Keep it Simple: 3 Best Family Vacations

Planning the best family vacation ever, year after year, can be time consuming and daunting.  After all, family vacations require activities conducive to a variety of ages, interests and attention spans.  On top of that, there’s a budget to contend with.

Luckily, I’ve discovered the solution to the planning angst, producing the best family vacation year after year.  We’re talking family bonding, togetherness, memories to last a life time…the works! So don’t despair. Whether overwhelmed with endless vacation ideas, or drawing a complete blank, the following fool-proof list will help.

Armed with the workplace training concept KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid), I’ve parred the best family vacation choices down to the very reasonable number 3.  These 3 best family vacations can be mixed and matched, rotated or otherwise selected throughout the years, and you can absolutely not go wrong!

Best Family Vacation #1: Lake House with Boat

Best Family Vacation - Lake House with BoatRenting a lovely waterfront vacation rental has to be one of the very best family vacations ever.  From the youngest family member to the oldest, there is instant entertainment.  Play a few games, eat some good food, talk and enjoy the view.  In between, play in the water, swim, layout on rafts, and spend fun times boating!

Before renting a home, I recommend asking whether a rental boat can be delivered to your dock.  The management company or home owner should be able to provide pricing, along with a lake map or suggested site seeing.  No one will forget this incredible family vacation.

Best Family Vacation #2: Theme Park Experience

Best Family Vacations - theme park experienceIf you’ve ever thought Disneyland has “been done,” or is too expensive, you’re right!  Prices are sky high, lines are out of sight…my question to those of you who are considering such a stressful, expensive trip is just WHY?

The largest theme park in the northwest covers hundreds of acres, including incredible roller coasters, family rides, games, attractions, shops, and even a full sized water park.  I’m talking about Silverwood Theme Park, just north of Coeur d’Alene in Athol, Idaho.  It is a must-see, unforgettable experience for the whole family – toddlers to grandma.

As someone who has been to theme parks across the nation, including Busch Gardens, multiple Six Flags, Knotts, Magic Mountain, Disneyland AND Disney World, I can tell you from first hand knowledge that Silverwood will not disappoint! You can spend several days there and nobody will be bored.  In fact, Silverwood my favorite theme park ever due to the quality and size combined with the great price and short lines.  Love.

Best Family Vacation #3:  Nature Adventures

Best Family Vacation - Back to Nature on the Hiawatha TrailSpending the vast majority of the year in an office, in school, in our house, and just generally inside…the best family vacation #3 involves spending active time outdoors.  There is nowhere better to get back to nature with all ages than the northwest.  The air is fresh, crisp and inviting.  The views are breath-taking and memorable.  And the variety is ideal to satisfy every taste.  Discuss your desired activity level with your local vacation rental reservationist for trail suggestions and maps.

My recommendation is to stay in a centrally located vacation rental.  After a day of hiking Chilco Mountain, biking the Hiawatha, or strolling the scenic Centennial Trail, there is nothing in the world better than a home cooked meal and evening in.  Ask for grocery delivery, a catered meal or even a private chef 🙂

Enjoy your best family vacation ever!!

vacation rentals, vacation rental, family vacations

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Top 5 Winter Vacation Ideas

Our Best Winter Vacation Ideas

Summer vacations are easy!  Pack a swimsuit and off you go to…well, pretty much anywhere.  It’s always been more challenging to come up with winter vacation ideas, though.

Well, it was challenging until I moved to Coeur d’Alene several years ago. Turns out this is the secret capitol of winter vacation ideas, so I’ve compiled my Top 5.  Hint: They all start here in CDA!

#5. Extreme Snow Vacation

Best for: Adventurers

The Idaho wild is here for you to explore during your winter vacation.  Pick 3 of the following for every 5 days of vacation; then add in some hot cocoa, a little warm fire and some loved-ones for the perfect winter vacation.

  • Snow Shoe (you’ll love this if you’re a hiker!)
  • Cross Country Ski
  • Sledding/Tubing
  • Ice Skating
  • Build a Snowman
  • Snowball Fight
  • Downhill Ski

#4. Eat Your Heart Out – A 2 State Tour

Best for: Girls’ Getaway or Couples 

One of the best winter vacation ideas ever is to secure a great vacation rental in Coeur d’Alene with your girlfriends (or family).  When you book through Vacation Rental Authority, use the concierge service to set up a gourmet cooking class right there in your “home.”  Turn on the fire, pop open some wine, learn to cook a yummy meal and then sit down and devour.

Another evening during your winter vacation, you’ll get picked up and taken on a delicious culinary tour of Spokane.  If you’ve never been on one, this is like a wine tasting tour but with food!  (And you can still have wine J)

Breakfasts can be just as exciting, visiting a local restaurant, or whipping up some customary huckleberry pancakes in your pjs.  Again your concierge at Vacation Rental Authority can supply the fixings on request.  SO good.

#3. Summertime in the Snow

Best for: Families

There’s a little secret I know of, which can turn your winter woes into summertime delight during a winter vacation.  Right nearby Coeur d’Alene is an indoor waterpark!  Bring your swimsuit, bring your trashy beach novel, and enjoy some relaxing time pool side.  Or, wave-pool side I should say.

Back to your vacation rental to enjoy frozen margaritas, summer flicks and a soak in the hot tub.  Aaahhhh.

#2. Get Your Quad On

Best for: Boys Week, or Anyone Up for a Challenge

Now I’ve never conquered this personally, but I’ve heard tale…If you stay in Coeur d’Alene, there are at least 4 ski hills within 90 minutes.  Those up for a real challenge ski a different hill each day, 4 days in a row.  Whoa.  If you think you can do it, I suggest documenting the evidence.  So far, it’s only legend, and you are sure to need proof!

#1. Visit the North Pole

Best for: Families

Okay, this is not really the North Pole, but we will not tell your kids.  Here in Coeur d’Alene, there’s a ferry boat that takes you on a lovely tour of Lake Coeur d’Alene, passing by Santa and the North Pole!  It’s magical, and something kids remember forever.

The Christmas light show, downtown shopping magic, festival of trees, Christmas parade, pageant and much more are going on in our magical town.  I never knew, but it is definitely the best winter vacation idea of them all!

Ho, Ho, Ho!!  If we can help you plan one of these winter vacation ideas, let me know!

winter vacation ideas, family vacation ideas

Dog d’Alene

Stuck in North Idaho

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Two of my favorite summer kick-off events are this weekend! I’ll post about the second tomorrow, but today is going to the dogs. Literally.

Dog d’Alene is the only downtown event that’s solely for dogs and their owners. This is the fifth annual Dog d’Alene, it’s held on 6th and Sherman behind the Parkside tower.

Even if you’re not a dog owner, there’s a lot to check out! Here’s the full schedule:

10 a.m. –  AJ’s Tail and Trails walk and vendor booths open
10:45 a.m. – Obedience Dog Demo
11:15 a.m. – Best Trick Contest (free entry)11:30 a.m. – Best Tail Wag/Best Smile (free entry)
11:45 a.m. – Rescue Dog Owner’s Recognition
Noon – Idaho Disaster Dogs Demo
12:30 p.m. – Tallest/Shortest Dog Contest (free entry)
12:45 p.m. – Sheep Herding Demo
1:15 p.m. – Ugly Dog, Costume, Cutest Puppy, Owner Look-alike, Prettiest Female, and Handsome Male Contests
2…

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New Year’s Day in CDA

Polar Bear Swim 2013
Headed toward Lake CDA for the Polar Bear Swim
Eagles in Coeur d'Alene
New Year’s Eagles – They were everywhere! (Lake CDA)
Eagle eating a fish
Breakfast of Fresh Fish
Eagle Pic Overlooking Lake Coeur d'Alene
Enjoying the Lake View
Flying Eagle in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Soaring Eagle

American Bucket List

American Bucket List

Seen a Bald Eagle Lately? There is nothing like viewing this American icon up close and personal. Winter is the time to visit Coeur d’Alene, ID. I recommend a private lake tour, which includes common Eagle sighting locations. Majestic! Photo courtesy of Kelly Smith Photography

Calling Writers & Coffee Lovers Everywhere

Writer Retreat in N. Idaho, Coeur d'AleneAs a creative-type who loves to be 72 degrees at all times, there is nothing like a cool breeze and brisk mountain air to get the creative juices flowing!  Admittedly it’s more like 50 degrees today, but with the help of some fuzzy socks, jeans, long sleeves and a hot drink, the temp is just right.

After a summer of iced coffee and cold drinks to get my caffeine fix, today is that first perfect day of fall for a steamy, milky and oh so yummy cup of hot coffee.  Maybe two.  For me it’s a classic cafe au lait (2/3 coffee +  1/3 milk), and my favorite winter boots that have me in a deliciously creative mood. Next I’ll take a stroll along the Centennial Trail, which would be perfect this afternoon!

But even better, I had the idea for a writer’s retreat, right here in the N. Idaho mountains next October. Picture it…fall colors all around, brisk breezes churning up imaginations, a warm fire dancing in the common room, and pensive writers all around, wrapped loosely in cozy blankets.  And there would be coffee…lots and lots of hot coffee!

Let the Pulitzer Prizes begin…

Fall Colors on Lake Coeur d’Alene

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Part 2: Who Knew?

Thank you for joining us as we provide insight into who we are, what we do and who knew what – when. Part 2: Who Knew?  expands upon our purpose, while providing examples of what Guest Services are really about.

Once you have a memory-making place to stay  via Vacation Rental Authority (see Part 1: What’s the Point? ), it’s time to take your vacation to the next level at no cost to you.  Our local experts answer your questions and point you to the best hiking, biking, skiing or swimming spots in the area.

Want a private boat tour of Lake Coeur d’Alene?  No problem.  Need ski passes for Schweitzer, 49 Degrees or Silver Mountain?  We have them. Bike rentals? Paddle boards? Photographer for unforgettable family photos? Done. Our contact list is long and we take care of as much (or as little) as you like.

This blog is just the tip of the iceberg – we have an infinite number of resources available for you, including our Travelers Newsletter “Love of Idaho”.

And that concludes this mini-bite into the passion, purpose and inspiration behind For the Love of Idaho.  Stay tuned for Part 3!

Battleshots, Septemberfest, and International Talk Like a Pirate Day

The upcoming Septemberfest on Saturday Sept. 22nd at the Best Western Coeur d’Alene Inn from 2-8 will feature a similar Battleship Drinking game to the one below…but theirs will be used with beer and boards will be much bigger!!

Come down on Saturday for all you can drink for $20 and play a round of battleship!

Talking like a pirate is optional.

Originally posted on Brew Connect Idaho

Wine Tours in N. Idaho

With the evenings cooling, thoughts turn to Fall…

North Idaho Wine Tour for Fall Girls GetawaySome of my favorite memories are those spent with girlfriends catching up, dreaming and dishing over bottles of wine.  Cool evenings are ideal, and a spectacular view even better.  I recommend October or November in Coeur d’Alene, Hayden, Post Falls or Sandpoint for beautiful, brisk days and cool, wine tasting nights!

Now that the busy Summer of family activities have wound down, kids are in school and you’ve had a moment to breathe (almost), it’s time to do something for yourself, and reconnect with friends.

A girls’ getaway to North Idaho Wine Country is just what you need, but without putting in all the effort it takes to get something planned.  Let us take care of everything, at no cost to you.  Give Love of Idaho a shout for the best vacation rental homes available, a free girls’ getaway itinerary and a luxury “designated driver” for Fall 2012.  You deserve it, and so do your friends.

Huckleberry Picking

Tasty, plentiful (& free), huckleberry picking is an annual must in North Idaho.  When you spot the unique plants, simply turn over each leaf to reveal all the berries hiding underneath!

Ask for a map – we’re happy to share exact directions to the best picking locations in North Idaho.

North Idaho huckleberry picking

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Coeur d’Alene Wooden Boat Show

Fun & open to the public, the CDA wooden boat show is one of the biggest annual events in North Idaho.  If you enjoy boating, art, restoration or wood working you will absolutely want to put this event on your calendar.

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