From marina restaurants, to fine dining on panoramic decks, to picnics you pack with all your favorite foods, lakeside feasting is the cardinal form of eating within or next to nature. A few years ago, I joined a bachelorette party on a friend’s boat on Lake Pend Oreille. We had snacks and drinks on the boat, and we floated on tubes in a quiet corner of the lake. Yet, it was a welcome treat to disembark in the middle of the day at the marina in Hope, Idaho, for a lunch break at the Floating Restaurant. We met some wonderful people among the kaleidoscope of customers, and we relished the intermittent melody of the waves lapping against the dock.
Outdoor summer activities in the Inland Northwest often involve one of the many lakes that bespeckle our landscape, but you don’t have to own a boat or fight the beach crowds to enjoy a picturesque piece of lake scenery. Many of the region’s larger have at least one restaurant or resort bar where you can hang out on the patio or cool off next to panoramic windows. You may pay more for a good drink with a pristine view, but on a hot summer day, it’s worth it. (See my article on lakeside dining in the Lake Guide in this issue for some of the best restaurants to sit and take in the water view.)
If you choose to make a meal, pack it up, and find your own spot, consider taking the Bayview Shuttle water taxi from Bayview to one of the little beach campgrounds on Lake Pend Oreille. With just a text, Captain Wes will pick you up when you’ve had enough sunshine and water for the day. Tubbs Hill in Coeur d’Alene is also an excellent place for a picnic right in town. It is also extremely popular, so you may have to hike around for a few minutes to find just the right spot. Just remember, alcohol is not allowed in city parks.
However you choose to enjoy a meal lakeside this summer, I hope you make it delicious, healthy, and fun. Bon appétit, my lake-loving friends. //
[Feature photo: Picnic on the Spokane River after a Fun Unlimited paddle by Shallan Knowles.]