Memorial day has been marked as the herald of summer. And, it sure does seem like there has been a shift in the weather this past week. The temps are definitely starting to warm up and the sun is shining. Summer is upon us. It’s about the time of year when locals start heading out to their favorite Spokane area lake on the weekend. We wanted to give you a guide with tips for some of the best lakes in the area.
Especially after being cooped up for the last couple of months, I can imagine, many are itching to get out and do something. Now that Spokane is in phase 2 of re-opening, you’ve got the perfect chance to get outdoors and enjoy the many lakes around Spokane.
Here is a list of lakes in the area. Most day use areas have been re-opened and campsites will be following soon.
Just 15 Miles north of Spokane off of the Newport Hwy, Bear lake is a great place to spend the day with your family. Complete with a swimming beach, hiking trails, BBQ areas, and play equipment, Bear Lake is great for all ages. One thing that makes Bear Lake unique, is the special regulations that limit fishing on this lake to youth. Because of this, Bear Lake is an ideal spot to take your kids on a fishing outing.
If you’ve been to Newport, Washington, you’ve probably driven through Diamond Lake (the town) and caught glimpses of the sparkling waters beyond the private residences of the small community. This hidden lake boasts nearly 7 miles of shoreline and amazing trout fishing opportunities. The lake is stocked with 12,500 trout annually. While there isn’t a public beach, you can access the lake via the public boat launch and fish or swim from your boat.
Directly north of Loon Lake, Deer Lake is a moderately large lake with camping and resorts along the shoreline. You can access the lake via the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Boat Launch or at the resorts (day use or multi-day use fees may apply). The lake provides lots of opportunities for boating, kayaking, fishing, swimming and more. Because of all the options, Deer Lake is a great spot to spend a weekend. Check out the Deer Lake resort campgrounds for a weekend family vacation.
Eloika Lake, approximately 7 miles north of Chattaroy, offers excellent year round fishing. You can get to the lake via Jerry’s Landing Resort or the WDFW boat launch. In addition to being a great fishing spot, Eloika Lake is a great for paddling and spotting wildlife.
This little gem, hidden in the Selkirk mountains near Newport, is ideal for a day trip. During the summer, you can park at the boat launch and spend the day kayaking or fishing. Or, if you’d prefer to enjoy the beauty of the lake from the shoreline, hike the 10 mile out and back trail around the shoreline. Bead lake is spectacular during all seasons, however, the public boat launch is closed during the winter. So, if you want to access the lake during the off season, expect an extra 2 mile hike in.
Commonly referred to as Long Lake, Lake Spokane is a 25 mile reservoir between 9-mile dam and Long Lake Dam. Because of the lake’s size, it is ideal for all kinds of boating and water sports. Lake Spokane is another great destination for a weekend camping trip. The best way to get to Lake Spokane is via the Riverside State Park Boat Launch ($5) which also has campsites nearby, Nine Mile Resort ($6), or Long Lake Campground.
About half an hour from North Spokane, Loon Lake offers more than 1,000 acres of water for water-skiing, fishing, boating and more. Access the lake via the WDFW boat launch and 2 resorts. Loon Lake also offers some great camping spots for a family vacation or ‘staycation’ close to home.
If you’re up for a slightly longer trip, there are a few more gems tucked away in the Colville National forest (almost to the Canadian border).
To get to Crescent Lake, you drive through Metaline Falls and follow the main road north out of town. Continue north towards the Canadian border crossing. Just a few miles south of the border, you’ll come around a corner and see Crescent Lake. There are some camp spots alongside the lake. But many people choose this lake for fishing.
It’s a smaller lake, so you can fish from the beach or fish from a kayak. When the mosquitoes come out at dusk, the fish start jumping and you’re sure to catch some. Make sure to bring plenty of bug spray, but don’t miss the chance for an easy catch and some beautiful surroundings.
Sullivan Lake is also just north of Metaline Falls. Drive out of town headed north and at the top of the hill, turn right onto Sullivan Lake Rd. Drive until you reach the lake. You can’t miss it! Sullivan Lake is mostly surrounded by the Colville National Forest with a few private cabins on East side of the lake. There are multiple campgrounds with bathrooms and water on the lake, along with day use swimming and boating areas.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a prettier lake in Eastern, Washington. Sullivan is nestled in the mountains and surrounded by nearly untouched forestland. There is a creek running into the Northeast end of the Lake and Sullivan creek runs out the south end of the lake. You can fish from a few spots along the shore or off a bridge at the east end of the lake. Other than that, the lake offers some great fishing if you have a boat to take out.
Bonnie Lake is a little harder to get too, but worth it for anyone looking for adventure. To get to the lake, you put in on the creek at the boat launch near Rock Creek Bridge. Once you put in at the creek, enjoy a short (1 mile) upstream paddle to the lake. Situated in a basalt canyon, the lake provides great opportunities for exploration. If your up for an extra challenge, the lake’s island offers a couple flat spots for overnight camping. Click here for more info on paddling at Bonnie Lake.
20 minutes west of Spokane, Clear Lake is an ideal destination for fishing outings. There are plenty of spots on the shore for fishing in addition to the WDFW boat launch. In May, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife hosts a kids fishing derby to introduce kids (ages 5-14) to sport fishing. Kids get a free fishing pole, a t-shirt, and a guaranteed shot at catching fish.
Situated just 20 minutes south of Spokane and 5 minutes from Cheney, Fish lake is perfect for an afternoon or evening outing. You can enjoy a bike ride on the fish lake trail with views of the lake or enjoy the shady playground and swimming area. You can also enjoy the lake on kayaks or small boat via the boat launch.
Medical Lake (the lake) is located just minutes from (drum roll) medical lake (the town). Motorized vessels are prohibited on the lake, so its a great spot to enjoy paddling and swimming. Also a favorite spot for Fly fishing, the lake can be easily accessed via the public beach and boat launch.
Lake Roosevelt is a little further (about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Airway Heights). The lake is a reservoir on the Columbia river formed by the Grand Coulee Dam. This lake offers numerous opportunities for boating, fishing, camping, kayaking, and recreation. There are three main access points including boat launches: Seven Bays Marina (Privately owned), Fort Spokane, and Porcupine Bay.
Fort Spokane and Porcupine Bay are part of Lake Roosevelt National Recreation area. Currently, these areas have not been re-opened. The county is in Phase 2, however, so they should be opening for the season soon.
If you want to take a look at an amazing property with a view on Lake Roosevelt, check it out here.
Spokane Valley/East Area
Liberty Lake is one of the more popular lake destinations near Spokane and can be accessed via the public boat launch and Liberty Lake Regional Park. The park offers a swimming beach, picnic shelters, BBQ areas, a campground, and a 8.5 mile hiking trail with an overlook point featuring a great view Liberty Lake.
Just 20-30 minutes east of Spokane, Newman Lake is a popular recreation destination with swimming, boating, hiking, fishing and more. The lake is surrounded by mountains and pine trees and offers a beautiful setting for rest and relaxation.
No matter where you live in the Inland Northwest, you can easily find a lake 15-20 minutes from your home. So, enjoy an afternoon of relaxation on the lake or plan a weekend at a lakeside resort.
Many locals like to take a quick jaunt over to Idaho and enjoy some of the beautiful lakes over there. Here are a few favorites:
Lake Coeur d’Alene
The resort town of Coeur d’Alene (CDA), just 45 minutes from downtown Spokane, sits along the shoreline of Lake Couer d’Alene and is where many locals flock to experience the lake. However, the lake is certainly one of the larger lakes in the area and extend much further south where it can be accessed at many other points including Rockford Bay.
If you just want to get out (CDA) is a great place to spend the day. You can enjoy exploring the touristy downtown areas, visit the resort, and walk alongside the beach or on the docks. You can even rent kayaks or boats for a day out on the water (or bring your own).
Priest lake is a bit of a longer drive, but also a local favorite. The lake is situated about 80 miles NE of Spokane and 15 miles from the Canadian border. Numerous “Spokanites” have vacation homes along the lake, others live there year round. There are numerous opportunities for recreation from boating, to kayaking, to camping and more. In fact, some of the camp spots are accessible only by boat.
Lake Pend Orielle
The Pend’Orielle is another highly popular lake located in Northern, Idaho. The most popular access point is probably the tourist town of Sandpoint, ID. But there are also many other places you can visit along the lake including Dover Bay, Hope, and the Sam Owen Peninsula. The Pend Orielle is the largest lake in Idaho and the 38th largest lake in the U.S. Some areas of the lake are as deep as 1,150ft; making it 5th in the nation. You won’t be dissapointed by the views wherever you choose to visit the lake. It is spectacular! You can enjoy swimming, boating, and practically any other type of water recreation on the Pend Orielle.