Do you and your kids love the great outdoors? Is camping something that your family love? Or maybe you’ve never tried it before but are keen to give it a go. France is known for its numerous campsites right across the country in a variety of stunning locations, many of which have excellent facilities and amenities to keep the whole family happy.
Camping has come a very long way since the days where you pitched your own tent and made do for a week or so with no electricity, did all your cooking on gas stoves, had to cart around (and empty!) a portable toilet, and ventured to the communal shower blocks with trepidation. Today, there are so many more options when it comes to camping! You may even prefer the trendy alternative of glamping – a word that combines glamorous and camping to show that camping can be uber-stylish now too!
There are, of course, campsites where you put up your own tents (sometimes having the option to hook up to mains electric), those where you arrive and everything is already done for you and you simply unzip the flaps and step into your lovely new temporary canvas home from home, and other forms of “camping” accommodation too, such as Mongolian inspired yurts, teepees, cabins, and huts.
Here’s our top pick of French campsites for family fun:
Domaine d’Esperbasque, Salies-de-Bearn
Sitting between the Atlantic Coast and the soaring Pyrenees you can wake up and decide on the spot whether to hit the beach or have a mountain day! There are many things to do on the campsite itself, meaning that you can relax and take it easy without having to go far at all. Activities include guided tours, kayaking, trampolining, go-karting, swimming, horse riding, playing football … and more! There is plenty of open space for kids to run and play, and they can even enjoy a cuddle with a fluffy rabbit! There are several different options when it comes to sleeping – take your own tent, camper van, or caravan, enjoy a little bit of luxury in a safari tent, snug down in a cosy apartment, or enjoy a traditional stay in a French gite. Fresh air, splendid views, a relaxed vibe, and nature are just a few great reasons to stay here. Many people like to rent a car to make the most of their time – both the beach and mountains are around a 45 minute drive away.
For more information visit: www.esperbasque.co.uk
Camping Le Pin Sec, Naujac-sur-Mer
Just a short stroll away from the sea, this is excellent for active families with older kids and that like their creature comforts. Accommodation is in funky teepees that have comfy beds, plush carpets, and electricity, and hot water showers are available. The camp’s capacity is 15, meaning that you can enjoy an intimate and welcoming atmosphere. Teepees can sleep up to four guests. Meals are included, cooked freshly onsite by the camp chef. A major reason for this camp’s popularity is for the surfing … surfing lessons are included in your stay! You and your kids (over ten years old) can hit the waves and learn to ride the surf like a pro! It is close to Bordeaux.
For more information visit: www.feralsurftours.com
Domaine Les Moulins, Ile de Noirmoutier
For more of an oldy-worldy feel, Noirmoutier Island is a great choice. Sitting just off the western coast of France, many people have started to discover the many charms of the area, and it can get somewhat crowded. It’s still possible to catch glimpses of the past, and there are absolutely heaps of things for the whole family to enjoy. The campsite is really close to a gorgeous sandy beach – walk past the charming windmill to get there. Your kids can spend long summer days frolicking on the sand and in the water and you’ll also find an onsite pool, crazy golf course, and table tennis facilities. You can even all enjoy a traditional French game of petanque and a children’s club helps your little ones to make new friends whilst you relax in the spa or just take it easy. You can allow yourself as much or as little luxury as your family would like, with accommodation in beautiful cabins that combine modern features and rustic charms, and novel double-level teepees.
For more information visit: www.domaine-les-moulins.com
Cap de l’Homy, Lit-et-Mixe
A terrific spot to get back to nature and enjoy a taste of the simple life, Cap de l’Homy is a large campsite with a solid reputation. With the beach on one side and lush forests on the other, you really can enjoy the best of everything on your family vacation. There are a couple of surf schools nearby and bikes can be hired onsite if your kids are feeling energetic. Explore the sand dunes, go nature spotting in the pines, paddle in the sparkling ocean, build a sand castle, relax in the sun … there is so much to do! Kids can enjoy the play area and games room. There are regular spaces for tents and caravans as well as those with electricity hook up facilities.
For more information visit: www.camping-cap.com
Col d’Ibardin Campsite, Urrugne
Sitting in the heart of the spectacular Basque Country and within easy reach of golden sandy beaches, soaring mountains, and picturesque traditional villages, nature, culture, and fun really can be the focus of your vacation. There are numerous options for sleeping – rent a pitch for your own tent or caravan, stay in one of their tents or mobile homes, check into a convenient chalet, or have a futuristic stay in one of the unusual and novel geodomes. From basic camping to upmarket glamping, this site offers the lot. The site features swimming pools, a play area, a small farm, basketball courts, table tennis, and a children’s club.
For more information visit: www.col-ibardin.com
Le Club Farret Vias Plage, Languedoc
A family-friendly jewel, here you’ll find swimming pools, children’s clubs, a private beach, play areas, and more! Adults can also enjoy some pampering in the spa. A great place to enjoy the best of the Mediterranean Coast, there are historic attractions close to hand as well as glistening lakes, interesting caves, wildlife-rich wooded areas, and scenic valleys. The glorious beaches remain a primary draw, with water sports and fishing harbours to enjoy. Accommodation is in themed areas like Pacific, with straw-roofed cabins, Pirate, with a waterfall and rope bridges, and Beach, right next to the ocean. Pitches are also available to rent for a DIY stay.
For more information visit: www.camping-farret.com
Other favourites include Bot Conan Lodge in Beg Meil, Camping de Rompval in Mers-les-Bains, Flower Camping La Bretonniere in Vendee, Camping de l’Ocean in Soulac-sur-Mer, Panorama du Pyla in Bassin d’Arcachon, La Prairie in St Helene-de-l’Etang, Camping Chantemerle in Bedoues, and Camping les Baleines on the lovely Ile de Re.
When you’re camping in France with your kids there are some things that will help to keep your children happy in those more relaxed times … bucket and spade (if you’re going to the beach!), a few small puzzles and toys, and the Kids’ Travel Guide – France! Let them learn as they have fun with superb information, fun facts, and loads of activities.