Best Of

Best of Recreation

The Bike Hub downtown store Manager Tim Dunn hard at work. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
Young Kwak photo
The Bike Hub downtown store Manager Tim Dunn hard at work.

Best Idaho Day Trip Destination
PRIEST LAKE
You can kind of understand why Idaho wanted to make it a little less appealing for people to come to Priest Lake and its other most popular state parks this summer by raising fees for out-of-state visitors. One of the best qualities of this lake in the Idaho panhandle is its pristine beauty that makes you feel close with nature. The more people learn the "secret" of the beautiful sandy beaches, the woodsy boat-friendly camping sites, and the off-grid feel of places along the lake with poor cell reception, the more everyone has to share that beauty and work together to keep litter and overuse from harming their favorite place. Still, Inlander readers know that even if it costs a bit more to visit, this is one day trip you should definitely plan to take if you haven't already. (SW)
2nd PLACE: Wallace; 3rd PLACE: The Route of the Hiawatha Trail


Best Dog Park
SOUTH HILL DOG PARK
It can take a little effort to find the South Hill Dog Park as it's tucked behind Mullan Road Elementary off of 63rd and Regal, but it's well worth it if you want your pup to find a gloriously expansive space to roam and meet some furry friends. There are plenty of trails delving in and out of towering trees that provide plenty of shade in the summer, and a big outer loop gives humans a decent amount of exercise if they choose. It's well-maintained and folks bring plenty of water to share with their fellow dog owners, and the flat expanse has lots of little pockets if your dog prefers a little outdoor privacy rather than rolling with a pack of playful dogs. (DN)
2nd PLACE: Spokanimal Dog Park at High Bridge; 3rd PLACE: Valley Mission Dog Park; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: McEuen Park Dog Park, Coeur d'Alene


Best Washington Day Trip
PALOUSE FALLS
The waterfall itself is beautiful — the Palouse River tumbles off basalt cliffs and plunges for nearly 200 feet. And no elaborate hike is required. The waterfall is practically visible from the parking lot. But the underrated part of the trip is the drive itself. Just under two hours to the destination, it provides plenty of opportunity for your family to play "I Spy," sing along to Dad's favorite classic rock mix and listen to Mom's favorite audiobooks, exactly what a great day trip is all about. (DW)
2nd PLACE: Leavenworth; 3rd PLACE: Walla Walla


Best Bike Shop
THE BIKE HUB
Bikes were one of the casualties of the pandemic year — if you wanted to buy a new one. That was a good thing for bike shops looking to introduce new and eager people to the sport, recreational activity and reliable mode of transportation. Finding a new bike may be a little challenging lately, but finding knowledgeable, friendly, and unintimidating and nonjudgmental staff isn't a problem at one of the Bike Hub's three Spokane-area locations downtown, in the Perry District and in the Valley. (SAL)
2nd PLACE: Wheel Sport Bicycles; 3rd PLACE: North Division Bicycle Shop; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Coeur d'Alene Bike Co.


Best Place to Ride Your Bike
CENTENNIAL TRAIL
Sunshine on your face, wind through your hair and the smell of ponderosa pine. There's nothing like riding your bike along the smooth surface of the more than 60 miles of the Centennial Trail across Eastern Washington and North Idaho. Whether you're testing your own physical limits or just simply commuting to work, the Centennial Trail is a regional gem for cyclists. (QW)
2nd PLACE: Riverside State Park; 3rd PLACE: Beacon Hill/Camp Sekani; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes


Best Outdoor Rec Supplies
REI
Need a fresh new backpack? What about a rain jacket? Hitch rack to carry your bike? Water bottle? Stand-up paddleboard? Headlamp? The possibilities for adventure seem endless at REI in Spokane, which is undoubtedly why Inlander readers voted it the best place for outdoor recreation supplies. (Pro tip: Get a membership and take advantage of those kickass garage sales.) (QW)
2nd PLACE: The General Store; 3rd PLACE: Cabela's


Best Place to Socially Distance
RIVERFRONT PARK
Restrictions are lifting, masks are coming off, and things are going back to... normal? Gone are the days of keeping a 6-foot bubble around your personal space at all times. And what a shame that is for the misanthropes, introverts and wallflowers out there. If you're still longing for some personal space, head to Riverfront Park (now "Riverfront Spokane") for a little bit of that sweet, sweet social distancing. (QW)
2nd PLACE: Manito Park; 3rd PLACE: Mount Spokane; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Lake Coeur d'Alene


click to enlarge Whether you prefer two skis or one board, Mt. Spokane is the place to shred. - BOB LEGASA PHOTO
Bob Legasa photo
Whether you prefer two skis or one board, Mt. Spokane is the place to shred.

Best Place to Ski
Best Place to Snowboard
MT. SPOKANE
It's crazy to think how close a ski or snowboard trip is for most city-dwelling people around the Spokane metro area. It's not the biggest or tallest, but Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park is an easy drive for anyone in the area and has a wide range of terrain for intermediate skiers and snowboarders. (QW)
BEST PLACE TO SKI
2nd PLACE: Schweitzer; 3rd PLACE: 49 Degrees North
BEST PLACE TO SNOWBOARD
2nd PLACE: Schweitzer; 3rd PLACE: Silver Mountain


Best Golf Course
DOWNRIVER GOLF COURSE
Whether navigating a scorching summer or keeping the course looking sharp for late-season rounds, the folks at Downriver Golf Course know how to do it right. And it's the kind of course where both beginners and experienced golfers can have a blast playing. It's been in business since 1916, and anyone who's walked among the towering pines and glimpsed the Spokane River nearby can tell you it's a gorgeous 18-hole experience. I took lessons there myself, and I highly recommend you do the same if you're interested in the game famous for ruining perfectly good walks. (DN)
2nd PLACE: Indian Canyon Golf Course; 3rd PLACE: (tie) Liberty Lake Golf Course, Qualchan Golf Course; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Circling Raven Golf Club, Worley

Previous Winners

Freaks of a Feather Book Launch Party @ Spangle Service Club

Sat., July 31, 5-8 p.m.
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