14 FREE Things to Do in Coeur d’Alene Idaho with Kids

Judy Antell Avatar

Great in all four seasons, Coeur d’Alene Idaho has water sports, budget ski resorts and family friendly bike trails. You can drop a lot of money at Coeur d’Alene Golf Resort’s floating green, Coeur d’Alene casino, Silverwood Theme Park and  Boulder Beach Water Park. But you can also find a wealth of free things to do in Coeur d’Alene. Head to northwest Idaho for these fun things to do, with outdoor activities and more.

Coeur d’Alene, about 40 miles from Spokane, Washington, in eastern Idaho, truly has multigenerational appeal. From lake swimming to easy bike trails, ski resorts to golfing, breweries, wineries and a waterpark and giant theme park for the kid in all of us, Coeur d’Alene has it all. Best of all for the budget conscious, are the many fun things that are also free.

There are places to stay in Coeur d’Alene for every budget too: RV campgrounds, luxury resorts, ranches with horseback riding and inexpensive family friendly hotels.

Lake Coeur d'Alene views are one of the free things to enjoy
In summer, head to Lake Coeur d’Alene for free things to do. Photo credit: Downtown CDA

Free Things to Do in Coeur d’Alene Year Round

1. North Idaho Centennial Trail

The 23 mile long North Idaho Centennial Trail is great for walking or biking. The paved bike trail limits speed to 15 miles per hour. Or, in the case of young bikers, gives them a speed to shoot for.

2. Art Galleries

Downtown Coeur d’Alene boasts 10 art galleries that you can explore on a self guided walking tour. There are local, national and international artists working in a variety of mediums. 

3. Coeur d’Alene National Forest

Coeur d’Alene National Forest, part of the Idaho Panhandle National Forests, has miles of hiking trails that you can use for free. But in winter, for cross country skiing, you need to buy a permit.

4. Farmers’ Market Times Two

The Kootenai County Farmers’ Market runs on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., May through October and Wednesdays; 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., May through September. There is always live music and over 100 local vendors. Every year there is also an indoor Winter Market in early December with free coffee and holiday shopping. Dogs are only allowed at the Wednesday market.

5. Trail of the Coeur d’Alene

The 72 mile paved Trail of the Coeur d’Alene  in Idaho State Park is a flat family friendly bike trail, particularly the section along Lake Coeur d’Alene. In winter, the trail is groomed for cross country skiing and snowmobiling.

6. Art Walk

Window shopping in downtown Coeur d'Alene Idaho is a fun thing to do
Downtown Coeur d’Alene. Photo credit: Visit Coeur d’Alene

On the second Friday of each month, the art galleries in downtown Coeur d’Alene host an Art Walk. Some of the galleries have live music and wine and snacks. You can meet the artists and see new works  of art. Boutiques and restaurants stay open late, turning this into a year round party.

7. Walk the Mudgy Moose Trail

The Mudgy Moose Trail, also known as Mudgy & Millie Trail, brings a children’s book to life. Based on local best selling writer Susan Nipp’s Mudgy & Millie book, the two and a quarter mile trail features five life-size bronze moose statues sculpted by Coeur d’Alene native Terry Lee. You join the hide and seek game along Lake Coeur d’Alene and through downtown Coeur d’Alene, from Tubbs Hill to Independence Point.

Free Things to Do in Coeur d’Alene in Summer

8. Coeur d’Alene City Park

The lakeside Coeur d’Alene City Park has a sand beach, walking trails and a playground. There is also a picnic area, perfect for lakeside lunches.

9. Independence Point

The four-acre Independence Point, near the Coeur d’Alene Resort and the downtown area, has a beach and a swimming area. Water sports like boating and parasailing can be arranged for a fee.

10. McEuen Park

McEuen Park has the city of Coeur d’Alene’s largest playground, as well as an off-leash dog park. There is a trailhead for Tubbs Hill and a kayaking launch. In summer, cool off at the splash pad.

11. Summer Movies

The Museum of North Idaho has a summer movie series, June – September. Movies at City Park and Coeur d’Alene Resort Bay are free. But the ones at Hayden Cinema, drive-in charge admission. Note that The Museum of North Idaho also charges admission.

12. Riverstone Summer Concert Series

The Riverstone Summer Concert Series presents free concerts in Riverstone Park from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Thursday in July and August.

13. Art on the Green

Art on the Green, an annual event held on the grounds of North Idaho College, is a three-day festival with artists, musicians and performers. The Children’s Art Garden lets kids participate in hands-on projects. A free shuttle bus runs from downtown to campus.

 14. Coeur d’Alene Wooden Boat Festival

The two day Wooden Boat Festival, held every summer on Coeur d’Alene Resort’s Floating Boardwalk, celebrates vintage wood boats. There is also live entertainment.

Fun things to do if you hit it big at the casino…

Scenic Hot Cocoa Cruises

Parents with two children onboard a hot cocoa cruise in Coeur d'Alene Idaho
Hot Cocoa Cruise, a unique family friendly activity. Photo credit: Lake CdA Cruises

If you’re not into winter sports, Lake CdA Cruises has unique Hot Cocoa Cruises Friday through Sunday in January, February and March. These 90-minute cruises are a unique way to embrace the brisk weather.

The Floating Green

The Coeur D’Alene Resort Golf Course’s 14th Hole, The Floating Green, is the world’s only floating, movable island golf green. Each day, the par 3 hole changes position, enticing you to play over and over.

Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch

Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch offers guided tours of its alpacas. You will also see mini donkeys, horses and goats.

Timberline Adventures

Soar above the treetops on Timberline Adventures zipline. Timberline Adventures has a special zipline tour that includes s’mores.

Check below to see some of the accommodations available to book near these attractions in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho:


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