Nestled in the forests of northern Idaho along the pristine sandy shorelines of an alpine lake, you’ll fine Coeur d'Alene. It’s a beautiful place to call home, and with just over 50,000 residents, it’s the kind of place where the waitress at your favorite diner knows your name. It’s the kind of place where you can fish for salmon or relax on a boat, golf on a floating hole (yes, you read that right), ski down powder-laden slopes and enjoy the fresh mountain air and minimal traffic heading in the direction of wherever the day’s adventures are taking you.
Intrigued? Before you pack your bags or rent a storage unit in Coeur d'Alene, read on to discover six things you should know before you move:
What’s In a Name?
If you move to Coeur d'Alene, you’re going to have a lot of people asking you just what the deal is with that name—and how to pronounce it. Coeur d'Alene is pronounced core-da-lane and is a term coined by French Canadian fur trappers that means “heart of an awl.” Not to be confused with an owl, an awl is a small pointed piercing tool. The fur trappers used it to describe the indigenous Schitsu'umsh people who called the area home before settlers arrived. The fur trappers believed the Schitsu'umsh people to be shrewd and discerning. Next time someone asks you about Coeur d'Alene, you’ll feel like a local. For bonus points, refer to it as CDA.
Life in Coeur d'Alene is Good on the Lake
Coeur d'Alene Lake is a stunning turquoise body of water that stretches for 26 miles and has 135 miles of shoreline, making it the second largest lake in Idaho. Even better, Coeur d'Alene Lake is right on the edge of town. If you enjoy lake life, you’ll love renting jet skis from KJ Watersports, fishing for Chinook salmon, bass and Kokanee and camping at Bell Bay Campground. If you like hiking, try the Mineral Ridge Trail, which takes you to an overlook above the lake and even offers you a chance to explore an abandoned mine. Afterwards, grab a huckleberry-infused cocktail from Dockside. Golfers will definitely want to take advantage of the world’s only floating green at The Coeur d'Alene Resort, which can only be accessed by boat.
Winter Wonderland Personified
Coeur d'Alene gets an average of 69.8 inches of snow per year, which is great news if you love skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing or just getting cozy with a mug of hot chocolate and waiting for summer. You’ll find three great ski resorts right near Coeur d'Alene including Silver Mountain, Schweitzer Mountain Resort and Lookout Pass Ski Area. If you’re more of the walking-in-a-winter-wonderland type, head to The Coeur d'Alene Resort for the annual holiday light show. See it by land or go on a holiday lake cruise, which takes you on a harbor voyage to floating Christmas tree towers (Clearly, Coeur d'Alene really likes floating things.)
Coeur d'Alene Offers Small Town Vibes Close to Spokane
Coeur d'Alene is just 15 miles from the border of Washington state and just 33 miles from Spokane. This unique position gives you the best of both worlds. You can have easy access to the amenities of a larger city—the airport, the shopping, the employment opportunities—without sacrificing the charm of life in northern Idaho.
Things Will Be Great When You’re Downtown—Downtown Coeur d'Alene That Is
Founded in 1888, Downtown Coeur d'Alene is a picturesque, tree-lined setting that’s bursting with shops, restaurants, galleries and businesses—125 and counting, to be more precise. In the fall, you can enjoy hayrides and an apple tasting at Apple Palooza, in the winter, there are Christmas lights. In the summer, the streets are bustling with fairs and car shows. Shop for western goods at Cisco’s, browse Irish gifts at All Things Irish, check out the stuffed animals at Figpickels Toy Emporium and cap the day off with a scoop from Abi’s Ice Cream for the kids and a glass of merlot from Castaway Cellars for the grownups.
Coeur d'Alene is Growing Fast
Thinking of moving to Coeur d'Alene? You’re not the only one. According to 2018 U.S. Census Bureau data, Coeur d'Alene is the fastest growing metropolitan area in the fastest growing state in the country. Projected population growth for 2035 is 81,000. So what’s the deal? An article in weekly newspaper Inlander attributed the growth to Californians fleeing the Golden State for the lower cost of living in Coeur d'Alene and the conservative politics. The cost of living in Coeur d'Alene is still much, much lower than it is in California, but home prices and rent prices are on the rise, so if you’re mulling the idea of relocating, you may want to make your move soon.