Sandpoint is a popular city and tourist destination in Northern Idaho on the shore of lake Pend Oreille (Pond-Orr-Ay) in northwestern United States. (although Idaho is generally recognized as a Mountain State, Sandpoint and other far northern Idaho cities are most often categorized as officially being part of the Pacific Northwest. At last census, the population of Sandpoint was 6,853 (est. 2006 was 8,206). The closest city of more than 100,000 people is Spokane, Washington (78 miles away),

The city beach

The time zone is Pacific (UTC-8), and the area code is 208.

The official currency is United States dollars, but most stores and restaurants will accept Canadian currency due to Sandpoint’s proximity to the Canadian border and the large number of Canadian tourists who visit the region.

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Sandpoint is a region in transition. From humble timber and fishing beginnings, Sandpoint has been rocketed to among the top destinations in the West, indeed the nation. It was number one on USA Today’s List of Unforgettable Summer Vacations, as well as Sunset Magazine’s top small Western Town, along with numerous other distinctions.

The small communities lining highways 2, 95 & 200 in east Bonner County are c generally referred to Sandpoint. The largest of these being the actual Sandpoint. Excluding Sandpoint, they are the following:

  • Careywood 18 miles south of Sandpoint, Hwy 95.
  • Cocallala 12 miles south of Sandpoint, Hwy 95.
  • Westmond 10 miles south of Sandpoint, Hwy 95.
  • Dufort 8 miles south of Sandpoint, Hwy 95.
  • Algoma 6 miles south of Sandpoint, Hwy 95
  • Sagle 5 miles south of Sandpoint, Hwy 95
  • Ponderay 3 miles north of Sandpoint, sandwiched between Hwy 95/2 and Hwy 200.
  • Kootenai 4 miles north of Sandpoint, Hwy 200.
  • Sunnyside 6 miles east of Sandpoint, Hwy 200
  • Oden Bay 8 miles east of Sandpoint, Hwy 200.
  • Trestle Creek 14 miles east of Sandpoint, Hwy 200.
  • Hope 16 miles east of Sandpoint, Hwy 200.
  • East Hope 17 miles east of Sandpoint, Hwy 200
  • Beyond Hope 21 miles east of Sandpoint, Hwy 200
  • Dover 3 miles west of Sandpoint, Hwy 2.
  • Wrencoe 9 miles west of Sandpoint, Hwy 2
  • LaClede 14 miles west of Sandpoint, Hwy 2.

Located just north of the 48th parallel, Sandpoint’s climate is unique in the region. Although found not far from the deserts of Eastern Washington, Northern Idaho is on the rainy side of the next mountain chain – the Rocky Mountains. Many climate maps show Sandpoint as arid or semi-arid but this is not accurate. With long, usually cold winters (average temperatures are generally below freezing, and dip to -20°F for a week or two in February) and short, hot summers, (80-90°F is the average, but be prepared for up to 100°F for short periods) Sandpoint resembles a hemiboreal or even boreal climate, similar to the southern interior of Alaska (Fairbanks and the like, with milder winters).

Winter lasts from late November to March, whereas summer weather doesn’t hit until July and peaks in August. Spring (April–June) and autumn (September-early November) are generally rainy and cool. Storms are common – thunderstorms are the norm for hot summer afternoons and windstorms strike the most in spring.

Sandpoint’s airport is only served by charter planes. Getting in and out is complex and expensive.

Spokane International Airport (GEG) is about 2 hours southwest of Sandpoint, it is a hub for Horizon Air, Delta Air Lines, Frontier, and Big Sky Air, and airlines like United and Southwest also fly there. Most flights bound for, and departing from, GEG leave from/go to Seattle/Portland, so be prepared to fly to Seattle or Portland even if you are heading east. You can get a flight directly to Minneapolis, but expect to pay more.

  • From Seattle/Portland Driving east from the west coast, you have two options. I-90 eastboand is the fastest, but it is mostly barren steppe and scrubland. In Coeur d’Alene, take Hwy 95 north to Sandpoint. The scenic alternative to I-90 is Hwy 2- which winds through northern Washington and drops you off right in Sandpoint. It is slightly longer, though.
  • From Boise Take Highway 55 or 95 north through the state. Though it is two-lane most of its length, it is the shortest route, and takes about the same or slightly less than the alternative through eastern Oregon and Washington.
  • From the East I-90 westbound is your best bet. Same drill- take 95 at Coeur d’Alene. For an alternative, Hwy 200 winds through northernwestern Montana, following the Clark Fork River gorge.

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