We visited Sandpoint in mid-September 2022, as part of Big Trip #4. Read about our first visit in 2020 here.
I was just rereading our previous Sandpoint post and was reminded that we’d only ended up in Sandpoint because we couldn’t go to Banff. This time, Sandpoint was on the itinerary all along, and it was the next stop after Banff! Although we did consider going to Coeur D’Alene instead of Sandpoint to see what it’s all about… thoughts?
Once again, we stayed at Sandpoint RV Park, a no-frills campground that’s essentially a parking lot with RV hookups. The beauty of this campground is its location a block from the main drag and across the street from City Beach. It’s a fantastic spot.
Exploring, eating, and drinking
As soon as we set up the Airstream, we set out on a walk around downtown to see what had changed. It’s a charming little town with a nice selection of eating and drinking establishments within walking distance of the campground.
Our favorites from last time still held up:
Matchwood Brewing was as good as we remembered. We tasted a bunch of different beers (our favorite was the hazy pale ale) on the spacious patio and had a scrumptious dinner of creative tacos (smoked salmon lettuce wrap, and shrimp ceviche) and tater tots. Yum.
Utara Brewing is close to the campground, and also has a dog-friendly patio. Bonus: they serve Indian food! They didn’t have any sours for me but the seltzer I had was fine. J liked his hazy IPA and we snacked on pakoras.
Evans Brothers is our favorite place in Sandpoint to drink coffee and do computer work. On a crisp morning, we were happy that dogs are allowed inside the cafe. We tried to get a breakfast burrito there but they were sold out. Fortunately, Soul Picnic was open…
Soul Picnic food truck was parked outside Evans Brothers a couple years ago when we visited, and we were excited to see them still there! We had brunch there our first morning in town, and as we were leaving town we parked the Airstream on the street and picked up lunch to go. So tasty and so filling!
Sadly, the donut shop across the street from Evans Brothers has been replaced by an axe throwing joint. I prefer donuts!
These restaurants and bars were new to us:
Laughing Dog Brewing is a very dog-friendly taproom and pub (as you may have guessed from the name) a ten-minute drive from downtown. We tried a few beers–J really liked the hazy IPA, and I liked the huckleberry cream ale better than the peach sour. We tried to sit on the patio, but maybe it’s too dog friendly–the overpowering smell of dog doo drove us inside. Luckily, dogs are welcome inside too.
The Bank is a new restaurant a block away from the campground with a lovely plant-filled patio and fancy cocktails. We had to pop by to check it out and enjoyed our cocktails and some furikake popcorn. We’ll definitely go back for a patio cocktail next visit.
Baxter’s on Cedar, named after a black lab (which we really appreciate as we used to have a black lab and a partial-black lab), serves upscale pub food with local ingredients. We sat at the bar and ordered a very not-local dish: a lobster roll, along with meatloaf sliders and brie and balsamic bruschetta and it was all fantastic. The place was rocking on a Tuesday evening.
Idaho Pour Authority caught our eye last visit, but we didn’t make it there. I liked it more than J did as they didn’t have any hazy IPAs and he didn’t think very highly of the can the bartender recommended, and it was trivia night, which J is not a fan of. I thought it was a cool spot, with 16 taps and lots of cans to go, and they’re dog-friendly inside.
Here’s our to-eat-and-drink list for next visit:
- We drove by Industry Coffee on the way home from hiking at Schweitzer ski resort and were smitten. It’s a drive-thru coffeeshop shaped like a coffee mug. I must go there.
- Check out The Back Door, the beer/wine speakeasy-type bar in the basement of Baxter’s
- Barrel 33, around the corner from the campground, is a wine/beer/cider and small plates bar that opened right after our visit
- Spud’s, also right around the corner, has a good-looking salad on the menu and views of the marina
- Patronize the food trucks at the food truck on Oak Street. We were most excited about the Korean truck which was closed when we visited
- Fat Pig has a seasonal menu and despite the name they have good veggie options too. They were closed when we walked by, but we liked the look of the patio
- Heart Bowls smoothies is yet another spot a block from home. It’s a new breakfast and lunch food truck-turned restaurant serving healthy açaí bowls and rice bowls
There are lots of good close-by hiking options around the lake and up at the ski resort. We picked two shorties for entertaining Bugsy while giving our legs a break between all the work we’d done in the Rockies and what was coming up in the Cascades.
Evans Landing is a four mile out-and-back down to the lake, which we knew Bugsy would we psyched about. It’s a similar hike to nearby Maiden Rock, which we did last trip, but we liked this one better as it has more views of the lake from the trail while you switch back down the hill to the shoreline. The water was chilly but there’s a cool rope swing for warmer days. This is probably a popular hike for families, so if you want solitude, go while school’s in session.
Picnic Point is a sweet little three-mile hike up at Schweitzer Mountain ski resort to a pretty vista way up above the lake. It’s a pleasant walk through the woods and despite being at a resort, we only saw one other person. Schweitzer is very close to town, but the road up the mountain is nuts, so it was a thirty-minute drive.
Sandpoint is a neat town and it’s a great, convenient spot for us when zigzagging around the northern Rockies! From here we headed west, to Mount Rainier, via Ellensburg.
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