This summer, no crowded seaside destination for you – instead, you’ve opted for a lakeside camping holiday! An excellent decision because along with real peace and quiet, the lakes combine the best of watersports activities and outdoor pursuits. Why choose when you can have it all? And the icing on the cake? France is teeming with lakes that will provide the perfect destination for your bucolic family holiday! So, follow the guide for a successful lakeside stay!
The jewel in the crown of the Haute-Savoie, this magnificent lake at the foot of the Alps offers a vast and varied array of activities, on land as well as on the water. However you choose to spend your time, you’ll be bowled over by the lake’s incomparable beauty.
On land, if you see yourself as the next Chris Froome, set off on two wheels on a cycle ride along the “green way” that goes around part of the lake. Admire the scenery which changes constantly as you pedal along. Meanwhile, seasoned walkers can take to one of the many hiking trails. There are numerous lookout points along the paths, each offering a unique view over the lake.
Or take your pick from a microlight aircraft, paraglider or other flying machine and take to the skies for a bird’s eye view of the lake. Even from high up, you’ll continue to be amazed by the stunning beauty of this extraordinary lake.
And of course, we can’t talk about Lake Annecy without mentioning watersports! With stand-up paddleboarding, boat trips, pedal boating, jet skiing and much, much more on the menu, your whole clan will be spoilt for choice! And yet the best way of really enjoying the lake is swimming. After all, this is the (urban) lake with the purest water in Europe! It would be a shame not to take a dip to appreciate it.
Now let’s head for the Atlantic coast on the other side of France. Lake Sanguinet lies nestled between the beaches of Biscarrosse and the majestic Dune du Pilat and will provide the perfect setting for fun and adventures on a family holiday in the southwest. There are a thousand and one ways to discover the lake, each one as lovely as the next.
Love exploring on two wheels? Hire bicycles and try to complete a tour of the lake, or simply pedal down to Biscarrosse beach with your towel and suncream in your backpack. A lovely ride with the perfect reward at the end of it – a refreshing dip in the ocean!
However, Lake Sanguinet also offers an array of water-based activities sure to delight the children... and anyone who remains a kid at heart! Your young campers will rush down to the watersports centre, keen to try one activity after another... there’s pedal boating, towed tubing, stand-up paddleboarding and more! With such a long list of activities, it won’t be an easy choice!
Still on the Atlantic Coast, a little further north this time, there’s another lake that is just as perfect for you and your water babies! Lake Hourtin is the largest freshwater lake in France and a haven of peace just an hour from Bordeaux.
Take along your buckets and spades, ready to build the best ever sandcastle with your young campers. Then to follow up all that building work, treat yourself to a refreshing dip in the lake!
Budding young navigators can try their hand at sailing in a small boat. One eye to port and the other to starboard, snug in a life jacket, they’ll be ready to embark on their very own adventure on the lake! An experience your little mariners will remember for years!
Lake of Sainte-Croix
Found at the outlet of the famous Gorges du Verdon, this is an artificial lake but remains quite magnificent, the blue of its waters contrasting with the surrounding Mediterranean greenery to form a natural, postcard-perfect setting. A little slice of paradise ideal for a family holiday between lake and mountains.
Your holiday agenda will naturally include some time spent in the water. The lake boasts some lovely family-friendly beaches where you little ones can splish-splash for hours without fear of getting cold in the water. Meanwhile, the grown-ups can bask in the sun, their toes spread out in the warm sand.
After the siesta, time to embark on a pedal boat or canoe on the clear blue waters of the lake. Hire the vessel of our choice and set sail to admire the splendid Gorges du Verdon. A wonderful moment in time that will remain etched in the family’s memories for many years to come.
Back to the Atlantic Coast now to the lovely department of the Landes, as we turn the spotlight on Lake Léon. This body of water stretches some 340 hectares, half of which is a listed nature reserve. It is a true haven of peace that nature lovers in particular will enjoy. And it’s easy to understand why: this bucolic natural setting includes two beaches, wild areas and several hiking trails. And forget the car – Lake Léon is to be explored on foot or on a bicycle!
Look out for the amazing fauna and flora, particularly the amateur birdwatchers among you, because numerous migratory birds stop here twice a year during their long-haul flights. Meanwhile, budding photographers will take out their cameras to capture the colours of the lake and its surroundings, which change from one season to the next.
And where there’s a lake, there are watersports! You and your little family can have fun on the water and take your pick from a wide range of activities, including pedal boats, electric boats, canoes, stand-up paddleboards, or why not try sailing or fishing? There’s something for everyone, and for every age!
Lake Chambon is THE beach resort in Le Sancy! Formed after the eruption of the Le Tartaret volcano, this recreational spot nestles between lake and mountains amidst the Monts Dore peaks, and is hugely popular with families. Enjoy all the benefits of the water surrounded by rolling green hills... a treat to be enjoyed with all your clan!
As soon as you get here, all your little swimmers will want to do is dive into the water! And it’s plain to see why... it’s hard to resist the lure of the lake, especially in such a stunning setting! The grown-ups can sunbathe on the sand while the children splish-splash in the water... isn’t that just how you imagined a family holiday in Auvergne?!
On land, nature lovers will be enchanted! You can walk all the way around the lake in an hour, on a pathway built on piles. A lovely easy family trail dotted with amazing viewpoints over the lake. If you love exploring on two wheels, you’re in for a treat too because part of the route has been specially developed for bicycles.
Finally, let’s end our tour of France’s lakes in the southwest, at Lake Soustons. This lake, found in the Landes between the sand dunes and the pine forest just a few miles from the vast sandy beaches, is ideal for a lovely natural interlude.
Just one watchword here – enjoy! Whether visiting with the family or as a couple, there are a thousand and one ways to explore the lake, on land or on the water. Revel in the delights of the water any way you please: splashing around safely with the family on the supervised beaches, sandcastle competitions on the water’s edge and, of course, an array of watersports, including stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, sailing and fishing.
If you prefer to stay dry, you can also choose to discover the lake from terra firma! Take the specially marked-out path that forms a 4-kilometre circuit around the lake… you’ll be pleased to hear that it’s accessible on foot, on a bicycle and even with a pushchair, so anyone can join in!
A lake... at the heart of your Sandaya campsite!
Incredible... but true! Your Sandaya campsites are full of surprises – take for example the Les Alicourts campsite in Sologne, which has its own private lake! You can try your hand at cable skiing, go stand-up paddleboarding or set sail in a canoe. You’ll just love your camping holiday with Sandaya!