The Top Attractions in Sandpoint, ID For Locals or Tourists

Cindy Bond May 21, 2024

Sandpoint, Idaho, is a charming town nestled on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille, offering both locals and visitors a unique blend of natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and cultural experiences. Whether you’re drawn to the vibrant arts scene or year-round outdoor activities, the many attractions in Sandpoint, ID, provide something for everyone. This guide covers the best attractions in this idyllic lakeside town.

Enjoy Lake Pend Oreille

Lake Pend Oreille is Idaho’s largest lake and a premier destination for water-based recreation. Visitors can swim, sail, kayak, and fish on the lake’s clear waters. Those seeking a relaxing day can take a scenic cruise with Lake Pend Oreille Cruises or sunbathe on the sandy beaches at City Beach. For fishing enthusiasts, the lake is renowned for its large Kamloops rainbow trout and kokanee salmon. You can also simply stroll along the shoreline, enjoying the stunning mountain views.

Cruise on Lake Pend Oreille

For a unique perspective of Lake Pend Oreille, hop aboard a scenic cruise. Local companies like Lake Pend Oreille Cruises offer guided tours that explore the lake’s hidden bays, historic sites, and beautiful shorelines. The cruises provide an informative narration on the lake's history, geology, and local wildlife, offering a fun way to learn while taking in the stunning surroundings.

Explore Schweitzer Mountain Resort

Schweitzer is a year-round destination for adventure seekers and families alike. The resort offers 2,900 acres of skiable terrain in winter, perfect for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts. Tubing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling are also popular activities on the mountain.

During the warmer months, visitors can enjoy mountain biking, hiking, and scenic chairlift rides that provide breathtaking views of the surrounding wilderness and Lake Pend Oreille. The resort also hosts the Huckleberry Festival and other family-friendly events throughout the year.

Visit the Bonner County History Museum

Learn about Sandpoint's rich heritage at the Bonner County History Museum. The museum showcases the region's history through exhibits on the native Kalispel tribe, early settlers, logging, and railroad development. Visitors can explore a vast collection of photographs, artifacts, and historical documents that provide insight into how the town has evolved over the centuries. Interactive exhibits and events like the Heritage Garden and speaker series make the museum engaging for people of all ages.

Wander Downtown Sandpoint

Downtown Sandpoint is a lively hub with boutique shops, art galleries, and local restaurants. Stroll along the historic streets to find one-of-a-kind gifts, handcrafted jewelry, and the work of regional artists. The Cedar Street Bridge Public Market is a unique shopping experience with vendors selling everything from gourmet food to home decor.

Downtown also features some of the best restaurants in the area, serving various cuisines, from seafood to farm-to-table fare. Live music, street fairs, and outdoor concerts bring the community together throughout the year.

Discover the Sandpoint Farmers Market

The Sandpoint Farmers Market is a favorite weekend destination for locals and tourists alike. Open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from May through October, the market is where you can find fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, baked goods, and handcrafted items from regional artisans. Live music and cooking demonstrations create a vibrant atmosphere, and you can meet the farmers and makers behind the goods. The market provides a taste of local culture and an excellent opportunity to sample seasonal treats.

Hike Mickinnick Trail

For an exhilarating outdoor adventure, hike the Mickinnick Trail. This 3.5-mile trail climbs over 2,000 feet, offering panoramic views of Lake Pend Oreille and the Selkirk Mountains. Along the way, hikers can explore the lush forest and admire unique rock formations. Though it's a challenging trail, the scenic vistas and tranquil atmosphere make it a rewarding trek. Bring plenty of water, wear sturdy shoes, and be prepared for steep inclines, especially near the summit.

Enjoy the Festival at Sandpoint

The Festival at Sandpoint is a beloved annual music festival that attracts thousands of visitors every summer. Hosted on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille, this multi-day event features a diverse lineup of national and international artists, including rock, classical, and folk musicians.

Concertgoers can relax on picnic blankets or enjoy local wine and craft beer while listening to live music under the stars. Family-friendly activities and art displays add to the festival’s welcoming atmosphere, making it an event that locals and tourists look forward to each summer. (This year’s festival takes place on July 27).

Drive the Pend Oreille Scenic Byway

The Pend Oreille Scenic Byway is a picturesque 33-mile route that follows the eastern shoreline of Lake Pend Oreille. This drive takes you through charming towns like Hope and Clark Fork, providing breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Along the way, you'll find opportunities to stop for hiking, wildlife viewing, or a picnic at one of the many scenic pull-offs. The byway is also popular with motorcyclists and cyclists who want to experience the region's natural beauty up close.

Learn at the Bird Aviation Museum

The Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center is dedicated to the achievements of Dr. Forrest Bird, an aviator and inventor best known for creating the first modern ventilator. The museum displays a collection of historic aircraft, artifacts, and exhibits on medical innovation. Visitors can learn about the history of flight and aviation technology while exploring interactive exhibits celebrating creativity and ingenuity. The museum’s location in the picturesque Sagle area makes it an ideal destination for a family outing.

Visit Gold Hill Trail

The Gold Hill Trail is a moderate 3.6-mile trail that offers rewarding views of the Clark Fork River, Lake Pend Oreille, and the Cabinet Mountains. The trail ascends steadily through a forested area, with wildflowers dotting the path in spring and summer. At the summit, hikers can enjoy a peaceful resting spot and appreciate the natural beauty of Sandpoint's rugged landscape. The trailhead is located just south of town, making it easily accessible for a quick outdoor adventure.

Whether you're an outdoor enthusiast, a music lover, or someone who enjoys boutique shopping, you'll find a wealth of attractions in Sandpoint, ID, that appeal to all tastes. From hiking trails and lake cruises to live music and vibrant farmers markets, this lakeside town has something special for everyone.

Connect with Sandpoint expert Cindy Bond today

If you're considering making Sandpoint your home or want to explore the region's real estate opportunities, contact Cindy Bond. With her local expertise and dedication to helping clients find the perfect home, Cindy can guide you through the process and match you with a property that meets your needs. Contact Cindy Bond today to start your journey to enjoying all Sandpoint offers.

Work With

With the passion, dedication, and resources to help her clients reach their buying and selling goals. With you every step of the way.