Colors are vibrant in Idaho’s Panhandle region—lush green trees surround deep blue lakes that yellow kayaks glide over. Easily the most popular town in the area is Coeur d’Alene and its accompanying lake, but bypass that tourist spot and head further north to Sandpoint. There, you will find Dover Bay Resort, a waterfront community on Lake Pend Oreille.
Home Away From Home
Dover Bay Resort lies right on the water, but the surrounding property is a neighborhood filled with condos, cabins and family homes. This alone gives it a homey feel, as you must traverse the winding streets to make your way to the rental units. Once you arrive, you will check in at a small market right next to the marina, where they will give you a keycard and send you off to your bungalow.
Now, the bungalows at Dover Bay all vary in size and layout. Our cozy cabin had a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom and two bedrooms—one with bunk beds. Light colored wood provided accents throughout: around the fireplace, the closet doors, the bedframes and the kitchen cabinets. Pops of color were added via comfy bedspreads and everyday objects like candles really made it feel like a home away from home.
Did I mention the massive porch? There is a massive porch, complete with bright red chairs and a red picnic table. The railing is the perfect place to let kids’ swimsuits dry after a day at the lake and the table is a great shady spot for an afternoon lunch.
Some of the bungalows can accommodate up to seven guests so it’s a great spot for large groups—no need to worry about getting multiple hotel rooms. Instead you get a whole cabin to yourself!
Get Active at Dover Bay
With a lake right outside your door, the possibilities for family fun are endless. At the market, you can reserve canoes, kayaks or stand-up paddleboards to get out on the water. To one side of the resort, there is a park with a beach where kids can swim without fear of boats coming too close. They also have bicycle rentals and plenty of biking and hiking paths to get you and your family moving.
Although the water might be cold at first, you get used to it pretty quickly and will have the time of your lives exploring all Lake Pend Oreille has to offer. The incredible views, the breeze on your face and the challenge of working as a team to paddle your canoe across the water will get little ones tired early. Once they tire of the lake, there is a heated pool right next to the resort’s fitness center that kids can relax in.
If you’re traveling with teens, have them hit up the fitness center for some special exercise classes, including yoga on the lake atop stand up paddle boards—an experience they won’t soon forget.
Dish at Dover Bay
Choose between indoor and outdoor seating at Dover Bay Resort’s restaurant, Dish at Dover Bay. We ate here just before sunset and it was perfect. Although it was pretty warm outside, there was a gentle breeze, gorgeous colors in the sky and delicious food. The menu offers a variety of seafood, including pan-seared salmon, grilled prawns and Mahi Mahi tacos, as well as chicken and ribs. We happened to stop by on Taco Tuesday.
Although you can sit indoors, and I would recommend it during the heat of midday, the outside patio is covered by bright blue umbrellas that will keep the sun out of your eyes and make your experience all the more interesting.
Everything You Need
One thing that I really enjoyed was that you have everything you need right where you are. Aside from maybe a quick trip to the grocery store, you won’t have much need to leave the resort. The kitchen allows easy access to cooking your own meals and the café offers a break from the cooking. You have plenty of fun activities to keep you busy by day and flawless sunsets to watch in the event.
Everything about having your own little cabin is great, but at Dover Bay, it truly felt like it was ours, which is a feeling I rarely get when traveling—couldn’t have possibly loved it more.