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Cap Ferret is a little coastal town on the Atlantic Ocean famous for its dreamy beaches and thriving oyster culture. Located about an hour’s drive from Bordeaux (depending on traffic), Cap Ferret offers a unique blend of charming finishing villages with wild ocean beaches perfect for surfing. 

Nestled in the famous Arcachon Bay, Cap Ferret is known as the summer getaway for the French upper class, yet despite its growing popularity, it managed to keep its raw atmosphere of simplicity and tranquility. This unique blend of natural beauty, coastal charm, and tranquility makes it a dreamy vacation destination. In this article, you’ll discover the best ways to spend a splendid weekend (or a full week) in Cap Ferret with a list of all the best things to do and eat. 

If it’s your first time visiting Cap Ferret and Arcahcon I highly recommend reading my articles about where to stay in Cap Ferret and what to do in Arcachon city.

The charming villages of Cap Ferret on the Arcachon Bay
The tranquil atmosphere of Cap Ferret – by Lost in Bordeaux

So where is Cap Ferret actually located? 

Lège-Cap Ferret is a peninsula, shaped like a narrow tongue with a long string of beautiful sandy beaches on the Atlantic Ocean and a view of the eastern side of the Bassin. It consists of twelve little villages, one of them being the town of Cap Ferret, located in the southern part of the peninsula. While the town is considered the liveliest on the peninsula, here I’m going to mention other towns as well so that you have the chance to uncover the full charm of this place. 

If you’re short on time I recommend taking the Cap-Ferret, Herbe Village with Tasting Oysters waterfront tour, so you can explore the best Cap Ferret has to offer in half a day. This tour offers a blend of main sites, from the ocean to the iconic lighthouse, along with a touch of history at La Chapelle, culminating in a local oyster-tasting experience. You can Book it here.

What to do in Cap Ferret

Eat oysters of course!

Apart from its dreamy beaches, Cap Ferret is known for its ostréiculture industry, which produces some of the best oysters in France. The Bay’s nutrient-rich waters and unique tidal patterns create an ideal environment for oyster growth, resulting in amazing oysters, with exceptional flavor and quality. So tasting oysters is truly one of the highlights of visiting Cap Ferret.

oysters from Cap Ferret
Tasting oysters in Cap Ferret – by Lost in Bordeaux

Along the Arcachon Bay coast, a multitude of oyster cabins and restaurants dot the landscape. These quaint oyster huts predominantly belong to local oyster farmers, imparting an authentic charm to Cap Ferret. Observing them at work is a fascinating experience, as these traditional methods have been passed down through generations.

One of my favorite Cap-Ferret oyster cabins along the shoreline is La Cabane du Mimbeau. The name refers to the conche du Mimbeau, which is a coastal sand spit, unique only to Cap Ferret. Established in 1860 and continuing through 6 oyster farmers generations, the Cabane specializes in oysters harvested onsite, along with other local delicacies like whelks and terrine, all accompanied by Bordeaux wines. 

Other oyster cabins I recommend are La Cabane d’Hortense, which offers stunning views of the  Dune du Pilat, or Chez boulan, a renowned 1958 oyster farmer and producer with exceptional service and food quality along a beautiful setting. Another great cabin is Le Ponton in l’Herbe, a must-visit spot for oyster lovers. Situated at the end of the picturesque Village of L’Herbe, the ponton offers a serene setting right on the Basin. In addition, It has direct access to the beach, so kids can play while parents eat. A true vacation spirit!

Eating ousters is one of the bets things to do in Cap Ferret
Oyster huts in Cap Ferret – by Lost in Bordeaux

A ride on a traditional oyster-farming boat

For a truly immersive experience, I recommend taking a boat tour on a traditional oyster-farming boat, known as a Pinasse. It will allow you to enjoy the panoramic views of the coastline and learn about the special art of oyster farming from experienced local guides.

Tours you can do in Cap Ferret 

You can take your cruise tour with Pa’tchanquee from the Bassin d’Arcachone to the Dune du Pilat. With a 12-person group on board, they offer a comfortable sailing experience that combines a bit of everything Cap Ferret has to offer: swimming, sightseeing, and oyster tastings. 

You’ll also watch the quaint villages and beautiful beaches along the coastline from the boat, learn about the history of the place, and discover iconic spots like Bird Island and the Banc d’Arguin. You can book your boat tour here!

A ride on a traditional oyster-farming boat in Cap Ferret
A ride on a traditional oyster-farming boat – by Lost in Bordeaux

Compagnie Maritime de la Presqu’île allows you to rent a Pinnace with a skipper from Cap Ferret, and go on a cruise to discover the Arcachon Bay and the Cap Ferret peninsula, as well with a group of up to 12 people.

Go to the beach 

There are a lot of gorgeous beaches in Cap Ferret. From small village beaches and wilder ones on the ocean side, from crowded ones to hidden and quiet ones. La Plage des Américains, Plage de la Truquette, and Plage de l’Herbe are among my favorites, but to see the full list I recommend checking out my article about The best beaches in Cap Ferret

Plage de la Pointe Cap Ferret
Ocean beaches in Cap Ferret – by Lost in Bordeaux

It’s important to note that during the low tide, it’s impossible to swim on the bay side and it’s thus very important to check out the tide hours before going. Heres a site where you can see when the tide is high enough to enjoy the beach.

Surf on the Atlantique Ocean 

With 25 km of coastline, Cap Ferret is full of amazing surfing spots with several surfing schools that offer surfing classes and camps. 

The best surfing spots in Cap Ferret

Truc Vert is one of the favorite among surfers, due to its untouched, wild beauty. This secluded spot is perfect for those seeking tranquility and long, uninterrupted rides on the waves. The Grand Crohot Beach attracts a larger crowd, especially during peak seasons, and offers consistent waves suitable for surfers of all levels. Another busy beach is Torchère Beach, which is situated between L’Herbe and the village of Cap Ferret. It’s a hotspot for surfers during summer. 

Dunes Beach in Cap Ferret promises a quieter surfing experience. Accessible through a charming dune passage, it offers respite from the crowds, especially in the summer months. While the path may require a short walk from Horizon Beach, the view of the Lighthouse makes it well worth the journey.

The best surfing spots in Cap Ferret
A surfing beach in Cap Ferret- by Lost in Bordeaux

Take surfing lessons in Cap Ferret

You can also take surfing classes in one of the many surfing schools in Cap Ferret, as the waves of the Atlantic offer an ideal setting for experimenting and practicing surfing. The Cap Ferret Surf School is great for taking surfing lessons as surfers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the more popular spots. They offer 1 to 5-day courses for all levels, starting at the age of 5. You can book a lesson here

Two other recommended surf schools in Cap Ferret include the Tutti Frutti Surf School and Alex Surf School, both operating at Horizon Beach. Both schools offer individual and group lessons from April to October for all levels.

Enjoy the view from the Lighthouse (Le Phare du Cap Ferret)

The iconic Cap Ferret Lighthouse is a prominent landmark offering a magnificent panorama of the peninsula’s land and coastline. Listed as a historic monument, it welcomes guests for guided tours, allowing exploration of its interior and ascent to the summit via a staircase of 258 steps. 

The lighthouse also hosts changing interactive exhibits that showcase maritime history and its optical system, as well as the evolution of nautical chart creation. 

During summer, the lighthouse operates daily from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and admission prices range from 4€ for children to 7€ for adults. See more details here.

Enjoy the Cap Ferret markets

Local markets are a great way to discover unique finds, fresh delicacies, and local products. Cap Ferret has several different markets you can explore, depending on your time of arrival!

Le marché du Cap Ferret covered market is open all year, on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and daily during the summer months. This traditional covered market, located at Place du Marché, has around 120 exhibitors. You will find there clothes, jewelry, flowers, books and of course, fresh local products as well as typical products from the South-West. 

The market of Cap Ferret
The market of Cap Ferret – by Lost in Bordeaux

During the summer months, From June to September, you can enjoy the open-air markets, Le marché du Cap Ferret, Piraillan, and Claouey, that offer local artisanal goods, such as clothing, flowers, fresh oysters, and regional white wine.

Le marché de Lège is a covered market,  located near the village church. It remains open year-round on Saturdays, and though it is the smallest of the four markets in Cap Ferret, it has some really nice goods! 

Rent a bike to discover other magical parts of the peninsula 

Another fun way to discover Cap Ferret is by cycling along the beaches and through the pine forest that covers a large part of the Cap Ferret peninsula. A beautiful bike trip you can do is taking the circuit from the Plage de Bélisaire to The Pointe du Cap Ferret, which is 10 km long and takes about 1 hour. The route there is stunning and includes some of Cap Ferret’s main landmarks. You’ll see the beach and its magnificent view of the Mimbeau Conche and the Dune du Pilat, Fisherman’s Quarter, and the Lighthouse. To follow the path see the map here.

There are plenty of bike rentals in Cap Ferret, one of them is Bike Rental Cap Gyro (7 Boulevard de la Plage, 33970 Lège-Cap-Ferret). See the full list of rental places here.

Visit the most charming village in Cap Ferret – l’Herbe

l’Herbe stands out as one of the most charming villages in the Arcachon Basin. Wandering through l’Herbe’s narrow streets, while passing by the colorful oyster farmer cabins, you’ll sense the village’s unique charm that lies in its simplicity and authenticity.

The village’s focal point is the Sainte-Marie-du-Cap Chapel, a stunning architectural gem built in the 19th century with neo-Moorish influences. Surrounded by sand and pine trees, the chapel’s exotic facade adds to the village’s allure and serves as a must-visit attraction.

L'herbe - one of the most beautiful villages in Cap Ferret
L’Herbe – by Lost in Bordeaux

During the summer months, l’Herbe comes alive with plenty of water activities along the beachfront. You can embark on scenic canoe or paddleboard excursions or explore the basin’s tranquil waters, And there are even more exhilarating options like parasailing, wake surfing, waterskiing, and more. You can find more information about it here.

Taste Les dunes Blanches 

First Created in 2007 by pastry chef Pascal Lucas’s son, Les Dunes Blanches combines the simplicity of a chouquette (Choux pastry sprinkled with pearl sugar) with a creamy filling, resulting in an instant hit. You can read the full story on their creation in my article Discover the sweet specialties of Bordeaux

Originating from Cap Ferret, no visit is complete without trying these heavenly treats. Elegance, lightness, and crunchiness make Les Dunes Blanches just too good! and fit perfectly at any moment of the day. 

They gained such popularity that dedicated boutiques sprouted across Arcachon, Bordeaux, and even Paris. In Cap Ferret, you can savor them made fresh throughout the day at various locations including Piquey, Canon, and the Marché du Ferret. See the shop locations here.

A guided tour at an oyster farm 

While there are hundreds of oyster producers in Cap Ferret, most of them are not open for visits. Having said that, there are a few farms that work in collaboration with the tourist office to offer guided tours and workshops.

For example, Sylvie Latrille at Cabane 57 in the Piraillan oyster farming district will guide you through a successful oyster experience, accompanied by wine, bread, and butter. For reservations, contact the farm here

For a family-friendly excursion, join Véronique Lenoir on a fishing expedition along the beaches of l’Herbe village during low tide. Discover a variety of marine life, from crabs to starfish, and enjoy a memorable outing suitable for all ages. With Véronique Lenoir, a lively oyster farmer and guide, you have the chance to Walk through the open parks during low tide, discovering the intricacies of oyster farming. Don’t forget suitable footwear for water and sunscreen! For reservations, contact the Office de Tourisme

Sunrise in Cap Ferret
Sunrise in Cap Ferret by Lost in Bordeaux

Most tours are in French but if you’re lucky you might find one that is ready to make an effort in English. Be sure to contact the tourist office before you arrive to see what’s scheduled during your visit.

A day trip to the Town of Arcachon and the dune 

If you’re spending your holidays in Cap Ferret, you must dedicate at least one day to visit the town of Arcachon and the dune. Arcachon, the largest town in Bassin d’Arcachon, offers stunning beaches, picturesque neighborhoods, and delectable seafood. 

From mid-June to September, there’s a ferry that takes you from Cap Ferret to Le Moulleau in Arcachon, in just 20 minutes (leaving from Jetée Bélisaire). For the schedule and ticket reservation click here.
Once you arrive in Arcachon, explore its four distinct regions: the summer city, winter city, autumn city, and spring city. Each area boasts unique attractions, from beautiful beaches and historic villas to vibrant markets and charming parks. for more information, check out my article Best things to do and eat in Arcachon.

The best things to do in Arcachon France
Arcachon France – by Lost in Bordeaux

When visiting Cap Ferret, you also must visit the Dune du Pilat, Europe’s tallest sand dune. Rising to an impressive 110 m high and 500 meters wide, you’ll have plenty of room to wander when reaching up there!

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. 

Dune du Pilat on the Arcachon Bay
Dune du Pilat – by Lost in Bordeaux

One of the best experiences you can do there is paragliding! There are a few companies offering paragliding experiences over the dune. Dune Parapente for example offers 10, 20 or 30-minute flights with a breathtaking view of the Dune du Pilat itself, the Arcachon Basin, or the Banc d’Arguin. You can book the experience here.

How to get to the dune: You’ll need a car or a bike to get to the dune from Arcachaon. If you’re coming by public transport, line 3 (Baia company) will take you from the Arcachon train station to Dune to Pilat. To return to Cap Ferret, you can catch the ferry from Le Moulleau, providing a convenient and scenic way to end your day trip.

End the night dancing at Sail Fish 

Existing since 1984, the family restaurant Sail Fish offers a good meal with a festive, “vacation” vibe. Located in the heart of Cap Ferret, it’s a favorite destination for visitors of all ages, offering grilled meats by the fireplace and gourmet desserts. As the evening progresses, the restaurant transforms into a lively hub for dancing, providing the perfect setting to end your night in style!

Where to stay in Cap Ferret 

I have an article with all my recommendations for the best hotels in Cap Ferret but here are three that I particularly like: 

Domaine du Ferret Balnéo & Spa offers a serene retreat, just 500 meters from the beach accessible via a scenic cycle path. With two swimming pools, a spa, and a wellness center featuring hot tubs and massage treatments, your relaxation is promised. You can make a reservation here

Located In the heart of the fishing area, near the lighthouse of Cap Ferret, La Maison du Bassin is a serine and charming boutique hotel. This peaceful retreat offers uniquely decorated rooms, a colonial-themed bar that provides a cozy setting to unwind, and an on-site restaurant for diners that specializes in regional cuisine. You can book a room here.  

If you are looking for a more nature-inspired escape, I recommend Yamina Lodge. It is nestled in the pine forest of Cap-Ferret, Just 600 meters from Dunes Beach and close to The Cap-Ferret Lighthouse. With its warm hospitality and thoughtful amenities, including free bike rentals and access to a jacuzzi, this holiday home gives an extra comfortable and relaxing stay. For reservation go here

If you’re looking for a camping site, Check out my article about the best camping sites in Arcachon and Cap Ferret.

Where to eat in Cap Ferret 

We already established that Oysters are the main product produced in Cap Ferret. But don’t worry, you won’t have to go on an only oyster diet when you’re there. Here are a few recommended restaurants in Cap Ferret:

Le Cabanon du Domaine offers market cuisine with authentic and seasonal flavors. Don’t miss the panoramic terrace in summer and their renowned Sunday brunch. You can make a reservation here.

I love the warm, natural ambiance of Roc Seven Cap Ferret. A beautiful place with good vibes, serving southern cuisine with Latin inspiration with a gorgeous rooftop. You can make a reservation here

Le Bouchon du Ferret offers fresh fish, shellfish, and seafood specialties, everything is fresh and the setting is charming, as the place was once an old Ferret fishmonger. More information on their website

When it’s the best time to go to Cap Ferret 

Cap Ferret is always stunning with its calm beaches and authentic oyster huts. So whenever you’re in Bordeaux, don’t miss a chance to visit the peninsula. However, like everywhere else, there are better and worth times to travel to Cap Ferret. 

The season in Cap Ferret starts around May, sometimes April if the weather is good, and ends at the beginning of October. Outside the season the villages of the Cap Ferret get very calm, there are no outdoor markets and many summer places are closed for winter. It’s not that you won’t find anything to eat but it definitely lacks the summer energy. 

In the high season, especially from mid-July to mid-August, Cap Ferret gets extremely busy. That’s when many French tourists, especially Parisians flock to the peninsula and it can be quite crowded. The main problem however is the traffic. Cap Ferret is a narrow piece of land, with one main road leading to the south. That means that when many people try to get there, the traffic becomes unbearable.

So, after telling you when it’s better to avoid going there, let’s talk about when should you actually go to Cap Ferret. In my opinion, the best time to go to Cap Ferret is May, June, and September. Cap Ferret is also a very popular weekend destination for many Bordelais so if possible try to visit the peninsula during weekdays.  Of course, if you’re staying in Cap Ferret for a few days, and mostly cycling from place to place then you’ll be less affected by traffic and weekends are perfectly fine for you. 

How to get to Cap Ferret 

Cap Ferret is not very easy to get to by public transport so driving is the best to get here by car. If you want to rent a car, here’s a good website to get an idea of how much it is going to cost.

In case you don’t want to drive there that should not deter you from going to Cap Ferret. There is a bus (line 601) that goes from Bordeaux to Cap Ferret. Just keep in mind that it’s quite a long journey as the bus stops in many towns and villages on the way. Here you can find the updated schedule of line 601

If you want a more comfortable way to get there, you can hire a driver for a few hours. With this service, for example, you can hire a car with a driver for 5 hours, which is quite enough for a half-day trip in Cap Ferret. A nice tour of the town and a stop for oysters for lunch. 

If you’re staying in Arcachon, you also have the option to get here by boat. From mid-June to September there’s a ferry that takes you from Le Moulleau to Cap Ferret in just 20 minutes (leaving from Jetée du Moulleau). For the schedule and ticket reservation click here.

Like the article? Want to read it again when you’re in Cap Ferret? Save it on your Pinterest board.

If you’re looking for more ideas for things to do in the Arcachon region here are a few other articles you might want to read:
What to do and eat in the town of Arcachon
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

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:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

*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 🙂 

The Lege Cap Ferret peninsula is located in the Western part of Bassin d’Arcachon, a bay on the French Atlantic coast. In this blog, I frequently talk about my love for Cap Ferret with several of its villages mentioned on my day trips to the Arcachon Bay list. 

However, as a local, I can honestly say that one day in Cap Ferret is simply not enough. It’s not a place you go to with a checklist of things to do, it’s a vibe, an atmosphere you need to settle into. To explore Cap Ferret properly you need at least one night there, or even a week if possible. So for those of you ready to be captivated by the charm of Cap Ferret, this article is for you! 

In this article, I gathered a list of hotels and guest houses perfect for single travelers, couples, and families. It includes a few fancy places with a spa but also simple charming huts near the beach. More importantly, you’ll get detailed recommendations and insights on the best villages to stay in the Cap Ferret peninsula, so you can plan your vacation accordingly.
Let’s start 🙂

Where should you stay in Cap Ferret? 

The easiest answer would be everywhere because it’s simply a stunning place. But there’s always a BUT, isn’t there? 🙂 So here I want to briefly explain, why I think some parts of the peninsula are a bit better to stay in than others, depending on your needs. 

Where to stay in Cap Ferret
The beautiful Cap Ferret – by Lost in Bordeaux

The liveliest part of The Cap Ferret peninsula is the southern village called Cap Ferret. Here you will find a big daily market, plenty of amazing beaches, and a lot of restaurants and shops. As the peninsula gets even more narrow in the southern part, it’s easy to walk from the ocean side to the bay side – so you can choose from many beaches every day, without needing a car.

Great accommodations in the Cap Ferret village include La Maison du Bassin, Yamina Lodge, Les Chambres du Phare, or Hôtel Côté Sable.

And here comes the But :). In July- August Cap Ferret gets very busy, which means that the market and most of the restaurants will be packed. So if you’re looking for a slightly calmer atmosphere, without seeing so many people on your way, I’d advise going to some of the quieter fishermen villages in the peninsula. These include l’Herbe or le Canon, and Les Jacquets, which are very charming but a bit less busy. 

Here are some great accommodation opinions in this part of Cap Ferret: Les pieds dans l’eau and Villa des Sables in L’Herbe and Villa Aitama and Les Canonniers in Le Canon.

L'herbe - one of the most beautiful villages in Cap Ferret
L’Herbe

Another very lively part of Cap Ferret is the villages of Petit Piquey and Grand Piquey, which are located in the middle of the peninsula on the bay side. They are not as big and central as the village of Cap Ferret but they perfectly convey the authentic atmosphere of the peninsula. In that part of Lège-Cap-Ferret, you’ll find cute ports with typical oyster huts, some of the most beautiful beaches in Arcachon, and many boutiques. 

The beautiful beaches of Grand Piquey
Grand Piquey – by Lost in Bordeaux

Another thing to keep in mind when staying in Cap Ferret during the summer (or sunny weekends) is the traffic. It can get really bad. Now, if you’re going to Cap Ferret to relax for a few days and have no intention of moving anywhere, that shouldn’t affect you. But if you plan to use it as a base and travel to Bordeaux, Medoc, or other parts of Arcachon then staying in the southern part can be a hustle. Instead, I recommend staying in the northern part of the peninsula in or near the village of Claouey. It still has the charming vibe of Cap Ferret but you avoid most of the bad traffic. 

Here are a few fabulous places in Claouey or at the entrance to Lege Cap Ferret: Flou de Pin, Le Clos D’ignac, and Domaine du Ferret

Let’s get to the best part which is finding accommodation in Cap Ferret! Here are my recommendations with a bit more details. 

The best hotels in Cap Ferret (The Lége Cap Ferret peninsula)

La Maison du Bassin

La Maison du Bassin is one of the most stunning hotels in Cap Ferret, nestled in the fishing area of Cap Ferret, just next to the lighthouse. Staying here you’ll be located in one of the most authentic and charming parts of the peninsula. Just a few minutes walk from the Mimbeau beach and one of the most famous restaurants is Cap Ferret, La Cabane d’Hortense. 

The hotel itself is situated in a stunning wooden house, covered with greenery. It has 11 rooms, delightfully decorated with sea-themed art. The place is pure tranquility, and with its impeccable services ensures a memorable stay for its guests. One of the highlights of La Maison du Bassin is its restaurants with an amazing seafood menu. 
Book your stay here.

Domaine du Ferret Restaurant & Spa

 If you’re looking for a more elevated experience, you should check out the Domaine du Ferret. The 4-star spa hotel offers an onsite outdoor pool, an indoor pool, and a Spa and Wellness center. So to complement the already relaxed spirit of Cap Ferret you also get to enjoy massage treatments 🙂
The domain also has a bar and restaurant on site.

The Domaine du Ferret is composed of separate lodges inspired by the fishermen’s huts of the Bay of Arcachon. All the rooms are decorated in a very clean and soothing vibe and include a kitchen, an AC, and a terrace or a balcony. 

The Domain is located very close to the village of Claouey at the northern end of the Cap Ferret Peninsula. A few minutes walk will take you to one of the most beautiful beaches in Cap Ferret, Jane Boy. It’s a great location if you want to avoid traffic and if you’re planning to bike along the cycling paths of Cap Ferret. 
Book your stay here.

Hôtel Côté Sable

If you fancy a beachfront hotel, this is the place for you! Hôtel Côté Sable is located in the heart of Cap Ferret, just in front of the main beach. Its location on the main boulevard of the village of Cap Ferret puts you in walking distance of most of the restaurants as well as the fishing port with its oyster huts. 

The hotel itself is nicely designed with spacious rooms and either a small private garden or a balcony. On summer days you can enjoy their sea-facing bar and when it gets a bit chilly outside there’s a lounge with a fireplace for you to enjoy. The hotel is also home to the Clarins Spa facility which offers massages, a balneotherapy, and a hammam. You can also rent bikes and even boats at the hotel reception. 

This is an amazing option for those who want to be in the hyper center of Cap Ferret and enjoy everything without driving. Be aware though that it’s located in the south of the peninsula so if you have plans to come in July-August and travel a lot during your stay, I’d take a place in the northern part. 
Book your stay here.

Cabane Bord de Plage

Cabane Bord de Plage is located on one of my favorite beaches in Cap Ferret. Plage des Jacquets is one of the more hidden gems of the peninsula and that’s why the cabane is a perfect fit for anyone looking for a more isolated experience. Here you can enjoy the tranquility of Lége Cap Ferret even on its busiest days. 

The hotel is nestled just north of the little Forêt de Lège et Garonne which is amazing for morning walks and a great place to watch the sunrise. You’re also located within walking distance from one of the smallest oyster ports where you can see the ostréiculteurs at work. 

It’s a tiny and cozy cabane with one room and a living room with a convertible sofa, perfect for a couple or a family with kids. 

Book your stay in the Cabane here

Villa Aitama

If you’re traveling with a big family or a group of friends I highly recommend this stunning villa at the village of Le Canon. 

Villa Aitame offers nine apartments ranging from small studios for couples to an apartment that can host up to 7 people. In total, Villa Aitama can host up to 32 people if you rent all of it (you don’t have to of course). All the apartments are equipped with a kitchen as well as a separate toilet and bathroom. All of their accommodations have a terrace or a balcony so even if you travel with a lot of people you don’t have to be in each other’s face all day long 🙂 

The villa is located within a 50m distance of the Canon beach, and particularly close to its oyster port, which is the most charming port in Cap Ferret. You will be located very close to commerce and other restaurants of Le Canon, and within a 10-minute walk from the charming village of L’Herbe. The villa is also located 10 minutes by bike from the stunning ocean beaches.
Book your stay here

The cute port of Le Canon and its oyter huts
The cute port of Le Canon and its oyster huts

Yamina Lodge

Another amazing option for a big group is Yamina Lodge, located in the south of the peninsula in the village of Cap Ferret. It’s a wooden house nestled in the forest and has a bit of a rustic beautiful vibe to it. It’s a private lodge that can host up to 8 people in total and is equipped with a big kitchen, 2 bathrooms as well as an outdoor dining area. 

Yamina Lodge is located just between the ocean and the Bassin (Arcachon Bay) beaches, with the closest beach being the stunning Dune beach on the ocean. Pascal the lovely owner provides you with bicycles to facilitate moving around the peninsula. However, you can easily just walk to most of the places in the Cap Ferret village, like the fishermen’s port or the lighthouse. 
Book your stay here.

Plage de la Pointe Cap Ferret

Need more ideas for things to do in and around Bordeaux? you should definitely join my newsletter where I share all the best events in the region and all my other Bordeaux discoveries. I send an email every Friday in the afternoon– sign up here.

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:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

If you’re looking for more ideas for things to do in the Arcachon region here are a few other articles you might want to read:
The best things to do in Cap Ferret
What to do and eat in the town of Arcachon
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

*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 🙂 

Lège-Cap-Ferret is a narrow peninsula that sits on the western part of Arcachon Bay about an hour or two drive from Bordeaux, depending on traffic. Albeit its growing popularity, notably among Parisians, Cap Ferret managed to keep its raw atmosphere of simplicity and tranquility. The area consists of twelve little villages, one of them being the town of Cap Ferret, located in the south part of the peninsula. Its position between the bay and the Ocean turns it into an amazing place for a summer vacation with tens of small village beaches and wilder ones on the ocean side.

In this article, I’ll help you discover the most beautiful beaches in Cap Ferret. It’s important to note that during the low tide, it’s impossible to swim on the bay side and it’s thus very important to check out the tide hours before going. Here’s a site where you can see when the tide is high enough to enjoy the beach.

The best beaches in Cap Ferret
The best beaches in Cap Ferret – by lost in Bordeaux

If you have a few days to spend in Arcachon I have two other articles you might want to read. One is about all the best places to visit in Arcachon Bay and the other is a detailed guide for visiting Arcachon (the town) and the dune

One last thing before we start, traffic to Cap Ferret can be quite heavy, especially in the summer. So you can either try to get there as early as possible or stay the night :). If you love camping check out my article about the most recommended camping sites in Cap Ferret. If camping is not your thing, here are a few recommended hotels in Cap Ferret: Domaine du Ferret Balnéo & Spa in the north part of the peninsula, the 4- star hotel Hôtel Côté Sable in the center of Cap Ferret town, or Les Chambres du Phare, a beautiful bed and breakfast, located near the lighthouse of Cap Ferret. 

You can also rent a house near the beach, here are two recommendations: Cabane Japajo, a wooden cabin on the beach of le Four, or this rental unit in Claouey. Both are located in cute villages in the north of the peninsula. 

Now let’s dive into the most beautiful beaches in Cap Ferret

The best beaches in Lège Cap Ferret

La Plage des Américains

La Plage des Américains - cap ferret
La Plage des Américainsby lost in Bordeaux

Visiting the peninsula, many people go straight to Cap Ferret, which is the largest village in Lege Cap Ferret. You can find a number of nice beaches here, including the central one, but the best one in my opinion, is the Plage des Americains. This little piece of heaven is located a few minutes’ walk from jetée de Belisaire, the pier of Cap Ferret.  The narrow beach with its beautiful water and the forest behind it will immediately put you in a state of tranquility. It feels like nothing in the world could bother you here. When the tide is low you can get there walking on the beach from the main pier of Cap Ferret. 

Plage de la Pointe aux Chevaux

Plage de la Pointe aux Chevaux - beach in Cap Ferret
Plage de la Pointe aux Chevaux – lost in Bordeaux

One of the most popular beaches in Cap Ferret is Plage de la Pointe aux Chevaux. The beach is located right next to a little oyster-port and you can see plenty of pinasses (oyster farming boats) floating on the calm waters of the bay. When the tide is low you can enjoy a beautiful walk on the beach and then continue into the foresty route located at the southern part of the beach. If you continue to ’avenue de la Pointe aux Chevaux’ you will reach a beautiful viewpoint overlooking the beach. 

Finish your day with a plate of oysters at La Dégust du Grand Coin, which is located right on the beach. The beach is located between the two port-towns of Grand Piquey and Petit Piquey. Access to the beach is easier from the latter.  

And here’s a pro tip from me, make the effort to get there early in the morning to see the amazing sunrise. If you’re not an early bird, you can do it in the winter when the sun rises after 8 am. 

Plage de la Truquette

Plage de la Truquette - hidden gem in Cap Ferret
Plage de la Truquette -by lost in Bordeaux

Plage de la Truquette is a little hidden gem located right to the north of Plage de la Pointe aux Chevaux. The beach is tucked in Foret Dromanile de la Lege et Garonne, so the access there goes through the forest. It’s one of the rawest beaches in Cap Ferret with solely the pine forest in the background. 

Another way to access it would be through the little oyster port of Petit Piquey, Les Parcs de l’Impératrice. Park the car at the oyster park and walk through the Impasse des Pecheurs to get to the beach.

This beach is located in Petit Piquey which has plenty of cute little shops on its main road. 

Plage de l’Herbe

L'herbe - one of the most beautiful villages in Cap Ferret
l’Herbe – by Lost in Bordeaux

L’Herbe is definitely my favorite place on Bassin d’Arcachon. Nothing matches the charm of this little village with its colorful oyster farmers’ cabins. Along the shore, you can find a handful of little oyster cabins where you can eat fresh oysters accompanied by white dry wine. 

In the north of the village, you’ll find the main beach, Plage de l’Herbe. It’s a small beach with a few vacation houses of people that are coming here every year. It’s one of the most kids-friendly beaches on Bassin d’Arcachon with plenty of space for them to run around even when the tide is high. 

When you go to l’Herbe you must do the little trail to the upper part of the village and enjoy the view of the cabins from the top. To go up, take the stairs from the southern part of the beach (just next to the public toilets ).

The best beaches in Cap Ferret – Ocean side 

Plage Du Truc Vert

Plage Du Truc Vert - on the Atlantic ocean
Plage Du Truc Vert – by lost in Bordeaux

Surfers’ favorite, le Truc Vert is one of the wildest beaches in the region. This beach is so long that if you walk far enough, you’ll have the beach all for yourself.   

The beach is located on the ocean side of Cap Ferret and you have to walk a bit to get there. Park your car in the forest near the Truc Vert camping. Then cross the route Forestiere du Truc Vert and walk along the path to the Truc Vert beach. 

If you have little kids who hate walking (like mine do) I wouldn’t necessarily recommend going there. Otherwise, it’s a perfect beach for surfers and anyone who loves the ocean and long walks on the beach. 

Plage du Grand Crohot

Grand Crohot beach is located on the Ocean side of the Cap Ferret peninsula. As opposed to the calm water on the side of the Bassin d’Arcachon, on the ocean side, the waves are strong, making it a surfing paradise. This beautiful white sand beach attracts both kite surfers and families that love to swim in the ocean.  In the summer the beach tends to be quite busy and sometimes parking can be an issue so try to come early. If you’re coming with kids, this beach is supervised during the summer. The beach is located in the north part of the peninsula which makes it a good choice if you want to avoid the heavy traffic of Lege Cap Ferret. 

Plage de la Pointe Cap Ferret

Plage de la Pointe Cap Ferret
Plage de la Pointe Cap Ferret – by lost in Bordeaux

Plage de la Pointe Cap Ferret is located at the most southern point of the Cap Ferret Peninsula which makes it one of the most special places in Arcachon. Due to its position, you can see both the ocean and the famous Dune du Pilat on the other side of the Bay. The beach is quite isolated and requires a bit of a walk to get to. 
It’s important to note that due to the strong current of the bay it’s considered quite dangerous for swimming. Also, due to the erosion of the Cap Ferret point, the beach can be closed to the public from time to time. However, when open, it’s one of the most beautiful beaches in our region. 

Need more ideas for things to do in and around Bordeaux? you should definitely join my newsletter where I share all the best events in the region and all my other Bordeaux discoveries. I send an email every Friday in the afternoon– sign up here.

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:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

If you’re looking for more ideas for day trips in the Bordeaux region here are a few other articles you might want to read:
The best beaches around Bordeaux
Day trips around Bordeaux – wine, beaches, and villages 
10 day trips from Bordeaux by Public transport
A weekend in Medoc – Bordeaux wine tours
What to do and eat in Saint Emilion

*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 🙂 

Arcachon is one of the most popular destinations in France. Beautiful beaches, cute villages, amazing oysters, and the proximity to Bordeaux make it the perfect place for a summer vacation. While there are many good hotels in Arcachon, many people prefer to go to camping sites which offer plenty of activities, especially for kids. Here are some of the best camping sites in Arcachon (in Cap Ferret and next to Dune du Pilat), recommended by me and my avid traveler friends in my Travel in the Southwest of France group. Before going there be sure to read my articles about What to do and eat in Arcachon and the best places to visit in Arcachon and Cap Ferret.

Camping sites in Cap Ferret

Camping Aux Couleurs du ferret

This is one of the nicest campsites around Arcachon Bay, located in the northern part of the Cap Ferret peninsula, close to the port towns of Ares and Andernos les Bains. Camping Aux Couleurs du ferret is very family-friendly, with a big playground and a bike rental service, which is the perfect way to discover some of the beaches in Cap Ferret. This is a great camping site for people looking for a quiet holiday close to the beach. If you’re looking for more entertainment, go on to the other options on this list. 
Book your stay here

Camping Aux Couleurs du ferret - camping site in Cap Ferret
Camping Aux Couleurs du ferret, Credit: Booking.com

Where: 101 Avenue du Médoc, 33950 Lège-Cap-Ferret

Camping Village Sublu Les Viviers – Maeva

If you want to have the full Cap Ferret experience this is the place for you. The Les Viviers camping site is located at the heart of the Cap Ferret peninsula, next to the le Four village, surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches of Arcachon Bay. The Camping has a private beach and offers a lot of different sports activities and a huge outdoor pool. It’s located just next to the cycling path of Cap Ferret which allows you to get to the ocean beach in 15 minutes. 
Book your stay here

Camping Village Sublu Les Viviers- Camping in Cap Ferret
Camping Village Sublu Les Viviers, Credit: Booking.com


Where: 1 carrière, Avenue Léon Lesca, 33950 Lège-Cap-Ferret

Camping le Truc Vert

This camping is located just a few steps from one of the best ocean beaches in Cap Ferret, le Truc Vert. It’s set up in the midst of a beautiful pine forest, which makes it one of the most idyllic locations on our list. Camping le Truc Vert offers many amenities like restaurants, shops, a play area for kids, different events and more. This is a perfect place for campers but offers no mobile houses like some other camping sites on this list so you need to bring your own camper van or tent.
Book your stay here.

Where: Route du Truc-Vert – 33950 Lège-Cap-Ferret Ocean

Best Camping sites near la Dune du Pilat (the Dune of Pilat)

Camping Panorama du Pyla

One of the most popular groups of camping sites in France, the Yelloh campsites, has a great site just at the foot of the Dune du Pilat. Camping Panorama runs a kids club during the summer for kids over 5yo. They offer plenty of services such as bike rentals and a restaurant with a beautiful view of the beach. 

Book your stay here.
Where: Route de Biscarrosse, 33115 La Teste-de-Buch

Camping La Forêt (Camping La Forêt du Pilat Tohapi)

Another fun place right at the base of Dune du Pyla is Camping La Forêt. The campsite has several types of accommodations such as air-conditioned cabins, mobile homes, parking for camping cars, and more. They offer plenty of entertainment options such as free activities for kids over 4 years old and disco nights and concerts for adults. 

Book your night here
Where: Route d’Arcachon À Biscarrosse, 33115 La Teste-de-Buch

Pyla Camping

Another good option just next to the famous dune is Pyla Camping which offers several accommodation options: mobile homes, furnished lodge tents or pitches for camper vans, caravans, and tents. Pyla Camping is one of the best places in terms of entertainment with activities such as sports tournaments, mountain biking, horse riding, and karaoke nights. The facilities are not as good as some of the other campings on this list, but the prices are very affordable and it’s generally a fun experience. If you bring your own tent the price is less than 20 euros a night.
Book your night here.

Pyla Camping - Camping in Arcachon
Pyla Camping, Credit: booking.com


Where: Route de Biscarosse, 33115 Pyla-Sur-Mer


If you’re looking for other options such as an hotel or a bed and breakfast here are a few recommended places: Hotel Domaine du Ferret Balnéo & Spa in Cap Ferret, La Maison du Bassin in Cap Ferret, Hotel Le B d’Arcachon in Arcachon city, and the fancy La Co(o)rniche hotel next to the Dune du Pilat.

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:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

If it’s your first time in Bordeaux you may also like to read some of the following “intro to Bordeaux” articles I wrote:
The Ultimate Guide to Bordeaux 
The best districts in Bordeaux 
Where to stay in Bordeaux 
What to do in one day in Bordeaux
Things to do with kids in Bordeaux

*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 🙂 

When you visit Bordeaux, dedicating at least a day or two to its exquisite countryside is a must. Bordeaux is the capital of Gironde, the biggest department in France with a huge variety of places to visit and things to do.  Among others, the Bordeaux region is known for its beautiful villages.

I’ve already written in detail about the best beaches surrounding Bordeaux, the most beautiful parks in the city, and even about hiking trails in Gironde. Now it’s time to explore some of the most charming villages in the Bordeaux region!

In this article, I gathered some of the most beautiful villages in Gironde, the perfect places to discover the architecture and heritage of the region. My list includes villages in Cap Ferret, wine towns as well and medieval villages from the south of Gironde.

*Note – most villages on this list require a car to get to, in case you don’t have one, click here to get a rental car in Bordeaux.

Castelmoron d'Albret

If you’re traveling to Dordogne, read my article about the most beautiful villages in Dordogne. If you need more information about traveling in the region, be sure to join my Travel in the Southwest of France Facebook group.

Now let’s hit the road and discover the most beautiful villages in Gironde. 

The right bank – Saint Emilion and Pays Blayais

Saint Emilion 

You can’t really do a list of villages around Bordeaux without including Saint Emilion in it, can you? This medieval village is known all around the world for its splendid wine but it’s also undoubtedly one of the most beautiful villages around Bordeaux.

A day trip to Saint Emilion in the southwest of France

Important historical monuments can be found in abundance in this medieval town, some of which date back as far as the 11th and 12th centuries. One of the famous monuments is the 11th-century Monolithic church, carved from a limestone cliff, it’s the largest underground church in Europe. 

Its picturesque center, densely filled with wine shops and fancy restaurants, turns this little town into a prominent tourist attraction. If you’re visiting Saint Emilion in the high season of July-August beware that you need to book everything in advance, it gets very busy!  

There are plenty of things to see in and around Saint Emilion, and it requires a full-day trip to see all of it. I recommend reading my guide to Saint Emilion before heading there. Also, if you want to visit wineries in the Saint Emilion wine region, check out my article about the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion. You can, of course, take a guided tour to Saint Emilion that will include both the town and the wineries. 

If you’re planning to spend a weekend in Saint Emilion, here are my recommendations for the best places to stay in the Saint Emilion region

Blaye 

Blaye is one of the most interesting places in the Bordeaux area, located only about 50 km north of Bordeaux. This little town has a long military and strategic history and is mostly known for its remarkable Citadel. 

The Citadel and city walls are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you can easily spend half a day discovering them. The entrance to the Citadel is free and you can explore the streets and ramparts admiring the view of the Gironde estuary which can be seen from the top.

The citadel of Blaye on of the most beautiful villages near Bordeaux

Blaye is also well known for its red wine which I really like and find reasonably priced. You can visit the Maison du Vin on the main street (12 Cours Vauban), where they would gladly introduce you to the wines of the region and the chateaux you can visit around Blaye.

How to get from Bordeaux to Blaye?
The easiest way to get there is by car or by ferry if you’re coming from the other side of the Gironde estuary. The ferry is leaving from Lamarque, you can see all the details about the tariffs and hours in this link.

Bourg

Bourg (Previously called Bourg sur Gironde) is a picturesque village, located at the confluence of the Dordogne and Garonne Rivers. Playing a key role in the region’s history, Bourg was fortified by the English and visited by several kings, such as Louis XIV in 1650. Just like its neighboring town of Blaye, Bourg also has a very impressive citadel called Château de la Citadelle.

Apart from the citadel, the historic part of the city has a cute central square with restaurants and shops, the market takes place every Sunday.

Bourg - a beautiful day trip from Bordeaux

Bourge is also known for its great wine, labeled under the Côtes-de-Bourg appellation. Don’t miss a visit to the Maison des Vins, a 19th-century former residence with a warm atmosphere that acts as a venue for exhibitions, talks, receptions, tasting classes, meetings with winegrowers, and more. You can also see the map of all the wineries here, it’s better to call them before your visit. 

Whether you decide to go to Blaye or Bourg, I highly recommend staying at the stunning Domaine La Corniche located in between the two towns.

How to get from Bordeaux to Bourg:
Two bus lines of TransGironde (201, 202) from Lormont pass through Bourg. However, unless you live or stay on rives droite of the Garonne it will take you some time to get to Lormont from the center of Bordeaux. So here too, going by car is recommended.

Beautiful villages in Arcachon, Cap Ferret, and Medoc

L’herbe

L’herbe is a traditional oyster-farming village located on the Cap Ferret Peninsula. Here you won’t find the typical French village, no central square with a bakery, no old houses or medieval gates. Nonetheless, it’s one of the most beautiful villages in the southwest of France, in my opinion at least.

Arcachon bay - a day trip from Bordeaux

There’s something raw and authentic about L’herbe. You get to stroll amidst the colorful huts of oyster farmers and see them in action on their special workboats. If you like oysters, you’re going to love this place. Charming cabanes de huitres spread along the beach with a tiny menu that mostly includes oysters, pork paté and white wine. This is a perfect destination for a sunny half-day trip from Bordeaux, or a full-day if you add a trip to the beach as well.

How to get from Bordeaux to L’herbe: by car is the best way to get here as the bus is not a direct one and it takes almost two hours to get to L’herbe from Bordeaux. But if you have no choice take bus 601 (Trans Gironde) from Bordeaux center. 

If you want to discover all the other amazing places to visit around the Bassin d’Arcachon check out my article about a day trip to the Bassin d’Arcachon.

Cap Ferret 

Cap Ferret is a little town located in the south end of the Cap Ferret Peninsula in the Western part of Bassin d’Arcachon. It’s traditionally known as a summer getaway for the French upper class. Although it’s been recently gaining popularity among tourists visiting the south of France, it has yet to lose its relaxing beach village atmosphere, especially if compared to Arcachon city.

Cap Ferret one of the most popular destinations near Bordeaux

Cap Ferret is shaped like a narrow tongue with a long string of beautiful sandy beaches. It’s also known for its ostréiculture industry, which produces some of the best oysters in France. Dozens of colorful oyster huts adorn the bay side of the town of Cap Ferret, giving it a unique character. 

If you want to profit from the day, rent a bike and cycle along the beaches and through the pine forest that covers a large part of the Cap Ferret peninsula. There are plenty of bike rentals in Cap Ferret, Beach Bikes is a good one to check first.  

For a perfect weekend in Cap Ferret, check out Les Chambres du Phare, a cozy B&B within walking distance from the beach.

How to get from Bordeaux to Cap Ferret:
Bus 601 will bring you to Cap Ferret but it’ll take you at least two hours to get there, so a car is definitely a better option here. You can also take a ferry from Arcachon or le Moulleau beach, you can see the schedule here.

Soulac Sur Mer

This charming little town is one of the highlights of the Medoc region. It’s located on the very top of the Medoc Atlantique area, about 90 km from Bordeaux.

If you ever had the chance to visit the town of Arcachon, you will find Soulac sur Mer a bit familiar, and many actually call it “little Arcachon”. The city center with its market and restaurants resembles Ville d’été in Arcachon. The northern part of the town with its charming 18th-century villas is similar in style to the impressive villas of Ville d’Hiver in Arcachon. 

Soulac has some of the most beautiful beaches on the Atlantic coast, attracting many French tourists to the area. There are plenty of cute little restaurants both in the center and on the promenade. Seafood is a very important part of the local cuisine and so many restaurants will serve oysters and large shrimp.

Soulac sur mer - a beautiful village in Medoc, France

Every June Soulac hosts one of my favorite events in Gironde, called Soulac 1900. A celebration of music, dance, ancient cars, and costumes from the beginning of the 20th century.

Entre deux mers and South Gironde 

I finish my list with the Entre Deux Mers region and the South of Gironde, my go-to places when I’m in the mood for beautiful medieval towns. This is one of the most beautiful parts in the southwest of France, embodying the historic and cultural richness of this region. 

Most of the villages on my list are located close to one another so you can visit them all in one weekend. Public transport is not extremely developed in this part of Gironde so it’s better to travel by car or bike if you like cycling a lot. I did, however, add public transport routes to these places just for completeness.

If you fancy a romantic weekend in that part of Gironde, check out Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey, one of the best wine hotels in the region.

Saint Macaire 

First on my list is Saint Macaire, a little medieval town located on the banks of the Garonne River. Located about 50km from Bordeaux, Saint Macaire is an attractive destination for those interested in history and beautiful architecture.

What today seems like a sleepy town in the Entre Deux Mers wine region was once an important city under British rule and declared the “Ville royale d’Angleterre” (An English royal city) in 1341. During the 13th and 14th centuries, it was one of the most prosperous cities in Aquitaine due to its significant agricultural and trade activities.

Saint Macaire - one of the most beautiful villages around Bordeaux

When there take the time to discover its rich heritage, the narrow streets, and beautiful old houses and monuments. Place Mercadiou, surrounded by beautiful medieval houses is the main square of the village, where the market takes place every Thursday morning. Another monument not to miss is Porte de la Benauge, the main gate to the old city whose historic center is surrounded by ramparts. 

The most important monument of the village is Eglise de Saint Sauveur et Saint-Martin. The big church, built in the 12th and 15th centuries has impressive murals that are worth seeing. Every year at the end of August, Saint Macaire hosts one of the best medieval festivals in the region. 

How to get there from Bordeaux to Saint Macaire:
There’s usually only one or two trains a day going from Bordeaux to Saint Macaire, so getting there by public transport is not very practical. However, you can take a train to Langon and then cross the Garonne to the other side and bike or even go for a nice hike along the river until you reach Saint Macaire.

Cadillac

Cadillac is a little town located on the right bank of the Garonne River in the Entre Deux Mers wine region. It’s quite a popular destination attracting many tourists, especially during summer.  Cadillac is hard to miss when driving the D10 route to the south of Gironde. You will be greeted by a big defensive wall and the main gate into the old medieval center built in the 13th century. 

However, its undeniably most famous monument is the Château des Ducs d’Épernon, built by the Duke of Épernon in the 17th century. The chateau is very impressive and is best known for being a women’s prison starting from the French Revolution up until 1950. 

It now serves as a museum that mostly displays the life of the royals who were occupying the estate before it became a prison. However, on the last floor, you can still see the cells and a small exhibition about the prison.

Cadillac - medieval village in Gironde, France

The town is also known for its wine, the Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux appellation. You can visit the Maison des vins of Cadillac to learn about the wine of this region and taste it of course 🙂

How to get from Bordeaux to Cadillac:
You can get there by bus number 501 from the Bastide neighborhood in Bordeaux, see the schedule here.

Rions

About 5km from Cadillac you will find Rions, a medieval village located on the banks of the Garonne river. Like other towns in this region, Rions is also characterized by cute narrow streets and medieval houses.

During medieval times it was an important town that was greatly affected by the Hundred Years’ War between France and England. In 1295, Rions, which was at the time under British rule, was conquered by the French Charles of Valois who took down its defensive walls. In 1313, England was able to take the city back and surround it with ramparts, making it one of the Fortified English cities of British-ruled southwest of France (Guyenne).

Rions - a medieval town in the South of Gironde

It went back into French hands right before the end of the long war and, despite all the turmoil, was left with its impressive architecture and charm, perfect for a few hours trip. If you want to make the best of your day trip to the region, you can go on a 5km hike and see the beautiful surroundings of this medieval town. 

Read more about the hiking trail from Rions, in my article about hiking around Bordeaux.

How to get from Bordeaux to Rions:
You can take bus number 501 from the Bastide neighborhood in Bordeaux, see the schedule here.   

Castelmoron d’Albret

This tiny medieval village is brimming with charm! Almost every house here is covered with colorful roses and other beautiful flowers spilling from eclectic pottery that is made here in the village. 

No house here looks the same, every window and door has its particularity. There are almost no signs of modern life here, no cars, no sidewalks, just a beautiful village frozen in time. Only about 50 people are living here and only three businesses operate in the 3.5 hectares village so the atmosphere is incredibly relaxing. I think my kids were the loudest thing this village has experienced in a while. 

Castelmoron d'Albret - the smallest village in France

It will take you about an hour of a scenic drive over the hills and along the vineyards of Entre Deux Mers to reach the little town from Bordeaux. If you want to combine the visit with any other activity, I recommend visiting the impressive bastide town of Sauveterre-de-Guyenne, which is located just a few minutes drive from Castelmoron d’Albret. 

There are also several hiking and cycling routes you can do in this part of Entre deux Mers.  In this link, you can find a great hiking trail that starts from the village itself.

How to get there:
Getting there by bus is fairly complicated and I would advise going only by car. The closest train station to this village is La Reole but the bus from there to Castelmoron d’Albret is not very regular.

La Réole

La Réole is a small hilly town situated on the banks of the Garonne River about 50 km from Bordeaux. 

The town originally developed around a monastery founded in the 7th or 8th century however its golden era was in medieval times when it became the second-largest city in the region after Bordeaux. Still today, it’s one of the biggest towns in the south of the Gironde department with plenty of interesting events and a very lively weekly market on Saturdays. 

La Reole a beautiful town around Bordeaux

There are quite a few impressive houses and monuments to see in this little town. Just to name a few are the historic 12th century Town Hall, the Saint Pierre church and the Benedictine abbey, the old ramparts of the city, and more. Wander through the enchanting narrow streets of the historic center and let the beautiful architecture take you back in time. 

If you happen to arrive in La Reole when the tourist office is open, be sure to take a map of all the monuments in the city.

How to get from Bordeaux to La Reole:
This is a great destination for those who don’t own a car. You can get to La Réole in 40 minutes by train from Bordeaux. The train leaves from Gare Saint Jean every two hours.

If you want more ideas for trips by train from Bordeaux check out my full article about day trips from Bordeaux by public transport.

Bazas

Bazas is one of my favorite towns in the south of Gironde not only because it’s a beautiful place but also due to its rich heritage embodying the Gascony culture. It’s located at the eastern edge of the Gascon Landes forest, about 65 km from Bordeaux. 

A leisurely walk through the historic center unveils the city’s remarkable architecture and its past role as an important bishopric. The main square of Bazas is home to its famous gothic Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste which appears on the UNESCO world heritage list. When strolling the historic center don’t miss the charming old houses on the smaller streets as well as the gardens.

Bazas - heritage and Gastronomy in the southwest of France

Architecture is not the only attraction of Bazas which is quite famous for its gastronomy, especially its meat. You can enjoy the Bazadaise meat in one of the restaurants located on the main square. True meat lovers could also buy meat in one of the many butcher shops in the center.

If you’re looking for a full gastronomic experience to discover the cuisine of the region, there’s one tour you shouldn’t miss. Anne, an American living in Bazas is an expert on everything related to food in the region. She knows all the farmers and chefs around Bazas and her guided farm-to-table tours are an unforgettable experience. Check out her website.

How to get from Bordeaux to Bazas
This is the most complicated place on my list to get to by public transport and I wouldn’t recommend doing it. If you want to get to Bazas from Bordeaux, renting a car is a must!

We came to the end of my list of the most beautiful villages in the Southwest of France, Gironde (at least until I find another treasure that has a place on this exclusive list :)). There are of course more charming villages around Bordeaux such as le Canon in the Cap Ferret Peninsula or Monsegur in Entre deux mers, but I narrowed down the list to the ones I find most special. 

If you’re interested in day trips in the region there are a few other articles you might like:
Best day trips from Bordeaux
10 day trips from Bordeaux by train 
Two days in the Medoc wine region
The most beautiful villages in Dordoge

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:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

Liked the article? Want to read it again when you’re planning your trip to Bordeaux? Save it on your Pinterest board.

*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 🙂 

The Bassin d’Arcachon or the Arcachon Bay has become one of the most popular destinations in France with more than half a million visitors heading there during July and August alone. While some people rent a house close to the beach, most tourists go there for day trips from Bordeaux, which is located about an hour’s drive from the bay.If you look at the map you’ll see that the Arcachon bay is quite a big place with plenty of villages and activities so how do you choose where to go? That’s what I’m here for! In this article I’m going to introduce you to some of the best destinations for a day trip or a weekend on Bassin D’Arcachon. The places with the most unique atmosphere, the best beaches, interesting activities for you and your kids and spots where you can enjoy the famous Arcachon oysters. 

We can roughly divide the bay into two parts, the north and south of the Bassin. When I’m in the mood for a beautiful village or an unspoilt  beach I tend to go to the northern part of Arcachon bay. There, you have the most charming villages on the Arcachon Bay like L’herbe, Le Canon, Andernos les Bains and others. However, if I’m in a more active mood, I’d usually go to the southern part of the bay where you can climb the incredible dune de Pilat, visit the oysters museum, spend a day in a huge birds reserve and kayak on the Eyre river. 

Before we start, here are a few other articles you might want to read when you’re traveling around Bordeaux:
The best beaches around Bordeaux
Day trips around Bordeaux – wine, beaches and villages 
10 day trips from Bordeaux by Public transport
A weekend in Medoc- Bordeaux wine tours
What to do and eat in Saint Emilion

You can also join my Facebook group “Travel in the southwest of France” where many enthusiasts of the region share their recommendations for places to visit and things to do in the southwest of France.

Now let’s start discovering some of the most beautiful and interesting places to visit on the Arcachon Bay!

Andernos les Bains a perfect day trip to the Arcachon Bay

Andernos les Bains is not a prime tourist destination like some of its better-known neighbors on the Bassin d’Arcachon and that, in a way, makes it even more attractive. With an old prehistoric site, 19th-century villas and a long sandy beach overlooking the Bassin, it’s not hard to spend a pleasant day in this seaside resort. Like other towns on the Arcachon bay, Andernos les Bains is also known for oyster farming, and a wealth of restaurants serving delicious oysters and seafood garnish its shores. Most restaurants are located next to the port from which you can take a nice promenade on the longest pier in France. My favorite spot for oysters is Cabane 21 Station des Gus, which is also very kids friendly. But mind you, it’s a spot for real seafood lovers as you won’t find anything else on the menu (except wine of course). Andernos les Bains is also known for its fun events and festivals such as the Festival Cabanes en Fête (an oysters and wine celebration) in December and the  Andernos Jazz Festival in July.

eating oysters at Andernos-les-bains

How to get from Bordeaux to Andernos les Bains: The best way to get there is by car but if you have no other choice you can also take Bus 601 (Trans Gironde) from Bordeaux center.

L’Herbe – the best-hidden gem on the Arcachon bay

L’herbe is a traditional oyster farming village located on the Cap Ferret Peninsula. Here you won’t find the characteristics of a typical French village, there’s no church nor a central square with a bakery and a restaurant. Nonetheless, you can easily say that it is one of the most beautiful villages in the southwest of France. 

L'herbe  -  a beautiful village on the Arcachon Bay

There’s something raw and authentic about L’herbe. You get to walk between the colorful cabins of oyster farmers and see them in action on their special workboat. If you like oysters, you’re going to love this place. Plenty of oyster restaurants are spread along the beach serving only the freshest oysters, pork paté and white wine. This is a perfect destination for a sunny half-day trip from Bordeaux, or a full day trip if you add a visit to the beach as well. 

How to get from Bordeaux to L’herbe: Same as with Andernos les Bains, a car is the best way to get here as the bus is not a direct one and it takes almost two hours to get to L’herbe. But if you have no choice you can also take Bus 601 (Trans Gironde) from Bordeaux center. 

Cap Ferret – dreamy beaches and the best oysters on the Arcachon bay

Cap Ferret is a little town located on the Western part of Bassin d’Arcachon and has been traditionally known as a summer getaway for the French upper class. Although it’s been recently gaining popularity among tourists visiting the south of France, it has yet to lose its relaxing beach village atmosphere, especially if compared to the more southern towns of Arcachon bay. 

Cap Ferret - one of the best day trips  to Arcachon Bay

Cap Ferret is shaped like a narrow tongue with a long string of beautiful sandy beaches on the Atlantic ocean and a view of the eastern side of the Bassin. Apart from its dreamy beaches it’s also known for its ostréiculture industry, which produces some of the best oysters in France. Dozens of oyster cabins and restaurants with a view on the Bassin give Cap-Ferret a unique character that’s worth a visit and a taste.

Another fun thing to do in Cap Ferret is to bike along the beaches and through the pine forest that covers a large part of the Cap Ferret peninsula. There are plenty of bike rentals in Cap Ferret, one of them is Bike rental Cap Gyro (7 Boulevard de la Plage, 33970 Lège-Cap-Ferret).

How to get from Bordeaux to Cap Ferret: The same 601 bus can take you to Cap Ferret but it’ll take you at least two hours to get there, so a car is definitely a better option here. If you’re near Arcachon or le Moulleau, you can see the schedule here

Arcachon – the city 

It’s not my favorite destination on the bay mostly due to it being a town rather than a village. Having said that there are plenty of great things to do in and around the town of Arcachon and if you have the time it’s worth a visit. 

ville d'hiver - something to discover on your day trip to the Arcachon Bay

The town of Arcachon is divided into four districts, named after the seasons of the year. Ville d’Été, covering the touristic center, main beach, restaurants and boutiques. Ville d’Hiver – the historic center adorned with glamorous 19th-century villas. Ville de Printemps in the west is closer to the most beautiful and less crowded beaches of Arcachon and Ville d’Automne is the beautiful port area packed with great fish restaurants. A visit to Arcachon can easily take the whole day but many tend to combine it with a visit to the Dune du Pilat, the tallest sand dune in Europe and one of the most popular destinations in France. 

le moulleau on Bassin d'arcachon

Another reason to go to Arcachon is the beautiful beaches located on the south part of the bay. Two that I particularly like are petit Nice and La Corniche where you can also grab a drink at the fancy La corniche hotel /restaurant. A fun way to discover that part of the bay is by bike. You can hire one in the center of Arcachon city and just follow the cycling route along the beach. 

In my guide to Arcachon city, you can find all the details about things to do, places to eat, where to hire a bike and what beaches are the best ones to go to in Arcachon. 

How to get from Bordeaux to Arcachon: Arcachon is the easiest one to get to by train directly from Bordeaux. A train leaves almost every hour from the main station in Bordeaux and the station of Pessac centre. Beware that if you come by car, free parking is not easy to find, so taking the train is advisable during the touristic season. You have more details about parking in my article about Arcachon

The Magnificent dune du Pilat in Teste de Buch

If there’s one thing in this list I consider a “must” it’s definitely this one. The gigantic sand dune is one of the wonders of the area, with its 60 million metric cubes of sand it’s quite astonishing the first time you see it. 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. 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.

Dune du Pilat Arcachon

Once you reach the top, a stunning panoramic view will be revealed with 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.  After working so hard climbing the dune, you can slide to the other side (when the sand is not too hot of course) and go straight to the beach. If you’re not in a rush you can easily spend the day here, have a nice picnic and swim in the crystal clear water. It’s hard to describe the beauty of this site in words, you really must see it for yourself.

Dune du Pilat Arcachon

How to get from Bordeaux to dune du Pilat: If you’re coming by public transport, line 1 (Baia company) will take you from the Arcachon train station to Dune to Pilat.  Otherwise, you can get there by car and park in the paid parking of the site.

Lanton – a beautiful promenade

If you’re looking for a beautiful quiet place for a long walk, Lanton is the perfect spot for you. You can start your walk from plage de Suzette, which is a little port with a few restaurants on it and just follow the trail that starts next to the boats. If you’ve ever been to the Bassin d’Arcachon you know that the view changes a lot depending on the tide. This trail goes along the bay and that’s why, depending on the time you arrive, it may feel like walking along the beach or in an apocalyptic desert. If you want to escape the crowds in the summer head to Lanton as the scenery and tranquility are just magical.

Lanton - take a walk on the Arcachon Bay

The birds’ reserve in Teich

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, saltmarsh, 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.

The Teich Bird Reserve is explored on foot along a 6 km long circular path (with a shorter route proposed to visitors with young kids). The path goes through a rich diversity of natural habitats, giving a great overall picture of the site and its surrounding areas. I would highly advise taking a binocular with you. Many of the birds stay quite far from the designated Viewpoints and are just too distant to observe. Doing the same route with a binocular made the visit much more interesting in my view. 

The Reserve Ornithologique du Teich is open all year long except on December 25, and can even be reached by train (the Teich train station is located about 15 minutes walk from the reserve). For more info see the website of the reserve: https://www.reserve-ornithologique-duteich.com/en/

Gujan Mestras – the capital of oysters

Gujan-Mestras is a little town known as the capital of oyster farming on the Bassin d’Arcachon. It has seven oyster ports which you can visit and watch oyster farmers’ work. You can even join one of the farmers and take part in their work for a few hours. Find the list of farmers providing that experience on the tourist office website

You can also visit the “Maison de Huitre”, an interactive museum where you discover everything about oyster farming. And finally, don’t forget to taste the freshest oysters in one of the cabanes along the coastline, many of which are located at the famous Port de Larros. Gujan-Mestras also has a beautiful beach called Plage de la Hume. Due to its interior position on the Arcachon bay, there are almost no waves and it feels more like a lake than a sea beach, which makes it very kids friendly. 

Plage de la Hume
Plage de la Hume on the Bassin d’Arcachon

The town hall of Gujan-Mestras is quite active and hosts plenty of nice events for kids and adults in the summer, you can find them all on their site:  https://www.gujanmestras.com

How to get to Gujan Mestras? The same train that goes to Arcachon also stops in Gujan Mestras so you can easily get there by train if you don’t want to drive. 

These are some of my favorite spots on the Arcachon bay, and I hope it will encourage you to get out and spend at least one day in this magical place. 

For more tips about things to do in Bordeaux, day trips from the city, vineyards, markets, brocantes and more check out the Facebook page of Lost in Bordeaux, subscribe to my newsletter and join my Facebook group “Travel in the Southwest on France“. 

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:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

*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 🙂