Arcachon Bay is one of the most popular destinations in the southwest of France. Its beautiful beaches and cute resort towns attract many tourists and locals from the Bordeaux region. There is plenty of stuff to do there and I have already written two guides about visiting Arcachon: The guide to Arcachon city and the best places to visit on Arcachon Bay. But I have yet to talk about the fact that Arcachon is also one of the most family-friendly vacations in France.

Plenty of family-friendly beaches, sports activities, parks, and interactive tours are some of the things you can do with kids in Arcachon. In this article, I gathered a list of 15 fun things to do with kids around Arcachon Bay, both in the southern part and the Cap Ferret Peninsula. If you’re also visiting Bordeaux on your trip, please read my article about 30 things to do with kids in Bordeaux

To help you plan the best trip to the area, check out all my other guides to Arcachon, including kids-friendly accommodations.
Now let’s dive into the list of the most fun things to do with kids on Bassin d’Arcachon. 

Amusement parks and sports activities near Arcachon 

Parc de la Coccinelle

This cute amusement park in Gujan-Mestras is perfect for a day out with kids. It has everything from water slides, roller coasters, trampolines, and even an animal farm where you can feed baby goats. If you’re traveling with more than one kid it’s not always obvious to find a park that both little ones and bigger kids can enjoy. And that’s why the Parc de la Coccinelle is so fun! 

It’s open from April to the beginning of November, however, it’s not open every week, so check out the schedule before going. You can buy tickets online if you want to avoid the line in the summer.

Kayaking on the Leyre River

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.

There are many operators that offer kayaking and canoeing in that area, one of them is located on the colorful little port of Biganos. You can do this activity with kids older than 6yo and there are several routes to choose from, among them, there are morning/afternoon tours or whole-day excursions. You can see all the info here

I recently went with my girl on a canoe trip in the more wild part of the river, which was amazing. It was a 6km trip we started at Moustey (40km south of Bordeaux) and you can do it alone or as a guided tour – you can book it online.

Pay attention to the starting location as it changes depending on the tour you want to take. You should also know that the hours may change depending on the tide so always call a day in advance to know what hours are best to arrive. 

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 yo). 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.

Cycling along the Arcachon Bay

The Arcachon Bay has some of the prettiest and easiest cycling paths in our region and this can be a great way to discover the bay with kids. With more than 220km of cycling lanes stretching from Cap Ferret to the south of Arcachon, you have plenty to discover.

Start your circuit from the center of Arcachon and continue to Dune du Pilat, through le Moulleau and Pyla sur Mer. There are also several cycling routes in Cap Ferret, choose a circuit from this site or just follow the path that starts from the center of Cap Ferret.  

There are many bike rental places in Arcachon where you can rent a bike for a few hours or the whole day, see their details here.

Your kids can learn surfing in Arcachon 

Arcachon is located on the famous Côte d’Argent known as a paradise for surfers. If your kids are over 8 yo they can go to a surfing school. The surfing school for kids is located on the Plage du Grand Crohot at the top of the Cap Ferret Peninsula.  They offer a five-day course for kids as well as a first-time discovery session. You have to reserve in advance. All the details, tariffs, and registration forms are on the website of the school

If you’re staying in Arcachon town and generally closer to Dune to Pilat, you can also take private lessons with your kids. Take a look at this school, you can book a lesson online.

Go to the Zoo

The Arcachon Zoo is located in the middle of the great pine forest, Forêt des Landes, spread over 22 hectares and inhabits more than 800 animals from all over the world. The zoo is open from February to November, see hours here.

You can buy your tickets online.

Where: Boulevard de Cazaux, 33260 La Teste-de-Buch

Beaches and nature in the Arcachon Bay 

Go to one of the kid-friendly beaches in Arcachon 

My first item on this list is quite obvious, isn’t it? How many kids do you know that don’t love to splash in the water and build castles in the sand?  Bassin d’Arcachon is heaven for families due to the water in the bay being very calm thanks to its shape. Many of the beaches are also quite easily accessible and don’t require a long walk from the parking lot, which we all know can be a real hustle with little kids.

Plage de periere Arcachon

Here are just a few kids-friendly beaches around the Arcachon Bay:
Plage Pereire, which starts right after the pedestrian promenade (bordered by Jetée de la Chapelle). It’s a beautiful three km beach with white sand and a view of the Cap Ferret peninsula on the other side of the bay. You can also reach this beach by public transport from the center of Arcachon.
Petit Nice – one of my favorite beaches on the bay, located just in front of the Le banc d’Arguin which protects the beach from the ocean waves and creates a very calm and family-friendly beach. 
Plage de la Hume in Gujan Mestras is definitely one of the safest beaches on the bay. Its location on the bay makes the water very calm and easy to swim in. However, this beach is only fun when the tide is high so if you want to swim, you should check the tide hours first. They are changing daily and in some hours of the day, you can barely see any water. Click here for the daily tide hours.
Cap Ferret – You can also go to Lege Cap Ferret where many of the beaches turning towards the bay are kid-friendly. Two of my favorite beaches on the peninsula are the Plage de la Pres de la Pointe and the little beach of L’herbe. 

Climb the dune du Pilat 

Dune du Pilat needs no introduction! If you’re planning to go to Arcachon, most chances are you have already heard about the dune before. Dune du Pilat 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. I had to include the dune on this list as kids absolutely love climbing it. It’s an amazing activity with the kids and more so gliding back down on the sand from the top of the dune. 

Dune du Pilat Arcachon

Visiting dune du Pilat is a bit tough if your kids are very small. However, during the tourist season when the stairs are installed, you can easily get to the top of the dune and enjoy the incredible view from the top! There is a huge (paid) parking lot right next to the dune. 

Go to le Lac de Cazaux

While I love the ocean, I usually prefer taking my kids to the lake as it feels safer and it’s easier to handle them there. The Arcachon region is home to Lac de Cazaux, one of the biggest freshwater lakes in France. The big lake is wind-sheltered by the pine forest around it and is known for its tranquil and beautiful beaches. The most popular beach on the lake is the Plage de Cazaux Lac, with plenty of summer water activities and easy access for handicaps. My favorite beach on the lake is Plage de Laouga, it feels a bit wilder and very tranquil. 

A boat trip to Iles aux Oiseaux and the Cabanes Tchanquées

A great way to explore the landscapes and biodiversity of Arcachon Bay is by boat. There are quite a few boat operators offering different boat tours across the Bassin. The best one to do with kids in my opinion is the “ Grand Tour d’Iles aux Oiseaux”. It’s a two-hour boat tour that takes you to two of the most notorious places on the bay:

Les Cabanes Tchanquées and L’Ile aux Oiseaux. Les Cabanes Tchanquées, the two wooden huts decorating almost every postcard in Arcachon, are one of the most emblematic symbols of the bay.  You can take the tour from Jetée Thiers, located on the main beach of Arcachon but also from other ports on Arcachon Bay such as Gujan Mestras, Cap Ferret, Le Canon, Le Moulleau and Andernos les Bains. You can choose the hours you’re interested in and the port you want to take the tour from on this site

If you have older kids, a more interesting way to do that tour would be kayaking. Here’s a kayaking tour you can take from Ares (near Cap Ferret) or Arcachon.

Bird Watching at the Teich Ornithological Reserve

The Teich Ornithological Reserve is a protected nature reserve located some 50km from Bordeaux, where you can watch thousands of wild birds from up close. 110 hectares of wooded areas, salt marsh, reed beds, and meadows stretch out between the mainland and the Bassin d’Arcachon coastline, offering a perfect habitat for many birds. Some stay here permanently and some just pass by.

A visit to the reserve can be a fun and educative day for both kids and adults. If your family is in shape you can do the 6km tour of the whole reserve. If your kids are too small for 6km, the reserve also has a 2km path for families. In any case, the path is accessible with strollers in case your toddler doesn’t want to walk. The Teich Ornithological Reserve has a great website with a lot of info, even giving you the approximate bird’s arrival schedule so you can plan your visit according to that. Consult all the info here

Teich Ornithological Reserve

Educational activities and games 

The Oysters museum 

Arcachon is well known globally for its oyster farming. The capital of oyster farming in Arcachon is definitely Gujan-Mestras which is a very nice destination for a day trip. You can bike along the 7 oyster ports of Gujan, stop in one of the oyster cabanes for tastings, and go to the beach (la Hume which I mentioned earlier). But if you want to turn it into a nice and educational experience for kids take them to La Maison de l’Huitre. The oyster museum is an interactive museum where you’ll discover everything about oyster farming. See more details about their opening hours and tariffs here

La Maison de l'Huître arcachon

Where: La Maison de l’Huitre, Rue du Port de Larros, 33470 Gujan-Mestras

Discover the winter city of Arcachon by train 

Ville d’hiver in Arcachon City is a beautiful neighborhood with extraordinary architecture that is well worth a visit. However, taking a walking tour there could be a bit dull for kids, instead, take the little train that goes through the most beautiful villas of Arcachon as well as to the Periere beach where you can see an amazing view of the Bassin. You can buy the tickets directly from the driver, see the tariffs and time schedule here.  

ville d'hiver Arcachon

Where: the train leaves from the tourist office-  MA.AT Esplanade Pompidou, 22 Boulevard du Général Leclerc, 33120 Arcachon.

Eat ice cream at Le Moulleau

Le Moulleau, located in the far west, is officially a part of the city of Arcachon. However, in reality, it feels like a completely separate little resort town with its own center, beaches and restaurants. Le Moulleau is built around the beautiful Notre Dame des Passes square and its pier. If you’re traveling with kids, this neighborhood is well worth a visit. It has one of the prettiest and most kid-friendly beaches on the bay and also several good ice cream shops on the main street 🙂  

Find the Treasure with Terra Aventura

Terra Aventura is a fun activity you can do with your kids in many locations in Nouvelle Aquitaine. Terra Aventura organizes geocaching games in which children try 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 to start treasure hunting with your kids. 

The Bassin d’Arcachon offers five different games located in: Arès, Biganos , Andernos, Gujan-Mestras and Mios. You can find all the details about the starting points here

That’s it for today, but before we go let me ask you an important question!

To help you better organize your family trip to Arcachon, here are other Arcachon-related guides:

Best day trips to le Bassin d’Arcachon
15 best things to do with kids in Arcachon
Where to stay in Arcachon
The Best beaches in Cap Ferret
The best camping sites in Cap Ferret and Arcachon
Where to stay in 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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