Living In Coeur d'Alene

Living in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho might be right for you and/or your family. This would really be the case if you are attracted to what the outdoors has to offer.

Coeur d'Alene, a popular resort community with a population that is fast approaching 50,000, can be found about half-way up the Panhandle in the northern reaches of Idaho. This city, (pronounced core-da-lane), is located on the north shore of Idaho’s second largest lake. It is the largest city in the Idaho Panhandle. Barbara Walters has Coeur d'Alene on her list of fascinating places to visit, calling it "a little slice of Heaven".

Interstate Highway 90 is the east-west route through Coeur d’Alene, while U.S. Route 95 provides the north south path through the city. This city has good shopping with a wide selection of box stores and malls, both major and the strip-variety. Spokane, Washington is 40 miles to the west on Interstate 90, if you need greater shopping options. The large Spokane International Airport (GEG) is the airport of choice when living in Coeur d'Alene. It is the major hub for what is called the Inland Northwest. Coeur d'Alene does have a smaller airport with the Airport Code "COE".

History tells us that the French Canadian fur traders were responsible for the name, Coeur d'Alene, which roughly translates to "heart of the awl". That probably refers to the local Indians who were shrewd or sharp-hearted traders to deal with, back in the day. Or, if you believe others, it means "eye of the needle", referring to the narrow point where the lake empties into the Spokane River, the lake’s outlet. Today, locals often call Coeur d'Alene, "Lake City", or simply by the initials, "CDA". You will need to know these things living in Coeur d'Alene.

The area experiences the four distinct seasons. Spring and fall are pleasant periods. Summer temperatures (July and August) average in the mid-80s, but the triple digits is not uncommon. Winter temperatures (December and January) are usually in the low to mid-30s, but colder temps are frequent. During these months, snowfalls totaling 12 to 16 inches are likely, but higher snow depths can occur. Snow removal by the city, the county and the state is a science, making driving usually easy. Snow tires are suggested in the winter months, and four-wheel-drive vehicles are your best bet. Yes, that is a part of living in Coeur d'Alene.

If you like boundless outdoor recreation, you will love what Coeur d’Alene and the immediate area has to offer. According to a recent study from the American Lung Association, the air quality living in Coeur d'Alene is third best of all cities in the United States. Breath in this magical outdoors and enjoy it in good health!

The lake, 25 miles long and having some 110 miles of shoreline, is the centerpiece of the outdoors. The lake, fed by the Coeur d'Alene River and the Saint Joe River (two great fly fishing streams, by the way), was formed glacially. To many, Lake Coeur d’Alene is one of the world’s most beautiful sights. Locals and tourists enjoy the pristine tranquility of the lake and its surroundings.

Recreation on the lake include power boating, sailing, fishing, kayaking and canoeing, jet skiing, wakeboarding and swimming. There are many commercial activities available, including parasailing, seaplane rides, and several sightseeing lake cruises. When you tire of the lake, or if the lake is not your cup of tea, there are endless recreational opportunities on dry land when living in Coeur d'Alene.

Do you hike, bike or run for leisure and/or to work out? If so, you will appreciate living in Coeur d'Alene. There are many maintained trails available. The scenic North Idaho Centennial Trail, a 24-mile long multi-use, paved trail system, allows us to tour from Higgens Point east of Coeur d'Alene to the Idaho/Washington border. Rest stops and restrooms can be found along the way, and motorized equipment is not allowed.

Other maintained trail systems include the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes and the nearby Route of the Hiawatha. If you prefer the more rugged challenge of mountain biking, the area ski resorts have challenging bike trails, or you can find an isolated mountain trail, or make your own!

Speaking of ski resorts....if you like downhill or cross-country skiing, or snowboarding or snow tubing, the area is right in the middle of things. Silver Mountain Resort at Kellogg, Idaho is 30 miles east of Coeur d'Alene, and world-class Schweitzer Mountain Resort is 50 miles north of Coeur d'Alene near Sandpoint, Idaho. More primitive cross-country action is available all over the area, often on well-groomed trails. And, if snowmobiling or snowshoe trekking are pastimes you prefer, living in Coeur d'Alene is right down your alley....or hill!

Other outdoor passions are also available. Camping, fishing, hunting, bird watching and the like can be found all around the area. If you love the outdoors, you will love living in Coeur d’Alene. The area is located on the western edge of the Coeur d’Alene National Forest, 1,135 square miles (over 726,000 acres) of woodlands stretching from the city to the Montana border. This forested wonderland is packed with mountains, streams and lakes, plus a number of family camping options, many maintained, many primitive. Wildlife is abundant.

Coeur d'Alene has been in a growth cycle since 1990 and, today, this growth is accelerating. The population is generally a combination of young families and mostly active, retired couples. The depression in new home building seen throughout the country in these times has also been seen in the area. Home buyers will find good buys in both older homes and newer homes. Renters of homes, condos and apartments will find good opportunities in spite of growth in the area.

Many buyers and renters seek accommodations in smaller communities outside of the city of Coeur d'Alene. Living outside of the city has an appeal to many seeking a quieter, more secluded lifestyle. There is a large inventory of these opportunities living in Coeur d'Alene, or nearby.

Medical facilities are excellent if you are living in Coeur d’Alene or the outlying area. The Kootenai (pronounced coo-ten-ee) Medical Center is large hospital facility serving much of northern Idaho. The largest employer in Coeur d’Alene, the Center has more than 1,700 employees. Incidentally, Coeur d'Alene is county seat of Kootenai County, hence the Medical Center’s name.

Coeur d'Alene schools are rated high. The district has two high schools, three middle schools, an alternative high/middle school, a dropout retrieval school and 10 elementary schools. The city also has a highly-acclaimed Charter school, a variety of private schools and North Idaho College, a 4,500 student community college. It should also be noted that home schooling is popular to those families living in Coeur d'Alene and throughout the State of Idaho.