Nestled in the mountainous Idaho Panhandle, 45 miles North of Coeur d’Alene, lies the small resort town of Sandpoint. Located next to the largest lake in Idaho, Lake Pend Oreille and close to Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort, Sandpoint thrives on tourism and recreational activities. For residents of North Idaho and Eastern Washington, Sandpoint is a fun day excursion, particularly when the weather is warm enough for outdoor activities. Here is how to spend a summer day in Sandpoint.

What do to in Summer in Sandpoint, Idaho

A day in Sandpoint should start with a delicious breakfast and freshly brewed coffee. 

Lake Pend Oreille Cruises

Sandpoint is famous for its beach. But before you head to the sandy shore, stop at 

Sandpoint City Beach

After lunch, walk down to the City Beach and relax on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille. With two designated swimming areas as well as horseshoe pits, volleyball nets and tennis courts at City Beach Park, you won’t run out of things to do. If you’re feeling adventurous, book a kayak tour through Full Spectrum Tours, which offers guided half-day, full-day and multiple day kayak tours of the lake.

If you’d prefer something larger than a kayak, Lake Pend Oreille Cruises offer a daily 90 minute, nine-mile afternoon cruise. Learn about the history of the area while enjoying the beautiful mountain scenery.

Lunch in Sandpoint

The Hound Downtown is a great option for lunch. This small, unpretentious building with groceries for boaters serves some of the greatest food in the area. Don’t let the casual atmosphere fool you- this is not fast food and worth the wait. The Hound Downtown serves a variety of pizzas, salads, sandwiches, and hot dogs- including a vegetarian “hippie dog.” They offer five homemade soups every day with at least one vegetarian option as well as the cheapest beer in town.

Panhandle Cone & Coffee

Delicious treats from Panhandle Cone & Coffee are the perfect way to end a visit to Sandpoint in summer. They have a variety of flavors including fun choices like Elvis (banana & peanut butter), Butter Pecan, Chocolate Malt, and Rum Raisin.

Take an afternoon boat cruise on Idaho’s largest lake, Lake Pend Oreille. Summer cruises depart from the Sandpoint City Beach on Bridge Street.  The daily “Lake History” afternoon cruise is a 10-mile loop trip near the shores of Lake Pend Oreille. You’ll learn about the history & geology of the lake, early Indian history and the awesome beauty of the lake and mountains. 

Shopping & Art Galleries

Residents and tourists alike enjoy the unique treasures that can only be found at Foster’s Crossing. Located at 5th and Cedar, this mini-mall has antiques, vintage jewelry, crafts, collectibles as well as new and used books. There’s even an entire room full of custom clocks. There’s also an adjacent café serving espresso and light snacks.

Wine Tasting

Walk down the street from Foster’s Crossing and you’ll find the Pend d’Oreille Winery (located at 220 Cedar St). This shop has locally produced, award-winning wines as well as gifts for wine lovers. In addition to good wines, the Pend d’Oreille Winery has live music on the weekends and daily free wine tasting and tours. If you enjoy wine or know someone who does, you won’t want to pass up a visit.

sunset in Sandpoint, Idaho

Photo Credit: Tammy Hagen‎

Best Time of Year to Visit Sandpoint

Summer in Sandpoint is gorgeous. July is one of the best months as the weather is warm enough to enjoy the lake and everything is fresh and green. The days are long in summer and twilight is magical. August is great for outdoor activities, especially water sports, but if you visit during a heatwave, you can see temperatures around 100.

Fall is a beautiful time to visit as well. Come in the last couple of weeks of September into the first couple of weeks of October to see the leaves change. The nights will be cool, so you’ll want a warm sweater or jacket.

Winters in Sandpoint are cold and snowy! The annual snowfall of Sandpoint averages 61 inches of snow per year and the back-country outside of the town can see as much as 300 inches. If you love to ski, snowboard, cross-country ski, and snowmobile this is a perfect time to visit. 

Where to Stay in Sandpoint: Find the Best Hotel for Your Budget 

Sandpoint is a small town in the beautiful Idaho panhandle. Options are fairly limited as it is a small town. Below are a few options from budget to luxury and our favorite pick for a family-friendly hotel option. 

Best Budget Hotels
Check Trip Advisor reviews:
Lost in Lisbon | Lisboa Central Hostel | Nest House Lisbon Hostel
Check Out Best Prices on Hotels.Com: Lost in Lisbon | Lisboa Central Hostel | Nest House Lisbon Hostel   
Best Moderately Priced Hotels
Best Luxury Hotels
Best Family Friend Hotels

Fun Facts About Sandpoint, Idaho

  • Sandpoint was founded in 1898.
  • Indian tribes from Montana and Washington used to come to Sandpoint by the thousands to pick Huckleberries.
  • Sandpoint lies on the shores of Idaho’s largest lake, 43-mile-long Lake Pend Oreille.

Day Trips from Sandpoint & Top Tours

  • Silverwood Theme Park: The Northwest’s Largest Theme and Water Park is located just north of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. With over 70 rides, slides and attractions.
  • Coeur d’Alene: A city on Lake Coeur d’Alene with a quaint downtown district. There are waterfront attractions like Tubbs Hill and Coeur D’Alene City Park. Recreational activities surrounding the lake include hiking trails, camping, fishing, and boating. A favorite spot for cycling and hiking, the 23-mile North Idaho Centennial Trail passes by the Lake Coeur d’Alene shoreline and through McEuen Park.
  • Schweitzer Mountain:  A ski resort just 11 miles northwest of Sandpoint.

Recommended Travel Resources

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Summer in Sandpoint, Idaho

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Foster’s Crossing Antique & Country Market
(5th & Cedar St.; 208-263-5911)
Full Spectrum Tours (321 N. 2nd Ave.; 208-263-5975;
Lake Pend Oreille Cruises (888-SANDPOINT;
Panhandle Cone & Coffee (216 N 1st Ave; 208-265-8996)

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