Find the best attractions and places to take the kids when visiting this quaint Idaho mountain town.
Sandpoint, Idaho, voted one of the best small towns in the United States by Sunset and Outside magazines, could easily also be voted the Best Family Fun Area in the Pacific Northwest. With so many attractions to choose from, Sandpoint is a family vacation waiting to happen. From lake activities to mountains to riding a thrilling rollercoaster, Sandpoint is the place to be.
Only 11 miles from Sandpoint in the Idaho panhandle’s Selkirk Mountains, Schweitzer Mountain Resort offers adventure with activities like mountain biking, geocaching, bungee trampoline, climbing and chair lift rides. The Huckleberry Festival is full of berry picking, pancakes and pies while Schweitzer’s Fall Fest in Schweitzer Village features music, microbrew and wine tasting, and soda tasting for children throughout Labor Day weekend. The winter season allows families to play together skiing, snowboarding, tubing in Hermits Hollow or bobbing along on a sleigh ride.
For the 2008-2009 season, Schweitzer is featuring several ways to save money for your Sandpoint vacation. Deals include $20 Sunday Solution half-day lift tickets (good from 1 p.m. to close), Ski Bum’s Happy Hour (a slice of pizza and a beer for $5, Monday through Thursday, 3 p.m. to close) and Shell 2-for-1 Tuesdays (buy 10 gallons of gas and get a ski free voucher).
Another way to save and also support a great cause is the Day for Heather benefit on March 27, which offers $10 tickets; 100 percent of the proceeds will go to Sandpoint’s Community Cancer Services. These deals cannot be combined with other discounts. Lift ticket prices: $59 for adults, $42 for juniors 7 to 17, free for kids 6 and under. Tel. 877-487-4643. www.schweitzer.com
Lake Pend Oreille is yours to explore any way you want. Have a blast as a family while hiking, fishing, swimming, renting a boat and waterskiing, or even renting a houseboat. If you’d rather leave the driving to someone else, a scenic Lake Pend Oreille cruise onboard the Shawnodese is the perfect way to learn the history and experience the lake firsthand. Sandpoint City Beach Dock. Tel. 888-726-3764. The Daily History Lake Cruise rates are $19 for adults, $14 for kids 3 to 12, free for children 2 and under. Daily cruises run from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m., from June 16 to Sept. 12, 2009. www.lakependoreillecruises.com
Only a half hour from Sandpoint, Silverwood Theme Park offers 65 rides, four coasters and summer water fun at adjacent Boulder Beach. Families can raft through Thunder Canyon and then dare each other to ride the 65 mph Aftershock coaster that pulls 4.5 G-forces. Boulder Beach Water Park is the calm after the rollercoaster storm with two massive wave pools and the lazy Elkhorn Creek to float around all afternoon. If you’d like to stay longer, there’s a recreational vehicle site and campground right outside the Silverwood gates. Hwy 95 North Idaho. Tel. 208-683-3400. Admission: $40.99 for ages 8 to 64, $21.99 for kids 3 to 7 and seniors 65 and over. www.silverwoodthemepark.com
The 18-acre City Beach Park is the hub for Sandpoint families during the summer. There’s a concession area, picnic shelter with barbecues, playground, horseshoe pits, tennis courts and volleyball nets. Water activities include sailboat and canoe rentals, and an awesome beach with two swimming areas and on-duty lifeguards. Winter time is special in Sandpoint when families ice skate on frozen Sand Creek near the Cedar Street Bridge and City Beach Park.
No matter what season you visit with your family, Sandpoint will surpass your expectations. Accommodations are available for every budget, there are shopping venues and restaurants galore, and the incredible amount of year-round events will provide endless entertainment opportunities. For more information, read our Sandpoint feature.