Calling All Beach Lovers: Discover the Vendee's Best Family-Friendly Beaches!
Factors to Consider When Choosing Family-Friendly Beaches in the Vendée
• Safety First: Lifeguard stations and Peace of Mind
These play a vital role in providing peace of mind. Look for beaches with lifeguard stations, as they not only offer protection but also demonstrate the beach's commitment to visitor safety. One of my favourite family-friendly beaches in the Vendée is Plage des Belugas in La Faute sur Mer. With its vigilant lifeguards in the summer months, it's a reassuring spot where kids can splash and play while you relax.
• Clean and Pristine: Blue Flag Beaches for Quality Assurance
Cleanliness and water quality are essential for a worry-free beach experience. Seek out beaches awarded the Pavillon Bleu Label (Blue Flag), a prestigious eco-label that guarantees clean waters and well-maintained surroundings. In 2023, 19 beaches in the Vendée have been awarded the Pavillon Bleu Label, ensuring a refreshing and safe swimming experience for the whole family.
• Amenities Galore: Convenience for the Whole Family
Facilities and amenities can make or break a beach outing. Look for beaches with amenities such as public toilets, changing rooms, and showers to ensure everyone's comfort. La Grande Plage in Les Sables-d'Olonne is a fantastic choice, as it offers all these facilities along with beachside cafes where you can grab a bite to eat while the kids build sandcastles.
• Easy Access and Stress-free Parking
Accessibility and parking options can greatly impact your beach adventure, especially when travelling with young children and beach gear in tow. Opt for beaches with nearby parking areas to make unloading and loading a breeze. Plage de la Normandelière in Bretignolles-sur-Mer is an easily accessible beach with ample parking spaces, making it a stress-free choice for families.
Top Family-Friendly Beaches in the Vendée
The Beaches of La Tranche sur Mer
If you're looking for a family-friendly beach destination that offers a vibrant atmosphere and plenty of activities, look no further than the beaches of La Tranche sur Mer. This lively coastal town is renowned for its stunning sandy shores and clear blue waters, making it a favourite among families with school-age children.
The main beach, Plage Centrale, is a hub of excitement. With its wide stretch of soft sand, it provides ample space for families to spread out and enjoy a day of sunbathing and beach games. The shallow waters near the shore are perfect for younger children to splash around safely.
For those seeking a bit of adventure, head to Plage de la Grière. Known for its excellent windsurfing and kitesurfing conditions, this beach offers a thrilling experience for older children and teenagers. You can rent equipment and take lessons from the local surf schools, ensuring an unforgettable day on the water.
After a day of beach fun, stroll along the bustling promenade in La Tranche sur Mer, lined with charming shops and ice cream parlours. Treat your family to some delicious local treats and souvenirs to remember your time in La Tranche sur Mer.
La Plage du Veillon, near to Port Bourgenay
Nestled near the picturesque harbour of Port Bourgenay, La Plage du Veillon is a hidden gem that promises a serene and family-friendly beach experience. As you set foot on the fine golden sand, you'll be greeted by breathtaking views of the turquoise waters, sand dunes and surrounding cliffs.
The calm and shallow waters make it an ideal beach for young children to safely paddle and play. The absence of strong currents, and lifeguard presence in summer, ensure peace of mind for parents. Don't forget to pack your snorkelling gear, as the clear waters of La Plage du Veillon offer a glimpse into an underwater world filled with colourful marine life. At low tide there are lots of rock pools to explore too.
For a change of scenery, take a leisurely stroll along the coastal path that leads to Port Bourgenay. This scenic walk provides an opportunity to observe local flora and fauna, whilst offering a dream location for landscape photography.
This is my favourite beach in the Vendée!
La Grande Plage, Les Sables-d'Olonne
Located in the charming seaside town of Les Sables-d'Olonne, La Grande Plage is a family-friendly beach that offers something for everyone. The wide expanse of soft level sand provides ample space for sunbathing, playing beach games, and building sandcastles. While the kids frolic in the gentle waves, parents can unwind at one of the beachside cafes, sipping on a refreshing beverage. If you're feeling adventurous, consider renting paddle boards or kayaks to explore the coastline and create lasting memories with your little adventurers.
This vibrant beach offers a delightful blend of sun-kissed sands, lively promenades, and a charming harbour, making it an ideal spot for families and water sports enthusiasts.
Plan d'Eau de L'Aiguillon sur Mer
If you have young children who are perhaps not so confident in the sea, then spend the day at the man-made beach and seawater basin at L'Aiguillon sur Mer. The water is shallow, there are no waves, and the sand gently slopes down to the water. There is even a small kid's playground in one corner along with a fairground carousel.
If your kids are a bit more adventurous, there is also a Splash Game circuit at the opposite end of the beach where you can climb over a series of giant inflatables, and a Warrior Game circuit set around a climbing frame with obstacles to climb and swing through.
If you walk a further 100m along the footpath, you will arrive at the thrilling Atlantic Wake Park - where you can hone your water-skiing skills whilst being transported around a lake on a connected tele ski wire! Training courses are available if you have never done this before.
This mini-seaside town is a perfect place for a day trip. There are two lovely beaches to choose from on either side of the town - the southern beach of Boisvinet has the Pavillon Bleu award. The town itself has lots of parking around the harbour, several restaurants and cafés, a small children's playground and even a windmill!
Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie in the north of the Vendée is famous for its lively atmosphere and bustling port, this beach is perfect for mingling with locals, sampling delicious seafood, and savouring the carefree holiday spirit.
You can sit in a beachside restaurant, taking in the wide panoramic view of the beach - so relaxing!
Bretignolles-sur-Mer is surrounded by impressive rocky cliffs and this beach offers a picturesque backdrop for leisurely walks along the shore and exploring the hidden coves. You can learn to sail, surf and windsurf on the beach - or just relax and build sandcastles!
The town is directly behind the beach and is a lively hub with restaurants, cafés and touristy shops.
The île de Noirmoutier
If you time your arrival on the island correctly, you can drive along the famous 'Passage du Gois' which is submerged beneath the sea at high tide, but is accessible at low tide to walk, cycle of drive across. There is an impressive bridge to the island too.
Noirmoutier boasts several beautiful beaches such as the Plage des Dames and the Plage de Luzéronde, along with the Plage de l'Anse Rouge famous for its pretty rows of white-painted beach huts.
Take a picnic for the beach or have lunch in one of the many seafood restaurants along the coast.
Stretching for miles, the beach at Saint Jean de Monts boasts soft dunes, crystal-clear waters, and a wide range of activities, from beach volleyball to beachside cafes, catering to every beach lover's desire. The beach comes alive in summer, with lots of entertainment on the beach, including fireworks and sporting events.
Plage Les Conches
Les Conches is surrounded by stunning pine forests and presents a peaceful haven for nature lovers, where you can enjoy gentle strolls and appreciate the harmonious connection between land and sea.
If you enjoy surfing or body boarding, then this is the beach to visit - when the tides are high, and the winds are strong - then the waves come crashing down onto the long sandy beach. A perfect spot for surfing or learning to surf with one of the many surf schools located in the carpark. For best results, book a course of lessons - many of the experienced teachers also speak English.
The Criteria for the Blue Flag / Pavillon Bleu Label
The criteria concerning environmental education are diverse, such as awareness of the sea, information transmitted on natural areas, protected animal, and plant species or even actions put in place to raise awareness of the environment...
The criteria for water management are also varied. It includes compliance related to water treatment, the mandatory presence of drinking water points and the carrying out of bathing water analyses...
The criteria on waste management include the management of household waste in accordance with the regulations, the presence of garbage cans on the beaches, the cleanliness of these, the recycling of waste, etc.
The criteria concerning the environment in general are very heterogeneous here: existence of sanitary equipment, good maintenance of the buildings, regulation of the circulation of vehicles on the beach, consideration of all types of disabilities and many more...
Once all these criteria have been taken into account, the beaches and ports can be subject to the Blue Flag label.
The Map below has Blue Flag Pointers for all of the award-winning beaches in the Vendée. (Correct as of 2023)
Beach Safety Tips for Families
• Teach children about water safety: Ensure your children understand the importance of swimming in designated areas and never going into the water alone. Teach them how to recognise and respond to beach flags and signs.
• Apply sunscreen and stay hydrated: Protect your family's skin from the sun by applying sunscreen regularly, even on cloudy days. Encourage everyone to drink plenty of water and take breaks in the shade to avoid dehydration.
• Stay aware of tides and currents: Familiarise yourself with the local tide times and current conditions. Keep an eye on your children, especially during changing tides or when currents are stronger. Be cautious and avoid areas where signs indicate dangerous conditions.
• Always keep a close watch on your children: Even if lifeguards are present, it's essential to supervise your children closely. Designate a responsible adult to keep a vigilant eye on them, especially when they are playing in the water.
Beach Activities and Entertainment for School-Age Children
• Water sports and activities: Take advantage of the excellent water sports opportunities available. Let your kids try their hand at windsurfing, paddleboarding, or kayaking. Many beaches have local rental shops where you can easily access equipment and take lessons if needed.
• Sandcastle building and beach games: Challenge your family's creativity with sandcastle building competitions. Bring along beach games like frisbee or beach volleyball. These activities not only provide endless fun but also encourage teamwork and friendly competition.
• Beachside playgrounds and parks: Many family-friendly beaches in the Vendée have adjacent playgrounds and parks, offering additional entertainment options for children. Let them swing, slide, skateboard and climb to their heart's content while enjoying the fresh sea breeze.
• Nearby attractions and family-friendly excursions: Take advantage of the Vendée's diverse attractions located near the beaches. Visit the O'Gliss Park, a thrilling water park featuring slides, pools, and water attractions that will keep kids of all ages entertained for hours. Or explore the fascinating world of animals at the Zoo des Sables, where your family can get up close and personal with a wide variety of species.
Packing List for a Family Beach Trip to the Vendée
To ensure a smooth and enjoyable beach outing with your family, consider packing the following essentials:
• Sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses: Protect your family's skin from harmful UV rays by packing sunscreen with a high SPF, wide-brimmed hats to shield from the sun, and sunglasses for added eye protection.
• Beach toys and games: Keep your children entertained with a selection of beach toys, such as buckets and spades for sandcastle building. Don't forget to pack inflatable toys, beach balls, and a frisbee for added fun.
• Picnic essentials and snacks: Pack a cooler bag with refreshing drinks and healthy snacks to keep your family energised throughout the day. Don't forget to bring along a picnic blanket for a comfortable and enjoyable beachside meal.
• Beach towels and swimwear: Pack plenty of beach towels for everyone in the family, as well as extra dry clothes. Remember to bring swimwear for the whole family, along with a spare set in case anyone wants to change.
• First aid kit and essential medications: It's always a good idea to have a basic first aid kit on hand for minor cuts, scrapes, or insect bites. If anyone in your family requires regular medication, make sure to bring an ample supply.
• Beach chairs and umbrellas: For added comfort during your beach day, consider bringing along foldable beach chairs and a beach umbrella to provide shade and relaxation.
• Beach bag or tote: A spacious and durable beach bag or tote is essential for carrying all your beach essentials, including towels, snacks, sunscreen, and toys.
• Camera or smartphone: Capture all the wonderful moments with your family at the beach by bringing along a camera or smartphone with a waterproof case. You'll want to cherish these memories for years to come.
• Cash and identification: Ensure you have some cash on hand for any beachside purchases or emergencies. Also, carry identification for all family members, especially if you plan to visit any nearby attractions.
• Extra plastic bags: Bring along some spare plastic bags to store wet clothes, sandy shoes, or trash, keeping your beach area clean and organised.
The Vendée is a treasure trove of family-friendly beaches, offering an ideal destination for a memorable beach vacation with your loved ones. From the vibrant shores of La Tranche sur Mer to the serene beauty of La Plage du Veillon, there's a perfect beach for every family's preferences.
By prioritising safety, engaging in exciting activities, and packing the necessary essentials, you can ensure a delightful and stress-free beach adventure in the Vendée. Whether you're building sandcastles, trying water sports, or simply basking in the sun, the Vendée's family-friendly beaches have something for everyone.
So, don't forget your sunscreen, beach toys, and picnic essentials as you embark on a wonderful seaside journey in this picturesque region of France. Create precious memories, cherish the moments spent with your children, and savour the natural beauty and warm hospitality of the Vendée. Enjoy your family beach trip to the fullest and make it an experience to remember!
Now that you have read all about the fabulous beaches in the Vendée, it just remains for you to click on the button below to choose your holiday accommodation….