This is the year of road trippin’ for the Smith family. In the past few months we’ve ventured South to Portland, North to Whistler and now East to Idaho! I feel blessed to call the Pacific Northwest home, where we have beautiful destinations all within a reasonable (2-5hr) drive. In our most recent adventure, we hit up the waterpark scene in North Idaho and I am pleased to say the fun’s not just for the kiddos.
Read on why I am already planning a return trip to Silverwood for the lazy river (& piña coladas) alone…
Our first destination was the Triple Play Resort in Hayden, ID – which is about a 5 hour drive from Seattle. If you’ve ever driven through Eastern Washington you know it’s a gorgeous ride, especially during the Summer months. We left on a Thursday morning and hit a bit of traffic over the pass due to construction, but the drive home (on Tuesday evening) was wide open and smooth. I highly recommend traveling during the week, if possible – as Interstate 90 gets busy during the warmer months (because everyone’s chasing the sun!).
And keep your drive time flexible, allowing for a few fruit stand stops along the way…the cherries, apples and saltwater taffy are not to be missed.
So now you know the drive is easy…here are 6 reasons to visit North Idaho THIS Summer:
Okay, this place is genius. Triple Play Family Fun Park is an indoor and outdoor recreational park connected to Triple Play Resort Hotel & Suites – which allows you to stay and play! Here are some of the activities available:
- Indoor waterpark – wave pool, waterslides, jacuzzi, and 2-story play structure (safe for any age)
- Bumper Boats
- Indoor and Outdoor Mini Golf
- Climbing Wall
- Ropes Climbing Course
- Laser Tag
- Bumper Cars
The day we arrived it was actually raining (which is short-lived in Eastern Washington fyi), so we spent the day at the indoor waterpark! It was a perfect 80+ degrees in there, so we might as well have been on a tropical vacay.
We also squeezed in rock climbing, go-kart racing, bumper boats and bowling during our stay. We could have easily spent a week there!
We actually discovered Triple Play though the Hayden Chamber of Commerce. We were looking for a hotel near Silverwood Theme Park, which was on our road trip bucket list. Triple Play happened to be one of the closest hotels (a quick 20 minute drive), and offered amazing family-friendly activities as a bonus! This is a great destination on it’s own, or add to your Silverwood itinerary (as we did!). To note – you can also purchase the activities a la carte and just spend a day playing – or vice versa – if you prefer just to stay and not opt in on the fun (however, I totally recommend you play, too!). Rooms start at $109/night! More info is available HERE!
So if you haven’t guessed it by now, the second reason to visit North Idaho…
Known as the ‘Northwest’s Largest Theme Park,’ Silverwood has over 70 rides, slides, shows and attractions, including four roller coasters, Boulder Beach Water Park, a steam engine train, live entertainment, restaurants, etc..
We only took a few photos inside the park since we were in and out of the water – so you’ll have to take my word for it – this place is a dream! And 100% all-ages friendly. If you’re 21+ grab a cocktail at the Tiki Bar and float the lazy river, or try the Riptide Racer (my 5 year old loved it!). There’s plenty of beach space to sunbathe and people watch, too. So whether you want to relax, be active or a little of both – it’s absolutely perfect.
In the afternoon, we decided to venture to the other half of Silverwood – which included rides, carnival games and more activities than we had time for in one day! We’ve already decided to return next year and devote at least 2 full days to Silverwood.
I would also like to note – the park is extremely clean. Like surprisingly, clean. With the amount of traffic they get on a daily basis, they manage to keep it looking brand new. And there’s staff everywhere – so if you have questions or need direction, they are immediately available. A friend of mine suggested the park parallels Disneyland (minus the characters), and I would have to agree. The entire park is themed in the most adorable way, with darling victorian cottages as restaurants, shops, and a plethora of sweet treat spots along ‘Main Street.’ The amusement park is categorized by theme including ‘Coaster Alley’ or ‘Country Carnival,’ etc. You can’t help but feel like a kid, regardless of your age.
After a day of waterslides, roller coasters and caramel corn, it was time to head home (insert sad face). …but we’re already planning a return trip!
Okay, so now onto the food…
On our first night in North Idaho, the Triple Play concierge suggested we check out Mackenzie River Pizza, which was a quick 5 minute drive from the hotel. We appreciated the tip, because our experience was fantastic! Dining on the patio, next to a stone fireplace – I had a braised beet salad with arugula, my husband had their Smokehouse burger with bacon and pulled pork, and the kiddos had a cheese pizza.
…and the General Manager was kind enough to treat us to their new dessert – white chocolate macadamia nut cookie, topped with huckleberry ice cream, served in a bubbly skillet. This was the winning ticket – we may drive 5 hours just to have another bite. So good!
This is a similar version with chocolate chip cookie and vanilla ice cream…
Mackenzie River Pizza Co. has several locations, but I’m partial to the one in Coeur d’Alene…which brings me to another reason to visit North Idaho…
I could spend an entire post (or series!) on Coeur d’Alene, but for today’s purpose, I’ll stick to a paragraph.
The Coeur d’Alene area is surrounded by dozens of lakes left behind by the glaciers of the ice age. There are more than 55 lakes within easy driving distance of Coeur d’Alene, but none more scenic and full of activities than Lake Coeur d’Alene itself. – Coeurdalene.org
Probably one of the most recognized destinations in North Idaho, Coeur d’Alene is an absolute must-do this Summer.
This city was made for summer.
…Summertime is playtime. And when you’re a city built on a lake, play comes a little more naturally. Boating. Biking. Beaches. Skiing. Sailing. Golfing. Hiking. Swimming. Paddleboarding. Camping. Exploring. It’s all right here.
You can find a great guide to the area HERE!
And what goes better with summertime, than ice cream? Actually, make that fro yo!
The kid’s had been asking for ice cream the minute we packed in the car. For some reason they associate road trips with treats ha! I’ll actually be sharing what we ate on the road in a post coming soon. But, when our hotel suggested Jamms Frozen Yogurt, which was down the street, we had to check it out (travel tip: always make friends with the concierge!).
So what makes Jamms so special? First of all, they had vegan pink lemonade fro yo. And if that wasn’t enough, they had a huge variety of other dairy-free options including carob chips and fresh fruit. I try to limit dairy when possible, so this won me over…big time. I’ve yet to find carob chips at another fro yo shop (which actually taste like regular chocolate chips – but better for you).
And last but not least…since I am a Seattle girl, I must inform you of my favorite coffee shop…
I stopped in for a tall iced americano every afternoon and by the 3rd day, they knew my order before I got to the counter. This is customer service, my friends. Besides being uber-efficient, they also have an incredible roast.
And I might have picked up one of these…
North Idaho offers a great summer vacation – resorts, waterslides, beaches and of course good food and coffee. I hope you have an opportunity to visit sometime soon! Feel free to leave a comment with any questions you may have!
I’d also like to note, General Motors provided a 2016 Buick Enclave for us to use during the trip. It’s a mid-size SUV that fit our family of 4 perfectly (even with several bags, a cooler and a double jogger in the back!). We are familiar with GM so the bells and whistles came easy to navigate, but the part I am smitten for – Wifi!! While my husband drove down, I checked emails, worked on the blog and the kiddos watched Netflix! Seriously made the road trip a breeze!
Okay…now I have a question for you – we’ve decided it’s time to invest in a GoPro, especially since many of our adventure’s involve water. Any recommendations or tips? Would love to hear your thoughts!
Disclosure: Via the Hayden Chamber of Commerce, Triple Play Resort and Silverwood graciously hosted our family. The opinions expressed here represent my own, which I take great pride in providing pure honesty…because I’m OBSESSED with sharing the Good!