Tourism and Free Camping in the Idaho Panhandle
Are you planning any end of summer or fall trips this year? Or perhaps, are you looking to get started with trip planning for 2022? If you answered yes to any of the above sections, then we have the perfect next vacation destination for you! The entire state of Idaho is rugged, serene, and beautiful, making it a popular RVing destination for many. With many excellent destinations dotted all over the state, we’re going to focus on Idaho’s northernmost area today, which is known as the Idaho Panhandle.
As one of the least-populated areas of this already-lightly-populated state, the Idaho Panhandle offers tons of outdoor adventures and small towns to explore. With plenty of campgrounds and Harvest Hosts locations to choose from, this is an RVer’s paradise, and we’re prepared to take you there. So what are you waiting for? Climb aboard, buckle up, and let’s cruise over to the Idaho Panhandle to see what we find!
Places to Go
In such a beautiful and natural area, you can surely expect plenty to do, see, and experience. Included in this list are places to rest, explore, sightsee, and adventure. When visiting the Idaho Panhandle, consider any of these awesome locations for ideas to make your trip spectacular.
1. Coeur d’Alene, ID
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, is an outdoorsy person’s paradise that is perfect for the whole family. The town itself was built around Coeur d’Alene Lake and is known for its water activities such as boating, paddling, and fly fishing. Visitors can enjoy all types of water sports and hiking throughout the year, with plenty of snow sports to enjoy in the winter. Avid golfers must stop by the Coeur d’Alene Resort to play a round on their famous golf course that features a floating green. In addition, be sure to stop in town to grab a meal or some souvenirs. Gorgeous Coeur d’Alene is not to be missed when traveling to the Idaho Panhandle.
2. Wallace, ID
A trip out West wouldn’t be complete without a stop in a historic mining town. Wallace, Idaho, continues to be the world’s largest silver producer today, as they have been for the last 100 years. Outside of their scenic downtown lies the world’s largest set of mountain bike, ATV, and snowmobile trails. Be sure to pack your outdoor toys if you want to join in on the fun! Wallace is the perfect base camp from which to explore the Silver Valley and nearby Bitterroot Mountains.
3. Silverwood Theme Park
Located near Coeur d’Alene, Silverwood is the Pacific Northwest’s largest theme park. It’s home to several roller coasters, several thrill rides, a water park, and family-friendly rides for people of all ages. Visiting a theme park in your RV is an unmatched experience. Silverwood RV Park is adjacent to the park via an underground tunnel. They offer full hookups, discounted park tickets, and other fantastic amenities. There’s nothing better than retiring to your own home-on-wheels after a day of visiting a theme park!
4. Lewis Clark Valley
Lewiston, Idaho and nearby town Clarkston are both located in the Lewis Clark Valley. Each town serves as the perfect base camp to explore nearby parks and waterways, including Hells Canyon and Hells Gate State Park. Hells Canyon is home to North America’s deepest river gorge. Here, visitors can partake in guided tours, whitewater boating, and backcountry activities. Hells Gate State Park is an excellent stop or additional basecamp to explore Hells Canyon or partake in fishing, sailing, hiking, and more. As with most state parks, Hells Gate offers an RV campground with full or partial hookups.
5. Priest Lake State Park
Priest Lake is an adventure vacation destination that is perfect for the whole family! With sparkling Priest Lake set beneath the stunning Selkirk Mountains, it’s no wonder that many refer to it as Idaho’s “Crown Jewel.” This beautiful, natural wonderland offers opportunities for a variety of outdoor activities, including fishing, camping, boating, and hunting, as well as snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in the winter months. The state park’s campground has over 100 sites, with many offering electric and a few offering full hookups.
Harvest Hosts Locations
In addition to campground and RV parks located across the Idaho Panhandle, there are also numerous Harvest Hosts locations to choose from. When planning a trip to this region of the country, be sure to add a few of these stops to your itinerary!
1. Matchwood Brewing Company – Sandpoint, ID
Matchwood Brewing Company is Sandpoint, Idaho’s neighborhood brewery. Here, they value personal connections that foster positive community change through the positive connections. At Matchwood, the owners and brewers believe that beer brings people together, and they instill this value in every craft brewed and every beer shared here.
Their taproom offers eight varieties of beer, including a Kolsch variety, lagers, sours, a pilsner variety, IPAs, a stout variety, and more, as well as wine and other locally-made beverages, such as kombucha and cider. In addition, they offer a variety of non-alcoholic soft beverages, as well as a full food menu, which includes appetizers, salads, soups, sandwiches, entrees, and more. With all these incredible options, Harvest Hosts guests are in for a real treat! Currently, they offer two pet-friendly spaces for RVs under thirty feet in length. Be sure to check out their host profile page for the full list of rules and regulations.
2. Riley Creek Blueberry Farm – Laclede, ID
This small family farm in Laclede offers blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, as well as jams, syrups, and vinaigrettes made from freshly-picked fruit. As the name would suggest, Riley Creek specializes in blueberries, growing and selling over 50,000 pounds of them per year. They primarily specialize in selling their fruits directly through their farm, through both we-pick and u-pick operations. They also sell Christmas gift packs that can be mailed anywhere in the US. Harvest Hosts members have greatly enjoyed this stunning and serene location, and many have returned more than once to experience it all over again. Currently, they offer four pet-friendly spaces for RVs of any size, and they also have potable water available for member use.
3. StoneRidge Golf Course – Blanchard, ID
StoneRidge’s vision is to be an environmentally-responsible golf and recreational community by protecting the beautiful mountains and waters of North Idaho. Amid the stunning natural beauty of Northern Idaho, surrounded by conifer forests and blue lakes, you’ll find StoneRidge to be the ultimate destination and the perfect place to get away from it all. Their nineteen-hole, par-71 course was redesigned in 2002, and they take quite a bit of pride in the beauty and design of their location. In addition to their stunning course, StoneRidge also offers a restaurant and a gift shop. Currently, they have four pet-friendly spaces available for RVs of any size.
4. Shoshone Golf Club – Kellogg, ID
Located in Kellogg, Idaho, Shoshone Golf Club prides itself in ranking as one of America’s top nine-hole golf courses. Amenities here include a driving range, a putting and chipping practice area, a beautiful clubhouse with panoramic views, and a fully-stocked pro shop and lounge. They are open from mid-April through mid-September each year. They currently offer one pet-friendly space for an RV under twenty-nine feet in length. Keep in mind that the road leading to the course is a bit steep, and plan accordingly.
5. Veterans Assist – Saint Maries, ID
This off-the-beaten-path farm breeds and raises soft-coated wheaten terriers. Some of their wheaten terrier (and Woodles) are raised to serve as service dogs for veterans in need. The property is set on forty acres of farmland, which provides excellent access to hundreds of miles of logging roads that are closed to public automobile traffic. These roads are great for mountain biking, ATVs, UTVs, and horseback riding. The owner encourages visitors to bring their horses, as they have a beautiful, two-acre fenced pasture for them.
About two miles away, there is a great local restaurant in the small town of Emida. In addition, Saint Joe National Forest is also located just about a mile away. They offer two pet-friendly sites for RVs of any size, as well as potable water and firewood. The cell signal here is limited, but previous guests have really enjoyed the ability to relax and unwind on this quiet and spacious property.
6. Rants and Raves Brewery – Moscow, ID
Rants & Raves Brewery is a family-friendly brewery and restaurant in Moscow, Idaho. They are extremely passionate about craft beer, craft sodas, locally-sourced menu ingredients, and overall customer experience. Rants and Raves has been operating for just over five years now, and they take pride in being a family-owned and operated business. They offer nine brews on tap, as well as wine, cider, and non-alcoholic beer, while their food menu includes a fabulous selection of small plates, appetizers, salads, burgers, sandwiches, entrees, and desserts. In addition to their restaurant and brewery, Rants and Raves also offers an outdoor area, as well as a gift shop. Furthermore, they have four pet-friendly spaces available for RVs under forty-four feet in length.
7. Hunter Moon Homestead – Troy, ID
Hunter Moon Homestead sits at the top of Little Bear Ridge on a gorgeous twenty-two acre property in the heart of the rolling hills of the Palouse. With 360-degree views in all directions, the owners also have a five-acre pond that is home to many bird species, including osprey, bald eagles, woodpeckers, various blackbirds, swans, herons, western bluebirds, and more. They even have occasional visits of elk herds and moose! The stargazing here is magnificent, and the property is serene, beautiful, and scenic. They have produce and herbs available in certain seasons, as well as skincare and hygiene products available at their website. They offer three pet-friendly spaces for RVs of any under thirty-five feet in length, as well as WiFi.
8. Hardware Brewing Company – Kendrick, ID
For owners Doug and Christine, Hardware Brewing Company is a culmination of a dream they had, several years of planning, plenty of determination and a lot of long days and prayer. Everyone is welcome at Hardware Brewing Company, as they are not a traditional bar or tavern, nor a full service restaurant. Instead, they operate as a brewpub, where friends are welcome to enjoy a hand-crafted brew, local wine, great meals, and good company. Their restaurant menu features items such as appetizers, sandwiches, entrees, a burger, desserts, and many other fantastic and unique choices. In addition to food and drinks, they also offer merchandise and special events. They have two pet-friendly spaces available for RVs under thirty feet in length. Be sure to call ahead on the day of your arrival!
9. Rimrock Ranch – Genessee, ID
This diversified Northern Idaho-based farm grows a variety of crops, including wheat, peas, lentils, malt barley, food barley, canola, and garbanzos, in addition to raising pork. They offer five-pound bags of garbanzos, lentils, and split peas, as well as shepherd grain flours, sausage, and other pork cuts available. At this time, they are open from April through November and offer tours and hiking opportunities to guests, asking only that visitors re-confirm that they are coming on the day that they plan to arrive. Currently, they have two pet-friendly spaces available to RVs of any size.
10. Big Canyon Acres – Peck, ID
Big Canyon Acres sits in a beautiful valley directly beside Big Canyon Creek in the scenic Clearwater River Canyon. They sell apples, cherries, blackberries, pears, plums, walnuts, and hazelnuts on-site seasonally, while also operating a farm-stand featuring local artisans products and produce from June through October. In addition to produce and their farm stand, they offer u-pick, a gift shop, a fall festival, and opportunities for hiking and wildlife viewing. Furthermore, they offer one pet-friendly space for an RV under forty-four feet in length, and they ask that all reservations be made a minimum of twenty-four hours in advance.
11. Lindsay Creek Vineyards – Lewiston, ID
Lindsay Creek Vineyards is located on a picturesque plot of land in the middle of a working wheat and garbanzo bean farm. Owners Art and Doug Mcintosh began as humble fourth-generation wheat farmers in the Lewis-Clark Valley, where they were able to combine their farming skills and experience, as well as their knowledge of the land, to begin growing grapes and producing wines. With plenty of trial and error, they are now proud to be producing excellent wines in a beautiful region of the Northwest. In addition to red and white wines, they also offer small cheese plates and appetizers, as well as tours of their facility. Furthermore, they have four pet-friendly spaces available for RVs of any size.
As you can see, the Idaho Panhandle is an incredible and diverse area with so much to see and so many things to do and experience. This would make for an excellent vacation destination in the summer or fall months, but there is beauty to be found here in each and every season. Be sure to add the Idaho Panhandle to your itinerary for future RV trips!
Have you ever visited Idaho? Have you made your way up to the Idaho Panhandle yet? How did you like it? What did you do there? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!
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the Montana and Idaho state line.