A drive through northern Idaho on US 95 or US 2 doesn’t offer a lot of towns, but the ones that are in this area are pretty nice. But, Sandpoint isn’t just worth a stop, because it’s the only place around. It’s a nice little place that’s made even nicer, thanks to nearby Lake Pend Oreille. And if that isn’t enough, you can also visit the Statue of Liberty.
You don’t have to go to New York City to pay your respects to Lady Liberty. She’s also standing watch over Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho.
This version may look as big as the original, but that’s just thanks to some creative camerawork. In reality, Sandpoint, Idaho’s version of the Statue of Liberty is just a little bit taller than an actual human (I’ve read that it’s 30 feet tall, one-tenth the height of New York’s version, but it didn’t seem that big to me). It’s located at the end of a short concrete pier, in Sandpoint’s City Beach Park.
The Statue of Liberty makes for a great addition to the already beautiful view of Lake Pend Oreille. It arrived here in 2003, as a gift to the city from the Turner family. The Examiner reports, the statue is much older than that. For years, it stood in the private garden of Louise (Lee) Turner. After her death, her family gave it to the city.
It’s easy to walk out to the end of the pier and see the statue. You’ll find it at the southern end of the park, and it’s free to visit.
After seeing the Statue of Liberty, it’s a very quick drive back into downtown Sandpoint.
The town has a nice, walkable business district that still has some stores and restaurants.
The Panida Theater has been here since 1927. It still has plenty of great neon tubes to light up the night in downtown Sandpoint. Panida, in case you’re wondering, refers to the PANhandlie of IDAho.
This cool archway also caught my eye. The Arch at Sand Creek made entirely of old road signs, cut into the shapes of 94 fish. The fish are hinged to allow a breeze to move the fish, creating the illusion that they are swimming. Artist Nelson Boren created the 40-foot-long sculpture in 2011.
The neon sign at Connie’s Cafe also persuaded me to stop for a photo. I didn’t eat here, but it seems to have a good rating on Yelp.
The Bottom Line
A drive through northern Idaho would not be complete without a stop to see the Statue of Liberty. Downtown Sandpoint also offers some nice businesses and restaurants, as well as resorts centering around recreation on Lake Pend Oreille, making this a worthy overnight stop.
Sandpoint is located in northern Idaho, at the junction of US 95, US 2, and Idaho 200 — which provides a nice scenic drive along the shore of Lake Pend Oreille.
To visit Sandpoint City Beach Park and the Statue of Liberty, take the exit onto Superior Street and follow it onto 1st Avenue and into downtown. From there, Bridge Street takes you under US 95 and the railroad tracks, and over to the beach. Liberty Pier is at the south end of the park.
Check out this time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive into Sandpoint via US 95: