Get to know the Best Northern France campsites for families.
Northern France is a favourite of camping enthusiasts from around the country, as well as visitors from across Europe. The area is highly regarded for the natural beauty of its landscapes, dotted with historical cities and towns boasting cherished landmarks, engaging attractions and moderate summer temperatures ideal for a family camping holiday.
With the capital city of Paris within its environs, the best campsites in Northern France span a myriad of environments for campers of all stripes: interior remote areas offering stunning natural beauty ideal for tent camping and campervans, as well as coastal and beach areas fit for glamping in style.
With several hundred Northern France campsites from which to choose, it can be difficult to determine the very best ones the region has to offer families seeking excellent value for the money. For this reason, we have broken the area down into its separate departments and, in each one, we offer you the choicest areas you should consider for your family’s camping holiday and reasons why you should do so. Each category will also highlight area attractions of interest for families, children in particular.
The best family campsite areas in Northern France by district
You can review the following list and consider which ones will make your list of finalists.
Nord-Pas de Calais
Nord-Pas de Calais enjoys a reputation as one of the happiest parts of France, which bodes well for families seeking campsites in the area. The port city of Calais has a rich history with ample influences from its time under British rule, while the city of Lille is its cultural centre-piece, with numerous galleries and museums. Lille exudes a strong Flemish flavour owing to its proximity to Belgium. You can find many beach and seaside campsites in Nord-Pas du Calais, which accommodate camping vans or often offer cabins, if you prefer.
The southern city of Rouen with its imposing Notre Dame cathedral is the jewel in the crown of Upper Normandy, while Dieppe is found along the stretch of coastline to the north. This area offers many campsites, some of which are open year-round and make ideal locations for family glamping or camping.
The Eure Valley
The Eure Valley is a favourite among nature lovers and offers camping opportunities near woodland areas and Karlostachys Jungle Garden. Pitch a tent or park the campervan and have a captivating, forest adventure with the kids.
Basse Normandie: beaches and coastlines
The lower part of Normandy is home to the famous D-Day landing beaches. The area of Calvados is one of the most attractive areas for camping in Northern France, with its spectacular views of the beaches and coastline, as well as magnificent white cliffs, which contrast with its deep patchwork of green landscapes.
Basse Normandie: structures and monuments
Manche and Orme are other districts in Basse Normandie where you can locate great campsites from which to can explore many of the area’s historic structures and monuments, like Caen Castle or the Castle of William the Conqueror, among other attractions. An exploration of the iconic Mont St. Michel near Avranches should definitely make the list.
With the Somme, Aisne and Oise rivers running through and across it, Picardie is a lush green landscape. If you prefer campsites with plenty of nature surrounding them, then the Somme Valley should make your shortlist of ideal family camping destinations. Several WWI memorials can be found in the Somme area, so there’s great historical value for kids and adults alike, beyond its natural attractions. The towns of Aisne and Oise are serious contenders for inland camping alternatives away from the coast, with lakes and ponds for plenty of summer fun.
Another excellent region boasting some of the best campsites in Northern France is the north-western area of Bretagne (Brittany), which juts out into the English Channel just south of the Channel Island Jersey. As with all the other sub-regions of Northern France, Brittany offers camping and glamping opportunities along its Atlantic Ocean coastline and beaches, as well as in interior areas near the major cities of Rennes and Nantes. You will find lots of campsites here bearing the “camping qualité” French seal of approval and you can’t do much better than that.
The Loire Valley
Spanning the districts of Pays de la Loire and Centre-Val de Loire, the Loire Valley is famous for its wine industry. It is also home to lush landscapes and some of the most charming chateaux (castles) and cathedrals in France, even in Europe. There are campsites near the central cities of Tours and Orleans, where you can visit a few the likes of Tours Cathedral and the Royal Chateau de Blois, home of Catherine de Medici.
Tips and recommendations for camping in Northern France
With a wealth of attractive locations and information at your disposal, you can narrow your focus using the following guidelines:
Timing is everything
The summer months from June-August are when the best campsites in Northern France are most crowded. Of course, it is also the period when campsite fees are at their highest, so if you’re looking to get the best value for your money, consider camping during September or October. The weather is still moderate enough to have great fun outdoors with the added incentives of cheaper rates and fewer crowds.
Maximising your value
Look for areas with a good mixture of natural surroundings like beaches and coastlines, as well as cultural influences like museums and theme parks, which the family can enjoy together. As parts of Northern France can be quite rugged, if travelling in a sizeable RV consider the road networks, as well as proximity of petrol stations and supermarkets to your chosen campsite.
Taking advantage of opportunities
Many of the best campsites in Northern France are equipped with bike hire facilities and are close to bike paths, which you should certainly take advantage of to explore the surroundings and have some fun outdoors as a family unit. Family walks to rural villages are also excellent ways to discover area landmarks and enjoy some local lunches.
Make some new friends
It’s always a good idea to exchange greetings or extend a helping hand to your new neighbours at the campsite. Inviting someone over for a coffee or to participate in family activities can turn out very enjoyable. Most kids enjoy meeting and learning about new people and this could be a chance to make a lifelong friend or occasional pen pal.
Compile a list of daily activities
Once you’ve got an idea of where the family is headed, make a short list of activities for each day of your trip. Most campsites in Northern France offer a host of facilities and amenities to enjoy without any advance planning, but you should also make time for organised family projects with an objective. This might require a bit of research and advance planning. Participating in beach or shoreline clean-up projects, for example, is a unique activity for fostering connections to the environment among your children.
Finalising your choices for the best campsites
Helpful information for considering which of the best campsites in Northern France is ideal for you and the family.
Is glamping better than camping?
Glamping or ‘glamorous camping’ refers to camping or campsites with additional frills and benefits beyond the usual camping essentials. It’s kind of similar to a 5-star hotel versus a regular hotel, hostel or budget motel. Choosing between them can be a matter of intent as well as budget – one isn’t really any “better” than the other. The real question should be which one offers more fun for the family, in terms of activities available on-site and nearby.
Are biking helmets necessary for kids at camping sites?
Yes. French law requires that all children under the age of 12 wear a helmet while cycling and it’s always a good idea to lead by example, so parents should also do it. If you don’t already have helmets for the kids, you may be able to hire some from the campsite where you’re staying. Make enquiries before you leave though, so you know for sure if they are available. If you have space, it’s generally a good idea to bring your own and not leave it to chance.
Should we travel with our own pool accessories or hire some at the camping site?
If you’re travelling in your own vehicle, you may as well bring your own pool accessories, if you have room, especially any related to safety. They may be available on site, but then of course they may be in use by others.
If I’m travelling from the UK, what do I need to go camping in Northern France?
Regardless of whether you take a ferry from the UK to France or fly into one of the airports in Northern France, the requirements are the same. All UK citizens must hold a valid passport for international travel and papers identifying your accommodation as the purpose of your visit. At present, any applicable covid requirements must also be fulfilled.
Do the pools, beaches and water parks in Northern France have lifeguards on site?
In keeping with French regulations, all public beaches, pools and water parks that have been approved for family use must have at least one lifeguard on duty during opening hours, so you can rest assured that there will be a professional on hand should you, your child, or other campers be in need of assistance.
Select one of the best campsites in Northern France and enjoy lots of summer fun.