Arcachon is the perfect summer destination, offering mesmerizing beaches, great restaurants, and general inexplicable tranquility. I have quite a few very detailed articles about Arcachon Bay, from My Guide to a Day Trip to Arcachon City and Cap Ferret, to a list of all the best places to visit on the Bay. But in this article, I just wanted to create a short easy-to-use list of all the best outdoor activities you can do in Arcachon in the summer. So let’s start!

Best activities in Arcachon

Climb the Dune 

Dune du Pilat, with its 60 million metric cubes of sand, is one of the wonders of this region. The gigantic dune, is Europe’s tallest sand dune, rising to an impressive 110 m high.  It’s also 500 meters wide and 2.7 km long so you’ll have plenty of room to wander. You can climb the dune by stairs that are installed from the end of May to early November. If you come during the low season or just feel energetic, you can just climb straight up the sandy slopes.

Once you reach the top, a stunning panoramic view will be revealed in front of you. The Cap Ferret peninsula on one side, a huge pine forest on the other, and the magnificent Banc d’Arguin nature reserve just in front. 

Paragliding

Experience an unforgettable adventure near Arcachon with a tandem paragliding flight over the Dune du Pilat. Soar above Europe’s highest dune, enjoying panoramic views of the Banc d’Arguin, Cap Ferret, and the Landes forest. Guided by state-qualified instructors, this 10, 20, or 30-minute flight offers both serene and thrilling options. Discover the stunning landscape from a unique perspective and create lasting memories. Book your experience here

Discover Arcachon by Bike

There are many bike paths and roads with very little traffic in the Bassin d’Arcachon which makes it a perfect place to discover by bicycle. One of my favorite circuits is from the center of Arcachon to Dune du Pilat. To follow the path see the map here. There are many bike rental places in Arcachon where you can rent a bike for a few hours or for the whole day, one of my favorite ones is Beach Bikes

Another fun way is taking an electric scooter tour, which also offers different circuits like the Dune du Pilat and Fujan Mestras. See all the details here.

Where to stay with kids in Arcachon
Arcachon – a kids friendly vacation

Jet ski excursion in Arcachon

Discover the beautiful coastline of Arcachon with Jet 33’s jet ski excursions, ranging from 45 minutes to 3 hours. Explore the basin, the Dune du Pyla, the Cabanes Tchanquées, and Bird Island on a Seadoo GTX jet ski, whether you have a boat license or not. Perfect for family or friends, these guided tours ensure a fun and safe experience. Enjoy breathtaking landscapes and create unforgettable memories. Book the trip here.

Boat cruise on the bay of Arcachon

Explore the renowned bay of Arcachon with a private pinasse (a traditional Arcachon boat). Sail along Cap Ferret, visit Ile aux Oiseaux, and relax in the sun on an authentic pinasse. A professional skipper ensures a safe and memorable journey, sharing insights about the region. Perfect for family and friends, this tour accommodates up to 12 passengers for an unforgettable adventure. Book the boat here.

A boat trip in Arcachon -one of the best activities on Arcachon Bay
Boat trip in Arcachon – by Lost in Bordeaux

Surfing on the Ocean beaches

Arcachon has quite a few amazing surfing beaches both in the south part and along the Cap Ferret Peninsula. If you’re an experienced surfer you’ll probably enjoy beaches like La Salie Sud, Grand Crohot and Porge Océan. 

However, a vacation in Arcachon can also be a great opportunity to learn to surf and for that, you have quite a few great surfing schools on the Bay. One of the best surfing schools in Arcahon is located near the La Salie Sud beach, see all the details here. If you rather do your surfing lessons in Cap Ferret, I recommend this school

Kayaking in Arcachon

With such a beautiful setting as Arcachon, my list had to include a kayaking or canoeing experience. There are quite a few places for kayaking on the bay, one of the best is on the Leyre River. The tropical river, which got the nickname La Petite Amazone (little Amazon) flows through three towns on the Bassin d’Archachon:  Le Teich, Biganos, and Mios. Here’s one of the best kayak operators located close to Arcachon. Another great place to Kayak is in the Bay itself, you can actually do a a fun guided kayaking trip to l’île aux Oiseaux. See more details here.  

kayaking on the L’Eyre river next to Arcachon
Canoe on the L’Eyre river – Lost in Bordeaux

Tree Climbing at Bassin Aventure

Another super fun sportive activity in Arcachon is accrobranche (tree climbing) which is offered by Bassin Aventure in Gujan Mestras. It’s one of the only sports activities that you can do with little kids (starting from 3 years old). The place has 22 different tree-climbing circuits and 250 different games on and around the trees. Reservations are recommended, you can see all the prices here.

Stand Up Paddle near the Cap Ferret Peninsula

SUP is one of the best water activities you can do in the calm waters of Arcachon’s Bay. If that’s something you fancy trying on your vacation in Arcachon, I highly recommend going to l’Herbe, one of the most beautiful villages in Cap Ferret. During the tourist season, you’ll find the cabin of Glisse en Herbe, which offers everything from SUP to inflatables and canoe renting. 

Find the Treasure with Terra Aventura

Terra Aventura is a great way to discover Arcachon through geocaching games. The app offers games in different parts of Nouvelle Aquitaine, five of which are in Arcachon. The game requires you to find characters well hidden around monuments and nature by answering different riddles. All you have to do is download the free app of Terra Aventura and start treasure hunting. You can find all the details about the starting points here

And a bonus for the adventurous ones: Helicopter Scenic Flight over the Bay of Arcachon and the Vineyards Bordeaux

Experience the Bay of Arcachon and Bordeaux region from the sky with a thrilling helicopter tour. Fly over the stunning Dune du Pilat and other breathtaking landscapes of the Landes. Choose between a 30-minute tour of the Arcachon Basin or an 80-minute flight that includes the Bordeaux vineyards. Enjoy the ride in a comfortable Écureuil AS350 helicopter, offering spectacular views and an unforgettable adventure. See more details here.

That’s it for our activities list in Arcachon. If you’re looking for accommodation in Acachon check out my articles about where to stay in Arcachon and Cap Ferret

You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via Lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:

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*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂 

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