South West France boasts more days of sunshine than most of Europe, making it a perfect choice for a camping holiday. On the Atlantic coast you’ll find endless sandy beaches and the chic seaside resort of Biarritz. Inland is the vibrant city of Bordeaux and the Dordogne region, centred around the town of Perigueux. The area and Bordeaux of course are famous for wine, and you’ll find vineyards nestled in between small villages of old stone houses on the hills, alongside medieval fortified cities. The Dordogne is known for its pretty villages, imposing castles and gardens and rolling landscape, with the Dordogne River flowing gently through the region.
Biarritz is a great destination for families, with beautiful palaces and houses built by a variety of aristocrats to admire along the coast. Head to the lighthouse at the far northern point of the city to admire the views, and you can even climb the 200+ steps to the top if you’ve got the energy! Biarritz’s most famous landmark is Virgin Rock, which is connected to the mainland by a small footbridge. From here you can board Le Petite Train de Biarritz, a train ride that takes you leisurely round the city. Hop off at the Grand Plage – the city’s stunning main beach, which children and adults alike are bound to enjoy.
Most of Bordeaux’s city centre is a UNESCP World Heritage site, meaning that there are no shortage of historical sites to see. The Grand Theatre and Jardin Public are particularly spectacular and you’ll also find carousels dotted about the city, which youngsters are sure to enjoy.
For a castle that children will actually enjoy visiting, take a trip to Chateau de Castelnaud at Castelnaud-la-Chapelle. Perched on a rocky hilltop, the castle puts on practical demonstrations during the summer such as watching a mock battle! If you’ve based yourself in the Dordogne, your kids will love a visit to Aux Etangs du Bos, a water park at Saint-Chamassy (40 minutes west of Sarlat). There are several pools of varying lengths, a lake with inflatables, water slides, crazy golf and a play area – plenty to keep the kids busy all day.
If you’ve got children between 7 and 12, you can get reduced rates on a hot air balloon ride with Montgolfières Du Périgord. Floating over the hills, woodlands and rivers of the Dordogne is a lovely relaxing way to see the region.
By far the easiest way to get to South West France is by plane, with flights available to Biarritz and Bordeaux with airlines such as EasyJet, Flybe and Air France.
Family friendly campsites
Landes, Messanges, Lou Pignada
Set in the heart of the magnificent Landes pine forest, Camping Lou Pignada campsite is just a mile away from a golden sandy beach. At the centre of the complex is an amazing pool complex, with indoor and outdoor pools, water slides and a separate children's pool. Adults will love the massages and beauty treatments on offer at the spa and the whole family will enjoy delicious food at the restaurant and the lively entertainment on offer during high season.
Landes, Aureilhan, Domaine d'Eurolac
Camping Domaine d'Eurolac campsite is located in stunning countryside and is just a short drive from sandy white beaches on the Atlantic coast. The site is right on the banks of Aureilhan Lake, which is perfect for a spot of fishing or a refreshing dip. Kids will adore the lovely pool complex, complete with heated pool, outdoor 'bubble bath', children's paddling pool and water slides. Enjoy playing football, volleyball or tennis or visit the horse riding school, which is just a short walk away.
Landes, Biscarrosse, la Rive
Domaine de la Rive campsite is a fun site with plenty going on. There's direct access to the Sanguinet lake beach and an amazing pool complex, complete with several water slides, a jungle-themed water playground, an outside pool and an indoor wave pool with lazy river! Plenty of activities are available including archery, tennis, skate park, football and volleyball and there's a lovely wellness centre for adults to relax in.
Landes, Parentis-en-Born, Pipiou
Campsite Le Pipiou is set in 15 acres of greenery, right in the heart of the Landes Forest. The site has direct access to the lakeside beach at Lac de Parentis, where you can take a swim or try some watersports such as sailing and kitesurfing. On site is a fantastic pool complex with pools, children's pool, water slides and a jacuzzi. During high season there's a children's club where kids can try out games, workshops, archery, rock-climbing and circus. On site facilities include a bar, restaurant, snack bar, pizzeria, takeaway and shop.
Landes, Azur, Azu'rivage
Set next to the Soustons Lake, in a lovely green landscape, Camping Azu'Rivage campsite is just a short distance from some of the region's most beautiful beaches. Children will love the pool complex, complete with swimming pool, paddling pool, jacuzzi and water slides. There's a great entertainment package for both the kids and grown ups, and a fabulous playground and sports field where you can play volleyball, basketball and handball. You can try some fishing at the lake, or take the free shuttle bus to the beach to relax on the sand.
Landes, Messanges, le Vieux Port
Set in a pine forest and just a short walk from the lakeside resort of Port d'Albret, Camping le Vieux Port is a lively site with great facilities. The superb pool complex features indoor and outdoor pools, water slides, jacuzzi and a wave pool, along with a separate paddling pool for little ones. There's a great restaurant, lively bar and well stocked supermarket on site and in high season there's an entertainment programme including cabaret and theme nights. The site is only 2 miles from the beach.
Gironde, Soulac sur mer, Palace
Camping Palace is situated in between the beach and the forest and is just one mile from the village of Soulac-sur-Mer, with its beautiful architecture and stunning beaches that are ideal for water sport enthusiasts. The site has a wonderful water park complete with pools and water slides, along with a jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. You can also hire bikes on site to explore the many local cycle paths.
Landes, Mezos, Sen Yan
In the heart of the Landes Forest at Mézos, Camping Sen Yan campsite is a beautiful site with great facilities. The fantastic pool complex has both an outdoor and covered pool, water slides, an aqua play area and a children's pool and there's a poolside bar and restaurant overlooking one of the pools. Adults can enjoy a relaxing massage or time in the jacuzzi, sauna or steam room. During high season there are energetic evening shows performed by a professional theatre troop. The Atlantic coast and its sandy beaches are only 7 miles away.
Pyrenees-Atlantiques, Bidart, Oyam
Camping Oyam is just a few miles south of the world famous resort of Biarritz and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. There's a fantastic waterpark, with pool, water slides and children's pool and a lovely café terrace to soak up the sun. During high season there's a children's club as well as parties for teenagers. Why not explore the lovely local 12th century town of Bidart, with its fantastic beaches and rocky coves.
Landes, Ondres, Lou Pignada Ondres
Camping Lou Pignada Ondres is an authentically French campsite, set in the heart of beautiful pine groves. The lovely pool complex has a pool, children's pool and jacuzzi, or why not try your hand at a game of boules or table tennis. You can hire bikes on site to explore some of the Vélodyssée - a 1200km cycle route that covers the west coast of France and Spain. During high season you can take a free shuttle to Ondres-Plage, a stunning white sandy beach.
Landes, Seignosse, Oyats
Camping Oyats campsite is set in 42 acres of beautiful pine forest and is only 500 metres from a beautiful beach. Kids will love the pool complex with heated pools, water slides and a children's paddling pool, whilst adults can relax in the jacuzzi. Try your hand at volleyball, table tennis or mini golf or explore one of the nature trails running through the forest.
Landes, Messanges, Domaine de la Marina
Camping Domaine de la Marina is a quiet campsite in serene natural surroundings and is perfect for those looking for a relaxed break. Located only 800 metres from a beautiful beach, the site also has a lovely swimming pool and children's pool. There's also a children's playground, skate park and table tennis on site or, if you want to join in with more activities you can do so at the neighbouring campsite, Camping le Vieux Port, which guests have full access to.
Gironde, Lege Cap Ferret, Embruns
Camping Embruns is situated in the peninsula of Lege-Cap-Ferret and is just 700 metres from one of its many beautiful beaches. Located beside a pine forest, the site has a fantastic water park, complete with pools and water slides, or why not try your hand at archery, tennis, tables tennis or boules? You can hire a bike on site to explore the bike trail and surrounding areas, or have a go at paddling, surfing or canoeing nearby.
Dordogne, Saint Martial de Nabirat, Carbonnier
Camping Carbonnier campsite is set in a peaceful wooded valley, with a beautiful lake and spacious and shaded emplacements. The kids will love the fantastic pool area with water slides and there's even a petting zoo for younger children. There's a children's club and a wide programme of events to suit all the family, with great facilities including boules, volleyball and a mini golf course. The site is located a 5 minute walk from the village of Saint-Martial-de-Nabirat where you'll find a Michelin Star restaurant.
Landes, Lit-et-Mixe, les Vignes
Camping les Vignes campsite is set in beautiful surroundings and its main feature is the fantastic pool complex, complete with heated pool, water slides and a spacious terrace. There are plenty of activities on site to keep everyone entertained, including a mini golf course, tennis court, games room and table tennis. Enjoy a relaxing massage at the wellness centre, or hire a bike to explore the local area. During high season there's also a free shuttle to the nearby beach.
Dordogne, Sarlat, les Peneyrals
Camping les Peneyrals is set in rolling green countryside and has a particularly impressive pool complex, with five pools and a selection of water slides. The bar and terrace overlook the pools, so you can enjoy some refreshments while the kids play. During high season the bar also hosts a variety of entertainment, including karaoke, live music, quizzes and discos and there's a great restaurant serving local specialities.
Gironde, Vendays Montalivet, Atlantic Club Montalivet
Atlantic Club Montalivet campsite is located in a large park with direct access to a beautiful sandy beach through a lovely pine forest. The excellent pool complex has a heated pool, waterslides and an area dedicated to younger children, and there's a relaxing campsite spa for adults to enjoy some well earned R&R. The facilities are excellent with tennis, horse riding, bike rental and surfing all available at the site. The onsite bar and restaurant offer a great range of regional specialities alongside some excellent local wine.
Landes, Sanguinet, Lou Broustaricq
Set in a picturesque location, Camping Lou Broustariq is a short walk from Lake Sanguinet, where you can enjoy swimming, fishing and hiking. The site is only 2 miles from the gorgeous beaches and town of Sanguinet. On site there are great facilities, including several swimming pools with water slides and a wellness centre, volleyball, boules and table tennis. During high season there's both a children's club and one for teenagers.
Pyrenees-Atlantiques, Bidart, Ur Onea
Located in the heart of Basque Country, Camping Ur Onea campsite is just 600 metres from a beautiful sandy beach. The site is located on the outskirts of the 12th century town of Bidart with its gorgeous architecture. The pool complex is new (2014) and offers a swimming pool, children’s pool, solarium and jacuzzi. There’s a great range of facilities, including ball games, boules and table tennis, with tennis, horse riding and mini golf nearby. There’s also evening entertainment, organised sports events and a children’s club in high season.
Les Charmettes holiday park offers a peaceful family holiday in lovely surroundings. The huge pool complex is sure to be a hit, with an indoor pool and spa bath, several outdoor pools, water slides, fountains and an aqua splash zone. The beautiful Atlantic beaches are just a short drive away. There are different children's clubs for different age groups and a huge range of nightly entertainment during the high season.
Situated in the heart of the Médoc, Domaine de Soulac is a well equipped campsite with great facilities. The pool complex has two pools, a water slide and outdoor waterfalls to keep the kids entertained, whilst adults will love the wellness centre and the relaxing treatments on offer. There are free kids' clubs and beautiful sandy beaches just 2 miles away.
Bonne Anse Plage is situated just behind the stunning beach of Bonne Anse, which is directly accessible via the cycle paths that run parallel to the campsite. The site has an amazing pool complex with a pool, toddler pool and two giant water slides, plus there are tons of sports facilities such as a climbing wall, football, basketball and boules pitches, and a crazy golf course. The town of La Palmyre is also within walking distance, where you can find lovely restaurants, sandy beaches and one of France's most famous zoos.
Hidden away in the Landes pine forest is La Réserve holiday park, complete with its own sandy beach on the clear waters of Lake Biscarrosse. There's even a private marina to moor your boat! Watersport lovers will enjoy trying out waterskiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing or sailing. There is also a fantastic pool complex, with indoor and outdoor pools and water slides. Make sure to explore the cycle paths that lead through the forest to the coast and enjoy the free entertainment during high season.
La Pignade campsite is located in a gorgeous pine forest and is a mile away from a gorgeous sandy beach. The site has wonderful facilities, including a pool with water slides, sports courts, archery and beach volleyball. If you've got horse-mad youngsters, they'll be delighted with the on site horse and pony riding school. Adults can relax with a variety of beauty treatments while the kids spend time at the children's club.
Just 2 miles from the beach and in the heart of the Landes Forest, Les Dunes de Contis campsite is a great place for a family holiday. The site has a lovely outdoor pool and separate children's pool, or you could try your hand at archery, tennis or boules. Discover the surrounding area by bike on one of the cycle paths or, if you're feeling less energetic, take the shuttle bus to the beach and try out a spot of surfing.
Pyrenees-Atlantiques, Bidart, le Ruisseau des Pyrénées
Camping le Ruisseau is set in the Basque country, with emplacements set in shady oakland. The site has its own lake, where you can try your hand at a spot of fishing and there's a fantastic pool complex with water slides, jacuzzi and a sauna. Play a game of tennis or hire a bike to explore the surrounding area. In high season there's a range of evening entertainment in the popular and lively bar. The nearest beach is only a five minute drive away.