There are few things in life held in higher esteem than a great beach.
We have made the greatest of these locations into relaxation destinations and will, when possible, pack up a bathing suit, a toothbrush and a pair of flip-flops and fly around the globe to plop ourselves into deep, velvety sand and allow the surf to wash away our cares.
We hold their names in the highest reverence: Waikiki. South Beach. Copacabana. Malibu.
And we keep songs about them forever locked into the Victrola of our memory. Doubt that? Try to keep from humming the melody that goes with the phrase “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.”
One of the greatest resources we have at our disposal in our corner of the world is a wealth of quality fresh-water beaches. We can throw a beach chair, a bottle of sunscreen and a cooler or refreshment into the car and head off to a beach anytime the weather allows.
City Park and Beach in downtown Coeur d’Alene is a primary destination on a hot summer day, as much for its proximity as for its stretch of sand and gentle, lapping waves.
For many of us, it’s the first beach that comes to mind when the need sun and surf overwhelms us.
But there are so many more great beach destinations to explore and enjoy.
Here are seven alternatives definitely worth checking out:
City Beach, Sandpoint. OK, the name should give you a giant clue about how the North Idaho city meets Lake Pend Oreille. The white-sand beach is luscious and the surrounding park is expansive and welcoming. It’s the kind of place that invites you to stick your toes in the water, sip a cold drink and allow the gentle waves to wash away the rest of the world. If you need more than simple relaxation, the beach and park offer plenty of recreation. On any given day you will find every imaginable type of ball being thrown, batted or spiked. You can swim to your heart’s content or just watch the boats come in and out of the nearby marina.
Honeysuckle Beach, Hayden Lake. Cities with a body of water in their name HAVE to have a built-in commitment to beach life, and that is definitely true here. Hayden Lake’s gem of a beach is a treasure. Coeur d’Alene and Pend Oreille grab the headlines while Hayden, the lake in the middle, can sometimes get overlooked. It shouldn’t. If for no other reason than the spectacular view of Honeysuckle Bay and the rest of the picturesque lake. The popular spot will sometimes require a hike in because the parking is somewhat limited, so plan accordingly. It’s well worth the walk.
Liberty Lake Regional Park, Liberty Lake. The No. 1 destination on the lake used to be the aptly named Sandy Beach Resort, but that spot now is just a warm memory. This park is its worthy successor. The beach is so large that it makes a magnificent starting point for the annual Valley Girl Triathlon. And the sight of hundreds of women racing into the water to start the race is one to behold. But the same can easily be said of watching toddlers splashing in the water or building castles in the sand.
Boulder Beach, Spokane Valley. This spot along the Spokane River is as close to a secret swimming hole as we can get. With the plethora of lakes to choose from, many of us overlook the river in our own backyard as a spot for a little beach relaxation. Located on Upriver Drive, the beach is nestled next to the Centennial Trail, meaning you can interrupt your scenic walk with a little dip in the water.
Fish Lake, Cheney. Don’t let the name fool you. This little lake features a great, little stretch of sand and a perfect spot to go for a swim. Motorized boats are prohibited, so really good swimmers can do laps around the lake if they choose. Where else can you do that?
Beaver Bay Beach, Farragut State Park. This is a beautiful spot to spend those hot, hot days of summer. You can enjoy Lake Pend Oreille in a natural setting rather than being close to downtown. It can be quiet and rustic, with air scented with pine.
Q’emiln Park, Post Falls. This stretch of sand alongside the Spokane River is shielded from the current, so it makes for an excellent swimming spot. And the park features all the amenities you need for a day at the beach, including barbecue pits and picnic areas. Plus there’s an extensive trail system for a midday hike.