Sandpoint, Idaho

The cool northwest's hot property

Jan 8, 2004
Outside Magazine
best American towns Sandpoint, Idaho

Sandpoint's Cedar Street Bridge, a solar-heated mall inspired by Florence's Ponte Vecchio    Photo: courtesy, Idaho Travel Council

best American towns Sandpoint, Idaho

IT'S EASY TO GET SEDUCED by Sandpoint: You cross the two-mile bridge over Lake Pend Oreille (pronounced Pon-der-AY) and drink in the spectacular Selkirks mountainscape looming over downtown. But what really reels you in is Sandpoint's small-town sense of community, with the restored Spanish-mission-style Panida Theater and all manner of city-sanctioned excuses to lollygag (like Winter Carnival or the Lost in the '50s nostalgia fest for muscle-car buffs). And then there's the big-town lineup of restaurants: "The best place to eat in Spokane," goes the joke about the city of 194,000 lying 75 miles southwest, "is in Sandpoint."

OUTDOORS: The twin playgrounds of the lake and 8,000-foot peaks prevent any dead spots on the calendar. Schweitzer, the uncrowded local ski mountain, has 2,400 feet of vertical, 2,500 skiable acres, and a nordic trail network. Summers bring huge-scale paddling, sailing, and fishing around the lake's 111 miles of shoreline, plus mountain biking on stellar singletrack tracing the peaks and creeks.
REAL ESTATE: Following a spate of recent media valentines, demand has spiked to the point that nearly any house priced under $200,000, says Charlie Parrish, of Evergreen Realty, "is getting snapped up almost overnight."
HANGOUTS: The Coit House, a 1907 Victorian with six guest rooms and a wraparound porch, is close to both the lakeshore and the heart of downtown (doubles, $70–$110; 866-265-2648, Check out Eichardt's Pub, Grill & Coffeehouse for elk burgers, seared ahi tuna, and live music.

More at Outside

Elsewhere on the Web

Not Now

Got Wanderlust?

Escape your daily grind with Outside’s best getaways.

Thank you!