Best Of

Best of Recreation

Best of the Inland Northwest Readers Poll 2016

Best Summer Camp


Nestled along the banks of Fan Lake in rural Pend Oreille County, about 30 miles north of Spokane, Camp Reed has been the site of fond summer camp memories for more than a century. The 555-acre site offers a diverse range of summer experiences, but it all comes down to its tag line of allowing a "kid to be a kid," as campers of all ages explore the natural world and form lasting connections with each other and the environment. At the YMCA-run camp there's something for everyone each summer, from family and mini sessions to the special Camp Goodtimes experience for kids being treated for cancer. (CHEY SCOTT)

2nd PLACE: Camp Spalding; 3rd PLACE: Camp Lutherhaven

Best of Recreation
Camp Reed allows a "kid to be a kid."

Best Outdoor Recreation Supplies


It's hard to top a day spent outdoors in the Pacific Northwest. But if you must be indoors, then spending a few hours at REI, thinking about being outside, is the next best thing. REI has all the gear for any adventure,

plus some pretty sweet clothes for normal life, if you're into that sort of thing. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, so you're sure to leave with whatever it is that you need. (WILSON CRISCIONE)

2nd PLACE: Mountain Gear; 3rd PLACE: White Elephant; NORTH IDAHO's BEST: Cabela's

Best Walkable Neighborhood


It's not just a couple of nice restaurants and a brewery that make the South Perry District such a great place to hang out. There's also a farmers market, a florist and some inviting places to shop — not to mention the wide sidewalks and low speed limit, occasionally obeyed by drivers. These things have turned the South Perry District into the perfect neighborhood for both a walk on a nice day or a casual night out. (WC)

2nd PLACE: Manito Park; 3rd PLACE: Browne's Addition; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Downtown Coeur d'Alene

Best Health Club


All these years working out at the YMCA, and the amazing thing is I still haven't fully taken advantage of everything the YMCA offers. Sure I've gotten my money's worth by hitting up the weights, the exercise machines, the elliptical and the stationary bikes. But I haven't so much as dipped my toes into the pool. Or taken advantage of the free childcare. Or taken a single Zumba class. (OK, that last one is because Zumba absolutely terrifies me.) (DANIEL WALTERS)

2nd PLACE: MÜV Fitness; 3rd PLACE: The Spokane Club, NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Salvation Army Kroc Center

Best Golf Course


After years of what's been described as neglect at Indian Canyon, the city's parks department, which owns the course, took notice. Last year, it pumped $137,000 into upgrades to the course, clubhouse and equipment. Now Jason Conley, executive officer for the parks department, says that "people are remembering why they like the course." There's plenty to like, including its large driving range and scenic views. (JAKE THOMAS)

2nd PLACE: Circling Raven; 3rd PLACE: Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course

Best Ski/Snowboard Shop


Whether you're a casual skier/snowboarder or are on the cusp of going pro, Wintersport's friendly staff will guide you through their selection of boards and skis, as well as bindings, boots and apparel. If you need to have the latest gear but want to pay rental prices, Wintersport offers a season lease program that allows customers to use cutting-edge skis and snowboards each year. The offer is particularly useful for families with quickly growing children. (JT)

2nd PLACE: Sports Creel; 3rd PLACE: REI; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Ski Shack

Best Bike Shop


Bike Hub has it all, from a comfy set of wheels you can ride to work on, to a bike that will take you on your next backcountry adventure. Commuters, cruisers, road, mountain, even BMX bikes can be found at Bike Hub's two locations in downtown Spokane and Spokane Valley. The knowledgeable staff will even custom-fit your bike for you. If your bike needs repairs or maintenance, staff will waste no time in getting your wheels working again. The Bike Hub also hosts clinics and other events, so you can learn how to keep your bike in working order. (JT)

2nd PLACE: Wheel Sport; 3rd PLACE: MonkeyBoy Bicycles; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Vertical Earth (p. 84)

Place To Ski


Although it's earned favorable write-ups in fancy national publications in recent years, locals have known all along what a great place Schweitzer is. With 2,900 acres of skiable terrain and 92 designated runs, you might get a little chilly at Schweitzer, but you won't get bored. The ski area offers plenty of opportunities, from newbies to those who were basically born on skis. Among the unique features at the mountain is the the Stomping Grounds Terrain Park, including rails, boxes and jumps. (JT)

2nd PLACE: Mt. Spokane; 3rd PLACE: 49° North

Place To Snowboard


If you're going to strap a piece of wood and plastic to your feet and glide down a mountain, you might as well do it from the highest point in Spokane County, right? Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park makes the unforgiving Inland Northwest winters more bearable. Less than an hour from Spokane, it's run by a nonprofit that offers affordable rates to hit the slopes. The mountain boasts 1,425 acres of skiable terrain and 45 runs, including a side that's nothing but black diamonds. If that's not enough, you can hit the terrain park or the lodge at the mountain's summit. (JT)

2nd PLACE: Schweitzer; 3rd PLACE: 49° North

Running Event


You can be a world-class runner from the other side of the planet, you can be a casual runner going for a personal best, you can push a stroller, you can plod along in a silly costume. You don't even have to run. That's part of what's made Bloomsday an annual event that's attracted crowds from all over the world (46,914 last year) to run in the Lilac City since 1977. (JT)

2nd PLACE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene; 3rd PLACE: The Dirty Dash

Echoes of Expo @ Riverfront Park

Through July 7
  • or