Idaho is full of hidden gems ready to be explored! In this blog I go over the best places in Idaho for your adventure elopement! I think Idaho is such an underrated state for elopements, and I think it should be called The Gem State because of all the hidden gems it has to offer! As a born and raised Idaho local, Idaho has some amazing features and things to see. These are my favorite pre-scouted locations for your elopement in Idaho!
Priest Lake is the northern most lake located in the panhandle of Idaho, making it only 30 miles from the Canadian border! This lake is nestled beneath the Selkirk Mountains. I personally have spent several summers camping at one of their many campgrounds and it is absolutely stunning. The water is so blue and clear, a definite must-see in the summertime! It's length spans 20 miles and has beauty around every corner.
The lake has 3 main resorts right on the lake that you can stay at (Elkins Resort, Hill's Resort, and Cavanaugh's), and in the summer you can spend the day hiking, swimming, kayaking, etc. It has plenty of options for adventure for your elopement! Priest Lake has some really pretty hikes to choose from, including one with awesome waterfalls and rockslides! With resorts to stay at and several campgrounds, you will never run out of things to do at Priest Lake.
Spanning 65.24 miles and having a depth of 1,150 feet, this is a beautiful lake with many features. This lake starts right outside of Athol and goes all the way up to Sandpoint. Growing up, I've lived within about 10 minutes of this lake. It has crystal clear water and there are mountains that rise straight up out of the water, complete with mountain goats. This lake is definitely a must-see.
- Nearby towns to visit near Lake Pend Oreille:
Athol: Silverwood Theme Park is only 5 minutes away, right off of Highway 95. It's the largest theme park in the northwest! There's a nearby RV park that you can stay in called Ravenwood RV Resort, or there's a cute bed and breakfast called Cedar Mountain Farm Bed and Breakfast that is just down the road! Athol also features Farragut State Park, which is perfect for camping, playing disc golf, mountain biking, hiking, or loading your boat into the water.
Bayview: Bayview is a quaint and cute town that features a floating village on the water! If you love fireworks shows, you can watch the 4th of July fireworks from the water on a boat. If you're hungry, be sure to check out the floating restaurant called The Lake House Bar and Grill! With great views and cute restaurants, this town is also a must-see.
Sandpoint: Sandpoint is located at the northern tip of Lake Pend Oreille and below Schweitzer Mountain. This stunning mountain town has amazing places to eat and views to offer. My favorite restaurants are Second Ave. Pizza (they have the best pizza), and Connie's Café. With a main street full of local shops and more restaurants, this is a great place to visit if you're in the area. There are also helicopter tours available through Atomic Helicopters here in Sandpoint!
The surrounding area of Lake Pend Oreille has many beautiful hikes to offer that would be perfect for your Idaho elopement! I have them listed in my Idaho Location Guide available exclusively for my couples!
Lake Coeur d'Alene is known as the Playground of the Pacific Northwest, and for good reason! There are so many things you can do here. From watersports, to parasailing, ziplining, hiking, or taking a cruise, there are plenty of things to do to keep busy!
If you want to go further out of town, the Coeur d'Alene and St. Joe River are popular summer places to hang out, especially if you like fly fishing or more summer activities like camping. A popular steakhouse is Wolf Lodge which is just down the interstate. No matter what you like, Coeur d'Alene has it all.
The Coeur d'Alene Resort: If you're looking for a fancy place to stay, the Coeur d'Alene Resort is a treat! Even if you aren't staying, you can visit the main lobby with a few shops and a lounge. Take the bridge over to The Shops if you love souvenir shopping and looking at more local shops. The resort also has some amazing restaurants, like Dockside. Be sure to order a gooey if you go to Dockside! They're amazing! If you want a more fancy dining experience, check out Beverly's!
The World's Longest Floating Boardwalk: After dining at the resort, it's nice to take a walk on the boardwalk! It is the world's longest floating boardwalk, and there's a bridge you can walk across to get some pretty cool views of Lake Coeur d'Alene. There are a few tables to sit at along the way, and you can watch the boats go by.
Timberline Adventures: To see amazing views of the Coeur d'Alene area from above, book with Timberline Adventures! With all inclusive packages available, you can do all 7 ziplines and have a treehouse lunch included.
Coeur d'Alene Parasail: For those who crave a little more of an adrenaline rush, Coeur d'Alene Parasail is for you. You can soar up to 500 feet above the water to see miles and miles around you. Book yourself this amazing adventure on the dock at Independence Point in downtown CDA, or go to cdaparasail.com.
Right next to it is the popular Tubbs Hill for hiking or cliff jumping into the water. If you want to see more of the lake, there are cruise boats that offer tours as well.
Home of the popular Hiawatha Trail and Trail of the Coeur d'Alene's, Wallace has many outdoor activities to enjoy. Mountain biking, hiking, ziplining, and snow sports in the winter surround this beautiful area of the Silver Valley.
If you love snow sports, go to Silver Mountain Resort! This is a resort to ski or snowboard at, along with an indoor water park and America's longest gondola for the summertime.
One of my favorite places to eat in the area is the The Snake Pit. It's very rustic inside and out - but with great food!
If you're interested in floating the river, check out Bumblebee Campground, located right by the Coeur d'Alene River. It's a beautiful place to camp, fish, and have a relaxing time floating the river.
This area also has some of my favorite hikes, perfect for your elopement!
McCall is a popular place to visit in the summer and in the winter. Located right at the base of Payette Lake and just north of Lake Cascade, this little town is so cute! Ponderosa State Park is a great place for photos, and the lake itself is beautiful, surrounded by mountains.
In the winter, there are plenty of ski resorts to go to, and they have an activity barn with some winter activities great for kids! They also have a winter carnival. Other winter sports include snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and nordic skiing. There are also hot springs in the area!
In the summer you can do things like hike, camp, mountain bike, rock climb, zipline, kayak, ride horses, and swim. McCall has great places to eat as well. If you go to visitmccall.org, you can find more activities and places to eat there! Front Porch Pizza is a thumbs up from me!
As for accommodations, the Shore Lodge is a beautiful place to stay right on the lake! If you want something more simple, look for places to stay in New Meadows, which is right up the road.
Located in the Sawtooth Mountain Range, Stanley is a little town with big views and tons of outdoor activities to do. With some great options for dining and exploring, this town is beautiful inside and out. There are amazing hot springs to visit in the summer or wintertime. Other outdoor activities include swimming, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, rafting, horseback riding, backpacking, and so much more! Basically anything you can think of can be done in Stanley. The nearby town of Sun Valley is also a great place to consider.
Nearby Redfish Lake is a popular destination, for good reason. It has great views of the Sawtooths and is a great family recreation area. Stanley Lake offers stunning views of the mountains along with an amazing campsite. Many alpine lakes surround the area and are perfect if you love hiking or backpacking. Just about all the places you could stay at in town offer majestic views of the mountains as well. This charming mountain town is definitely an Idaho elopement hotspot!
These are all my favorite spots in Idaho that I know would be perfect for your adventure elopement! Idaho has more variety than you may think, in the south with rolling foothills and miles and miles of mountains in the north. Idaho experiences all four seasons and is a beautiful state to explore for those adventurous at heart.