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USA Today The five best small towns in America

By Bob Riha, Jr., USA TODAY http://travel.usatoday.com/destinations/story/2011/07/The-five-best-small-towns-in-America/49573514/1

Majestic views of the forests and Lake Pend Oreille near the Schweitzer Mountain Resort await visitors in Sandpoint, Idaho.

Most beautiful 

Sandpoint, Idaho 

Team that visited: Daniel and JoAnne Schaub (“The McNavigators”) of Cary, N.C.

What made it stand out: Located on pristine Lake Pend Oreille in the Idaho Panhandle about an hour and a half east of Spokane, Wash., “Sandpoint isn’t just a ‘drive through and let’s stop here’ place,” the Schaubs say. “Its quaint downtown shops and restaurants welcomed us in, and its landscape kept us in awe.”

Don’t miss: From a chairlift ride to the top of the local ski area, Schweitzer Mountain, “you can stand in Idaho and see Canada, Montana and Washington. At 6,400 feet, the expansive view kept us so mesmerized we missed our lunch date — and we had a snowball fight in July.”

Biggest surprise: Sandpoint’s mountain setting on the shores of one of the country’s deepest lakes. “Being from North Carolina, we hadn’t heard much about Idaho,” the Schaubs admit. “We knew there were a lot of potatoes, and that’s about it.”

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