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When I first heard of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, I wasn’t really sure what all the fuss was about. After all, Idaho was a different state – what did it have to do with Spokane? It seems silly to think that now, of course, because when you live in Spokane you realize Coeur d’Alene (commonly abbreviated to CdA) is a big deal here in Spokane!
In addition to being only around 45 minutes away from downtown Spokane to downtown CdA, Coeur d’Alene is a gorgeous place to hike, enjoy the lake, and go shopping. Coeur d’Alene’s proximity to Spokane makes it a great day trip from Spokane.
If you’ve been looking for a fun, quick day trip just 45 minutes or less from Spokane, you should definitely visit Coeur d’Alene. Here are our top tips for enjoying a day trip to Coeur d’Alene.
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A Day Trip to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Coeur d’Alene sits in a beautiful area in northwest Idaho, situated among the mountains and lakes of the region. For Spokane residents, their neighbor to the east provides a perfect spot for a day trip. Coeur d’Alene offers several outdoor and nature-related adventures. But for those interested in spending the day having fun elsewhere, Coeur d’Alene has that covered, too.
One tour of Coeur d’Alene that a friend really enjoyed was the 2 hour guided segway tour (click on the tour info below!) This is a great, fun way to explore CdA, learn from a local, and get a little exercise in too.
A cheaper option to explore Coeur d’Alene during your day trip is to do a scavenger hunt! With the scavenger hunt tour listed above, you’ll discover fun landmarks and hidden gems around Coeur d’Alene, all while answering trivia questions and solving challenges. Let’s Roam’s scavenger hunts are always a fun time, and a great thing to do if you’re visiting CdA with friends or competitive family members!
Want to take a more independent journey around Coeur d’Alene? Local company Tour CDA makes it easy with rentable e-bikes! You can create your own customized tour or have the tour guides offer suggestions, then you’re off on your own e-bike to go as far (or as close!) as you want. Set up an ebike rental here.
Need a Place to Stay in Coeur d’Alene?
Many people visiting Coeur d’Alene with family (including us!) so it’s always made more sense to rent via VRBO than stay at a hotel. We did try a local hotel once, but it wasn’t very conducive to getting everyone out on time for our fun activities and already-booked reservations – there’s just something about being in a house together that makes an overnight trip to Coeur d’Alene more fun!
Use the widget below to find the right location for you, or check out our recommendations below.
More Fun Things to Do Around Coeur d’Alene
Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch
Located about a 20-minute drive southeast of Coeur d’Alene, Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch invites visitors to check out their ranch. While the stars are the alpaca – featuring suri and huacaya alpacas – they are actually raised for their quality fiber, which is sheared throughout the year.
In between shearing, the alpaca are available to be seen on ranch tours. The ranch tour also includes llamas, goats, mini donkeys, mini horses and chickens. Of course, no ranch is complete without a few friendly dogs and cats wandering around. You can contact Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch online to request a visit.
Big Red’s Indoor Petting Zoo
Perfect for families with young children, Big Red’s Indoor Petting Zoo offers friendly animal encounters year-round. With exotic animals such as capybara (a giant guinea pig-type from South American) and Patagonian mara (South American rabbit relative), the petting zoo includes a mini donkey, mini pig, rabbits, wallabies, goats and sheep, as well as others.
Big Red’s is open Thursday-Sunday, so it makes for a perfect weekend visit. Big Red’s Indoor Petting Zoo requires closed-tip shoes, as well as adult supervision for anyone younger than 16. Food cups can be purchased so children can enjoy feeding the animals.
Coeur d’Alene Carousel
Love Spokane’s Looff Carousel? Then you certainly don’t want to miss CdA’s carousel!
Carousel fans will love taking a ride on the Coeur d’Alene Carousel. Open on weekends (daily during summer months) May-September, the carousel is known as the original Playland Park carousel. The lakeside park was a local favorite from 1942 until the park closed in 1974.
The carousel, a 1922 Spillman Junior-design, is truly an old-fashioned carousel with horses bobbing up and down as it travels round-and-round with carnival sounds in the background. It brings back memories to older people and creates new ones for young children. The carrousel is also available for birthday parties and other special events.
Silverwood Theme Park and Boulder Beach
Thrill ride fans rejoice at the thought of hopping on Silverwood Theme Park and Boulder Beach’s Aftershock, once voted the top hanging coaster in America by the Travel Channel, where they’ll travel upside down, facing the ground from a height of 191 feet.
Once secured in their seats, riders are lifted backwards to the top of the ride. Then, boom! They are dropped for a joy ride at a top speed of 65 mph and making twists and turns, rolling along through loops until reaching a second tower. Then, flipped upward, riders face the sky as the coaster repeats the adventure… backwards. The Aftershock is one of eight high-intensity rides that require participants to be at least 54 inches tall.
For the more faint-hearted – or with younger children – Silverwood Theme Park includes low-intensity rides, such as the Flying Elephant, which takes children for a ride in an elephant a few feet above the ground, or antique cars, where they can “drive” a car as it navigates along a planned course. Children must be 42-48 inches tall if riding without an adult.
Medium-intensity rides include bumper cars, log chute and Thunder Canyon, a white water-style ride.
Spend part of the day at Silverwood Theme Park then head over to Boulder Beach for some fun in the water. High-intensity fans will enjoy speeding down one of three water slides, reaching 55 mph before splashing into a pool.
Medium-intensity fans can find their fun with water rides such as Avalanche Mountain, a 650-feet long ride where a group sits in a raft traveling down a maze of slides to simulate rafting an Idaho river. The ride ends with a visit to an underground canyon. Low-intensity attractions include a large wave pool and lazy river (perfect for toddlers).
Silverwood Theme Park and Boulder Beach is open daily during summer months and then weekends during the fall through the end of October.
Lake Coeur d’Alene Cruises
From river cruises to eagle watching, Lake Coeur d’Alene Cruises offers a great escape for a day trip to the area. Visitors have a choice of taking cruises on the St. Joe or Spokane Rivers, with each providing beautiful views of the area’s wildlife and mountains, as well as some of the amazing homes that dot the shoreline.
The St. Joe River cruise actually travels through a part of Lake Coeur d’Alene, so you may see a part of the area not available for most people. The Lake Coeur d’Alene cruise offers immaculate views of wildlife and nature. Each cruise offers lunch or dinner options.
Cruises continue during the holiday season, offering a unique experience for families as they take in the sights of about 1.5 million holiday lights en route to the North Pole, where children can visit Santa Claus and his elves, telling the jolly old elf what they’d like for Christmas. The holiday cruise runs from the day after Thanksgiving through Jan. 1. Learn more about the Journey to the North Pole cruise here.
Wildlife fans can enjoy an eagle watching cruise in December, as the birds of prey arrive in Idaho for the winter months. They migrate here from as far north as Alaska, seeking a warmer climate.
Hike area nature trails
With several trails available in Coeur d’Alene and nearby, nature enthusiasts can find the perfect trail to hike. Varying in degree of intensity, Coeur d’Alene trails can provide an easy trail such as the Friends of Tubbs Hill, located downtown, or the more moderate-rated Marie Creek Trail, an 8.7-mile long trail, featuring a river and beautiful scenery.
Bicyclists may enjoy taking a ride along any of the sections of the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, a 72-mile paved route. Whatever trail you decide to take, you’ll be surrounded impressive views and fresh air.
Love to kayak or paddle board? Northern Idaho offers plenty of excellent opportunities to get in the water beyond boating. Check out Kayak Coeur d’Alene rentals to rent kayaks and stand up paddleboards from May through September.
Plan a Day Trip to Coeur d’Alene
Whether you’re a nature fan or a thrill ride enthusiast, Coeur d’Alene is the perfect day trip from Spokane. With several attractions available for the entire family, couples or friends, the city invites you to explore and have a great experience. With it being only about a 45-minute Spokane, a day visit to Coeur d’Alene may be just what the doctor ordered.
Feeling overwhelmed by all the fun things to do? You might want to spend the night and turn your day trip into a weekend visit! Check out our list of recommended stays below.
Looking for more getaway ideas? Check out our best recommendations below:
Want to extend your stay in Coeur d’Alene? Take a look at the gorgeous options below!
- Downtown gem right near McEuen Park and Tubbs Hill!
- 5 bedroom house near downtown Coeur d’Alene – perfect for a big family or friend group!
- Large home within walking distance to the beach of Lake Coeur d’Alene!