17 Free Things to Do in Coeur d'Alene, ID

Coeur d'Alene, ID

From immersing in the local culture to exploring natural wonders, there's an abundance of free things to do in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho!

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: Patrick Calhoun, Caleb Sanders, Christine Bordelon, Sandra Kleinschmidt, Briana Hooper, Margaret Lee and Lyla Donaldson.

Go Trekking along the North Idaho Centennial Trail

View of the paved North Idaho Centennial Trail
Dave Jonasen / Shutterstock.com

There's nothing quite like the feeling of my boots crunching on the gravel path of the North Idaho Centennial Trail.

A jewel in the heart of our community, this trail is one that I have traced countless times.

The change of seasons only adds to its beauty, with each new visit revealing another facet of its charm.

The trail is awash with blossoms in the spring, laying down a carpet of soft petals beneath my feet.

Summer brings a vibrant green canopy overhead, the trees sheltering me from the day's heat.

Autumn paints the landscape in orange, red, and gold hues - a spectacle that never fails to take my breath away.

And in winter, the snow quiets the world, transforming the trail into a serene, glistening wonderland.

Signage of North Idaho Centennial Trail
Kirk Fisher / Shutterstock.com

Each time I venture out, I prepare to be awed by the stunning scenes this trail offers.

The North Idaho Centennial Trail link is not just a path winding through the landscape.

It is a journey through the seasons, a testament to the beauty of nature, and a sanctuary that never gets old.

One of my favorite moments is standing atop one of the hilltop lookouts, my breath stolen away by the panoramic views of the majestic landscape.

It's a testament to the sheer beauty our little corner of the world has to offer, and it's a privilege to have such a place right at my doorstep.

So, the trail is a must-visit whether you're a seasoned hiker or just looking for a peaceful walk.

I promise, it's an experience that will leave you returning for more, just like it does for me, time and time again.

Spend a Day of Unforgettable Fun at Fort Sherman Playground

I woke up this morning with an idea: why not spend the day at Fort Sherman Playground?

Who wouldn't love a whole day of fun in the sun at this beautiful park in our very own City Park?

It's been a favorite choice for many of us locals, and I must say, the city has done a fantastic job maintaining it.

When you step foot in the park, you are greeted with beautiful scenic views only Idaho can offer.

The park is fenced-in and has slides to entertain the little ones while the adults enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

What makes it even better is that it's just a short walk from the CDA resort, McEwen Park, and downtown shops.

One thing I love about Fort Sherman Playground is that it's not just for kids. We adults can have fun, too.

Whether it's riding a bike around the park, walking the dog through the grass and large trees surrounding the lake, or even playing a game of tag in the wood-built playground - there's something for everyone.

Spending hours here having fun with your loved ones is not hard.

And that's not all. Next to Fort Sherman Playground are the historic CDA carousel and memorial fields.

So, if you're up for some outdoor games or want to watch, it's just a stone's throw away.

But don't just take my word for it. Check out Fort Sherman Playground for yourself.

If you haven't visited yet, you're missing out on a lot of fun.

Hike the Breathtaking Mineral Ridge Scenic Area

Scenic views from Mineral Ridge Scenic Area and National Recreation Trail
Andriy Blokhin / Shutterstock.com

Have you ever been kissed by the sunset at the top of a mountain?

I have, at the spectacular Mineral Ridge Scenic Area.

Picture this: June 1st, the warm summer breeze playing with your hair as you hike at 7:05 p.m.

The plan? Reach the summit just in time to dance with the setting sun.

Now, the journey to the top can be quite a thrill.

You'll find yourself power walking, racing against the setting sun.

But with approximately 1hr40min, including time spent admiring the view from the top, it's an adventure well worth the rush.

And don't worry.

The trail is generously sprinkled with benches, perfect for little breaks, meditation, or even a quick read, all while engrossed in nature's beauty.

Your efforts are rewarded with a 3.5-mile hike and a 740' elevation gain.

And the cherry on top? A trail well-kept and abundant with various exquisite birdlife, bound to impress any nature enthusiast.

Finally, you reach your destination, the top of the Mineral Ridge.

Trust me when I say the views are nothing short of a masterpiece that leaves you gasping for breath.

That's the charm of this place. It always leaves you yearning for more.

So much so that I often find myself fantasizing about reaching the peak before sunrise.

The promise of the golden rays illuminating the majestic landscape is a sight I can't wait to witness.

So, if you're seeking an unforgettable hiking experience, look no further. Mineral Ridge Scenic Area has got you covered.

Discover the Charm of City Park

People playing volleyball at Coeur d'Alene City Park
Kirk Fisher / Shutterstock.com

If you ask me what's the heart of our town, I'd say it's the City Park.

Nestled on the banks of Lake Coeur d'Alene, this park is more than just a vast expanse of greenery.

It's where we play, relax, and come together as a community.

Waking up in the morning sun, I often take my dog for a walk around the park, and believe me, just one loop around it is half a mile!

It's the perfect way to start my day, taking in the stunning views of the lake while my furry friend makes new pals.

Likewise, the park is a paradise for kids.

On weekends, the place transforms into a vast playground.

People swimming at Coeur d'Alene City Park
T85cr1ft19m1n, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The climbing opportunities are endless for the little adventurers, while the pickleball and mini soccer fields attract older kids.

And did I mention the skate park?

It's always buzzing with energy, making it a favorite spot for our town's teens.

And, of course, there's the Memorial field.

It's not just about watching a game here; it's about coming together as a community and cheering for our local team under the cool shade.

No matter your age or interests, there's something for everyone at City Park.

It's the charm of our town, a place that embodies the spirit of community and the beauty of nature in every corner.

Experience the Splendor of Canfield Mountain Natural Trail

Step outside my door, and I am greeted with the tranquil beauty of the Canfield Mountain Natural Trail.

Who needs to travel far when such a splendid hiking spot is nearby? It's the place that fits every type of hiker - whether you're a beginner looking for an easy trail or an advanced hiker searching for a challenge.

Tie your boots tight and prepare for a rewarding journey.

The trail is an intriguing mix of smooth paths and sections laden with loose rock.

It's not your typical winding hiking trail - it's a route that takes you straight up, offering an astonishing 1,600 feet of elevation.

While it may be challenging, the view from the top is everything but disappointing.

Imagine standing at the crest, looking out over the expansive landscape with a feeling of conquer.

A word of caution, though, for beginners - you might want to try the easier trails first.

One of the best parts about the trail is that it's dog-friendly.

Nothing beats the joy of experiencing the trail's beauty with my dog.

We've spent countless hours exploring the paths that split throughout Canfield Mountain.

If you're up for a real adventure, you could hike to Montana!

Wildlife sightings are a common occurrence here.

Deer are a frequent sight, and you might even spot turkeys, moose, elk, and, on rare occasions, bears and cougars.

It's a spot where nature truly comes alive.

Do you know what the best part is?

This excellent trail is literally at the top end of my backyard.

It's a constant reminder of the beauty surrounding us, just waiting to be explored.

If you're ever in the area, I'll point you to the start of the trail.

Trust me; this is a spot you wouldn't want to miss.

Explore Tubbs Hill

People enjoying the view from Tubbs Hill
Gregory Johnston / Shutterstock.com

Have you ever wished you could escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life and breathe in some crisp, fresh air?

Well, that's precisely what I do when I visit Tubbs Hill.

Nestled in our backyard in Coeur d'Alene, this beautiful spot is a hidden gem, perfect for hiking, swimming, and unwinding.

I still remember my first hike around this lake, and each visit since has only added to the charm.

You must think, "Okay, but what's so special about this hill?"

The answer lies in the varying experiences it offers.

For instance, the hike is easy, a touch uphill, with a round trip of about 2.5 miles.

Trust me when I say it's worth every step.

The views are breathtaking, and the spots for cliff jumping are thrilling.

Hiking trail at Tubbs Hill
TravelingOtter from Houston, Texas, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One can't help but feel a sense of serenity amidst the hills and valleys of Tubbs Hill.

My typical day involves a morning hike and a refreshing dip in the clear waters.

And the best part? It's so dog-friendly!

My husky adores the place, running around the trails and taking in the scents.

After a day at the hill, a stroll along Sherman Avenue is a must.

The eateries lining the avenue offer many options to satiate your hunger, turning a simple hike into a delightful "March to the Sea."

I've also found some decent bouldering locations, making it an excellent spot for families, casual hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts.

All this talk about Tubbs Hill makes me eager to lace up my hiking boots and head out the door.

Do you care to join me for an adventure?

Rocky shoreline of Tubbs Hill
Kirk Fisher / Shutterstock.com

Greet the Mornings at Coeur d'Alene Parkway State Park

There's something genuinely magical about stepping into nature just as the sun begins to rise, and there's no better place to do so than at the Coeur d'Alene Parkway State Park.

I've made this a part of my daily routine, and the sight of the golden sunrays reflecting on the water's surface never gets old.

As I walk, I'm greeted by the various displays that discuss the wildlife in the area.

It's an educational journey that unveils the secrets of the park's inhabitants - from the fluttering birds to the scurrying squirrels.

The park is a haven for bird watchers like me, especially between mid-November and late December, when the majestic eagles appear.

Trust me, catching a glimpse of these magnificent creatures against the backdrop of the winter sky is an awe-inspiring sight.

But the park isn't only for the early risers or bird enthusiasts.

It's an excellent spot for people who love outdoor activities.

You can go for a run or a bike ride along the trails. Or, you can even launch a boat and admire the park from the water.

The park is pristine, making it the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

And as the day ends, the park transforms into a photographer's dream.

The sunset paints the sky with hues of orange and red, creating a breathtaking canvas that even the most experienced photographers find captivating.

You might've seen some of my pictures on Instagram or Facebook - it's impossible to resist snapping away at such beauty.

The Coeur d'Alene Parkway State Park is it if you're looking for a place to unwind and reconnect with nature.

Whether you're a local like me or just passing through, this park will leave you with memories that'll last a lifetime.

Explore Higgens Point

An eagle at Higgens Point
Clifford Pugliese / Shutterstock.com

Every year, with the arrival of November, I eagerly anticipate the flock of eagles at Higgens Point.

It's an event that just never gets old.

The park is a quick ten-minute stroll from the parking lot and is a favorite end-point for those adventurous souls wrapping up their lakeside bike rides and runs.

The picnic pavilion is a welcoming sight, ideal for those relaxing family get-togethers while the children laugh and play on the trails leading to the water.

Dock at Higgens Point
Evan Sloyka / Shutterstock.com

When the sun sets, the view is nothing short of magical, making Higgens Point the perfect spot to unwind and take in the beauty of the lake.

When I'm up for serious exercise, I sometimes tackle the Centennial Trail's WA & ID combined sections.

The ride ends up being about 60 miles, and there's no better place to finish than Higgens Point; the refreshing waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene after a long ride are a reward.

With its scenic views, diverse set of activities, and the mesmerizing annual spectacle of eagles, Higgens Point is undoubtedly one of the best-kept secrets of Idaho.

Decode the Artistry of The Working Man Bronze Sculpture

Every day, on my way to work, I pass by an impressive bronze figure, an embodiment of the spirit of hard work and perseverance - The Working Man Bronze Sculpture.

It stands tall in the heart of my hometown, a beacon of inspiration for us all.

The first time I looked at the sculpture, I was taken aback by its intricate detailing and raw energy.

Indeed, the artist has breathed life into the metal, creating a figure that almost seems to move, sweat, and toil.

Every contour of the sculpture tells a story of strength, endurance, and the rewarding beauty of hard labor.

It's a worthy tribute to the countless working men and women who built our town brick by brick.

While the word 'sculpture' might lead one to envision a quiet, static piece of art, visiting The Working Man Bronze Sculpture is quite the opposite.

In the early mornings, as the dawn breaks, the bronze figure seems ablaze, setting our aspirations on fire.

In the silent serenity of the night, it stands committed, reminding us of the unyielding spirit of the working class.

You can find more details here if you're ever in town and would like to visit this masterpiece.

The Working Man Bronze Sculpture is an emblem of our roots, journey, and relentless pursuit of progress.

Visit McEuen Park

The grounds of McEuen Park
Kirk Fisher / Shutterstock.com

I kickstart my day every morning by heading to McEuen Park in the heart of Coeur d'Alene. I can't think of a better place to get fresh air daily.

I've been going there for years, and it's like my sanctuary in the city.

I'm an early riser, so I take my dog to the off-leash area where she can run free while I view the Coeur d'Alene Lake.

There's a separate enclosure for small dogs, so Bella, a big Labrador, has plenty of space to run around.

After our little excursion, I grab a coffee from the little cafe in the park.

The aroma of fresh coffee and birds chirping is a combination that can't be beaten!

As the day progresses, the park becomes a hub of activity.

Families with kids flock to the large playground and the splash pad.

A sculpture at McEuen Park
Kirk Fisher / Shutterstock.com

The laughter and joy add to the park's vibrant atmosphere.

There are also tons of sports courts for those more athletically inclined.

I often stroll along the park's paved pathways, taking in the well-maintained landscape and the public art installations.

And if that wasn't enough, Tubbs Hill trails are a stone's throw from the park.

I like to hike up the trails now and then for the breathtaking views.

Coming down, I often detour to the downtown area, where you're spoiled for choice with cafes, restaurants, and pubs.

So, whether you're a nature lover or a fitness enthusiast, McEuen Park is a gem nestled in the city's heart.

It's a piece of home to me - a place where I can connect with nature, my community, and myself.

Feel a Spiritual Experience at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church

Walking through the grand doors of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, nestled in the heart of Coeur d'Alene, is like entering another world.

The architecture is breathtaking, with intricate designs adorning every corner; the beauty of this place is undoubtedly something to behold.

But, as they say, beauty is more than skin deep.

The experience of attending Mass there is something I always look forward to.

A sense of calm and peace envelops you as soon as you walk through those doors.

St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church is a beautiful place, aesthetically and spiritually.

Immerse Yourself in Knowledge at Coeur d'Alene Public Library

Exterior of Coeur d'Alene Public Library
Antony-22, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Every town has a heart and a place where its soul resides; for us, it's the Coeur d'Alene Public Library.

Entering through its doors is like stepping into a sanctuary of knowledge nestled in the heart of our charming little town.

You can't help but marvel at the architectural beauty of the building.

Its modern design flawlessly interweaves with Idaho's natural beauty, capturing our town's essence in its structure.

The library has something for everyone.

For the kids, it is a world of endless adventures and enchanting tales, brought to life in engaging storytime sessions.

I remember one particular day when Miss Mandy had crafted a truly magical atmosphere with her space-themed stories.

Interior of Coeur d'Alene Public Library
Antony-22, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The children were mesmerized, their eyes sparkling with the same stars she had painted in their imaginations.

Moreover, the library also houses an impressive collection of art from local talent, a testament to the vibrant creativity flowing through our town.

It's a pleasure walking through the aisles, surrounded by the thought-provoking art that mirrors the soul of our community.

The library's two-story layout includes an innovative touch - a 3D printer.

It’s quite a sight to see the young and old alike exploring and experimenting, their curious minds illuminated by the marvels of technology.

The Coeur d'Alene Public Library is where the town gathers, ideas bloom, and knowledge is celebrated.

If you want to know more about us, our people, and our culture, there's no better place to start than our beloved library.

Unwind at Sanders Beach

Every time summer hits, there's one place I find myself repeatedly drawn to - Sanders Beach.

It's the gem of Coeur d'Alene, tucked away in a quiet community and offering a refreshing escape from the city's bustle.

This public beach has always been my go-to for swimming, and it holds a charm that's hard to find elsewhere.

The experience at Sanders Beach is always rejuvenating; the waters are always clear, offering an unobstructed view of what lies beneath.

You can often find me swimming out to the markers, a feature I adore about this beach.

It's not only a great way to gauge your swimming distance but also a fun challenge for those looking to push themselves.

But what I love the most about Sanders Beach is its seclusion.

It's a public beach that feels private, hidden from the world, making it unique.

Sure, the parking is a bit limited, but I've always seen that as a small price to pay for the tranquility it offers.

The beach remains undeniably charming and refreshing.

It's my slice of paradise in Coeur d'Alene, and I couldn't ask for anything more.

Explore the Tranquility of Fernan Lake Natural Area

The waters of Fernan Lake Natural Area
Kirk Fisher / Shutterstock.com

Every Saturday, my heart drifts towards the serene beauty of the Fernan Lake Natural Area.

It's as if the lake calls to me, beckoning me to its calm shores, away from the clamor of the city.

The trail to the lake is a miniature adventure, offering a delightful yet short hike.

Some steep parts might challenge you, but they are hardly a bother considering the short distances they span.

Keeping a keen eye on the trail is vital since some features diverge and are poorly marked.

One of the things that make Fernan Lake Natural Area unique is the solitude it offers.

Despite being a Saturday afternoon hotspot, the trail often feels like a private haven.

And it's not just for humans - dogs are welcome too, as long as they're on a leash.

But the authentic charm of Fernan Lake Natural Area lies in its pristine natural beauty.

It's almost surreal how you can drive from Idaho to Montana through the mountains and stay within this natural area's bounds.

Moreover, it's a sanctuary, a refuge from the rapid urbanization the site has been experiencing.

The lake itself is a haven for nature lovers and fishing enthusiasts.

Often, the lakeside is dotted with picnickers, fishermen, and boaters.

The availability of two docks, one equipped with a bench and fishing tables, adds to the convenience.

Despite the lake's popularity, it's spacious enough to find a secluded spot for yourself.

The park also provides a large parking area and a small public toilet facility, making the visit comfortable and hassle-free.

The local wildlife is another captivating aspect of Fernan Lake Natural Area.

It's not uncommon to spot osprey and blue herons by the lake, adding to the overall allure of the area.

So, Fernan Lake Natural Area has something for everyone, whether it's the soothing tranquility, ample exploring opportunities, or the prospect of catching a glimpse of wildlife.

Explore Boardwalk Public Beach

Taking a dip in the cool water at the Boardwalk Public Beach is one of my favorite ways to beat the summer heat in Idaho.

Nestled right in the city's heart, the beach is a bustling hub of activity and a popular gathering spot for families.

The best part? It's free!

Nothing beats a day out with the kids, letting them splash around in the clear waters while I sit back and soak in the summer sun.

The beach is conveniently located near downtown, so grabbing a bite to eat or doing a little shopping is just a short walk away.

There's no denying the beauty of the place. The lake, park, and boardwalk are picturesque and worth a visit.

So, next time you're in town, don't forget to pack your swim gear!

Unveil the Magic of Mudgy Moose

Statue of Mudgy Moose near the lake
Kirk Fisher / Shutterstock.com

Every time I pass by the corner of Sherman Avenue and 2nd Street, I see the enigmatic, larger-than-life Mudgy Moose Statue.

Its majestic bronze exterior, a mesmerizing sight, tells a heartwarming tale of friendship and exploration that binds our community together.

Every eye-catching curve and intricate detail of this statue beckons you closer, as though whispering secrets of Coeur d'Alene's rich heritage.

It is more than just an impressive showpiece—it embodies our town's spirit and camaraderie.

And who would have thought that a moose could convey such profound emotions?

Whenever I walk by, I can't help but stop and take a moment to admire the artistic brilliance that the Mudgy Moose represents.

There's an air of enigma surrounding it that I find both intriguing and appealing.

This statue is a treasure trove waiting to be explored.

It's a must-see for tourists and an essential part of our everyday lives as Coeur d'Alene residents.

So, whether you're out for a stroll or driving by, pause and appreciate the Mudgy Moose's charm.

It's a truly unforgettable experience. And as we locals like to say, "U Da Man," Mudgy!

Final Thoughts

There's no shortage of free activities to enjoy in Coeur d'Alene.

This list barely scratches the surface of what this slice offers.

So whether you're a lifelong resident or a first-time visitor, I promise you - Coeur d'Alene will not disappoint.

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