After the summer concerts are over and before the winter powder falls, it's the perfect time to get away—with the family, with your buddies, with your heartthrob. 

An aerial view of Coeur d'Alene Resort

Panhandle Pleasure

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, is a couples' paradise still largely unknown to the masses

"Coeur d'Alene is for Lovers" T-shirts haven't crept into any of the resort town's tourist shops just yet, but it's not hard to imagine some entrepreneurial local making a killing with such a thing. 

The mountain village of roughly 45,000 residents, tucked among lush forests and alongside the striking azure 25-mile-long Lake Coeur d'Alene, is an ideal getaway for Utah couples who want to feel like they really got away.

Coeur d'Alene (pronounced core-da-Lane) is an artistically and luxury-inclined enclave in a part of the country, Idaho, often overlooked as a vacation destination. That's a mistake, because the array of activities offers something for couples of all ages and inclinations.

Are you a couple that believes sharing outdoors adventures fosters intimacy? Coeur d'Alene has all the hiking, biking, fishing and boating opportunities you can possibly cram into a weekend, with ample camping if romance is defined by sharing a tent or sleeping under the stars.

Or do you thrive on sharing exquisite meals and holing up in an extravagant resort, where you can share a couples' spa date or round of golf on a world-class course? Coeur d'Alene has you covered.

Finally, are you looking for a couples getaway that offers plenty of options, but won't break the bank? A calendar full of city-sponsored festivals, a slew of bed-and-breakfast options and plenty of free beachfront play areas make Coeur d'Alene an option for you, too.

A Little Background

Coeur d'Alene got its name from French-speaking fur traders in the 1800s. Impressed by the local tribe's shrewd trading skills, the tribe was dubbed Coeur d'Alene, which means "heart of the awl," as in, the natives were needle-sharp hagglers. Now the name Coeur d'Alene is attached to not only the tribe, but the town originally known as Fort Sherman, the deep-blue lake and the national forest.

An 11-hour drive from Salt Lake City makes Coeur d'Alene a little too far to drive for a weekend, but a 75-minute flight to nearby Spokane, Washington, leaves you a half-hour from Coeur d'Alene, with plenty of options to get there, from hotel shuttles to rental cars to Uber and local limousine services. At an elevation of just over 2,000 feet, fall temperatures are typically perfect.

Wine and steak at Beverly's

Living Large

The Coeur d'Alene Resort (855-999-7998) is the place to stay. Local developer Duane Hagadone has created a lakeside gem that offers every luxury one would expect at a four-star hotel, from multiple on-site eateries and lounges, to plush rooms with stunning views, a golf course that will thrill the serious player with its velvety fairways, personal caddies, views of the lake on every hole and a famous floating green on No. 14 that requires a short boat ride to the putting surface. 

You can have an unforgettable experience without ever leaving the resort's property.

The Cocktail Circuit

A trip to Idaho can be a joyful reminder that, well, you're not in Utah anymore. Family-owned Coeur d'Alene Cellars (3890 N. Shreiber Way) holds regular tasting hours. Coeur d'Alene's home-grown distillery, Bardenay (1710 W. Riverstone Drive) has a full restaurant along with cocktails made with its own rum, vodka and gin.

The wine cellar at Beverly's (208-763-3950) at Coeur d'Alene Resort boasts more than 14,000 bottles. Join a tour of the cellar each day at 4:30pm, and sip a complimentary glass, or get a flight of hard-to-find wines at lunch or dinner.

This being the Pacific Northwest-Coeur d'Alene is actually in the Pacific Time Zone—a stop at one of the local cideries or microbreweries is in order. Both Summit Cider and North Idaho Cider host tasting hours on weekends. For beer lovers, try a bite and a pint at Coeur d'Alene Brewing Company (209 E. Lakeside Avenue) or Slake Creek Brewing.

Dinner for Two

Sherman Avenue in downtown Coeur d'Alene is like a small version of Park City's Main Street, so some restaurant window-shopping will take you to the door of several romantic dining spots.

For a little cool jazz, some amazing wine options and a few, dark private corner booths, go to The Cellar (208-664-9463; 317 Sherman Avenue). Small plates range from escargot to wild Sockeye salmon cakes, and main dishes lean toward hearty steaks and seafood.

For a more casual dining experience, Fire Artisan Pizza (208-676-1743; 517 Sherman Avenue) has wood-fired pies ranging from traditional Italian flavors to more experimental stuff, such as Thai pie that features sweet chili sauce, serrano chilies and roasted chicken. The best part? One pie is perfect sharing size.

TK Coeur d'Alene couple biking

Get Out

In the fall, the mild temperatures make hiking and biking the perfect way to get your blood flowing. Tubb's Hill is a 165-acre natural area right in the heart of town, bordered by the lake on three sides. A two-mile interpretive trail takes you in a loop with some amazing views. It's long enough to make you feel like you went hiking, but not so long it will wipe you out for the day.

For biking partners, the Hiawatha Trail (208-744-1301) is a must. This 15-mile ride starts about 50 miles east of Coeur d'Alene at Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area. Rentals are available at Lookout. You'll go through tunnels and cross beautiful mountain passes. The best part? It's all downhill.

Mark Your Calendar

Every Wednesday through September, the city hosts Live After Five (602 E. Sherman Avenue) parties featuring live bands, food trucks and carts from local restaurants, and local wineries, cideries and breweries. On Saturday, October 17th, the Coeur d'Alene Resort hosts its Ninth Annual GolftoberFest; players enjoy local microbrews and brats throughout the course.