Coeur d’Alene, Idaho may not be the first destination that comes to mind for holiday travel. I mean … who jumps to Idaho?! Well, this is a problem that needs to be remedied. If you’re looking to take off for a few days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, there’s a lot happening in Coeur d’Alene.
1. Holiday Light Show: More than 1.5 million lights are hung along the Coeur d’Alene waterfront every winter, creating the largest on-the-water holiday light show in the United States. The festivities kick off the day after Thanksgiving with a parade through downtown with more than 5,000 candles. One button is clicked at the end, bringing the waterfront to life with white lights, a 30-foot wreath and a fireworks display. This event runs through the end of the holiday season.
2. Fantasy Cruise to the North Pole: Cross the water by boat to visit the workshop run by the esteemed Santa and Mrs. Claus. On display, you’ll find a 161-foot Christmas tree with north of 30,000 sparkling LED and colored lights. The lights themselves take on the shapes of nearly 150 characters, from fire-breathing dragons to dancing elves to giant snowflakes. You can take advantage of this from the day after Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day. Set sail at the Coeur d’Alene Resort.
3. Migrating Bald Eagles: Watch the bald eagles stop in Coeur d’Alene every winter to dine on Chinook salmon near Wolf Lodge Bay. From Thanksgiving until the end of the year, you can see up to 100 eagles hanging out on the shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene.
4. Shop for the Holidays: Stop by Sherman Avenue, where you can find plenty of unique shops and art galleries. Add a local flavor to the gifts you give this year — a great alternative to the big box stores (and their online equivalents).
5. Parks of All Types: At Silver Mountain, a half hour from Coeur d’Alene, you can do some skiing or tubing — or throw on a swimsuit to splash around at an indoor water park, despite the freezing temperatures outside.
[Photo by Jami Dwyer via Flickr]