Camping holidays with kids

Surely everybody loves the ‘idea’ of family camping. But if you have babies and small children in tow, even the most well-organised camping trip can feel more of a chore than a holiday.


So how can you enjoy the great outdoors, without having to pack everything except the kitchen sink!? The answer is easy- Eurocamp!

My childhood holiday memories are filled with much-loved camping trips to France and Spain, but back then they were quite basic.

Luckily for me, now I’m grown up with kids to entertain of my own, things have very much changed and camping with Eurocamp can even be described as luxurious!


Camping holidays with kids


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Make sure you have a comfortable and practical vehicle to travel in. Eurocamp offer campsites all over Europe, so it could be a long trip!

We rented a Kia Sorento 2.5 CRDI XS diesel for the week, which suited our family of four perfectly. It was stylish, comfortable and practical. A diesel allowed us to get more miles to the gallon and there was plenty of space to pack what we needed.

Our holiday started with a P&O sea crossing from Dover to Calais.It takes only an hour- enough time to fill up with a hearty breakfast and say good-bye to the cliffs of Dover on deck before heading back to our vehicle ready for the road trip.

Roads in France are very different to England. Directions are clearly signposted and the roads have a lot less traffic. That’s where the cruise control function on our Sorento came to good use making the journey much less stressful for the driver.

Be sure to make pit stops along the way in one of France's many ‘Airs’ (service stations). There are pleasant green picnic areas as well as cafes where you can buy food.


Camping holidays with kids

No canvas required

We arrived at St. Julien de Landre, South of the Vendee only slightly tired and irritable, but even that was extinguished as we were greeted by a magnificent Château which lies at the heart of the La Garangeoire campsite.

We were meet by our Eurocamp rep Becky, who guided us through the pretty wooded campsite to our pitch.

We chose a 3-bedroom comfort home. Although the tents are big, roomy and equipped with everything you could need, I just didn’t feel at one with nature enough to enjoy the out-door experience for a whole week. I have to admit when the campers walked past my kitchen window to the shower blocks with their bowls of washing up, I did feel we had made the right choice!

Our home for the week had plenty of room for our family of four. It was new this year and comfortably furnished. We hugely enjoyed the outside decking area as it created an extra outdoor living space and was home to our many BBQs throughout the week.


Camping holidays with kids

Kids run free

The beauty of La Garangeoire is that is very family orientated and feels safe. Our 9 year old loved his independence with a morning errand to fetch our croissants and pains aux chocolate on his bike from the well-equipped site grocery shop.

The campsite itself had plenty to do. Its main attraction is the beautiful lake at the foot of the Chateau, with fishing, boating and pedalos: a beautiful backdrop for an afternoon picnic.

Another favourite activity for us was the pony club. The riding school has a selection of lessons and daily treks for riders of all levels. Our six year old particularly loved that campers are allowed to take their children on their very own 30-minute mini trek with a small pony (‘Calypso’ the Shetland in our case), around the campsite and lake for just 8 Euros.


Camping holidays with kids

Fun stations

The site pool, if a little small, also has a children’s pool with a waterfall and an impressive water-slide section, which our children NEVER tired of.

As well as the campsite's own facilities there are the famous Eurocamp fun stations for children of all ages from 12 months right up to 13 years with separate stations for different age groups.

The mini fun station is reserved for children aged 12 months to up to 4 years old. Toddler playgroups are run by experienced Eurocamp children's couriers and provide games and activities galore.

Sessions take place in a specially designed activity tent. Equipment includes mini cycles, slides, sandpits, water-play, rocking toys, climbing fames, plus a selection of arts and crafts materials, books, puzzles and toys.


Camping holidays with kids

Venture out

There is lots to do outside the camp. The Vendee's micro-climate means it is always warm enough to enjoy the beautiful beaches.

We loved visiting the small resort of Bretignolles which lies between St. Gilles-Croix-de-Vie and the town of Les Sables D'lonnes. The beach is just right for little ones as the curve of the bay means the sea is calmer. There are also plenty of rocks for exploring.

Other fun days out include a visit to Le Grand Parc, or Puy de Fou. A reconstruction theme park of an 18th century village with villagers in costume. The evening show is an incredible open-air night with 850 people and 50 horsemen, ending in a spectacular firework display.

La Garangeoire runs a coach trip to the evening show once a week for a supplement. Beware, this can be quite a late night if you have toddlers.


Camping holidays with kids

We hugely enjoyed our trip with Eurocamp as it allowed us to appreciate that fantastic out-door camping experience somewhere warm that felt open yet safe. Not having to pack pack all the camping kit was also an added bonus.

My top Eurocamp tips:

* If the thought of driving in a foreign country is holding you back, don’t worry. We found French roads very straight forward and much quieter than in the UK. We didn’t use our sat nav once!

* Remember that French motorways have tolls; our journey cost £32.08 / 40.1€ each way.

* Make it a team effort: Let your kids participate in as much as possible even if it means more work for you.

* Help kids make their own holiday journals. They’ll love making drawings and collecting keepsakes from outings, plus it will be lovely to look back on when they get older.
Save money by going on plenty of picnics.

* French supermarches have any amazing variety of local fresh fruit and vegetables at cheap prices.

* Pay the extra £25 for decking-it really does make a difference by opening out your living space.

* If space allows, take your own bikes. Kids love the freedom of riding around the site. Bike hire costs around 5 Euros a day.

* Hire bed linen and beach towels; it saves space when packing and means less dirty laundry when you get home.

* Consider purchasing a welcome pack, which includes basic necessities such as washing up liquid, tea bags and tea towels.


* Relax and enjoy the great-out doors!