Summer in Spokane is hot! And I’m not just talking about the weather. When it gets really warm in Spokane there are a handful of things that make this THE place to be.

Undoubtedly, the water is the most popular place to visit when the hot weather rolls in. It’s one reason people flock to Spokane in the summer. Getting to the water is easy, with three of the nation’s largest lakes within an hour of downtown Spokane and a great river running right through town. But if you would rather find something a little smaller you can take your pick from the 76 regional lakes within 50 miles of Spokane. If you prefer to spend your time kayaking, floating the river or swimming, we have you covered with everything from roaring rapids to leisurely floats. If you’re looking for an in-town activity, we have a wonderful network of community pools, splash pads and a huge get-you-all-wet fountain that will not disappoint. Here is a short list of some of our favorite spots to beat the heat.

Spokane Falls & Riverfront Park

Our front yard has the nation’s second largest urban waterfall, Spokane Falls, running right through downtown. It’s easy to enjoy the splendor by walking the 360 degrees of pathways above the falls on our classic bridges or drop down into the brand new Huntington Park for an only-in-Spokane experience right on the lower falls.

Another fun spot for the kids to play is the Rotary Fountain in downtown’s Riverfront Park. The beautiful fountain was designed by renowned local artist, Harold Balazs, and features five stainless steel columns that are 24-feet tall. The water cascades down from above while eight geysers spray upward and five boulders periodically jet water towards the middle of the fountain. Bring you swimsuit!

Lakes

In our backyard, things get pretty exciting with 76 regional lakes. Three of the nation’s largest are within an hour of downtown Spokane. Lake Roosevelt stretches 150 miles from the Canadian border all the way to the Grand Coulee Dam. It’s a favorite spot for house boaters and year-round lakeside campers because of the 600 plus miles of shoreline and beaches. And, the weather is almost always sunny, so who can argue with that? Click here for more information on Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area.

Lake Pend Oreille is the fifth deepest lake in United States. It is mostly surrounded by national forest, but the towns of Bayview and Sandpoint offer some of the best lake side amenities around. At the southern tip of the lake, Farragut State Park is a former Naval Training Base for World War II deployment. Today it’s one of the premier recreation spots for mountain biking, hiking, camping, boating and swimming. For more information on attractions and things to do by Lake Pend Oreille, check out VisitIdaho.org.

You can’t talk about Northwest lakes without mentioning Lake Coeur d’Alene. It’s famous for stunning scenery and a world-class resort. You may have heard of the floating green that you can chip to and take a classic water taxi out to finish your round of golf. In addition to the lake, head down Sherman Avenue for a fantastic public beach, wonderful shopping, dining and much more.

Long Lake in Spokane may not make the nation’s largest lakes list, but the 30-minute commute, boat up camping and a shared shoreline with Riverside State Park make it a local favorite. Experience the lake’s fantastic swimming holes, cliff jumping, rock climbing and abundance of water sports.

River Fun

The Spokane River is one of the best parts about Spokane. There are multiple sections of the river that lend themselves to a variety of activities. Start in Spokane Valley or Liberty Lake to run the rapids and find spots like Sullivan Wave. Start in Peaceful Valley or launch at People’s Park, just west of Browne’s Addition, to take an exhilarating float down to Riverside State Park. From there, you can hit the exceptional rapids at the Bowl and Pitcher and Devil’s Toenail, although you may want to run those in a kayak or with a local rafting company. For more information on boat launch and river recreation, visit SpokaneRiver.net.

For one of the most beautiful floats in Washington State, take a trip down the Little Spokane River. The crystal clear water and surrounding area is the perfect spot for wildlife viewing. It’s not uncommon to run into moose, bald eagles, osprey, beavers and plenty of deer. This 40-60 foot wide river flows for 35 miles as a tributary to the Spokane River. The navigable part of the river is a little more than seven miles long. For access information, visit RiversideStatePark.org.

A float down the Coeur d’Alene River may be one of the most delightful things you can do in the Northwest. This popular excursion starts in a rural area of north Idaho near Enaville. The drive is roughly an hour from downtown Spokane. There are no significant rapids, so the name of the game is relaxing, sun tanning and hauling a cooler to stay refreshed. For tube rentals and shuttle transportation, check out Albert’s Landing River Resort. The Coeur d’Alene River is also a premier fly fishing destination, so don’t forget to bring your gear or stop by Silver Bow Fly Shop for lessons, rentals, guided trips and all your gear needs.

Although the water activities are definitely a regional favorite, there are many more things to do in Spokane this summer. Check out our Outdoor Entertainment to get the low down on what’s happening. For a more complete guide of things to do, visit our Spokane regional Events Calendar for detailed event information.