I cannot even express in words how much I love the beach. I grew up in South East Essex, near Southend-on-Sea and my mother used to take me there (well, Thorpe Bay most of the time) often during the summer as a child.
I think the beach, and the ocean is probably my favourite thing in the world! One of the awesome things about being self employed and having freedom of time is that when there’s a lovely sunny day – which is not too often in the UK, I can drop everything and head to the beach! And I have been doing just that for many years.
But in recent years I have lived more inland, much further from the coast and last summer was a bit of a roller coaster in my life and I just never got there. It’s been two years since I have seen the beach, until now!
Hitting the Coast
After leaving the Pyrenees, I drove about half way to the coast, stopped for the night at a town that I thought would be nice to visit (it wasn’t!) and quickly moved onto the coast the next day.
I drove to a place called Anglet, near the large town of Bayonne. Now one thing about this time of year is that we’re getting into high season. Everything is busier, and of course anything that is typically touristy, such as beaches, will be rammed, especially on hot sunny days!
I picked this spot because I had it marked on my map as one of the best beaches in the region and I could see four possible parking places with access, including a paid Aire as a last resort.
As I got closer to the coast driving was quite stressful as I crawled slowly through the traffic in the big towns. The weather was getting hotter by the minute!
To my amazement, I managed to find a free parking spot in the first area that I chose. It was right on the side of the road but I had just driven past the beach on the way – it was so close!
Ahh, The Ocean!
I had some food, got changed and prepared a bag with sunscreen (yes, high factor this time!) and some water and headed out. It was literally a five minute walk. The beach was crowded but there was still plenty of room.
One thing I noticed right away was how clean it was. And I don’t just mean the seaweed and flotsam (there wasn’t any at all), I mean litter. I did not see a single piece of litter all afternoon! There were all sorts of people – families, older couples, groups of young people, and none of them left any litter at all. It was lovely.
The weather and the water was simply delightful! With the sun being so hot the water was lovely and warm, but there was also a good enough breeze to make the sunbathing bearable. There were designated areas for surfing and swimming and there were 6 lifeguards keeping watch which was nice.
I had a fantastic time and stayed until almost 7pm. My rumbling tummy sent me back to the motorhome 🙂
A Very Noisy Evening!
The parking spot was excellent for access to the beach, but it was not so good for the evening and spending the night. Every couple of minutes I had people walking past the motorhome, making lots of noise and there were cars driving past all evening and way into the night.
The reason? I suspect it was due to the beach bars! There were at least two there and one of them was already looking busy at 7pm when I walked past it. It was also a hot Friday night so I suspect it was a popular night spot with the locals.
It was also uncomfortably hot in the motorhome so I did not have a very good sleep! The next morning the area started to fill up with cars quickly. I knew I had to move as it was now Saturday, and the forecast was 32 degree heat! I needed to find some shade!
I started my research on Park4Night, which is definitely my goto website for motorhome parkups these days. Weekends are always busy, even moreso in the summer and with such good weather forecast, I didn’t expect to find any free parking so I didn’t even try.
With this level of heat, I needed shade but also wanted to be near a beach if possible so I could go cool off in the ocean. I found a private Aire, one of the Camping Car Park ones which I like, at Seignosse. It was perfect!
A very large site that looked more like a campsite than an Aire, but at just 11 euros a night. It came with electric hookup of course so I didn’t need to worry about the shade blocking power to the solar panels. The beach was much further away this time, but of course, I am not averse to a little walking so that didn’t bother me 🙂
As I got near to where I thought the beach was I encountered some large sand dunes! I was close but I could not access the beach from this place. I ended up going the long way around and it eventually took me about 40 minutes to find it!
It was nice, but not as good as the beach in Anglet. The sand dunes in the area meant that to actually get down to the beach you had to walk down a long path of very soft and deep sand which was very difficult to walk through. It was even harder to leave!
The temperature was at 29 degrees which is too hot for me so I spent a good amount of time in the water which I love anyway. However, after a few hours it started to cloud over which brought a little relief from the harsh sun.
It was still extremely hot when I got back to the motorhome but at 7pm I started to hear thunder and within about 20 minutes the rainstorm hit! Usually I hate the rain, but it brought the temperature down a bit which might make it easier to sleep tonight 🙂
As I wasn’t completely enamoured with the beach and it was quite a walk from the Aire, I decided to move on. I spent a day at a lake that I was unfortunately unable to swim in and then I headed to my next beach location.
Something I am still struggling with even after all this time, is getting enough work done. It’s really hard to find a balance, especially when I am moving about a lot; the research to find parkups, preparation to drive, actually driving etc all takes up so much time.
So I decided to find a place near the beach that looked good, and that had electric hookup so I could park in the shade and still work and just stay there a few days.
That place was Saint Julien en Born. The coast is more expensive than other areas, especially now we’re July and getting to high season so this place cost me 13 Euros a night. However, I got a parking spot in the shade of some pine trees and the beach is literally a five minute walk away!
When I got there I had a quick walk down to the beach to check it out then went back to the motorhome to work. I think I managed an hour before the ocean called me 🙂
Each beach has been different, which is the beauty of travelling from place to place. On this one the waves were very strong which was super fun but it did have one little downside – my boobs kept popping out of my bikini top lol! Somebody else nearly lost their pants so I wasn’t the only one, still it was a little distracting!
I need to get better bikini, but in the meantime, I’ll wear a t-shirt over the top next time 🙂
Playing with the huge waves was great fun but tiring after a while and I also wanted to relax. There was a slight dip in the sand which made a large pool a couple of feet deep away from the waves. This was perfect to just float about in 🙂
I spent about 3.5 hours at the beach before heading back to the motorhome to work for the evening. The motorhome was nice and cool and comfortable enough to work so I had found just what I was looking for.