Idaho Panhandle: Exploring Wallace

About this time last year I was on a cross-country road trip. We were moving from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest, taking I-90 through Montana and into the Idaho panhandle. I had been driving all day and the kids and dog were restless. We made an impromptu pit stop in the town of Wallace and ended up spending the night.

A historic town of fewer than 1,000 permanent residents, Wallace is known for silver mining and is a gateway to various recreational activities within the Coeur d’Alene National Forest. Rumored to be haunted, the downtown feels frozen in time somewhere between the gold rush of the late 1800s and the heyday era of the 1950s.

We booked a pet-friendly room at The Wallace Inn, one of the few (if not the only) lodging option in town offering an indoor swimming pool for kids. A highlight of the swimming pool atrium was the steam room – I sat and watched the kids from the comfort of a tropical bubble, something I thoroughly enjoyed after a 500 mile day.

Pizza Factory Wallace

Where to Stay

Find family-friendly accommodations in Wallace, Idaho from traditional hotels to private vacation rentals through

For dinner, we walked from the hotel to the Pizza Factory at 612 Bank St. Pizza Factory specializes in homemade pizzas and calzones; we hung out in the game room in the back of the restaurant while our dinner rolled through the pizza oven. I had a pint of delicious local beer while the kids happily zoned out to retro video games.

On our walk back we found the location for the Center of the Universe. How fun!

Center of the Universe Wallace

In the morning, we wandered down to the eclectic Red Light Garage, which advertises the best huckleberry shake on I-90 between Boston and Seattle. Inside, random collections of “stuff” decorate every surface, including the ceiling. My kids enjoyed digging in a bin of polished stones while our biscuits and gravy were made-to-order.

Red Light Garage

Despite its smallish population, a surprising amount of restaurants and shops pepper the downtown Wallace business district. We will definitely stop back in town on our next road trip through the Idaho panhandle! Other lodging options in Wallace: Hotels in Wallace


Happy Trails!

About the Author

Julie Henning
Julie Henning is a freelance writer and journalist based out of Eugene, Oregon. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and owner of the family-travel website She is a recent past member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association and the Association for Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. Julie is the Oregon Coast destination specialist for Bindu Media, an itinerary-focused website launching in Spring 2016 and featuring the work of 200+ professional, indie travel writers. Julie has been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin State Journal, The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Illinois), the Rochester Post Bulletin, Wisconsin Natural Resources (DNR) Magazine, Sustainable Chicago Magazine, Group Tour Magazine, Student Group Tour Magazine, Silent Sports Magazine, Intercom Magazine,, and FTF Geocacher Magazine. Julie has appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio, Ohio Public Radio, and KCBX FM Central Coast Radio and is an affiliate producer with the Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, a National Public Radio travel podcast. She has blogged for, Travel Oregon, and VISIT Milwaukee. Julie travels with her three kids and black lab as much as possible and lives by the motto, "Not all who wander are lost." Check out some of her best work at

1 Comment on "Idaho Panhandle: Exploring Wallace"

  1. when i lived there in the early 50s it was a very friendly town of about 4000 people and 8 more houses

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