If you haven’t been there, I’d wager you have an inaccurate picture of Idaho in your mind. Potatoes, middle of nowhere, fields…sound familiar?
When we planned our 2016 Grand Loop Trip, Coeur d’Alene was one of our stops. But only because it was too far to go straight from Seattle to Glacier National Park.
When I became pregnant and we had to hurry back to Texas, we didn’t end up staying there. But boy, were we in for a surprise when we drove through on I-90. The city–the whole area–is stunning!
Our 2016 ignorance shattered, we were eager to spend time in Coeur d’Alene this year. Unfortunately, as we were heading back east to Glacier National Park, we had a hard time finding a place we wanted to stay. That’s one of the reasons we ended up extending our time in Spokane.
Nonetheless, we made a point of popping through Coeur d’Alene for one night. While it was a short stay, we enjoyed it!
We stayed in Coeur d’Alene from July 26-27, 2018.
Food and Activities in Coeur d’Alene
We were in Coeur d’Alene less than 24 hours, and we accidentally curated our time quite well. First stop: lunch at Schmidty’s Burgers downtown. At first glance, an unpolished diner atmosphere. But when the burgers were served, everything changed.
I took a risk on something out of the ordinary, the Fit Schmidt Burger. Your choice of beef or chicken, with fresh mozzarella, balsamic glaze, tomato, cucumber, and spinach. I kid you not, it was out of this world. And also, cucumber should be served on every hamburger.
206 N. 4th St. – Yelp
Next priority: get down to the water. We ended up taking a short hike at Tubbs Hill. At the time, Caspian was only just starting to walk longer distances with us, so we didn’t want to push too hard. We wandered up the first hill and found a place to look out at the water.
The view of the lake was just stunning. Boats coming and going from the marina, people playing or floating in the water. Had we come prepared, I would’ve loved to get in the water myself.
The full trail is a 2.4-mile loop, and there’s a small restroom at the trailhead.
208 S. 3rd St. – AllTrails
The next morning for our coffee time, Caspian and I visited Strada. I had noticed it the day before, just driving by. It’s located in a rebuilt oil shop. On nice days, the doors are rolled up to let the fresh air inside.
The interior is modern and clean, with a fair amount of seating for the size. There is also an outdoor patio and drive-through window.
Everything on the small food menu is baked fresh daily. Wine and beer are also available.
This is totally random, but I stumbled on Architectural Digest’s list of “The Most Beautiful Coffee Shops in Every State in America.” My number is a measly two. It’s such a shame because I’ve been to so many of these cities–some this year–but not to the highlighted coffee shops. Any cafe snobs want to share their number with me?
1830 N. 3rd St. – Website
Our RV Campground in Coeur d’Alene
I mentioned we were having a hard time finding a place to stay, so how did that shake out? We landed at Kootenai Fairgrounds because it was centrally located and reasonably priced. Options are $20/night for dry camping or $25/night for 50-amp electric only.
At this point in our 2018 trip (the end of July), we finally hit warm weather. So we were thankful to grab the last 50-amp site. It was a funny situation, though, because it didn’t seem like RV parking. We wound around the fair buildings, the corrals and hot dog stands, and pulled up on a patch of grass just off the road.
Despite the odd setting, the grounds caretaker was extremely accommodating, helping us get settled. He even offered to let us use a water hose if we needed to, though we didn’t.
While I probably couldn’t last a week here, it was absolutely perfect for one night. The other “RV sites” seemed scattered around the fairgrounds, so I’m not entirely sure how many sites there are total. I did notice at least one smaller RV parked on a huge shaded lawn just off North Government Way, and that looked nice.
Pro tip: the entrance isn’t obvious and the Google Maps marker is confusing. Driving down North Government Way, you’ll turn into the driveway right across from a local restaurant called Nosworthy’s.
4056 North Government Way – Campendium
From Coeur d’Alene, we headed to Glacier National Park for an incredible week with friends and breathtaking natural beauty. More next time!
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