Landes / Gironde / France
Surfers flock to the ocean resort of Lacanau Ocean from all over the world, attracted by its beach-break barrels, miles and miles of golden sand protected by sand dunes and fragrant pine forests. Other holiday-makers come for the beautiful lakes — a mecca for birdwatchers, walkers and anglers as well as families who enjoy swimming, sailing or kayaking from the safe beaches. Golfers are spoiled for choice, with several superb 9- and 18-hole golf courses in easy reach.
The resort of Lacanau Ocean is 12km from Lacanau Ville, but has everything you need for your holiday.
Cycle along the waterways between the Lac de Lacanau and the Etang de Cousseau and you’ll discover charming villages where you can stop for a delicious meal, explore the markets and discover local delicacies.
photo credit - Office de tourisme Médoc Atlantique
One of the top surfing spots in France, Lacanau Ocean plays host every August to the Lacanau Pro, part of the WSL qualifying series, when top international surfers gather to compete for world rankings.
The resort has 14km of superb beaches and sandbanks shaped by the Atlantic, so there are few days when you can’t surf. However, the currents are strong, so if you are just starting out, it’s a good idea to get some lessons to familiarise yourself with the area.
There are dozens of surf schools and rental shops in the resort, although its popularity means it can sometimes get busy in the height of the season and at weekends. Try Magic Surf School and Tengo Frio.
Lacanau is a great choice for golfers, with several 9- and 18-hole courses within easy reach of your OVO Network property. One of the most popular is the premier 18-hole Garden Golf course, designed by John Harris in 1980. Built on sand in the heart of pine forests between the lake and the ocean, it offers a diversity that will appeal to everyone from beginners to the more seasoned players. For a change try Golf de la Méjanne (nine holes).
photo credit - Office de tourisme Médoc Atlantique
With more than 100km of safe cycle tracks and footpaths linking the beach and the lakes, walking or getting on your bike is the best way to explore the Lacanau area. If you don’t want to bring your own bicycles, there are plenty of places to hire them, many of which will deliver them straight to your OVO Network property. Hire them by the day or the week, and choose from city bikes, mountain bikes, trailers and tandems.
The route to the village of Maubuisson, on the shore of Lac de Carcans, is popular. After 15km of undulating bike trails through pine forests, rolling hills and coastal path, drop down into the village and reward yourself with an ice cream by the lake. Children will love the beachfront playground, and there are plenty of cafes, restaurants and watersports companies dotted between the lakeside beaches. Swimming here is ideal for young families, as it is safer than the ocean.
An hour’s drive south of Lacanau is Arcachon Bay, with the resorts of Arcachon itself and Cap Ferret. Protected by the Cap Ferret peninsula and the Dune du Pilat, the bay has a mild climate and plenty of sunshine. The area is famous for oysters; visit the oyster house at Gujan-Mestras, where you can learn about oyster farming before visiting one of the oyster huts and trying a couple of oysters with a chilled glass of white wine.
The Dune du Pilat — the highest sand dune in Europe — is worth a visit. Climb to the top of this 109-metre sand mass and you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the area. It’s a great favourite with paragliders too. Take a flight yourself or just watch others soar over the sea for a perfect sunset vista. For a real day out, drive to Cap Ferret then catch a boat to the Dune du Pilat. See it first from the sea!
If you fancy a day away from the coast, there is plenty to do in Bordeaux, which is a world heritage site. Take a boat trip along the River Garonne, climb the Pey-Berland tower, discover the Miroir d'Eau, relax in the park, do a little shopping or explore La Cite du Vin, where you can find out everything you ever needed to know about wine, and taste a few too!
An hour’s drive north of Lacanau, along lakes and waterways, will take you to Verdon-sur-Mer. From here, you can get a boat to the lighthouse (best to pre-book), which is the only offshore lighthouse in the world which is open to the public. Admission is €11 for adults and €6 for children (boat not included), and it’s open from April to November. Check the website for more details.
Young golfers can find their feet at this 18-hole mini course, which has just enough challenge to keep the adults entertained too. There's also a driving range and a full-size nine-hole course where more serious golfers can do their thing. Check the website for rates.
The Aqualiday indoor and outdoor complex is a great choice for groups of all ages, even on a rainy day. Children will love the lazy river, bubble pools and waterslides, whereas adults might prefer to relax in the sauna and steam rooms in the spa, where a range of massages and beauty treatments are also available. Prices for 10 years and over start at €11.50 for the waterpark only, although there are discounted rates for five visits. Entrance to the spa is for over 16s only, and starts at €20 (€25 for spa and waterpark).
Kids can let off steam at Les 3 Bandits, just a short drive from Lacanau, which offers paintball and laser games adapted for all ages. There's free parking, a picnic area and a bar. For those who prefer a little less confrontation, there's also a riding centre on the site. Take a guided ride along the canal.
Horse-trekking is a great way to explore the Lacanau area, and you don’t need any experience to be able to enjoy a gentle excursion. There are several riding centres in Lacanau which will cater for beginners and young children as well as more experienced riders.
From fine dining to fast food, there is something to suit all palates and pockets in Lacanau. If you don’t want to stay in to eat, why not head pick up a takeaway and head to the beach? Here are some of our favourites:
For fine dining, head for this restaurant, where the chef combines fresh produce and creativity in his international menu. There’s a shady courtyard where you can eat outside, and a children’s menu is available for under 10s. Expect to pay from €8 for starters, €17 for main courses
French cuisine with a Spanish flavour is on the menu at this popular restaurant. Fish is a specialty, but is by no means the only thing on the menu, and the chef’s daily special is displayed on a board. Starters are a selection of tapas and the desserts come highly recommended - try the cafe gourmand!
Pick up a takeaway pizza and head to the beach, or watch all the action from a table on the pavement at this tiny Italian restaurant. Prices start at €9 for a tomato and cheese pizza, rising to €16. There’s a children’s menu and a small selection of desserts, including tiramisu and a Nutella pizza!
Quality is high, the menu is simple and prices are reasonable at this Thai restaurant. Expect to pay about €10 for a main course with rice, and €5 for a starter. Seating is limited and this place is popular, so be prepared to take your food away.
Burgers, Buddha bowls and cocktails are the order of the day at the beachside bar, restaurant and surf school. A great choice for breakfast before you hit the beach, afternoon snacks or dinner as you watch the sun go down over the sea. Vegetarian and vegan options available.
Fancy an apero before dinner? Here are a couple of our favourite bars in Lacanau Ocean.
The bar on the second floor of this restaurant is a popular place for great cocktails - time it right and you can watch the sun set over the ocean. The views are stunning, and it’s family-friendly too.
This beachside pub is popular with surfers. It has a great range of beers, and the tapas will keep you going until dinner is ready!
There’s an eclectic range of shops in Lacanau Ocean, concentrated on the roads leading to the beach. You’ll find a Super U supermarket and a Carrefour Contact in Lacanau Ocean, as well as in Lacanau Ville. Here are some of the other shops that our guests and owners have recommended:
For great meat, hams and saucissons head down to this butchers - they also do great roast chickens for a quick dinner.
This popular family bakery is famous for its baguette "Canaulaise" and other specialty breads. There’s also a delicious range of pastries, cakes and sandwiches - perfect for a picnic.
Pop in for a tea or coffee and a homemade cake and check out their clothing, beach accessories and home decor store.
Head to this concept store for clothing, beauty, crafts, home decor items and quirky gifts.
Find something a little bit different at this clothing and jewellery shop, for men and women.
Bikes are the natural mode of transport in Lacanau Ocean. Buses run on an hourly basis until 7.30pm between the ocean and the lake. After that, taxis are your best option.
Simone +33 6 38 10 64 05
Angel Taxi +33 6 08 34 72 56
Andre Gelot +33 5 56 03 27 03
And if you want to enjoy other great activities, to explore the area or just to know what to see and what to do, you can contact the Medoc Atlantique Tourist office
OVO Network has villas near Lacanau Ocean and dotted around other beautiful areas for summer holidays in France. Why not take a look at all our villas today?