Post Summary: The Ultimate Northern Idaho Itinerary (Road Trip routes and more!)
Looking for your next Idaho summer adventure? Yearning for the perfect mix of mountains, hikes, days by the beach, and nights by the fire?
We know it can be difficult to sift through all that noise on the internet and find the right information to plan your next trip.
Have you ever wished that there was a ready-made Idaho itinerary out there so that you can just get in the car and go?
Well, my friends, you’ve discovered the pot of gold at the end of the Idaho rainbow. I present to you, the Ultimate Northern Idaho Itinerary.
We’ve done the research for you – now all you have to do is decide which friend gets to be DJ on your road trip!
The Ultimate 7-Day Northern Idaho Itinerary
This post was created in partnership with Visit Idaho. All opinions, photographs, and words are completely our own!
Day 1. Start Your Northern Idaho Adventure By Going Camping At Priest Lake
Priest Lake is largely considered to be “Idaho’s Crown Jewel”, and for good reason!
A hub for pretty much all summer sports, this lake provides ample opportunity to get out on the water and enjoy the sunshine. Here are some activities and suggestions in and around Priest Lake:
Campgrounds: There are three sections of Idaho’s Priest Lake State Park: Dickensheet, Indian Creek, and Lionhead. Each provides exceptional camping opportunities to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. If you want to see extensive reviews and photos of each campground (and find more camping in the area!) check out The Dyrt to read campground details. Download the pro version on your phone to explore places on the go too!
Activities: Rent a canoe or kayak at the Lionhead Boat Launch, swim at Indian Creek’s lakefront beach, or float on the river near Dickensheet Campground. Click here to discover the full list of recreational activities provided at Priest Lake.
For the more adventurous folks, lake dwellers can take a boat ride through the northside thoroughfare to reach Upper Priest Lake, which is only accessible by waterway or hiking.
Here, there are serene beaches, calm waters, and a slower pace compared to the exciting Priest Lake. Come here for a picnic to enjoy the scenery!
Day 2. Explore The Beautiful Sandpoint, Idaho
Sandpoint, Idaho is one of the quintessential recreation hubs in Northern Idaho.
Located on the shoreline of Lake Pend Oreille, visitors can enjoy proximity to the beach, but also a quick drive to three separate mountain ranges for some backcountry exploring.
Sandpoint provides all the conveniences of a large town with the cozy feel of a friendly neighborhood community.
Here are some activities to try in and around the city:
Indulge Your Inner Cowboy/Cowgirl at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch
This traditional ranch has been family-owned and operated since its very beginning in the 1940s.
Experience a classic dude ranch vacation with their week-long programs – all inclusive with lodging, food, and adventures in the countryside!
We were so happy to roam around their beautiful ranch, take a trail ride with Danielle, and see a tiny new baby horse!
You could really tell that horses were a way of life here and that the animals and people alike thrived at this gorgeous ranch outside of Sandpoint, Idaho!
Enjoy The Sandpoint City Beach Park
The Sandpoint City Beach is a perfectly manicured 22-acre park conveniently located a few blocks from Sandpoint’s downtown.
Parking is free and there is ample beach front, picnic shelters, playgrounds, and more to keep you busy all day long. Get up early and watch the sunrise on the Kaniksu Mountains!
Stroll The Streets Of Downtown Sandpoint
One of the most active outdoor retail sectors in Northern Idaho, there are many beautiful artisan crafts, outdoor apparel, and restaurants to keep you busy in downtown Sandpoint.
One of our favorite coffee shops (we went like 3 times!) was Evan’s Brothers Coffee Roasters, where we met up with a few other photographers talking about how beautiful Idaho is!
Day 3. Explore Farragut State Park
Farragut State Park was originally a naval training facility and has been converted into an amazing North Idaho state park with camping, swimming, boating, and world-class frisbee golf courses.
Farragut is easy to get to from larger cities like Sandpoint and Coeur d’Alene and provides plenty of restaurants, accommodations and activities nearby. Here are some things to do in the park:
These new and state of the art adventure courses are perfect for all ages. From fun kid’s courses to a challenging 60-foot high route, you can test your agility and climbing skills here!
One thing we appreciated about this course is that they use high-tech magnetized belays to keep you in the trees. Essentially, this means there is no room for human error, and you are ALWAYS hooked in somewhere on the course!
This belay security gave me (Emily) so much confidence on the courses. I’m usually a cautious person, and a little afraid of heights, but just this extra bit of knowledge that I was safe gave me the courage to go all in.
I was talking for hours after we finished about how unafraid I was! Thanks, Tree to Tree Idaho for creating such a fun and challenging course!
Stay In The Park: Try Backcountry Yurt Camping In Idaho!
The park has several trails to choose from, ranging from shoreline paths to trails up in the mountains nearby. If you’re looking for a trail with a refreshing ending, try the shoreline trail that ends at Beaver Bay Beach for a celebratory dip in the lake!
Beaver Bay Beach is a perfect day use destination because it sits in a protected cove, away from the rest of Lake Pend Oreille. This means calmer waters, shallow areas perfect for families, and plenty of sandy beach front to enjoy all afternoon!
One of the few naval training structures remaining at Farragut State Park, this building is now converted into a museum sharing memorabilia from the recruits here involved in basic training.
Videos, uniforms, and interactive exhibits are only some of the interesting things you can find here!
Day 4. Silverwood Theme Park
Silverwood is the Northwest’s largest theme park! Just 30 minutes south of Sandpoint and 30 minutes north of Coeur d’Alene, this convenient attraction is the perfect getaway for summer fun in Northern Idaho.
With one admission ticket, adventure seekers can enjoy two parks in one; the vintage turn-of-the-century charm of Silverwood and the surf-loving vibe of Boulder Beach theme park are located right beside one another.
Visitors can also choose to stay at Silverwood Theme Park’s Campground which provides space for 71 tent-sites and 132 full hook-up spaces! If you choose to stay in the RV park, you also get discounted park tickets!
To fully enjoy a day at the park, here’s our Theme Park Packing List:
Day 5. Experience The Rich Culture Of Coeur d’Alene On Your Northern Idaho Itinerary
Coeur d’Alene is the largest city in Northern Idaho. This bustling city is located at the foot of the Coeur d’Alene National Forest which means you are never far from great bars AND amazing forests!
Hike The Trails In Tubbs Hill
There are several hiking trails to discover around this 120-acre park in the middle of the city.
You can hike to the top of the hill (though the views are covered in trees, you still get a sense of accomplishment!), find hidden beaches for a surprise dip, or hang out at sunset and watch the colors light up the sky over Lake Coeur d’Alene.
On the west side of the park (The Coeur d’Alene Resort side) are cliffs that are a popular location for cliff jumping. If you’re up for a thrill, we recommend checking it out!
*Note – When cliff jumping, always test the depth of the water beforehand and check for hidden rocks underwater. Better safe than sorry!
Fly Through The Trees At Timberline Adventures
Timberline Adventures is the all-inclusive, hassle-free Coeur d’Alene adventure you have been waiting for!
Visitors meet at their downtown facility to get oriented and geared up, then take a shuttle to the zip lining site only 12 miles away. Once at the property near Beauty Bay, part of the fun is riding in one of their zippy ATV’s and speeding up the mountainside to your first zip lining location.
They do everything for you, and your only job is to have fun!
Ready to explore new heights in the area? Check out Kootenai Falls Suspension Bridge for an adventurous detour!
Take A Lake Coeur d’Alene Dinner Boat Cruise
To beat the summer heat, try checking out one of Lake Coeur d’Alene’s iconic dinner cruises.
Aboard the boat, we were able to see interesting and unique features of the lake like the Floating Green, several bays, beautiful houses, and fun restaurants on the water.
The captain acts as a fun tour guide, giving you fun facts and history about places as you go by.
Aboard a dinner cruise, there is a resident chef that provides a gourmet buffet with more food than you can handle! As the sun set, we were able to sit up on the deck of the boat and watch the sunset with the sea breeze blowing and a coffee in hand.
This is the perfect activity for a date night, family get-together, and everything in between!
Grab Some Water Sport Rentals On The Coeur d’Alene Boardwalks
Too hot for a hike? Get yourself out on Lake Coeur d’Alene, and better yet, go with some fun gear! Take your pick of paddle boards, kayaks, and more at Coeur d’Alene Water Sports, located on the boardwalks just south of the City Park & Beach.
If you’re feeling extra fancy, try parasailing around the lake to feel the wind in your hair, or a scenic floatplane ride for 360 views of the surrounding area!
Want a soak all to yourself? Discover some hot springs in Idaho for a fun and different approach to summer dips!
Experience Wine Tasting at Beverly’s Restaurant + Local Wineries
Beverly’s Restaurant provides the Inland Northwest with some of the finest dining experiences, wine lists, and so much more. The arrival at the restaurant alone will leave a lasting impression!
Take the elevator in the Coeur d’Alene Resort up to the 7th floor and immediately be greeted with an impressive floor to ceiling display of local and regional wines.
Visitors can book a private wine tasting in one of their several cellars and choose from the best wines in the region. When Berty and I visited Beverly’s, we were lucky enough to sit in on a private tasting with Clearwater Canyon Cellars! Their newly released wines into Beverly’s wine list is exciting and highly anticipated!
Eat Your Heart Out At Coeur d’Alene’s Many Summer Food Events
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho hosts many events throughout the year, but especially during the summertime! From farmer’s markets, outdoor concerts, film festivals, and sports contests, there’s something interesting for everyone to enjoy.
You can find a full calendar list of events here, to help you plan your Coeur d’Alene weekend itinerary around your favorite community activities.
When we visited Coeur d’Alene, we were lucky to come during the all-American barbecue event of the summer. From The Ashes: An American Smoked Fire and Food Adventure showcased some of the best grill masters from around the country in an all-you-can-eat afternoon of any kind of meat imaginable. It’s safe to say Berty was covered in BBQ sauce just 20 minutes after we arrived. Haha!
Want more events like this? To extend your trip away from Northern Idaho, head south to discover many summer events and things to do in Boise, Idaho!
Day 6. Get Lost In The Mountain Town Of Wallace, Idaho
Wallace, Idaho is a historic mountain town in North Idaho, with a small but mighty population of around 1,000 residents. This North Idaho town is known for being the town that produced the most silver of any other silver mines in the United States!
While mining is still at the heart of this community, Wallace is growing in popularity for being a hub for adventure in the Northern Idaho Panhandle. Here are some things you can do around town:
Visit The Center of The Universe: Sitting in the middle of 6th street in downtown Wallace is a plaque that marks the “Center Of The Universe”.
No one has yet to debunk this claim with hard scientific evidence, so for all we know, it could be true! Make sure to look both ways in the street when snapping a pic at this historic Idaho spot!
Hike The Historic Pulaski Tunnel Trail: Take a quick jaunt up this 4-mile round trip hike to experience the real escape route of a firefighting team in the 1910s.
Plaques line the trail so you can read interesting facts about how this team escaped the flames of an oncoming forest fire and hid in an old mining tunnel to survive!
Want To Stay In The Area? Discover This Unique North Idaho Fire Lookout!
Day 7. Finish Off Your Northern Idaho Itinerary At Lookout Pass
One of the most popular activities to do at Lookout Pass in the summertime is to take the historic Hiawatha Bike Trail.
You can buy tickets at the Lookout Pass Lodge and rent all the proper equipment necessary for the journey. Drive your bikes over to the trailhead just 5 miles away, show your ticket, and get riding!
The Hiawatha Trail is a 15-mile downhill ride through 10 train tunnels and over 7 sky-high trestles.
Throughout the journey are interesting info boards to share historic events, fascinating landscapes, and fun facts to make your ride interactive and fun for the whole family.
Not Ready To Leave Idaho?
One week for a Northern Idaho Itinerary is the perfect way to introduce you to this amazing area.
The Inland Northwest is full of opportunities to get outside, drink great wine, eat great food, and experience the best of summertime. We’ve only scratched the surface of fun things to do here, so be watching out for updates on this post as we explore more of the area!
Not ready to leave this beautiful state? Neither are we! Check out some more amazing places in Idaho below:
- Idaho has more hot springs than you can count! From clean, commercialized ones, to state-run springs, to backcountry soaks, there’s a pool out there with your name on it! Read about some of our favorite Idaho hot springs in this post to start planning your own trip.
- A waterfall comparable to the power of Niagara Falls, Idaho’s very own Shoshone Falls with blow you away with its mighty roar and amazing views of the Snake River.
- Visit the vibrant capital city of Idaho! There are so many adventurous things to do in Boise, Idaho – you’ll need to spend a whole summer here!
- Experience some of the best vineyards in Idaho’s wine country. The Snake River Valley AVA boasts exceptional wine and winemakers for an unforgettable evening among the vines.
- Get out of this world and explore the epic Crater’s Of The Moon National Monument. This place literally looks like the moon. Even NASA astronauts go and train there before there intergalactic quests!
What else would you add to our Northern Idaho itinerary? Where should we explore next??
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