Drive up the Schweitzer Mountain road and visit the resort
About 12 miles from the city of Sandpoint, there is a gorgeous, windy mountain road. It is a 9 mile drive with drop offs and no guard rails, which makes you a bit anxious, but it is definitely a fun drive to the top. When you arrive, there is a resort with its village and the beautiful sceneries of the lake Pend Oreille.
The village offers several boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Enjoy the beautiful sunny weather. Go for a hike up to the top. Relax, and have a drink or a coffee at the Coyote Ugly Cafe. There are also a few great restaurants for casual dining or fine dining in the village, such as The Chimney Rock Grill. The Coyote Ugly Cafe is a good place to have a coffee and some great sandwiches.
You have the most spectacular views of Lake Pend Oreille from the top. If you are brave enough, you can ride down the mountain on a bike and climb back up. This usually opens for the summer around the 27th of June. Take the mechanical lift to the top and admire the beauty of the region for free if you get there for the opening day on the 27th of June 2014. Summer on the mountain is calmer without big crowds, and when night falls, it seems like you own your own resort. It is quiet, less populated, isolated, and lots of fun. If you come there for vacation, you will enjoy the laid back atmosphere with activities ranging from tennis, mountain biking, and hiking to taking lifts to the top of the mountain, having a hot tub in each room, and enjoying the gorgeous romantic nights.
Go to City Beach for a Swim
The city beach is the place to be when you are in town, especially on a hot summer day. It’s a great place to go for a swim, sun tanning, and other activities (such as walking along the lake and playing tennis or beach ball). Kids have their own playground next to the beach with lifeguards on duty, so that you can enjoy a fun day at the beach. It is a laid back atmosphere with friendly people and great waters. The sceneries are spectacular. The portion of Lake Pend Oreille is so big that it feels like an ocean. This is the 3rd deepest lake in the Nation, with 111 miles of shorelines. The water is relatively warmer than other local places with a limited activity area for swimming. If you have rented a boat, go have fun at the lake. You can fish or simply enjoy going for a ride. The parking area can support 250 cars and has an area for trucks with trailers and RV parking. The great thing is that parking is free, and no dogs are allowed at the beach or park.
Take a Cruise on the Lake
Cruises leave at the city beach, so that you can enjoy the 43 mile long lake with its breathtaking scenery on a Shawnodese chartering vessel. There are different types of cruises available, both private and public, including: daily lake cruises, river lunch cruises, eagle watching cruises, and more. Please check the website for further scheduling and pricing for the summer:
Go for a Hike or bike ride
Park your car at city beach or by the Conaco gas station, and go for a long bridge walk, hike, or bike ride. The path is paved all the way across the bridge. The 2 mile long walkway is spectacular along Lake Pend Oreille and continues along the bridge next to the freeway 95. It is an easy walk with spectacular views of the lake. The only downside is that sometimes the traffic on 95 spoils the walk. Check out the video attached to this section for details. The beginning of the path is shaded, but that disappears as you reach the long bridge all the way to the other side. If you walk, it would be a 1.5 -2 hour walk back for the 4 mile round trip.
Other hiking trails include:
Evans Landing trail – 2 mile trail
Maiden Rock Trail – 2 mile steep
Mikeinnick Trail – 7 Mile round trip
The 3.7 mile Gold hill trail is the most popular among local bikers and hikers. It can be moderate to strenuous. Start the trailhead on Bottle bay road 8 miles south of Sandpoint.
Mineral Point Interpretive Trail contours along Lake Pend Oreille about 14 miles south of Sandpoint near Garfield Bay, with magnificent views across the lake to the Green Monarchs.
Enjoy Downtown and the Restaurants
Walk the downtown area and enjoy this unique beach town atmosphere, with its small boutiques and festive streets. Go for a small walk, rent a bike, or get a great cup of coffee or a meal. Even Brothers Coffee Place is a great place to have a great cup of coffee and relax. There are a great deal of worthy restaurants in town, such as Trinity at City beach, or Joel’s for Mexican food. If you enjoy beers, there are two microbreweries you can find: The Laughing Dog Brewing in Ponderay at 1109 Fontaine Road, and Mikeduff’s Brewing Company in downtown Sandpoint at 312 N. 1st Ave.
Visit a Museum
There are two museums in town:
The Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center is open year round, with free admission. Its goal is to educate visitors about the historic contributions of aviators and innovators who have helped create modern technology, and to celebrate these individuals.
The Boner County Historical Museum is located at 611 Ella Street. Displays include Native American artifacts, an extensive collection of Ross Hall photos, a pioneer kitchen, and more. They offer free admission on the 1st Saturday of every month, and are open year round.
Other activities include golfing (there are 2 courses available), kayaking, rafting, and shopping.
Sandpoint, Idaho is a great place to vacation for a fun summer, whether you are alone or with family. Lake Pend Oreille provides you with all the fun activities necessary to spend a fantastic summer with warm weather, nice food, and a friendly atmosphere.
Have a great summer!