Best Places To Visit In The Idaho Panhandle
With many travelers opting for RV road trips this year, destinations with multiple offerings are at top of the list. That’s one reason why the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel has been turning heads and drawing visitors from across the country.
Even with its modest RV park, the expansive resort in Worley, Idaho is worth a visit. In addition, the property features 300 rooms and suites, seven distinct restaurants and lounges, a world-class golf course, and 100,000 square feet of gaming space. The Cultural Tourism outings will introduce you to various natural and historical aspects of the area known as the Idaho Panhandle.
The “Welcome Home” signs that appear throughout the resort are not a result of the recent lockdown. “Welcome Home” has been their moniker since its opening in 1993, and the customer service today genuinely reflects that greeting. The emphasis on customer service extends to the many safety measures that are now in place due to the pandemic.
Located less than an hour’s drive from Spokane, Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel offers 26 RV spaces in the Spa Towers’ parking lot, a two-minute walk to the casino. The pet-friendly park offers 20/30/50 amp electric hookups. The daily fee is $20, but boondocking is free.
The Conoco gas station a quarter-mile away has water, and the nearest dump station is a 14-mile drive to Heyburn State Park. While there, take advantage of the 73-mile asphalt Trail of the Coeur d’Alene’s, which is one of the most popular biking and walking trails in the western U.S.; it runs directly through Heyburn State Park. The state park also has two RV-friendly campgrounds: Benewah Campground and Hawley’s Landing – Plummer.
Heyburn State Park
Heyburn State Park is also one of the stops on the Last Battle Tour, a day trip that is one of the offerings in the resort’s Cultural Tourism program. Through various tours, Dee Dee McGowan, the resort’s Cultural Tourism manager, helps guests and others learn about the Native American culture and specifically the Coeur d’Alene tribe.
“One of our popular experiences is the Last Battle Tour,” McGowan said. “The Steptoe Battle of 1858 was a conflict between the U.S. government and the Coeur d’Alene, Palouse, and Spokane tribes. This full-day tour with local historians and tribal member guides includes a stop the Steptoe Battlefield State Park Heritage site.”
The tribe’s Cultural Tourism program also includes touring a bison ranch; an evening of dinner, drums, and dance that features traditional foods/cuisine; and a tribal paint retreat. Guests can also experience the gem of the Coeur d’Alene tribe —a guided kayaking and canoeing tour or guided pontoon boat tour on the St. Joe River.
Another outing explores Idaho’s oldest standing building: Old Mission State Park which was constructed in the 1850s by the Coeur d’Alene tribe and Catholic missionaries. “We offer these and several more tours, along with customized tours to fit the visitor’s schedule and needs,” said McGowan.
Circling Raven Golf Club
One of the highlights of a visit to the resort is a chance to tee it up at the 18-hole championship track Circling Raven Golf Club. The 7,189 yard, par 72 course meanders through 620 visually stunning acres adjoining the Coeur d’Alene National Forest. Throughout the fairways and greens, this magnificent golf experience is a combination of wetlands, woodlands, and natural Palouse grasses.
Director of Golf Dave Christenson shared a few historical notes about the course that was designed by Gene Bates and opened in 2003.
“The railroad track that runs through the course is certainly unique and still active today,” he said. “The train generally goes south in the morning and heads back north in the afternoon.” He also offered a brief history regarding the course name: “Circling Raven was one of the first chiefs and visionary leaders of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe.”
After a round of golf, grab a beverage or a meal at the Twisted Earth Grill, located inside the Circling Raven Pro Shop. You’ll also find a variety of quality golf apparel, equipment, accessories, and unique gifts within the golf shop where all purchases are tax-free.
Another popular post-golf option is a visit to the 15,000-square-foot luxurious Spa Ssakwa’q’n (pronounced SOCK-wah-kin). The Golfer’s Relief package is designed to bring you back up to par. The luxurious 180-minute Golfer’s Relief package includes a full-body massage, facial, and the Circling Raven Golf Pedicure.
In addition to the Twisted Earth Grill, the main resort offers several other dining options. The Red Tail Bar & Grill and Chinook Steak, Pasta & Spirits both offer excellent entrees. One unique menu item you’ll find at the Chinook is under the dessert category.
The nitrogen ice cream presentation right at your table is sure to entertain. The short but visually appealing table-side ice cream show results in a richer, smoother, and creamier ice cream not to be missed!
Start planning your trip to the Idaho Panhandle
Find more campgrounds and points of interest in the Idaho Panhandle on RV Trip Wizard and with the RV LIFE App. For more information on the resort, visit Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel and read their RV park reviews on Campground Reviews.
Rick Stedman is an avid golfer, RVer, and writer who lives in Olympia, Washington. Rick writes a golf column, “The RV Golfer,” which is published every month in rvlife.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.