The Pacific Northwest as a whole is a beautiful place to explore and raise kids. 5 years ago our family moved from the big city of Seattle, Washington to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. This Inland Northwest area is home to sparkling lakes, a great selection of hiking trails, forested camping areas and a vibrant local culture. The friendly local community makes a visit to CDA extra memorable. You can find many awesome family-friendly things to do in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Our family adventure list includes some of our favorite Pacific Northwest outdoor activities as well as several indoor family attractions.
Downtown Coeur d’Alene Bike Trails
Downtown Coeur d’Alene offers all the advantages of fine dining, gourmet treats, boat rentals, Lake Coeur d’Alene tours and more! Alongside these expected tourist attractions, visitors can also enjoy a variety of outdoor experiences. Downtown Coeur d’Alene is one of our favorite places to ride bikes. Some of the bike trails border the beautiful lakefront. The downtown North Idaho Centennial Trail is 23 miles long. It starts near City Park and eventually parallels the Spokane River as it runs all the way to the Idaho-Washington state line. The North Idaho Centennial Trail is a great outdoor experience for families with kids of all ages. You can take the whole crew and enjoy as much of the bike trail as you’d like!
Historic Coeur d’Alene Carousel
Whenever they can, my kids always want to ride any carousel. The beautifully painted horses and whimsical allure of a merry-go-round somehow creates an enchanting experience that never gets old. Families who visit the Coeur d’Alene downtown parks can also enjoy a ride on the Historic Coeur d’Alene Carousel. This attraction was originally part of Playland Pier on the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene from 1942 to 1974. The city restored the carousel in its picturesque building near Fort Sherman playground. For just $2 a ride, kids can pick out their very own horse and catch a glimpse of CDA’s historical past.
If the carousel happens to be closed on the day you visit, you can take photos in front of these awesome Instagrammable angle wings. These designs were painted by local artist Christina Hullart. When you share your photos, don’t forget the tag the hashtag #cdacarouselwings!
Fort Sherman Wooden Playground
The Fort Sherman wooden playground is right next to the lake beneath the shade of cottonwood and chestnut trees. We love going to Coeur d’Alene City Park to enjoy its paved park bike trails and lakeside pebbled beaches. Fort Sherman playground is an impressive wooden play structure that’s nestled in the center of the park. This playground is one of our favorite downtown activities for kids.
The wooden playground features lots of interesting climbing structures, wooden towers and narrow passages. Our kids love playing on the numerous swings, climbing nets, monkey bars and slides. The entire playground is surrounded by a sturdy wooden fence. It’s very helpful to know that your kids can’t wander off. Parents can sit on the many benches and enjoy the shade provided by magnificent trees surrounding the park. Of course, the play structure is adequately sized for adults to join their kids in the fun!
World-Famous Gooeys at the Dockside
Just down the street, the Dockside Restaurant in The Coeur d’Alene Resort is a great destination for a date night. If you happen to have your kids with you, this lakeside restaurant is also a memorable stop to treat your family to a world-famous Gooey dessert. Many of the tables offer amazing views of Lake Coeur d’Alene. The restaurant has generously sized booths and a welcoming family-friendly atmosphere.
What’s a Gooey, you might ask? According to the Dockside menu, the Butterfinger Hot Fudge Gooey is the dessert that started it all. A generous portion of chocolate and vanilla ice cream is topped with tons of hot fudge. Butterfinger candy, whipped cream, big chocolate swirls and a maraschino cherry add to the Gooey goodness! Other flavors include the Royal Cheesecake Gooey, Chocolate Obsession Gooey and the Gooey Monster with cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream. These sweet treats are really beyond description; your family will just have to try one!
Tubbs Hill Hiking Trails
Active families and adventure seekers have no want for awesome things to do in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Right next to the lake in the heart of downtown Coeur d’Alene, families can explore the Tubbs Hill hiking trails. Several miles of hiking trails on the hill provide spectacular scenery for everyone to enjoy.
We’ve really enjoyed hiking Tubbs Hill throughout our family’s various life stages. We’ve taken toddlers on the easier hikes, and even explored the trails while babywearing an infant. Now we can explore the hiking trails with our three adventurous kids running ahead. Tubbs Hill has some great rock scrambling areas and a suspension bridge.
On your hike you can look for birds and wildlife or search for colorful rocks. Our kids enjoy discovering paths that lead down to small hidden beaches. Speaking of rocks, Coeur d’Alene has an active community that hides painted rocks along the local hiking trails in a similar fashion to geocaching. Some of the rocks are gorgeously painted by true artists and many are marked with the group hashtag #CDArocks. Our own kids have enjoyed painting rocks and hiding them along our community hiking trails for others to find.
Hayden Discount Cinema
On days that aren’t brilliantly sunny, a trip to the Hayden Discount Cinema is a fabulous family activity. Here you can see many of the recently released movies on the big screen for just $3 a ticket. Our local discount theater has served our family in several ways. First, the discount cinema allows our younger kids to see a movie in a relaxed environment. We can always take them out in the hall for a break if they get restless. Also, the ticket prices are very budget-friendly. You can take your entire family to a movie for less than $20. Finally, the Hayden Discount Cinema is a great place to go with friends to re-watch a favorite movie that you’ve already seen in the theater. Overall, our discount theater is a great resource and awesome family-friendly activity to do in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
We recently took our three kids to see the Lego Movie 2 at the Hayden Discount Cinema. Our experience was just like going to the typical movie theater. We purchased drinks and popcorn (at lower than usual prices) and enjoyed the show in a half-full theater. The showing was excellent and the cost of our family outing was very affordable. If you haven’t seen a movie at the Hayden Discount Cinema, we’d recommend it!
Silverwood Theme Park & Boulder Beach Water Park
Although slightly outside of town, a family vacation to the CDA area isn’t complete without a visit to Silverwood Theme Park. We live just 7 minutes away and we consider Silverwood to be our local community pool and go-to family afternoon activity. By purchasing season passes, we can take our kids to Silverwood for a day or for just a few hours in the afternoon.
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Silverwood’s Rumble Falls water slides are fun for kids and adults!
Silverwood Theme Park has 6 roller coasters, more than 70 rides, a great kid’s area and an expansive water park. This Pacific Northwest amusement park has an awesome collection of family-friendly things to do near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Our favorite park attractions include the Timber Terror wooden roller coaster, Tremors wooden roller coaster, Riptide Racer water slide, Rumble Falls, Elkhorn Creek lazy river and the Nick Norton magic show.
Our 7-year-old daughter recently reached the 54-inch height requirement for some of the high intensity rides. She eagerly conquered the SpinCycle which sends riders 104 feet up into the air upside down with legs dangling. Her response after the ride? Huge grins and excitement all around.
Coeur d’Alene Neighborhood Splash Pads
Last but not least, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho has numerous local parks for play dates and picnics. The neighborhood playgrounds are great places for babies, toddlers and kids to play and enjoy the sunshine. Several of the neighborhood parks have splash pads with water features. Nearly all of the parks have bathrooms and some CDA area parks have picnic pavilions. The local parks are a great place for kids to burn off some energy and for families to meet up with friends. We’ve listed more details about our local Coeur d’Alene parks and splash pads here.
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Have you visited Coeur d’Alene, Idaho or do you live here? If so, what is your favorite outdoor activity or indoor family attraction? With so much to choose from, you can easily fill up your free time with memorable experiences as you explore the Coeur d’Alene area!
Katie is a writer and influencer based in beautiful Coeur d’Alane, Idaho. She enjoys DIY projects, photography, decorating and going on family adventures. She feels blessed to be a wife, a stay-at-home mom to three kids and a Pacific Northwest lifestyle blogger.