An undiscovered place to rediscover your family and friends. Schweitzer Mountain Resort is a top winter destination with the finest skiing and snowboarding -- and the best panoramic views -- in the Inland Northwest. With 2,900 acres, 2,400 feet of vertical, 92 named runs and nine lifts, Schweitzer is a dream for downhill enthusiasts. There's also 32k of cross country trails, beautiful snowshoe trails, a tubing center, zip line, guided snowmobile and backcountry tours, and plenty of shopping. The Chimney Rock Grill serves delectable Northwest cuisine and features an award-winning wine list. In the summer, there is a plethora of mountain activities, with chairlift rides, hiking and mountain biking, horseback rides, disc golf, tennis, climbing wall and bungee jump trampoline, picnicking and huckleberry picking, plus frequent music events and festivals. On-mountain, visitors stay at the luxurious Selkirk Lodge or White Pine Lodge, slopeside with access to an outdoor pool and spas. Winter or summer, experience the beauty of northern Idaho's premier alpine resort! 208-263-9555 or 800-831-8810; Schweitzer.com
Come be Captain Pearson's guest aboard the 40-foot Shawnodese, and 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. This distinctive vessel can be chartered for two to 30 people and is excellent for weddings, parties, business meetings, or just touring the lake. 888-SANDPOINT (726-3764) or 208-255-LAKE (5253); LakePendOreilleCruises.com
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; 208-263-9066; WesternPleasureRanch.com
Mountain Horse Adventures treats riders to leisurely horseback tours through alpine meadows at Schweitzer in summer; 208-263-TROT or 800-831-8810; MountainHorseAdventures.com.
Pend d’Oreille Winery, Sandpoint’s award-winning winery, uses grapes from the finest vineyards of the Northwest. The tasting room, lifestyle gift shop and Bistro Rouge Café offer unique items for home, garden and life. Start your evening off at the wine bar with live local music on Fridays or tapas, sandwiches and pizza daily. 208-265-8545; POWine.com
Laughing Dog Brewing is an award-winning craft brewery located in Ponderay on Fontaine Drive. Stop by for a visit in the taproom and gift shop. You might just meet Ben, the original Laughing Dog. 208-263-9222; LaughingDogBrewing.com
MickDuff’s Brewing Company is located in downtown Sandpoint, and is a small-craft brewery and family-friendly restaurant. 208-255-4351; MickDuffs.com
Eichardt’s is not a brewery, but offers a tremendous selection of international, national and regional brews. In addition, it offers a great menu selection including their infamous garlic fries. 208-263-4005; EichardtsPub.com
Just 30 minutes south of Sandpoint is Silverwood Theme Park, the Northwest's largest theme park with four outrageous roller coasters, more than 60 other rides and amusements, a vintage narrow-track railroad and turn-of-the-century village. New in 2013 is "Spin Cycle" - a 104-foot-tall thrill ride that swings, spins and inverts riders at 3.5 Gs. Think you can handle that? Plus on those sizzling summer days, don't miss the Boulder Beach Water Park with multiple slides, wave pool and more. A single admission gets you into both parks and includes shows and entertainment. Located south of Sandpoint on Highway 95 at Athol. 208-683-3400; SilverwoodThemePark.com
The Spa at Seasons, a luxury spa located in beautiful downtown Sandpoint, was created to bring a serene and relaxing environment to you. 888-263-5616 or 208-263-5616; SpaatSeasons.com
Three state parks are within close range to Sandpoint (IdahoParks.org):
Round Lake State Park is located 10 miles south of Sandpoint just west of Highway 95 on Dufort Road. 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. 208-263-3489
Farragut State Park is located four miles east of Athol, with 4,000 scenic acres alongside the southern tip of Lake Pend Oreille. 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. 208-683-2425
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. Hiking and biking trails, camping (RV or tent), wildlife viewing and swimming are all available. 208-443-2200
City Beach is a public beach located right in the heart of Sandpoint, with sandy beaches, volleyball, tennis, basketball, boat ramps and docks. To get there, simply turn right from First Avenue onto Bridge Street.
Sam Owen Park in Hope is operated by the Forest Service, and offers clear water for swimming on a pebble beach, along with overnight camping, barbecue and picnic areas, and more. Located on the Hope Peninsula, just off of Highway 200. 877-444-6777
Springy Point is maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers, and offers a swimming area, boat launch and camping. Located off of Highway 95 (just south of the Long Bridge) – simply follow Lakeshore Drive west about 4 miles. 877-444-6777
Albeni Falls Dam tours are free and held seven days a week at six different times throughout the day from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Tour guides will lead visitors inside the powerhouse, around the generators, onto each of the five floors and out on the spillway. 208-437-3133; nws.usace.army.mil
WaterLife Discovery Center, on the Pend Oreille River alongside Lakeshore Drive, offers interpretive trails and self-guided tours of fish habitat and an interpretive area. 208-769-1414; FishandGame.idaho.gov
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 ahead 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. 208-266-1431
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 and cross-country ski trails and blinds where waterfowl can be viewed. 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. 208-267-3888; fws.gov/kootenai
Memorial Field ospreys and live webcam. See Sandpoint's wild ospreys in person, or click to the live webcam to peek into their nest and see them hatch and rear their chicks. Memorial Field, a beautiful lakeside park located at 855 Ontario St., is home to two nesting osprey pairs. From early spring, when the magnificent "fish hawks" arrive in northern Idaho following their migration from Central and South America, until they head south in autumn, the ospreys are a ubiquitous presence at the field. During the season, visitors can enjoy viewing the very active ospreys live on the field. SandpointOnline.com/Ospreys.
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. You can sample Sandpoint's rich railroading heritage can be sampled at the Bonner County Historical Museum at 609 S. Ella, 208-263-2344. For the brochure, "A Railfan's Guide to Sandpoint Idaho," contact the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce.
The Sandpoint region offers a pair of golf courses:
The Elks Golf Club, located right on the edge of town, is a super convenient, well-maintained 9-hole course perfect for the beginner or intermediate golfer. On Highway 200 East, 208-263-4321.
The Idaho Club, located 8 miles east of Sandpoint on Highway 200, is an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Course, a stunning design that masterfully blends in the natural setting of wetlands, forest and meandering waterways. Playing as a 7,089 yard par 71 from the Gold tees, the course has an abundance of water. 208-265-8600; TheIdahoClub.com.
Priest Lake Golf Course, a beautiful 18 hole golf course offering over 6,500-yards of challenging golf on a course nestled among the lush forests and wetlands so characteristic of the Priest Lake region. We have a driving range, putting greens, restaurant and quiet beauty! 208-443-2525; PriestLakeGolfCourse.com.
This delightful museum has many fine displays depicting old-time Bonner County. An extensive collection of Ross Hall photos are on exhibit, as well as a pioneer kitchen with memorabilia from a bygone era, a David Thompson exhibit with a replica of his canoe, and reproductions of gowns worn by First Ladies at their husbands' inaugurations. Summer hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Winter hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Located at 611 S. Ella at Lakeview Park. 208-263-2344; BonnerCountyHistory.org
Dr. Forrest Bird, inventor of the respirator, founded this museum in 2007. Features include exhibits on aviation, inventors and their inventions, plus a gift shop. Located in Sagle, about 17 miles southeast of Sandpoint off Sagle Road on Bird Ranch Road. Free admission. Open May to October, Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and in winter Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and to groups with prior arrangements. 208-255-4321; BirdAviationMuseum.com
Climate-controlled shopping with room to roam, the expansive Bonner Mall has several national retailers, a restaurant and a full-service supermarket. Open seven days a week on Highway 95, two miles north of Sandpoint, it’s the site of frequent community events. 208-263-4272
One of the top retailers of upscale women's apparel, Coldwater Creek is headquartered in Sandpoint with its flagship retail store located in the heart of downtown in the historic W.A. Bernd Building at 311 N. First Ave. Coldwater Creek offers world-class shopping, plus an espresso shop and wine bar. 208-263-2265; ColdwaterCreek.com
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