Category Archives: Fall in North Idaho

Western Dude Ranch Vacations


Dude Ranch vacations offer a taste of the Rocky Mountain outdoors and the option of adventures together as a family, as well as spending some time on your own.  Each day is filled with horseback riding and a wide mix of other local activities for all ages.

ranch13North Idaho and Western Montana have beautiful ranches nestled into the mountains and valleys of  the Rocky Mountains.  Surrounded by stunning scenery, activities center around the true western mode of travel–horseback.  Because most ranch stays are all-inclusive, meals, lodging and activities are all included in one price.


Accomodations can range from guest rooms in a main lodge, to cozy cabins for the family or luxurious mountain retreats and private homes.  Three meals a day are served family style with special nights reserved for couples only and real western campfire cookouts.  Most activities are guided by the ranch hands such as trail rides, hiking, mountain bike rides, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, river floats, atv rides, gold panning and more.

ranch21Dude ranches cater to kids with special programs that are both educational and entertaining.  Hands on experience with their assigned horse is centerpeice for these programs along with daily adventures introducing them to riding, nature and ranch life.  Adults are always welcome to join their kids during any activity, or may use this special time to pursue their own adventures.

Ranch vacations are usually booked for 3-7 night stays during the summer months with shorter stays for spring and fall.  TMI Tours offers a wide selection of ranch vacation throughout Idaho and Montana.  Let us match you to your perfect western vacation.  Call Rhonda or Linda at 1-800-975-7775 or email [email protected]

Silverwood Theme Park in North Idaho


Situated perfectly between Coeur dAlene, Idaho and Sandpoint, Idaho, lies the Pacific Northwest’s largest attraction, Silverwood Theme Park.  Sporting a lively western theme, Silverwood offers over 65 rides and attractions including four roller coasters, Boulder Beach Water Park, a steam engine train, live entertainment, restaurants and more. 

Garfield’s Summer Camp and the kiddie carnival rides are perfect for the youngest crowd as well as Toddler Springs and Polliwog Park for keeping them cool while having great fun.

The Country Carnival offers classic rides for all ages and for the more adventurous, roller coasters with names like “Timber Terror and Tremors”.  The newest ride, Aftershock, is only for the brave of heart, reaching speeds of 65 miles an hour forward and again, backward!  Entertainment includes country music tributes, magic shows, movie theaters, ice skating  exhibitions and a train robbery while aboard the authentic 1915 steam engine #7.  Main Street is lined with mercantiles, restaurants and plenty of refreshments and souveniers.

Boulder Beach Water Park offers thrilling slides, wave pools, raft rides and a lazy river to relax and unwind.  When the afternoon temperatures rise, there isn’t a better place to keep cool and your fee for the day includes entrance to both parks.

Lodging is available in either Coeur d’Alene or Sandpoint and it is a short drive from either to Silverwood.   There are campgrounds and R.V. Parks located at Silverwood or at Farragut State Park which is just 7 miles away on Lake Pend Orielle.

TMI Tours offers great packages for Silverwood including farm stays, B&B’s, R.V. rentals, camping set-ups and cabins or local resorts.  Whether a couple, family or a group, we have a wide selection of accomodations and activities to help you plan the perfect vacation to our beautiful area.  Call Rhonda or Linda a 1-800-975-7775 or email us at [email protected].

Private Tours of Lake Coeur d'Alene

Tubbs Hill, Wolf Lodge Bay, Squaw Bay, Arrow Point, Rockford Bay, Kidd Island Bay, Cougar Bay…these are as familiar to the Coeur d’Alene locals’ as their own front yards. For an intimate, leisurely boat tour of Lake Coeur d’Alene, spend the afternoon with one of our expert, local guides.

Armed with sun tan lotion, cool drinks, and a gourmet lunch, we can show you the most beautiful, secluded lake homes, wildlife drinking at the water’s edge, or the world’s only floating golf green.  Enjoy lunch and swim at an uncrowded beach or go ashore at one of the favorite watering holes of the lake crowd. Learn about the rich and lively history of this lake and the small towns that still thrive on its shores.

  Lake Coeur d’Alene is fed by three rivers, the Coeur d’Alene, the St. Maries and the St. Joe, which is one of the highest navigable rivers in the world. An excursion up the “Shadowy St. Joe River” reveals water so clear, you’ll see fish swimming around the boat and the lattice work of fallen trees and limbs on the bottom. The Spokane River drains the west end of the lake and is a popular cruise, running along the city’s public beach, the North Idaho College campus, and the opulent riverfront homes that line its shores. 

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the unique scenery that makes North Idaho such a  popular vacation spot.  Call TMI Tours for reservations and itinerary ideas to make your stay in Coeur d’ Alene a memorable one. Email us at [email protected] or call 1-800-975-7775 for more information.

Our Top Picks for Outdoor Activities in North Idaho

  • Iron Man 2009 really kicks off our summer season. This huge event draws elite athletes from all walks of life, as they compete in a 2.4 mile swimming event, 112 miles of bicycling, and 26.2 mile run. If you are planning to attend Iron Man this summer, you need to call TMI Tours to secure accommodations as they will sell out in advance. This event begins June 21st and draws large crowds, as well as participants, so be prepared for downtown Coeur d’Alene to really come alive.
  • Kayaking and canoeing: we have so many miles of shoreline between Coeur d’Alene Lake, Hayden Lake, the Spokane River, Twin Lakes, Spirit Lake, and the beautiful marshlands of the 11 chain lakes. Rentals and guided trips are available with reservations. Whether you want whitewater or a quiet sightseeing trip through a nature preserve, TMI Tours can deliver the adventure you are looking for.
  • ATV riding and rentals: we have miles and miles of old logging trails literally criss-crossing our backwoods. Rentals are available for all ages and there are several riding clubs locally that would love to have you join them for a day. Many of our small communities are ATV friendly and you can ride from your door to your destination, stopping at a local sandwich shop for lunch.
  • Rock climbing: Tubbs Hill is surrounded by huge boulders and rock cliffs dropping right into the lake. Favorite local spots are Q’emilin Park in Post Falls or Castle Rock on the Coeur d’Alene River.
  • Biking trails: the Centennial Trail, 37 miles of paved trail, shadows the banks of the Spokane River from Washington into Idaho. The Route of the Hiawatha follows the old railroad lines through 10 rock tunnels and 7 high train trestles. It covers 15 miles through the Bitteroot Mountains between Idaho and Montana. Bicycle rentals are available for a small fee, as well as shuttle transportation. Take your bicycle up the high-speed chair at Schweitzer or the gondola at Silver Mountain and ride along the top of the mountains.
  • Horseback riding: Whether you are looking for a real Dude Ranch experience or just a day with the kids, TMI Tours can arrange a great Wild West vacation for you. With several ranches to choose from, you can enjoy a real campfire cookout, backcountry pack-in for hunting or fishing or guided trail rides over miles of mountains and streams.
  • Golf in Coeur d’Alene: We have it all; public courses, private country clubs, and beautiful mountain courses overlooking Lake Coeur d’Alene. TMI Tours has an exclusive golf package featuring several private golf courses. With 13 courses to choose from, a golf vacation to Coeur d’Alene will keep you busy.
  • Hiking trails will immerse you into the pristine scenery that makes North Idaho such a great destination. There isn’t a better way to observe wildlife and learn about local history. There are interpretive trails as well as miles of logging roads and back country lakes and streams to hike into and explore. Several local clubs have hosted hikes to some of our most popular attractions and they welcome everyone.
  • Fishing, whether it be lake or stream, is one of our most popular sports, and with good reason. Our lakes and streams provide the kind of fishing most anglers dream about. With over 10 world class, blue ribbon wild trout streams and 1,500 high mountain lakes, Idaho offers a challenge for every class of fisherman. TMI Tours can arrange your vacation to include guides, fishing lodges, back country camp outs or just a day on the lake.

See our website for North Idaho adventure ideas, or contact us at [email protected] for information on these or other vacations plans.

American River Cruising-Part 3

Taste of the Pacific Northwest

Fall departures: September 13-October 18

This 8 day epicurean cruise on the Columbia River will feature the rich history and delicious flavors unique to this region.  When it comes to the art of wine, Washington State knows its “terroir”-the combination of soil, climate and geography that makes wine distinct.  You will be welcomed aboard in Portland with a taste of Willamette Valley’s signature flavors: a Pinot Noir or Pinot Gris.  To get a feel for the culture and industry of this area, we will visit the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center with a focus on Native foods and the agricultural history of the Columbia River Basin.  A jet boat tour to the Hanford Reach National Monument will evoke memories of WWII and the Cold War era. 

You will be treated to tours and tastings at two of Washington States AVA’s while exploring four of the Columbia Valley’s finest wineries: Coyote Canyon, Terra Blanca, Three Rivers and Beresan. The Fruit Company, where orchards have been hand picked for 65 years, will take you by tractor into the field for fresh picked fruit.   Before returning to Portland,  we’ll visit  the Seafood Consumer Center at Astoria, where you will help our Chef prepare lunch, fusing the freshest seafood with the unique local flavors of Oregon’s fresh fruits, vegetables and cheeses.    Join us and see for yourself why Washington State is ranked among the top wine regions of the world.

American River Cruising-Part 2

River Voyage of Discovery Cruise

Spring departures: April 3-May 1

Fall departures: September 18-October 16

This 8 day journey along the Columbia and Snake Rivers, combines scenic river history and unexpected cultural expeditions.  Learn about the proud Nez Perce Tribe and their way of life, past and present, along the Snake River.  Combine that with an exhilarating jet-boat ride deep into Hells Canyon, North Americas deepest river gorge.  Your small ship will navigate 8 sets of locks and dams, changing elevation a total of 738 feet within 470 miles.  Pioneer history will come alive as you visit the Ft. Walla Walla Museum which houses over 35,000 artifacts, dioramas and a real-life pioneer village.  See the personal effects of the Queen of Romania as well as European paintings and Native arts at the unusual Maryhill Museum.  Visit Ft. Clatsop and experience what life must have been like for the famous Lewis & Clark expedition during the winter of 1806.  Learn about this regions geographical and navigational history at the Columbia River Gorge Discovery Center and the Columbia River Maritime Museum.  Cruise in the wake of history and enjoy stories of courage and discovery that await around every scenic bend.

Lewis & Clark, Ft. Clatsop

For availability and prices, contact Rhonda Sand or Linda Bruno at TMI Tours & Cruises.

American River Cruising-Part 1

Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge: A natural wind tunnel cutting it’s way through the Cascade Mountains to deliver the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean.  This was the final destination of the famous Lewis & Clark Expedition in 1806, the discovery of the Northwest Passage.  Traversing the mighty Columbia today is quite a different experience with its engineering marvels of locks and dams, but the adventure is still the same.  Rich in Native American culture, quaint port towns, breathtaking waterfalls and exquisite scenery make cruising this American river a very rewarding vacation in so many ways.

First, lets explore the beautiful small ships that make this amazing journey!  With maximum occupancy of 84-96 guests, these ships offer a much more intimate experience with up close proximity to the wonder of the Columbia River and it’s canyon.  With floor to ceiling windows for inside veiwing and ample outside deck space to enjoy the fresh breezes, your comfort is a  top priority.  The onboard Exploration Leaders are distinguished experts eager to share their passion and insight for the history and culture of the Columbia River Gorge and it’s people. Continue reading

Lake Pend Oreille – Idaho's Largest Lake

With a surface area of about 148 square miles, Lake Pend Oreille is Idaho’s largest lake. And with a maximum depth of about 1,150 feet, it is also the fifth deepest lake in the United States. This lake is fed by both the Pack River and the Clark Fork River and it is drained by the Pend Oreille River. This lake is a great vacation destination for people of all ages and interests. Here you can find luxury lake resorts, beautiful lakefront homes and cabins as well as inexpensive National Forest Service and State Park campgrounds. Whether you want to rough it or be pampered, you will enjoy the attractions and splendor offered by Lake Pend Oreille and the surrounding area.

Towns around Lake Pend Oreille

There are several towns that surround Lake Pend Oreille. The largest town, where you will find the most options for lodging, dining and entertainment, is Sandpoint, Idaho. Sandpoint is an excellent location to use as a base for your North Idaho vacation as it is the home to a lot of the local cultural attractions and events. Some of these attractions and events include: the Festival at Sandpoint, the Winter Carnival, the International Draft Horse Show, arts and crafts fairs, Lost in the 50s, the Schweitzer Ski Resort, and the Lakedance Film Festival. There are also several top notch golf courses in the area as well such as the Jack Nickalaus designed Idaho Club.

Ten miles east of Sandpoint is another lake town called Trestle Creek. This is a great little town to visit, especially if you are an RVer, as they have a great selection of campgrounds and RV parks. The next towns to the east of Sandpoint are Hope and East Hope. These are boat launch towns. If you need a deep water launch pad, this is where you will want to go. These towns also offer some great restaurants too.

Other lake towns that can be found near Lake Pend Oreille include Bayview, Lakeview, Garfield Bay and Bottle Bay. These towns each offer their own attractions and comforts. However, they are small and generally don’t offer a lot of lodging options.

Lake Pend Oreille Recreation

The size of Pend Oreille makes it a very popular recreation lake. Here you can fish, watch wildlife, go hiking, go boating, or participate in virtually any type of water sport imaginable. Obviously fishing is big on this big lake. The fish that you can catch in Lake Pend Oreille include whitefish, cutthroat, bull trout, bass, sunfish, catfish, kokanee, brown trout, mackinaw, crappie, and perch. Winter recreation focuses mainly around skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.

Another great place to visit is Farragut State Park. Continue reading

Priest Lake – A North Idaho Treasure

Cavanaugh Bay, Priest Lake

Cavanaugh Bay, Priest Lake

Priest Lake is one of Idaho’s northernmost natural treasures. This pristine lake runs 19 miles from head to toe (this includes Upper Priest Lake) and is about 4.4 miles wide at its widest point. With depths up to 369 feet, Priest Lake is the perfect destination for fishing, boating, swimming, SCUBA diving, and wildlife viewing. The area occupied by Priest Lake is generally divided into five regions, north of Priest Lake, south of Priest Lake, the lake, the east side of the lake and the west side of the lake. When planning a trip to Priest Lake be sure that you explore everything this area has to offer.

North of Priest Lake
The region north of Priest Lake is where you want to go if you are interested in unspoiled wilderness. Here you will not only find some of the most spectacular wilderness areas, such as the Salmo-Priest Wilderness Area, but you will also find great trail systems and points of interest. Some of the sites that you will want to tour in this region include the Granite Falls, the ancient growths of cedars at Roosevelt Grove, and the Shoe Tree.

The Town of Priest Lake
The main attraction to Priest Lake, Idaho is the lake itself. While the town itself is unassuming, relaxed, and unhurried, it is the lake and the wilderness areas surrounding it that draw the majority of its visitors. The town’s own saying is a testament to this fact, “Priest Lake – Where Mother Nature Vacations.” Their amazing lake is well known for superior fishing. In fact, Priest Lake is where the largest lake trout in the United States was caught. It weighed in at a whopping 57 pounds 8 ounces. Today catching one of these whoppers is still possible; however, the average lake trout in Priest Lake will weigh in around 10 pounds.

In addition to fishing, you can also participate in a variety of great watersports on the lake. You can go jet boating, water skiing, swimming, SCUBA diving, snorkeling, kayaking, or you can just float around the lake on a pontoon boat. You can also explore the 70 miles of shoreline which include great beaches and historical Indian rock pictographs.

Continue reading

The Wintery Northern Lights

The Rocky Mountains of Alberta are home to a most magical playground for winter adventure and  wonder.  It is here that nature turns on her awe-inspiring laser light show known to most of us as the Northern Lights.  This is one of the best places in the world to watch the amazing aurora borealis as it lights up the sky in ghostly hues of color.   Tucked away in these mountains is a luxurious, all season, fly-in wilderness lodge where you can relax and enjoy really getting away from it all.  Join in the winter fun with a snowmobile adventure or an overnight dog-sled trip to an authentic propectors camp, complete with heated tent and campfire cooked meals.  Evenings at the lodge come with gourmet meals, fine wines and of course, your front-row seat to the shimmering northern lights.  Contact us at TMI Tours for complete details and reservations.