Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Photo: The Coeur d’Alene Resort

Most places aren’t considered year-round destinations. Some are perfect for the shoulder seasons, when the temperature is just right. Others lose their charm once they no longer feel like a winter wonderland. While you wouldn’t even consider many places when they weren’t warm and sunny. Coeur d’Alene is one of the rare spots where you can enjoy all four seasons.

Coeur d’Alene is part of the Idaho Panhandle, an area known for its rugged mountains, crystal lakes, and salmon-filled rivers. Its natural beauty makes Lake City sound remote, but the small city is only 30 miles east of Spokane, Washington. During the summer, Lake Coeur d’Alene attracts boaters, beach bums, and golfers (the 14th hole has a floating green). Before Christmas, one of the largest lighting ceremonies in the country ushers in the holiday spirit. Skiers flock to nearby slopes the rest of the winter. While the spring and the fall are reserved for hiking and biking along miles and miles of trails.

The Coeur d’Alene Resort is your home base regardless of the season. The resort is much larger than the places at which you usually stay. But it’s location—on the edge of the lake and at the base of the Bitterroot Mountains—and views make it worth it. Besides the unique golf course, the resort also has a marina and a floating boardwalk. Beverly’s is one of the best restaurants in the Pacific Northwest. The Taphouse – Unchained lets you pedal your own blended drink on their margarita bike. Your room features a gas fireplace and wall-to-wall picture windows. While the view from them is simply breathtaking.

But you haven’t earned a margarita, a Pacific Northwest feast, or even a nap in your cozy room yet. You need to get your blood pumping first. The paved North Idaho Centennial Trail runs from Higgens Point—a good place to spot bald eagles—to the Washington border. The longer Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes follows the winding Coeur d’Alene River around mountains and lakes before it runs into the prairie. Or you can head up the pine-lined trails on Tubbs Hill for more spectacular lake views.

With the leaves turning gold and orange around you, all of the trails are gorgeous right now. Autumn might actually be your favorite time of the year to visit Coeur d’Alene. At least until the holiday decorations are lit.

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