Attractions in and around Sandpoint, Idaho
Here's a short list of Sandpoint-area attractions:
Lake Pend Oreille
With 111 miles of shoreline and at 1,200 feet deep, it's Idaho’s largest lake and deepest lake and has a host of recreational opportunities: take a cruise, rent a houseboat, fish, ride a personal watercraft, windsurf, swim or meander along a shoreline trail and gawk at the beauty. Right in Sandpoint, City Beach at the end of Bridge Street has beautiful sandy beaches with lifeguards, volleyball, tennis, basketball and barbecue pits. There are a variety of fishing charters for fishing or cruising the lake. For a complete lake guide, click to the Sandpoint Online Recreation Guide.
Lake Pend Oreille Cruises
All aboard the 40-foot Shawnodese to discover the majesty and magic of Lake Pend Oreille. The Shawnodese was built by the Captain himself, employing the style and grace of shipbuilding utilized at the turn of the century. In summer, public cruises are scheduled daily, as well as Monday and Friday sunset dessert cruises, Tuesday and Thursday dinner cruises, wine tasting cruises and a Fourth of July fireworks cruise. This distinctive vessel can be chartered for two to 30 people. Perfect for weddings, parties, business meetings, or just touring the lake. Lake Pend Oreille Cruises. 888-SANDPOINT (726-3764) or 208-255-LAKE (5253).
May to October, this open-air market presents fresh produce, garden starts, handcrafts, flowers, food and live music. Farmin Park Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Wednesdays, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. SandpointFarmersMarket.com. 208-265-0780
Walking and Bicycling
The Pedestrian Long Bridge, alongside Highway 95 over Lake Pend Oreille, continues to Sagle Road; paved paths at Travers Park on West Pine Street, City Beach downtown and along Highway 2 west to Dover. Paths also at Lakeview Park through and around the Native Plant Society Arboretum and overlooking Sand Creek at the Healing Garden north of Bonner General Health. Plus the lakeside Pend d'Oreille Bay Trail just north of The Seasons. For a guide to hiking and biking trails, click to the Sandpoint Online Recreation Guide.
Downtown, discover a fine array of eclectic shops and galleries with clothing, art, antiques and gifts galore. Shoppers can also find the things they've been looking for in any number of shops in other areas around town and at the Bonner Mall in Ponderay, which has a six-plex movie theater.
Cedar Street Bridge
The only marketplace-on-a-bridge in the United States, the Cedar Street Bridge Public Market hosts a collection of interesting shops, eateries and occasional events in its landmark location spanning Sand Creek in the heart of downtown. Some compare the bridge to Italy's famous Ponte Vecchio - actually, the inspiration for the bridge market - while others see similarities to Seattle's Pike Place Market with its fusion of sights, sounds and tastes. Either way, the architectual landmark with its massive tamarack logs and passive solar design, is worth a visit. CedarStreetBridge.com.
Foster's Crossing at Fifth between Cedar and Oak streets is a mini mall with antiques, books, jewelry and more. There's also a fine, small restaurant called Cafe Bodega. 208-263-5911. Cocolalla Corner Antiques has a nice collection as well, located in Cocollala 12 miles south of Sandpoint. (Closed January and February). 208-263-9033.
Sandpoint is home to its very own winery. Pend dOreille Winery, 2003 Idaho Winery of the Year and 2005 SBA Small Business of the Year, vints award-winning wines from the world-class vineyards of the Northwest. The wine bar features live music on Fridays and Saturdays, while wine tasting, wine sales and tours of the winery and gift shop are open daily at 301 Cedar St. in downtown Sandpoint.
Laughing Dog Brewing Co. opened in 2005 and brews several styles of beer in Ponderay. Tours and tastings are open daily, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Located just off Highway 95 at 805 Schweitzer Plaza Dr. in Ponderay, near the Bonner Mall. Phone 208-263-9222. Also see brewing in action, and enjoy a frosty one, at a brewpub downtown, MickDuff's, at 312 N. First Avenue or MickDuff's Beer Hall just down the road at 220 Cedar St. Phone 208-255-4351.
Highway 2/41 Pend Oreille River Scenic Route, west on Highway 2 from from Sandpoint through historic Priest River and Newport/Oldtown; then south on Highway 41 through the Blanchard Valley all the way to the Spokane River. Wild Horse Trail Scenic Byway, 48 miles on Highway 95 from Sandpoint north following Kootenai Tribe’s historic path on the east side of Selkirk Mountains all the way to Canada. Available at the Greater Sandpoint Chamber Visitor Center. Selkirk Loop, 280-mile drive through the majestic Selkirks of Idaho, Washington and British Columbia, Canada. More than 55 lakes, including Lake Pend Oreille, on the tour. Phone 888-823-2626. Pend Oreille National Scenic Byway, 33.4 miles of spectacular water views on Highway 200, meandering east to the Montana state line along the rocky shores of Lake Pend Oreille.
Sandpoint has long enjoyed the Long Bridge as a bike path; it’s a 2-mile long, flat bike ride that starts downtown behind the Old Power House. In recent years the path has been extended south four miles to Sagle to create an easy, rolling scenic ride through the countryside along Highway 95. There’s a second bicycle path, beginning at Larch and Fifth in Sandpoint and heading about two miles west to Dover, built upon an abandoned railroad track. A route has also been extended from that path’s terminus at Larch to Boyer then west about .5 mile to E. Mountain View Drive and then down to Sand Creek, where riders can cross the Popsicle Bridge over Sand Creek. This burgeoning network of bike paths is the vision of North Idaho Bikeways, a group that formed in 1994. See a map of the trails.
Pend Oreille Arts Council
For 30 years, POAC has been promoting the arts through Summer Sounds at Park Place all summer long, the Arts & Crafts Fair in August, Artwalk, a revolving art gallery, and the Performance Series from September to April at the Panida. ArtinSandpoint.org. 208-263-6139
Truly an arts town, Sandpoint has about two dozen galleries located in town and the surrounding area, including Hallans Gallery with historic Ross Hall photos. In summer, up to 20 downtown venues become galleries in ArtWalk, a self-guided walking tour to browse revolving art exhibits, sponsored by POAC (208-263-6139). And about 15 area artists open their galleries for the Artists’ Studios Tour, a self-guided driving tour in the countryside, 800-800-2106.
Ranked nationally in the top 32 resorts by both Ski and Snow Country magazines, Schweitzer is an award-winning winter retreat with the best skiing, snowboarding and views in the Inland Northwest. Come stay at the luxurious Selkirk Lodge with its outdoor pool and spa. Ride 2,900 acres of terrain, from the heart-stoppingly wild trails to those more approachable by beginners. And enjoy a mountain of summer activities, including hiking, mountain biking, huckleberry picking, disc golf, a climbing wall and bungee jump trampoline. Horseback rides and snowmobile and backcountry ski tours are also offered through Mountain Horse Adventures and Selkirk Powder Company. For winter or summer, come experience the beauty of North Idaho's premier alpine resort! 208-263-9555 or 800-831-8810.
Silverwood Theme Park
The Northwest's largest theme park, located 25 miles south of Sandpoint on Highway 95, Silverwood Theme Park includes admission to Boulder Beach Water Park, so visitors get two parks for the price of one during Boulder Beach operating season. The park features Tremors, a 60 mph underground roller coaster, plus Timber Terror, Panic Plunge and the Corkscrew. Ride a vintage steam train, challenge a gigantic wave pool and monster waterslides, or enjoy live entertainment. Silverwood has more than 60 rides, shows and attractions. Phone 208-683-3400.
Bonner County Historical Society and Museum
The delightful Bonner County Historical Society and Museum has many fine displays depicting old-time Bonner County, including "Seneacquoteen" (Deep Water Crossings), a display featuring Native American artifacts and history from the geologic formation to present day. An extensive collection of Ross Hall photos are on exhibit, as well as a pioneer kitchen with memorabilia from a bygone era and reproductions of gowns worn by First Ladies at their husbands' inaugurations. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a nominal admission fee. Located at 611 S. Ella at Lakeview Park. Phone 208-263-2344.
Horseback Riding/Sleigh Rides
Mountain Horse Adventures treats riders to leisurely horseback tours through rich mountain forests and alpine meadows at Schweitzer in summer; phone 208-263-TROT (8768) or 800-831-8810. Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, 16 miles northeast of Sandpoint, offers sleigh rides in a rural setting for groups and couples, as well as horseback rides and overnight camping horse trips; phone 208-263-9066. Stillwater Ranch, in Sagle on Dufort Road, features hay rides; phone 208-263-0077.
The Elks Golf Club is just two miles from downtown Sandpoint on Highway 200 (208-263-4321). This well-maintained, 9-hole course is perfect for the beginner or intermediate golfer. StoneRidge Golf features a 19-hole course in Blanchard on Highway 41 (208-437-4653). Play a challenging 9 holes, or 18 from the second set of tees, at Mirror Lake Golf Course in Bonners Ferry on Highway 95 (208-267-5314). Or, go to Priest Lake Golf Course with a recently expanded 18-hole layout just west of Priest Lake (208-443-2525). Finally, The Idaho Club is an 18-hole course and private resort about 8 miles east of Sandpoint on Highway 200, with homes, tennis courts, and marina. As a private development, public tee times may be restricted (208-265-8600 or 800-323-7020). For a complete guide to golf, view the Sandpoint Online Recreation Guide.
Cabinet Gorge Hatchery, about 30 miles east of Sandpoint just outside of Clark Fork, hatches several million kokanee salmon eggs each year for release into Lake Pend Oreille. Open daily; call 208-266-1431 to arrange a tour for a group, or stop in any day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a self-guided tour. Website
Albeni Falls Dam tours are free and held seven days a week at six different times throughout the day. Tour guides will lead you inside the powerhouse, around the generators, onto each of the five floors and out on the spillway. Phone 208-437-3133.
WaterLife Discovery Center
On Pend Oreille River on Lakeshore Drive, offers interpretive trails, and self-guided tours of fish habitat and an educational interpretive area. 208-769-1414 Website
With more than 2,000 acres, the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, 30 miles north of Sandpoint near Bonners Ferry, has plenty of habitat for an abundance of wildlife. The refuge has developed hiking trails and blinds where waterfowl can be viewed, but one of the best things to do there is take the auto tour through the ponds. Stay in your car and the waterfowl won’t take alarm, so the viewing is excellent. In autumn, the refuge plays host to literally tens of thousands of ducks, geese and swans migrating down the Pacific Flyway. Some hearty waterfowl winter over. Summer residents include bald eagles, rough-legged hawks, herons, geese and ducks. With luck, you may spot elk, deer, moose or bear. Auto tour routes are open daily except for the hunting season in October-November. A trail near the office and an area on the auto route are handicapped-accessible. There’s also a nice short hike to a scenic falls on Myrtle Creek. 208-267-3888.
Sandpoint is one of the West's greatest railroading towns, where the Burlington Northern, Montana Rail Link and Spokane International rail systems all converge to create "The Funnel," an amazingly active rail crossroads with more than 40 trains a day traveling through. Rail buffs come from around the world to see the many trains traveling through. Before heading to one of the many spots to see the trains pass by, drop by the Bonner County History Museum to learn more about Sandpoint's rich railroading history. 609 S. Ella Ave., 208-263-2344. For the brochure, "A Railfan's Guide to Sandpoint Idaho," contact the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce.
Three state parks are within close range to Sandpoint, Farragut State Park, Round Lake State Park and Priest Lake State Park (IdahoParks.org). Farragut is located four miles east of Athol with 4,000 scenic acres alongside the southern tip of Lake Pend Oreille. 208-683-2425. Camping, swimming, boating, lots of wildlife viewing, a model-airplane flying field, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and an 18-hole disc golf course are all available. Round Lake is located 10 miles south of Sandpoint just west of Highway 95 on Dufort Road, 208-263-3489. Round Lake is a small, scenic lake surrounded by an interpretive trail and filled with perch and trout. Camping, fishing, hiking, skating, sledding and cross-country skiing are all available. Priest Lake State Park is located on Coolin Road in Coolin alongside the clear waters of Priest Lake, a beautiful lake abundant in kokanee salmon and trout. 208-443-2200. Hiking and biking trails, camping (RV or tent), wildlife viewing and swimming are all available.
Three national forests are easily accessible from Sandpoint: Idaho Panhandle, Colville and Kootenai National Forests, for hiking, camping and many other outdoor recreation possibilities. Click for general information or camping reservations.