Pend Oreille, the Spokane River… North Idaho is rich with waterways, including designated swimming areas that, although typically untended by lifeguards, offer easy spots to wade or dive in for a much-needed beach day.
LAKE COEUR D’ALENE has more than 100 miles of shoreline, and although some of it is rugged and tree-lined or belonging to private interests, numerous areas are both public and perfectly flat with free, nearby parking. Hike Tubbs Hill then reward yourself with a dip in the waters off Sanders Beach, a flat expanse of sand with beautiful views of the nearby Coeur d’Alene Resort golf course and distant shores. On the other side of Tubbs Hill and just past town is City Beach, with its iconic step-wall and popular beach and park area for seeing and being seen.
In Post Falls, Q’EMILN PARK is larger than it looks. In addition to outdoor cooking and picnic areas, the 78.5-acre park features restrooms, two covered shelters, volleyball courts and a designated swimming area. Parking is $5/car per day, with season passes available too. Hayden’s HONEYSUCKLE BEACH is a favorite spot for swimming, floating and launching your SUP or kayak. The dock forms a square, enclosing the swimming area and providing an ideal wall for beginning swimmers to hang on as needed. Although unguarded, there is an attendant on duty. The beach also includes public restrooms, shaded sandy and grassy areas and a few picnic tables, with free parking both along the beach and just a short walk away.
Heading north along Highway 95, you’ll find some of the area’s best beaches. At FARRAGUT STATE PARK, you can boat or drive in, then camp, hike, ride your horse or bike and delight in the nearby town of Bayview, including the Museum at the Brig. Swim at Beaver Bay Beach, which can be very popular for its shallow areas and easy access, or walk a short bit to the more secluded Buttonhook Bay, which includes a boat dock and a protected lagoon that’s great for families with young swimmers. A $5 entry fee is required for all state parks and can be purchased at the visitor center.
SPIRIT LAKE and its nearby lake of the same name offers a classic laketown vibe, especially at the Silver Beach Resort. Rent a cabin and check out a day-use visitor pass for $10, which includes parking.
Don’t forget about BOULDER BEACH, which is included with paid ticket entry to Silverwood Theme Park in Athol. Hang out in one of two wave pools, float in Elkhorn Creek, race down the Riptide slide, or ride any of the cool waterpark attractions featured at Silverwood and leave the sand to other beachgoers this summer.
Turn Tuesdays into date night at the Circling Raven golf course. Every Tuesday night features free live music (not to mention stunning scenery), food and drink specials and music provided by Flipside Entertainment. 6-8:30 pm.
Mark your calendar Toyota owners! The driver of any Toyota gets in free at Silverwood Theme Park when they bring an admission coupon from any Inland Empire Toyota Dealer.
Ready to rock out on Lake Coeur d’Alene? The Bands on Boats series is back! The July 26 three-hour cruise features the ever-popular Hayes Carll. Tickets $27.50; boarding begins at 6:30 pm at Independence point. Ages 21+.