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Creative Family Ideas in the Pacific Northwest

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Great Things to Do with Kids in Downtown Coeur d’Alene

Our family is so blessed to live in beautiful Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Over the last 7 years, we’ve discovered many amazing things to do with kids in the area. In the summer, we enjoy exploring the town, visiting the lakes and going hiking. In the winter, we get a lot of fluffy snow that’s perfect for sledding and snowshoeing. We also have a picturesque downtown area which is fun to visit for a night out. Here are just some of our favorite things to do with kids in downtown Coeur d’Alene.

Downtown Coeur d'Alene Resort dandelion art sculpture

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, at one of the many tables overlooking beautiful views of Lake Coeur d’Alene.

Visit 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.

Mceuen Park playground great things to do with kids in downtown 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 climb down to several large rocks, which you can sit on and enjoy the lakeside view. 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!

The Coeur d'Alene Resort in Idaho walking paths and flag

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 slick experience for viewing all the menu options. Of course, we usually can’t leave without ordering one of the Dockside’s signature Gooeys. A Gooey is an oversized sundae complete with ice cream, syrups and toppings served in a large goblet. They come in a variety of flavor combinations. My kids usually order a chocolate and peanut butter Gooey to share; what’s not to love??

Reeses Gooey ice cream sundae at the Dockside in the Coeur d'Alene Resort

Play at the Splash Pad

On sunny days in the summer, my kids love going to splash pads. Downtown Coeur d’Alene has a spacious splash pad located right next to McEuen Park. 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 hit the splash pad before or after a family hike at Tubbs Hill!

Walk Along Coeur d’Alene Lake

If we just feel like doing a simple family activity together, we sometimes walk down to the lakeside. Our kids can play on the sandy beach and my husband Andy and I enjoy the beautiful lake views. Coeur d’Alene has so many pretty spots to discover and explore. In the summer, the lake is a very popular beach spot and great place to meet other families for a sunny day of fun at Lake Coeur d’Alene. Walking along the beach and exploring is a great activity to do with young kids. My kids are often more interested in building a sand castle than actually swimming in the lake.

Centennial Trail near Lake Coeur d'Alene family bike ride

Go on a Family 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!

Fort Sherman Wooden Playground great things to do with kids in downtown Coeur d'Alene

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

Finally, if you’re looking for fun things to do with kids in downtown Coeur d’Alene, it’s worth checking out the historic carousel. The carousel is open seasonally and was recently restored to its home near Fort Sherman Park. 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.

Historic Coeur d'Alene Carousel near Fort Sherman Playground

Whether you feel like exercising, playing with your kids or just relaxing, CDA offers lots of memorable activities to enjoy! Every time our family goes downtown, we typically visit a park, go on a walk, and get a treat. There’s always something going on in downtown Coeur d’Alene!



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