This northwest Idaho town on Lake Coeur d’Alene is just about 40 minutes from Spokane, Washington, but it’s worlds away from city living. Although Lake Coeur d’Alene is the undisputed star lake in the area, there are more than 55 lakes within driving distance of the town, according to the Coeur d’Alene Convention & Visitor Bureau.
Aquaphiles can enjoy boating, paddle boarding and other water sports on the lake, but if you don’t have equipment, don’t worry. Book a scenic 90-minute cruise where you can sit back and admire the wildlife (and the lakefront homes).
For a quirky detour from the lake, visit Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch, just 15 minutes from Coeur d’Alene. Run by a couple that originally hails from Alaska, the ranch gives visitors a chance to get up close and personal with alpacas on guided tours.
Where to stay:
If you’re craving kitsch, book a room at the Flamingo Motel. The property takes guests back in time to the 1950s, with themed rooms like Golfer’s Paradise, Gone Fishin’ and Flamingo Beach (complete with decorative parrots perched on the walls).
For lodging right on the lake, plan a stay at the Coeur d’Alene Resort. For special occasions, book ahead to reserve a Lake Tower room with large picture windows overlooking the lake and a gas fireplace.
For large groups and private getaways, look into vacation rentals, like this beachside lake house located about 40 minutes from Coeur d’Alene.