You'll also see fireworks and a giant animated Christmas tree along the way.

By Patricia Doherty
December 14, 2020
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Credit: Courtesy of Coeur d'Alene Resort

The Coeur d’Alene Resort in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, is hosting the largest on-the-water holiday light display in America. After enjoying millions of twinkling lights, guests cruise to Santa’s Workshop to meet St. Nick, his elves, Rudolph, and the Grinch. Santa even calls out the children’s names to tell them he knows they’ve been nice.

The entire resort gets into the holiday spirit, with more than 10,000 pounds of handmade decorations, two life-size Santas, 12 nine-foot-tall Nutcrackers, snowflakes, colorfully wrapped gifts, garland, and woodland creatures. Four life-size, gold-flaked deer greet guests at the front entrance. Carolers, Christmas elves, and a fireside story time add to the festive atmosphere. 

This year, special precautions have been taken to ensure guests’ safety during the 40-minute nightly cruises. Passenger capacity has been reduced to allow for physical distancing, and groups are limited to six or fewer. Temperatures are checked upon boarding using non-invasive infrared cameras, and hand sanitizer is available throughout the boats.

At the resort’s waterfront Whispers Lounge, guests can enjoy fresh air and privacy along with lake views and cocktails from the warmth of “Igloos on the Lake,” set on the outdoor patio. From November through January, seasonal cocktails like the Apple Old Fashioned and Huck Hot Chocolate are offered along with a selection of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. A variety of additional restaurants and lounges are available at the resort. 

This year’s Santa’s Family Getaway package includes cruise tickets, milk and cookie delivery to guest rooms, and a fireside storytime with Santa’s elves. Other seasonal packages are available, including a New Year’s Celebration and an Eagle Viewing Lake Cruise (until Jan. 3) to view the American Bald Eagle in its natural habitat with an on-board naturalist.