CITY SPOTLIGHT- COEUR d’ALENE, IDAHO

RetireUSA is proud to launch a new blog feature called “City Spotlight” which will focus on cities that are particularly attractive as retirement destinations. Our first city is Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, known in its abbreviated form as “CDA”. We want to thank Katherine and  Sarah at the CDA Visitor Center (www.CoeurdAlene.org) for helping us gather up information on this wonderful city.

High on the list of concerns for retirees is the cost of housing in a potential retirement area. The average price of a home in Coeur d’Alene is $234,100 as of this writing, compared to the nearby city of Post Falls at $174,105, and the Idaho state average of $190,000. While slightly above the national average of $199,000, it is still reasonable for a retirement home.

Also important to retirees on a fixed income is the amount of taxes. Idaho has a sales tax of 6%, and there is also personal income tax which varies based on the total amount of adjusted gross income ranging from 1.6% to 7.8%.

Retirees who like to volunteer in their community may wish to investigate “Idaho Reads” which is designed to partner seniors with students struggling with their reading skills. The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) helps people age 55 and older find service opportunities in organizations that range from hospitals and youth recreation centers to local police stations and education facilities. This is a great way for seniors to make use of their skills and lifelong experiences.

Continuing education programs can be found at North Idaho College where seniors over 60 can take classes starting at $25 per class, plus $5 per credit. There is also a Master Gardener program at the University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene which will appeal to many retirees who want to sharpen their skills in this area, and perhaps learn strategies for gardening in a climate that is unfamiliar to them.

CDA has a four season climate, which is cold and moist in winter, and very warm and dry in summer. The average annual rainfall is 26 inches, with annual snowfall of 30 to 80 inches.

Active retirees will find unlimited recreation opportunities like swimming, fishing, boating and bird watching at Lakes Coeur d’Alene and Pend Oreille. The whole area is surrounded by lakes created by retreating glaciers of the ice age. Within easy driving distance of Coeur d’Alene, there are more than 55 of these scenic recreation areas. There are numerous trail systems for bicycling, hiking and backpacking, and ski resorts nearby for wintertime thrills and outdoor exercise. Retirees will be busy in the summer months with attractions and festivals such as Car d’Alene, The Fourth of July Festival, fairs, farmers markets, and Art on the Green.

CNN Money’s list of the 25 Best Places to Retire in 2012 included Coeur d’Alene, and CDA was also featured in a Smart Money article on great places to retire in Idaho. The major reasons cited by these studies as to why retiring in this part of Idaho makes sense were the golfing, fishing and relatively low cost of living.

History buffs may wonder about the origin of the name Coeur d’Alene, translated as “heart of the awl”. Apparently when French explorers and fur traders arrived in the early 19th century, they found the Native Americans who had been living here for thousands of years to be sharp traders! Thus the name was given to the area as a testimony to the tribe’s shrewd negotiating skills, sharp as an awl.

Steamboats played an important part in CDA’s development as a center of silver and gold mining, and also logging. These boats steamed up and down the lake as they transported ore, wood, and soldiers from one point to another. Today retirees can enjoy a dinner cruise or a sightseeing trip on similar boats reminiscent of CDA’s historic past.

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