Contrary to what non-natives might think, Idaho isn’t all desert, sagebrush, and potatoes. Take a closer look and you’ll discover that Idaho has more river miles than any other state in the lower 48, the most scenic mountain and glacial lakes in the country, and dozens of waterfalls and reservoirs scattered across our vast landscape. In fact, with so much beauty happening in our little slice of paradise, Idahoans are never far from a stunning overlook, beach, or mountaintop from which to get a front row seat of the best scenery in the country… no ocean needed! Here are just a few incredible places to enjoy a fantastic waterfront view in the Gem State:
1. The Last Resort, Clark Fork
This relaxing waterfront retreat near is off the beaten path enough to allow visitors to escape into nature, yet close enough to the vibrant town of Sandpoint to provide opportunities for culture, shopping and more.
2. Farragut State Park, Athol
Idaho's largest state park (4,000 acres) is found on the southern corner of Lake Pend Oreille in Northern Idaho, and features Beaver Bay and Idlewild Bay as two of its main beach areas. The main portion of the park also has a rich history as a WWII naval training center, and it is here that visitors will find a museum, remote-controlled airplane park, horseback riding, camping, and much more.
3. Elevation 486, Twin Falls
Overlooking the Snake River Canyon from nearly 500 feet above the water is quite possibly one of the best waterfront views you can get in Idaho. Watch the Perrine Bridge over the river light up at night for the perfect evening finale.
4. Boise River Greenbelt, Boise
The 25-mile Greenbelt in Boise is a favorite waterfront destination for many locals. With numerous overlooks, scenic bridges, plenty of wildlife, and excellent views of various fountains, ponds, and rapids as you stroll through Boise's lush parks, this iconic walkway is the perfect place to enjoy a sunny day on the water.
5. Bridge Street Grill, Stanley
Long renowned as one of the best places in Idaho to grab a delicious burger, Bridge Street is also near-perfect for their open dining deck right on the water...panoramic mountain views included!
6. The Coeur d'Alene Resort, Coeur d'Alene
Sometimes the best way to enjoy the water is from an 18th floor penthouse suite in Idaho's largest and most lavish resort destination. Posh and extravagant, you can not only dine, sunbathe, and get pampered waterfront, you can also simply sit back and enjoy the view.
7. Cedar Street Bridge, Sandpoint
The public market, restaurant space, and historic overlook sits right on top of Sand Creek outside of downtown Sandpoint and is an inspiring place to peruse artwork, catch up with friends, or enjoy the view!
8. Trinity at City Beach, Sandpoint
The only thing better than the food is the awesome view of the Pend Oreille's sandy shoreline just a few feet away from your table. Dining lakeside doesn't get much better than this!
9. River Cove Bed & Breakfast, Post Falls
River Cove B&B
This welcoming, lush retreat sits nestled between Coeur d'Alene and Spokane, right on the river. The lush landscape can be seen from every room, waterfront access is mere steps away from the porch, and the grounds are also home to a private greenbelt that runs along the river. What a pleasant place to stay!
10. Ponderosa State Park, McCall
Camping, hiking, sunset-watching, and much more all happens here at the McCall area's most popular park. Multiple overlooks offer stellar views of Payette Lake while sandy beaches and boat launches give visitors the chance to enjoy the water up close and personal!
Whether dining on it, overlooking it, or playing in it, there are so many beautiful ways to enjoy the water in Idaho! For more scenic waterfront dining options, check out these river and lakefront restaurants (
Part 1 and Part 2).