Coeur d’Alene, Idaho is a great place to explore and go on family adventures! Our family has lived in the area since 2014. We love going on hikes and playing at the downtown city playgrounds. Additionally, we’ve met friends at the Lake Coeur d’Alene beaches, and often go out to dinner at the Dockside. Coeur d’Alene has a beautiful downtown area with several parks, fun playgrounds for kids, and easy hiking trails with great lake views. Here are some of our favorite family activities in downtown Coeur d’Alene.
Downtown Coeur d’Alene is home to Sherman Avenue, lots of local restaurants and plenty of things to do with kids. One weekend, we took a trip downtown to celebrate my daughter’s 6th birthday. Our kids enjoyed playing on the McEuen Park playground and running along the paved walking trails. We ate dinner at the Dockside, located in the Coeur d’Alene Resort. Our table overlooked beautiful views of Lake Coeur d’Alene.
Play at the McEuen Park Playground
McEuen Park is a really fun destination for kids. Nearby is a spacious grassy area and a splash pad. The playground has a bunch of slides, walkways and climbing activities for kids to explore. My kids love playing follow the leader on the playground and using the kid-sized zip line. Nearby, a toddler area has plenty of activities for younger kids to do, including chairs that twirl and a sandbox.
The McEuen Park playground can accommodate a lot of kids and parents can sit on the numerous benches around the playground. It’s a great park to meet up with friends for a playdate, or to take kids for a fun-filled afternoon at the playground. McEuen Park is just one of the many great playgrounds in Coeur d’Alene!
Go on a Tubbs Hill Family Hike
Just down the path from McEuen Park is the start of the Tubbs Hill hiking trails. Tubbs Hill is a great place to take kids for an afternoon walk or short family hike. You can choose from a variety of trails which run along the shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Some trails go down to small beaches. You can climb down to several large rocks, which you can sit on and enjoy the lakeside views. We’ve done this hike many times with our kids since they were toddlers. Tubbs Hill is a really fun destination for a memorable hike, right in town!
Explore Downtown Coeur d’Alene
Downtown Coeur d’Alene is a great area to explore and go window shopping. The main thoroughfare, Sherman Avenue, is home to plenty of stores that are fun to stop by, including Figpickles Toy Emporium, Mrs. Honeypeeps Sweet Shop, and CDA Idaho Clothing Company. You could even put your family’s skills to the test at Escape Game Coeur d’Alene. There’s also plenty of restaurants to choose from in downtown CDA, and of course, coffee shops. Coffee lovers can sample their favorite brew at Vault Coffee, Coeur d’Alene Coffee Co, Fine Brewed Cafe, Evans Brothers Coffee, or Calypsos Coffee Roasters, just to name a few. Additionally, it feels like there’s a coffee shack on every corner in the greater Coeur d’Alene and Hayden area.
Eat at Dockside & Enjoy a Gooey
The local restaurants are another reason to visit downtown Coeur d’Alene. Our favorite place to eat as a family is the Dockside, located in the Coeur d’Alene Resort. We often order appetizers to share, or individual entrees. One time our kids tried out the kids buffet, which they loved. The Dockside has a well-rounded menu with something for everyone. The restaurant recently began using digital tablet menus, which is a user-friendly experience for viewing all the menu options. After dinner, we usually order one of the Dockside’s signature Gooeys. These oversized sundaes come with ice cream, syrups and toppings served in a large goblet. Gooeys come in a variety of flavor combinations. My kids usually order a “Reeses” chocolate and peanut butter Gooey to share.
Play at the Splash Pad
Next, going to the splash pad is one of our kids’ favorite family activities in downtown Coeur d’Alene. McEuen Park has a spacious splash pad located close to the playground. Cool water sprays out of the cement and artistic fountains. Parents can sit on the nearby benches to watch their kids, if they don’t want to join in the fun. The greater Coeur d’Alene area has a bunch of parks with splash pads, many of them located in neighborhoods. The splash pad in downtown CDA is a refreshing destination to take kids. You could also cool off at the splash pad before or after a family hike at Tubbs Hill.
Visit the Beach at Lake Coeur d’Alene
Furthermore, Lake Coeur d’Alene is a very popular place for swimming and boating in the summer. We often hang out at the beach, at the edge of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Our kids can play in the sand and my husband, Andy, and I can enjoy the beautiful lake views. The beach is also a great place to meet other families for a sunny day of fun at Lake Coeur d’Alene. We usually bring towels, sunscreen, and sometimes a picnic lunch. Coeur d’Alene has so many pretty spots to enjoy the natural beauty of North Idaho.
Go on a Family Bike Ride
Additionally, downtown Coeur d’Alene is a great place to go on a bike ride! Along the edge of Lake Coeur d’Alene, near the Resort and Fort Sherman Park, the Centennial Trail stretches 23 miles from the Idaho & Washington border to Higgins Point. This paved trail is great for family bike rides or going on a run. The trail is open to the public to use. If you don’t have your own bikes, you can rent adult and kid bikes in town. This scenic trail is part of the Rails to Trails program, which utilized former railroad tracks and turned them into bike trails. The stretch right next to the lake and Fort Sherman Park is especially great for kids to practice riding bikes.
Play at the Fort Sherman Wooden Playground
The Fort Sherman Playground is another awesome thing to do with kids in downtown Coeur d’Alene. My kids love exploring the wooden pathways, scrambling up the climbing nets, and going down the slides. The fort-inspired wooden playground has all sorts of things to climb on including a wooden boat, monkey bars, ramps and stairs. My kids enjoy going on the tire swing and even playing in the toddler area, which has cool features such as a wooden motorcycle. Andy sometimes plays hide and seek with the kids, although the wooden passageways can be a squeeze for an adult. There’s plenty of benches to sit on and the whole playground is surrounded by a wooden security fence. My kids always have a fun time when we take them to play at the Fort Sherman Playground.
Ride on the Historic Coeur d’Alene Carousel
Last but not least on our list of family activities in downtown Coeur d’Alene, kids can ride the historic Playland Pier Carousel. The city recently restored the carousel to its home near Fort Sherman Park and it is open seasonally. The Spillman Junior carousel was hand-carved in 1922 and it has 20 ponies and 2 chariots. It was originally part of Coeur d’Alene’s Playland Pier in 1942-1974. Kids will be delighted to ride the child-sized carousel horses, which are painted in bright and whimsical colors.
If the carousel happens to be closed on the day you visit, you can take photos in front of these artistic angle wings. These designs were painted by local artist Christina Hullart. When you share your photos, don’t forget the tag the hashtag #cdacarouselwings!
Whether you feel like exploring, playing with your kids or just relaxing, CDA offers lots of memorable activities to enjoy! Every time our family goes downtown, we usually visit a park, go on a walk, and get a snack. There’s always something to do or see in downtown Coeur d’Alene!
Hi, I’m Katie! I live with my husband and 3 kids in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I love Jesus, coffee, creative projects, taking photos and traveling. I’ve previously worked as a web designer, journalist and barista. I hope you enjoy our creative projects and family adventures!