Sunbathing and cool waves
Charente-Maritime has some of the most beautiful beaches on the Atlantic coast. Each has its own individual identity but they all seduce a great many visitors with their spectacular scenery. Here’s our pick.
For active holidays
1. Pointe Espagnole (La Tremblade)
The bike paths through the heart of the stunning La Coubre Forest will lead you to this unmissable spot on the Côte Sauvage. You’ll hear the crash of the waves as you draw closer. That’s because the ocean is at its wildest here, to the delight of anyone who enjoys adventure sports.
2. Grande Côte beach (Saint-Palais-sur-Mer)
Famous for its invigorating waves, this location is popular among surfers, land sailors and kayakers. After your water sports session, stroll along the shore taking in the lunar landscape formed by the dunes. This is one of Charente-Maritime’s most beautiful beaches.
3. The beaches of Grand-Village Plage
This is a little slice of heaven that mixes ocean, marshes and sizable pine forests. You can reach the seashore on foot or bike via the fitness or hiking trails. You’ll see how water sports fanatics come here regularly to surf and land sail.
For wild holidays
4. Trousse-Chemise beach (Les Portes-en-Ré)
Trousse-Chemise definitely belongs in the hall of fame for Charente-Maritime’s most beautiful beaches. Its charms include the spectacular dance performed by wild birds who come to fish at low tide, as well as the “Woodcutter’s Bench”, an ephemeral sand island that comes and goes with the tides.
5. Huttes beach (Saint-Denis d’Oléron)
The “Wonder of Oléron” is well deserving of its nickname, with five kilometres of fine sand that transport you to the heart of nature. Park down from the beach and walk up the path leading to the shore. When you come back, you’ll catch a glimpse of the officially protected paths criss-crossing the dunes.
6. Saumonards beach (Saint-Georges-d’Oléron)
Surrounded by the national forest of the same name, Saumonards beach is a classic picture-postcard scene. Walk along its natural dunes and enjoy the superb view of La Rochelle, the Île de Ré and the famous Fort Boyard.
For authentic holidays
7. Chay beach (Royan)
Chay beach nestles between huge cliffs, and tranquillity reigns supreme here because there are so few people living close by. After taking a dip, keep the adventure going with a visit to Chay lighthouse, painted in local colours, and see the nearby belle-époque villas.
8. La Conche beach (Saint-Clément-des-Baleines)
This beach’s beauty is unsullied by development. Enjoy its crystal-clear waters, string of wooded dunes and stretch of pine trees, then give in to the area’s irresistible sense of calm.
9. Nonnes beach (Meschers-sur-Gironde)
Nonnes beach never fails to impress with its long cliffs, which form a landscape unusual for Charente-Maritime. Looking out onto the sea, you can admire the view over the far bank of the Gironde estuary, ideally at sunset.
For family holidays
10. Châtelaillon-Plage beach
Châtelaillon beach is ideal for enjoying leisure and sports activities as a family. There are clubs offering beginners’ kitesurfing classes. Don’t miss the “kite and wind” festival at the start of April. First flights, a children’s village, night flying and demonstrations of all kinds await festival visitors during the three days of aerial shows!
11. Baby beach (Île d’Aix)
This intimate location is accessed by a pretty footpath that opens up onto a cove in the midst of lush greenery. This Mediterranean-style beach is perfect for a picnic or siesta for families seeking a bit of peace. However, be aware that bathing is not permitted here.
12. Pontaillac beach (Royan)
Families looking for hustle and bustle will love it here. At Pontaillac beach, the whole family can enjoy the many bars and restaurants, and even a nearby casino. Rest assured, this takes nothing away from the charm of the beach, which isn’t short on style with its delightful luxury houses and rocky ledges.
Beach tourism and disability
13. Boirie beach (Saint-Denis-d’Oléron)
Fine sand, a family atmosphere, colourful boat masts and multi-coloured beach huts make Boirie beach another entry in the hit parade of the most beautiful beaches in Charente-Maritime. The good news is that the location is entirely accessible for all types of disability thanks to its dedicated facilities.
14. North beach, Fouras
Surrounded by pretty turn-of-the-century houses, Fouras’ north beach looks like it’s straight off a cinema screen. Visitors flock to it to admire the view of Fouras harbour and Yves Bay. Specially adapted car parking spaces link directly with the accessible path that leads to the beach. The beach also has toilets and a shower adapted for disabled visitors, as well as a bathing chair.
15. Minimes beach (La Rochelle)
Enjoy this spot deep in the heart of nature next to the famous La Rochelle marina, with a direct view of the Lighthouse at the End of the World. Minimes beach has been designed to make it fully accessible for people with reduced mobility (on its seawall side) and it also has bathing chairs.
Charente-Maritime is definitely a choice bathing destination, so pick a beach from our selection and get swept away by its charm!