With its kilometres of fine sandy beach and its friendly atmosphere, Cap Ferret has become a must-see destination for luxury family holidays. It is one of those to which we return to every summer, year after year; it's a place we're familiar with, and where we'd like to see our children grow up.
Whether you are traveling with teenagers or toddlers, whether you are coming for the first time or whether your family is familiar with it, Cap Ferret will meet all your expectations. From one end of the peninsula to the other, find our essential activities to do in Cap Ferret with the family.
On the side of the Arcachon Bay, there's not a wave, not an eddy. Only the slow coming and going of the tide or the slight whirring of a boat disturbs the silence, contributing to the peaceful atmosphere of the beach. Children can splash around there quietly, while their parents bask in the sun. In a few words: Cap Ferret on the bay-side is the ideal place to introduce the joys of seaside holidays to the youngest of your family, without worrying about waves and dangers. Here are our favourite activities to do with the family by the bay.
Follow the rails of the little train that crosses the peninsula, in the direction of the Bélisaire jetty. This is where your guide awaits you. Your local guide will take you aboard his pinnace, a flat-bottomed boat reminiscent of the gondolas of Venice. He will guide you through the bay, slaloming between the shell parks and the charming huts perched on stilts, to Bird Island. This small piece of land, half swallowed up by water, owes its name to the dozens of species of migratory birds that seek refuge here. Disembark for lunch with your feet in the water, before returning to dry land, while passing the picturesque Belle Époque villas of Arcachon Bay.
If you are going on a family holiday to Cap Ferret, get ready to live by the rhythm of the tides. On the bay-side, the tides are particularly impressive, and when the water recedes, it reveals dozens of iodised treasures.
In addition to the oysters, which are specialties of the region, the bay houses clams, razor clams, gray shrimps and other crustaceans and shellfish, which you can enjoy later with your family on the terrace of the Villa Pinède. This wooden house, typical of Cap Ferret architecture, is reminiscent of 5-star fisherman's huts. After this, your kids will never mind eating shellfish again.
Take advantage of the calm waters of the Arcachon Bay to try your hand at stand-up paddle-boarding. Get on the board, alone or in pairs, and prepare to act like tightrope walkers to rise above the surface. Once up, all you have to do is paddle along the coast, navigating the oyster huts, and stop where you want to taste dozens of oysters drizzled with fresh rosé.
On the other side of the peninsula, is the Atlantic Ocean. And we are far from the Olympian calm that reigns on the bay-side. Here, it is the effervescence: the waves come crashing on the shore, forming rolls of white foam in which you can throw yourself head first. The currents form springboards on which to jump in body-first or surf through. And the fine sand dunes are life-size slides, from which you can slide down to the beach below. Nature is still rugged and wild here, but by putting down our towels here every year, we have learned to tame it and enjoy it fully. Find our favourite activities to do with the family on the Ocean-side of Cap Ferret.
Before finding the sea and the sand, you must first cross the pine forest. It is she who gives Cap Ferret its so recognisable scent of pines and salty wind, the same scent that will be remembered with delight later, when we think of family holidays at Cap Ferret. The best way to explore the pine forest is by renting mountain bikes. This activity is one we recommend for teenagers or children old enough to ride in the sand, as it is an excellent way to discover the landscape of the peninsula, off the beaten track. And what could be better than ending a long bike ride with an invigorating swim?
If you are wondering what to do in Cap Ferret with your family, you cannot miss the local sport: surfing. The unmissable spot of Truc Vert and its surf school is ideal for beginners and younger members of the family. Insiders will prefer surfing Les Dunes, where the raging waves leave no respite for those who want to tackle it. But the scenery is worth the detour, and from your board, you'll have a spectacular view of the Cap Ferret lighthouse, which rises proudly above the pine trees. Find all of our favourite surf spots in Cap Ferret here.
The wild dunes of Cap Ferret can also be discovered by sea. The tumultuous currents on this side of the peninsula hold no secrets for your guide, an experienced skipper of the region. He will guide you along the coast aboard a majestic catamaran. The youngest members of your family will be amazed at the trampoline suspended above the water, while the older ones can learn the basics of navigation. Experiences like these are ones that may birth a few vocations, and make people want to come back for family holidays to Cap Ferret year after year.
On the left, there is the bay; on the right, there is the ocean; and in between, the best of both worlds. Because this is where the real charm of Cap Ferret lies: not having to choose between the flat calm of the Arcachon Bay and the rough waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Avoid a lot of arguments during your family holiday in Cap Ferret, heading for one of our favourite luxury holiday destinations, the one that everyone loves. Here are some essential activities, halfway between the two facets of the peninsula.
It marks the meeting between the bay and the Ocean: Dune du Pilat rises proudly facing the Cap Ferret peninsula, like a gigantic sand castle. You can get there by car, stopping by the Belvédère to admire the view, or by boat from the Bélisaire jetty. Once there, you have to climb this immense dune of fine sand - and the first to arrive at the top will have deserved an ice cream. Take a few moments to remember the view of the ocean stretching as far as the eye can see on one side, and the dense pine forest on the other. Then all you have to do is go back down: running or sliding down, it's up to you... We bet that the children will love this part of their family holiday in Cap Ferret.
Family holidays in Cap Ferret are also an opportunity to get their pretty faces off their screens. And to get there, there is nothing better than to make them live the adventure. Embark on a boat and set sail for the Banc d'Arguin. Located at the foot of the Dune du Pilat, at the exit of the Arcachon Bay, this white sandbank changes appearance with the winds and currents. Be sure to check the tide times if you don't want to replay the Medusa raft, and remember to take your picnic. On this tiny desert island, there is no living soul, if not a few tourists who have come to act like Robinson Crusöe and watch as migrating birds come to lay their eggs in this protected place.
To the question of what to see in Cap Ferret with the family, our answer is simple: everything. And for this particular sight, go to the Cap Ferret lighthouse. Climb its 258 steps that lead to the top, from where you will have a panoramic view of the peninsula. Bird Island, Dune du Pilat, the Atlantic Ocean: it's a real postcard-worthy view that is revealed before your eyes. If you're afraid of heights, you can also stay on dry land and act as freshwater sailors in the room full of maps. It's something that will make the whole family want to travel...
Let yourself be tempted for a weekend of a rush of sea air at Cap Ferret and follow our advice so as not to miss anything in this extraordinary peninsula.
With its 25 kilometers of fine sandy beach, Cap Ferret is a real paradise for surfers. Discover our favorite surfing spots in Cap Ferret and go for a ride on the waves.