Before choosing your campsite

Campsite aquatic facilities - the choice is yours!

Aquacentra op maat voor een zwembelevenis
Aquacentra op maat voor een zwembelevenis "à la carte"

Among the criteria taken into account when choosing a campsite, an aquatic area is high on the list. But you need to know what the term means and what facilities and services you're likely to find, be they lagoons, indoor pools, water slides, balneotherapy areas, counter current channels, water fun areas, etc.

A large number of campsites now offer aquatic facilities worthy of a theme park: in just a few years, the notion of a campsite swimming pool has moved on somewhat. We have gone from a single swimming pool for both children and adults to constructions sometimes bordering on the "colossal", where each pool and each area is for a certain age group or use.

Types of pools: swimming pools and lagoons

We've come a long way from the straightforward rectangular pool with a ladder at one end and steps at the other... or not. Technological developments have given swimming pool manufacturers almost complete freedom in their choice of shape. A particular type of pool has appeared in a few campsites - the lagoon. Also called "natural swimming places", these swimming pools look like natural pools or lakes, with beautiful fine sandy beaches. But they also have filtering and treatment systems which means they have the same quality of water as in more traditional swimming pools.

Lagoons with fine sandy beaches
Lagoons with fine sandy beaches© OC

 

Indoor pools

Indoor swimming pools are firstly "insurance against bad weather" as you can swim in them throughout your stay, whatever the weather. They also present a strong argument for off-season camping. In other words, swimming in water which is over 25 ° when the weather is bad and the outdoor temperature is struggling to reach 10° is no bad thing! Also, some large upright canopies or immense domed canopies open up on fine days and turn into giant solariums, like at the Airotel l’Océan in Lacanau (Gironde).

Indoor, sometimes luxury, swimming pools
Indoor, sometimes luxury, swimming pools© Airotel Ocean Lacanau

 

Water slides

These have often become standard equipment. They come in all shapes and sizes. Water slides for children, water slides for adults, from the gentle... to the downright scary! The current trend is for them to be installed in dedicated areas with the exits separate from the main swimming pool, mainly so that swimmers are left undisturbed.

Scary water slides
Scary water slides © Edsun

Counter current channels

These are one of the facilities which are all the rage and included in a lot of projects which have taken shape in recent years, like at the Airotel l’Océan campsite in Lacanau (Gironde). The principle is quite straightforward - it is a water circuit in which nozzles inject water at a relatively high pressure. Children can put on little rubber rings or climb on little inflatable boats and get carried along by the current. Grown-ups, who are keen on keeping fit, swim against the current to strengthen their legs and back. Some campsites have also installed wave machines to liven up their pools.

Get carried along by the current or swim against it
Get carried along by the current or swim against it
© Airotel l'Océan

Balneotherapy areas and spas

As aquatic areas are also places for relaxing in, some campsites have incorporated balneotherapy areas. These may be benches, seats or a lane where nozzles inject bubbles to massage swimmers in varying strengths... what a treat! In some cases, one or more spas have been built into the beaches, like at the Yelloh Village Soleil Vivarais in Sampzon (Ardèche) or installed in individual shelters or decorative features.

Outdoor spas
Outdoor spas © OC

Splash pad

For several years, this type of facility has been all the rage to the point where nearly every new project has included one. Put simply, a splash pad is a peaceful area where tiny tots can get used to water without any risk (zero-depth water) and it is increasingly replacing the traditional paddling pool. However, due to games and workshops for all ages, it is also a fantastic meeting place where all age groups can mingle in complete safety, from toddlers to pre-teens or even older guests. Some can be quite luxurious like the one at the La Rive campsite in Biscarosse (Landes), and can be as big as 1,000 m² like the Aqua’Pirates at the La Côte d'Argent campsite, in Gironde.

© DR

Aquagym and swimming classes

These are Aquagym classes when they are organised by qualified instructors, like at the Les Sablons campsite in Portiragne (Hérault), otherwise they are stretching sessions. In both cases the principle is very much the same - doing exercises while taking advantage of the light, weightless feeling provided by the water. Holidays can be a good time to learn how to swim as we are more relaxed and have more time. This is why an increasing number of campsites have included swimming lessons in their events programme. They can be group or individual lessons and are given by lifeguards.

"Weightless" exercise!
"Weightless" exercise!© OC

 

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