Dude Ranchin' A 20-minute drive from Sandpoint gets you to a guest ranch that permits children of all ages to do their own thing. Along with our progeny, we took a morning trail ride on horseback out to a vantage point high in the mountain. In the afternoon, we relished a little down time while the youngsters went back out on another trail ride.

At Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, we enjoyed the rustic yet modern accommodations of the state-of-the-art lodge, but we could also have opted to stay in one of the new cabins tucked away in the forest. As remote as it feels though, it takes only five minutes to walk to the lodge for meals.

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch runs a horse camp for kids that offers the stuff of which childhood memories are made. Each child chooses a horse to ride and tend during the next five days. The youngsters learn how to care for and feed their horses along with taking riding lessons. Trail rides are conducted every morning and afternoon. The camp concludes with the kids demonstrating their newly acquired equestrian skills to an audience of appreciative parents.

Water, Water Everywhere We had to do it--a one-day whitewater rafting trip. It began just across the state line in Montana where we joined the Coeur d'Alene-based Row Adventures. Our put-in point (riverspeak for where we entered the water) was near the town of Superior, Montana (I-90, Exit 41), an hour-plus drive east of Coeur d'Alene. Skilled guides helped us navigate the South Fork River, where the scenery alone was worth the trip.

About noon, we stopped along a sandy bank for a lunch break. Later that afternoon, we drove back to Sandpoint and enjoyed our lodging in a quaint 1930s cottage (Sleep's Cabins) on the south shore of Lake Pend Oreille.

Before heading back to Seattle, we spent a day at Silverwood Theme Park and Boulder Beach Water Park, the best water park we've ever visited. Twenty minutes south of Sandpoint (Highway 95) and about halfway to Coeur d'Alene, Silverwood's water park generates giant waves you'd typically have to go to the ocean to find.

The park has ultra-tall water slides and float trips along beautifully groomed botanical waterways. The park has earned a five-star reputation with its roller-coasters, among the best and wildest in the world. The number-one paid attraction in all of Idaho, Silverwood draws a half-million visitors between April and October (it shuts down for winter). Folks come from all around to spend entire vacations enjoying the thrills and water activities at Silverwood.