Seaside resort

What to do with your family in Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue?

Our suggestions for great holidays with your children
Photo, © David Daguier - CD50

Nestled in the heart of the Val de Saire, the seaside resort of Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue is a great place for families. The influence of the sea is everywhere, providing the opportunity to recharge your batteries, take invigorating walks, and try different watersports. There are plenty of great places to visit near Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, including Tatihou Island, Barfleur, Saint-Mère-Eglise – a witness to history – and Gatteville lighthouse, with its breathtaking views of land and sea. For a well-deserved treat, be sure to try the famous local oysters. We’re taking you to discover Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, which won the “Favourite village of the French” competition in 2019, and you’ll soon see why!

What to do with your family in Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue: our suggestions

Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue is a picturesque little village famous for its Vauban fortifications. You’ll find one Vauban tower in Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, and another on Tatihou Island, a bird reserve that’s accessible on foot or by amphibious boat, depending on the tides.

Have fun in the sun on the family-friendly beaches

Head off with your kids to enjoy the beach near the seaside resort of Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue. On the little beaches in Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue and Jonville, laze in the sun and enjoy the view of Tatihou Island, or challenge your kids to make a Vauban tower sandcastle! From Morsaline beach, you’ll have a view of the other tower in La Hougue, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, along with the one on Tatihou.

Photo, © Jérôme Houyvet

Try watersports at the Pointe de Jonville

This place is the perfect playground to try your hand at kayaking, kite surfing or sailing. If the weather is right, take your family for a sand yachting experience. The Centre Nautique Est Cotentin runs activities from March to November at the centres in Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, Barfleur and Quinéville. Take your pick from windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, SUP yoga and sea wading. For your little sailors, courses are organised in the school holidays and the summer.

Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud

Take a ride in ahorse-drawn carriage

For a different and sustainable way to explore Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, opt for a ride in a carriage pulled by Norman Cob horses. The whole family will learn more about Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, its heritage and the work of oyster farmers as you cross the oyster beds. Contact the Attelage et Patrimoine en Cotentin association to find out about this experience.

Photo, © Benoit Ghio pour Wolrd Else

Try shellfish

At low tide, you can find cockles, crabs, prawns, razor clams and other shellfish; a fun way to show your children how to go shellfish gathering. Make sure you gather sustainably to protect the resources and ecosystems. Shellfish gathering is regulated, so stay informed of the rules at

Photo, © Best Jobers

What to see near Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue?


Tatihou Island and its rich flora and fauna


Just a stone’s throw from Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, head over to Tatihou Island on the amphibious boat. You can cross at high tide or low tide. Tatihou has been a bird reserve for more than 20 years, and is a paradise for our feathered friends. The island also has gardens full of plants from all over the world for you to admire with your little ones. The maritime museum displays archaeological heritage from the wrecks of the Battle of La Hougue, and is a good visit with your children.


Photo, © Best Jobers

Barfleur, a picturesque village


Close to Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, you’ll find Barfleur and its tidal harbour, whose landscapes change with the seasons and the tides. The harbour in Barfleur is always a hive of activity, with fishing boats and pleasure boats coming and going. Barfleur, known as the “Pearl of the Val de Saire”, is listed as one of the prettiest villages in France, and is well worth a visit!

Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud

Gatteville lighthouse and its stunning views of the Val de Saire


Take your courage in both hands and climb the 365 steps and 12 floors of the second tallest lighthouse in France! Your reward will be a breathtaking view of the Val de Saire. You’ll be able to admire the unique landscapes of the Cotentin Peninsula and the Channel, whether the sea is calm or raging. Gatteville lighthouse was built to guide mariners through the dangerous Barfleur tidal race. In good weather, you might be able to see the coast of Calvados, the department adjoining the Manche. Gatteville is the only lighthouse in la Manche that can be visited almost all year round (except from mid-November to mid-December and in January).

Gatteville lighthouse

Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud

Sainte-Mère-Église, a witness of D-Day


Around 30 km from Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, you’ll find a completely different atmosphere in Sainte-Mère-Église, telling the story of D-Day in Normandy and the celebration of the liberation of France. This little town in la Manche was made famous by the US parachute drops that enabled the liberation of la Manche. There are several good visits close to Sainte-Mère-Église to help you explain D-Day to your children: the airship hangar in Ecausseville, the battery in Azeville and Utah-Beach. On the way back to your accommodation, treat yourself to a break at the biscuit factory in Quinéville.

Discover Cotentin peninsula

Photo, © Didier Griffouilière pour Motor Life Style

Where to eat in Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue ?

Our recommendations

Like all of the seaside resorts in la Manche, Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue has plenty of great places to eat and drink. If you fancy a tipple with the sand between your toes, stop at Le Goéland in Réville, with a lovely view of Tatihou Island. Your kids can play in the sand while you sit back and indulge in a craft cocktail.

Then why not try a seafood platter directly from the harbour? Tuck into delicious mussels from Barfleur and oysters from Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue. Stroll around the harbour and eat while you watch the fishing boats coming and going. Your kids will undoubtedly want to try some locally made ice cream as you explore the little shopping streets of Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue.

If you want to take some souvenirs back home with you, head to Maison Gossellin. This delicatessen shop, dating back to 1889, has a great range of local products on offer. You could also take a trip to Le Vast to try the famous local brioche.

Local products and crafts

Where to stay in Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue ?

Our recommendations

If you fancy going camping in the Val de Saire, there are lots of great places to choose from, including La Gallouette in Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, L’Anse du Brick in Maupertus-sur-Mer, Camping de la Plage in Fermanville and Le Rivage in Quettehou.

Close to Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, there are more than 40 B&Bs and some 280 holiday cottages. Whether by the sea or further inland, you’ll have no problem finding the perfect place for you to spend a magical holiday in la Manche.

Plan your stay in Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue


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