Vendée is situated on the West coast of France and is a popular choice for holidaymakers with over 90 miles of sandy beaches. Indeed, the beaches are so good that you’ll be hard pushed to find a bad one on this stretch of coast. The most fashionable resort on the coast, Les Sables d’Olonne was popularised in the 19th century by aristocrats who travelled there for the thermal baths and casino. Today it’s popular with the yachting crowd and is still a buzzing place to visit.
Away from the coast you’ll find the northern marshlands of the Marais Breton where you can visit the restored village of Sallertaine and see traditional craftspeople at work. There are also plenty of opportunities to explore the marshes and rivers on kayaks, and to sample the local oysters and wine afterwards (or croquet monsieurs and ice cream for the kids!).
There are some beautiful islands to explore off the coast. You can cross a bridge to reach the island of Noirmoutier, or cross the causeway during low tide. Famed for its oysters, potatoes and salt the island also has beautiful dune backed beaches that will keep kids happy for hours. Or you can take a day trip on a boat to the tiny island of Île d’Yeu, where you can hire a bike to explore. The island is famous for its prehistoric menhirs and dolmens. The best beach is Plage de Vieilles.
You’ll be sure to get your children hooked on history with a visit to Puy du Fou at Les Epesses. Watch dramatic historical performances where Roman charioteers race round the stadium, English and French knights fight over a medieval fortress and birds of prey show off their acrobatic prowess. In between performances you can wander the forests and gardens and explore the reconstructed historic villages. Or visit Paléosite at Saint-Césaire – a visitor centre devoted to our extinct cousin the Neanderthal. Kids will enjoy the interactive areas, where they can test their spear throwing skills, challenge a Neanderthal man to an arm wrestle or even see what they would have looked like as a Neanderthal. There’s also a recreated village and fossils and relics that were unearthed at this site.
The region is a popular location for treetop adventures and one of the best is the Abbaye De Fontdouce. Set within the grounds of a 12th century Benedictine Abbey youngsters can traverse high ropes and zoom down zip wires, while the grown-ups tour the religious complex (or join in the agility course!).
Brittany Ferries offer frequent crossings from Portsmouth to Caen and you can then drive down to Vendée. Or you can fly to Nantes or La Rochelle with airlines such as EasyJet, Ryanair or British Airways.
Family friendly campsites
Le Bois Masson is a vibrant campsite just 2 miles from the beautiful west coast beaches of the Vendée. The site has a great pool complex, complete with indoor and outdoor pool and water slides - there are even qualified lifeguards on site in high season. Adults will love the wellness centre, where they can enjoy relaxing massages, reflexology and facials. Make sure to take advantage of the popular bar and restaurant!
Le Bois Dormant campsite is situated in the village of Le Bois Dormant with its beautiful waterfall and lovely pine trees. There are two heated pools and spa bath, along with a large sun terrace and a lovely restaurant and bar to keep you fed and watered. During high season there are children's clubs and entertainment to enjoy. And the stunning beaches of this region are just over a mile away from the site.
St Jean de Monts, le Clarys Plage
Camping le Clarys Plage is a lively site located in the heart of the popular Vendée and is only five minutes walk from a stunning golden, sandy beach. The superb pool complex will be a hit with all the family, with its water slides, jacuzzi, fountains and bridges, and the bar terrace overlooks the pool area. You'll also find a range of entertainment in the evenings at the bar.
St Jean de Monts, Amiaux
Camping Amiaux is situated just 700 metres from a beautiful beach, with a forest to the back of the site. The spectacular pool complex has both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, as well as four water slides to keep the kids happy! Try your hand at tennis or enjoy the games room on site, or go horse riding, sand yachting or even skydiving nearby. During high season there's also a children's club and parties for teenagers to keep everyone entertained.
Saint Hilaire de Riez, Les Biches
Set in the heart of a pine forest, Camping les Biches is a spacious campsite with access to 7 miles of beautiful sandy beaches. Relax by the pool while the kids play on the water slide, play tennis or football or try a round of mini golf. You can try your hand at fishing in the nearby lake or enjoy the evening entertainment on site, which ranges from karaoke and discos to salsa lessons!
Olonne sur mer, Loubine
Located only a mile from the stunning beach of Sauveterre, Camping Loubine is a lovely resort for families in the Vendée. Kids will adore the fantastic indoor and outdoor pool complexes and during high season there's lots of entertainment for them as well on site. You can hire a bike and ride through a lovely forest to the beach and enjoy a variety of water sports. And in the evening you can enjoy bingo, concerts, dance evenings and magic shows that are sure to keep the whole family happy.
St Jean de Monts, la Yole
Set in a beautiful forest, and just one mile from a gorgeous long sandy beach, Camping la Yole campsite is a great family destination. The highlight of the site is the wonderful pool complex, complete with a large outdoor pool, children's pool, water slide, heated indoor pool and jacuzzi. Overlooking the pool is a spacious bar and restaurant where you can enjoy family entertainment in high season including disco nights and live music. There's also an excellent on site children's club.
St Jean de Monts, Acapulco
Camping Acapulco is a modern site located just 650 yards from the stunning sandy beach of Plage des Mouettes. There's a wonderful pool complex, which offers five water slides with their own splash pool, a children's pool, a swimming pool and a jacuzzi. There's also a bar area over looking the complex, so that you can enjoy a refreshing drink while the children enjoy the pools. During high season, the whole family can enjoy lively entertainment including discos, bingo and karaoke.
La Tranche sur Mer, du Jard
Situated in a large woodland park and just 700 metres from a gorgeous white sandy beach, Camping du Jard is a lovely and well kept site. The pool complex is spectacular, with outdoor and indoor pools, water slides and a jacuzzi and activities take place here during the day. You can hire a bike on site to explore the bike trails both on and off site, or try your hand at boules, mini golf or tennis at the campsite. The area is a well known surfing mecca, so why not try a surf lesson or two while you're there?
St Jean de Monts, Zagarella
Set in a beautiful pine forest, Camping Zagarella is just 2 miles from the lovely beaches of St-Jean-de-Monts and is the perfect base for a relaxing holiday. Children will love the pool complex, complete with pools, jacuzzi and water slides. Enjoy refreshments at the onsite bar, snack bar or takeaway, or try your hand at boules or table tennis. There's a children's club in high season, or why not hire a bike to explore the wonderful countryside?
Loire-Atlantique, Guérande, Domaine de Léveno
Camping Domaine de Léveno campsite is a large site located in beautiful unspoilt countryside, and is only 4 miles inland from La Baule, which is home to the longest beach in France. On site life is centred around the impressive pool complex with heated indoor and outdoor pools, a wave pool, lazy river and thrilling chutes and water slides. Adults will also love the hydro massage beds and solarium for a spot of relaxation. Hire a bike to explore the surrounding area, or try a game of tennis or a round of mini-golf on site. During high season there are events run by the entertainment team and a site run children's club.
Camping Atlantique is located in Angles, close to the beautiful seaside resort of La-Tranche-sur-Mer. There's a wonderful pool complex with a heated indoor pool, outdoor pool, children's pool, water slides and a jacuzzi for the grown-ups to relax in! During high season there are two children's clubs and you'll also find volleyball, football, boules, table tennis and a games room available to keep everyone occupied. Enjoy the onsite entertainment in the evenings, or grab a bite at the campsite pizzeria, snack bar or takeaway.
Saint Hilaire de Riez, Domaine des Pins
Camping Domaine des Pins is a beautiful, quiet campsite in the heart of a pine forest. A short walk takes you to a lovely sandy beach facing the pretty Ile d'Yeu. There's a great pool complex with indoor and outdoor pools, children's pool and jacuzzi, a boules pitch, playground and, during high season, a children's club. You'll be kept well fed with the on site snack bar, takeaway and bar-restaurant.
Talmont Saint Hilaire, Loyada
Camping Loyada is located in the beautiful historical town of Talmont Saint Hilaire, which is renowned for its long sandy beaches. The site has a fantastic pool complex, complete with water slides and there are a whole host of activities to keep the family busy - there's even a climbing wall. While your children enjoy the site-run kids' club, why not enjoy a massage in the relaxing spa?
Olonne sur mer, Bois Soleil
Camping Bois Soleil campsite is set between the sea and the forest in beautiful surroundings. The superb pool complex has something for everyone, with indoor and outdoor pools, children's pool, water slides, jacuzzi and steam room. If you're feeling energetic you can join in with adult fitness classes or, for something more relaxing, try a game of mini golf. The nearest beach is 2 miles away and there's a shuttle bus in high season.
St Julien, la Garangeoire
Set in the estate of a family owned chateau, Camping la Garangeoire is a lovely campsite nestled in woodland. The on site lake is ideal for a spot of boating or fishing and there are several nature trails that lead from the site around the local woodland. There's a great pool complex complete with water slides, a playground, mini golf, a trampoline, go karts and many more activities on site and entertainment is offered during high season.
St Jean de Monts, California
Near to the popular seaside resort of Saint-Jean-de-Monts and set in a beautiful pine wood is Camping California campsite. The whole family will love the amazing pool complex, complete with a children's pool, outdoor pool, heated indoor pool, sauna and jacuzzi. During high season there's a children's club and a wide range of entertainment for all ages. You can try out horse riding and sailing nearby and wind down the day relaxing in the restaurant-bar.