3 Winter Activities In Coeur d’Alene Not To Miss

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There is no doubt that Summer is high season for Coeur d’Alene, but this Northern Idaho resort town has a few Winter tricks up its sleeve as well as I discovered this past month. In my opinion, there are three winter activities in Coeur d’Alene you don’t want to miss. Two of them happen on the same night and start off the holiday festivities while one runs right up until the first weekend of the New Year. If fireworks, parades, and Christmas lights are your thing, you will love a winter visit to Coeur d’Alene.

Coeur d'Alene Holiday light show - photo courtesy of the Coeur d'Alene Resort

Every festive season should start with a parade and Christmas in Coeur d’Alene is no exception. The day after American Thanksgiving is the official beginning of all things Christmas in the resort town and it starts off with the Holiday Lights Parade on Sherman Ave. This year 45 entries traveled Main Street, everything from young kids dressed up in their holiday finest, to veterans, marching bands and of course, Santa.

Marching Band in Holiday Light Show Parade Coeur d'Alene

Veterans in the Coeur d'Alene Holiday Light Show Parade

#tbt to that time in Coeur d’Alene when I saw a Moose in a parade

A video posted by Marc Smith (@themarcsmith) on

Right after the parade is over, you don’t have to go far for the second event. All you have to do is turn around and head to the Coeur d’Alene Resort for the Holiday Light Show and tree lighting ceremony. Everyone that lives in town and more come out for this event rated as the #4 Holiday Light Show in America by USA Today. It is completely free and fun! Coeur d'Alene Resort Holiday Light Show The event starts out with a 15-minute fireworks show that wows all and ends with the official lighting of the Christmas Tree. Once the tree is lit the entire resort is lit up with over 1.5 million lights. They start out on land and extend out to the floating wharf on the lake. It is hard to capture it all with just a phone camera; there is so much to see. All I can say is WOW! Here is just a taste, it has to be seen in person for the full effect.

There’s some fireworks @cdaresort @visitidaho #visitidaho #HolidayLightShow A video posted by Marc Smith (@themarcsmith) on


Huge Christmas Tree all lit up at Coeur d'Alene Resort

Light display on the wharf at the Coeur d'Alene Resort

The third activity runs from the night of the Holiday Light Show right up until January 3rd. It is the “Journey to the North Pole” cruise, and it launches from the wharf at the Coeur d’Alene Resort. A 1.5-hour adventure that is fun for kids of all ages. It starts in the shops at the resort where we line up for our adventure before we head to the boat for our cruise to the North Pole.

Lining up for the Journey to the North Pole Cruise

To the North Pole

As we depart the resort, you get an amazing view of the Holiday Light Show display and can appreciate its size and complexity.

Sailing past the lights show at the Coeur d'Alene Resort

A 30-minute cruise across the lake and we arrive at Santa’s Workshop and another massive light display. Santa comes out to wish us all a Merry Christmas and even reads from his “Nice” kids list. Funny how every kid on the cruise has their name read out and not a single one of them is on the “Naughty” list.


The North Pole - - photo courtesy of the Coeur d'Alene Resort

Light display at the North Pole - photo courtesy of the Coeur d'Alene Resort

Santa's Workshop - photo courtesy of the Coeur d'Alene Resort

I tried to film Santa and his talk with all the boys and girls, but it was so cold out on the water my phone battery died. A word of caution, bundle up for this cruise. There is plenty of Hot Chocolate and coffee on board below decks but for the best view head up to the sightseeing second level.

As you can see, there is plenty of Winter fun in Coeur d’Alene to be had. These are just a few that I enjoyed. Something I didn’t get to experience, but would have loved to if I had more time was the Eagle Watching Cruises. I did get a ride in a horse-drawn carriage through the Downtown core. It was a bit of a line up but worth it just for the fun and novelty of it.

Horse drawn carriage rides through Coeur d'Alene

Continue your Summer adventures in this resort town, but now you may want to include a Winter Weekend Getaway in Coeur d’Alene to your list of adventures.

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Marc Smith is a former event planner turned vagabond adventurer. He loves strong Americano's, great wine, cold beer and zip lining over tree tops. Formerly of Vancouver, most of Marc's time when not travelling is in Canada's largest city, Toronto. Follow along on his nomad adventures and discover places to stay, things to do and where to eat & drink as he explores the world one city and region at a time.

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