The Disney fanatic in me hears “heart of an awl” and immediately thinks “heart of Te Fiti,” which really only makes it that much more magical! I have heard of this quaint, little town called Coeur d’Alene (pronounced ‘core-da-lane’ and abbreviated CdA by locals) for years now. My dad grew up in Idaho, so for most of my life I have heard stories about a place with a beautiful lake “like no other” that he just has the fondest childhood memories of. He has wanted to share it with all my siblings and me forever, and this summer he finally got a chance to!
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We live on the West Coast, so the route to get through Washington and up to the northern half of Idaho was through Spokane, which I’m not really a fan of. Big cities are not my ideal location, and they definitely are not my husband’s, so we were a bit leery as we got closer to Coeur d’Alene, thinking that it would have too much hustle and bustle for us to enjoy. However, even though CdA is such a popular, well-known destination, it has such a small town feel to it! I was contending with an understandably fussy baby not wanting to be in the car anymore, so I couldn’t see much of our surroundings while we drove to our campsite, but I could tell my husband was in awe. Once we settled in and drove to the center of town, I saw all those trees in the skyline, and the LAKE, and instantly fell in love with Coeur d’Alene. Bonus: they have a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and restaurant. We found perfect souvenirs there, and my husband bought a weathered leather style baseball cap that he pretty much hasn’t taken off since. The food is amazing, of course. Speaking of food… Gross Donuts is anything but gross, and if you visit CdA I highly suggest going and creating your own filled treat! My mom and I fell in love with maple bars filled with their white (whipping) cream. Delicious.
But… You guys. This lake. Lake Coeur d’Alene. I wish photos did it justice, but I just don’t think they can. The mountains surrounding the water are a part of the Bitterroot Range within the Rocky Mountains! Since we lived in Colorado for a while, the Rocky Mountains hold a very dear place in our hearts. Mix that in with a beautiful town built around water that reminds us of Fort Collins (Go CSU Rams!) and you have one of our favorite places we have been to so far. I have always loved water recreation, and just being in crisp, fresh water, so the lake was where we spent most of our days. Admittedly, the lake was a bit on the chilly side, but since it was in the 90s while we were visiting it was welcomed! There is nothing quite like dipping your entire body into a clear lake on a hot day. It just feels like summertime. My husband and I spent SO much time rotating going out on the lake with my siblings and parents while the baby played on the shoreline, which allowed for the best memories to be formed. What else is the summer season even about?! Everything we did felt so freeing. Perhaps my favorite experience was snorkeling and free diving (though I am quite an amateur) with my brother. Even when we were far from the shore, the water remained incredibly clear!
At one point we hopped on a blow-up raft and my sister joined us to paddle out to the middle of the water. It was slightly terrifying when a big boat would speed by, but people were full on swimming or SUPing across parts of the lake, so I found comfort in that and adventured on! Haha. One day I briefly joined my parents on an air mattress in the water, and that is something relaxing that everyone should do at least once during the season! It’s almost, almost, as relaxing as a hammock. Oh, hammocks… We forgot ours at home and were so bummed ☹ Fun Fact: Many don’t realize it, but CdA is home to the world’s longest floating boardwalk! It is over 3000 feet long and 12 feet wide and makes for a scenic afternoon stroll with loved ones.
The best part with our little guy? Next to the resort, there is a beach area that is at the edge of a gorgeous grassy park! It is huge! So many big, beautiful trees fill it, and there is the most creative playground for kiddos—the city had students and families put in their ideas for it, and the outcome is wonderful! There is a separate area for toddlers, which was a hit for our little man since there were baby swings and structures to crawl through! He loooooves swings. Tubbs Hill was also a great place for a family like ours to hang out at, and it is where our baby learned to stand well on his own. People aren’t lying when they say they grow up fast!
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