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The coast might be all Atlantic, but variations in bays, rocks, exposure and protection mean that close to the site you’ll find plenty variety in the beaches, and a choice of surfing, sun-bathing, kayaking and swimming.

St Jean de Luz
Lovely, sweeping, safe beach that, during summer, offers organised children’s activities. And although they’re not free, they do open up the possibility of some quiet, soaking-up-the-sun time.

A perfect example of a breakwater making a beach sheltered, safe and family-friendly. It’s only six km away from Col d’Ibardin campsite, with views of both the castle and the bay of St Jean de Luz, of which it forms a part. Obviously the sea here lends itself to stiller-water pursuits: canoeing, for example, kayaking or paddleboarding.

Only a ten km drive from the Col d’Ibardin campsite, the water here is warm and just right for introducing young children to surfing; there are surf schools if you’d prefer they were taught by professionals. It’s a lovely beach with waves the right size for all kinds of activities, including wave skiing and bodyboarding too.

Biarritz has six beaches, variously popular and variously family-friendly. Grande Plage, on the north edge of the old town by the famous casino, is big, beautiful and very popular (which can mean restrictions in high season). Plage Miramar, north east of there, is fine if it’s just sand you’re after, but its currents mean there’s no surfing, while Plage Marbella and Plage de la Côte des Basques have long lovely beaches. (Just don’t get caught out at high tide on Plage de la Côte des Basques; the sand disappears and you have to pick your way back across the rocks, not easy with children.) Plage Port Vieux and Plage Milady are more towards the old, southern edge of town and, having gentler surf, are better suited to families.

Les Landes
Over sixty miles of continuous beautiful coastline: home to 15 seaside towns, dunes, pine forests, lakes, streams, ponds, bike paths and, most of all, almost endless beaches and often world-class surf.