9 places to go sand yachting in Normandy

char à voile normandie

Enjoy sand yachting in Normandy on your next vacation! Here are 9 beaches where you can go sand yachting in Normandy!

With sandy beaches as far as the eye can see, Normandy is the ideal region for sand yachting. Also known as the « vessel of the sands », sand yachting was already used by the Egyptians several millennia ago! But it was Europeans who turned it into a leisure activity over a century ago. A cross between a car on wheels and a small sailboat, sand yachting in Normandy is an activity that quickly gives you a sense of freedom and fun. At ground level, you use the force and direction of the wind to pick up speed and move around. This highly accessible water sport requires no particular physical condition.

1. Landing Beaches

Old german bunker in Normandy, Gold beach

Photo credit: Shutterstock – photoneye

Sword Beach, Juno Beach, Gold Beach, Omaha Beach, Utah Beach… Welcome to the D-Day beaches, rich in history and emotion! Here, you can combine sand yachting with a visit to the museums dedicated to this Second World War military operation.

Located on a protected natural site, the kilometers of beach at Omaha Beach and Utah Beach lend themselves particularly well to water sports. Arromanches-les-Bains is also a must for sand yachting in Normandy. Nicknamed Gold Beach, it still bears the traces of the large artificial harbor that welcomed Allied troops during the liberation of 1944. Service providers offer two- to three-hour sessions all year round.

2. The Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel

Hirel

Photo credit: Shutterstock – 365_visuals

To practice sand yachting in Normandy in a mythical location, nothing beats the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel. Close to Mont Saint-Michel, on the Hirel beach, you’ll be introduced to the pleasures of sand yachting.

The session takes place in two stages: you’ll learn about sand yachting from a theoretical point of view during a briefing, then once you’ve mastered the safety rules, you’ll be able to glide along in the boat. For thrill-seekers!

3. Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer

Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Christian Musat

Located near Dieppe on the Côte d’Albâtre, the sandy beach of Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer offers easy access to sand yachting, especially if you’re coming from the Paris region. Dieppe is just over two hours from Paris. Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer is the largest beach in Seine-Maritime.

Just after the tide, the sea retreats, gradually creating an immense racetrack. All year round, depending on tide times, two-hour sessions are offered by local clubs.

4. Anse de Sciotot

Anse de Sciotot char

Photo Credit: Facebook – Centre d’Activités Voile et Vent de Sciotot

Among the beaches of the Cotentin region, Sciotot is the perfect spot for sand yachting in Normandy. Between the Capes de Flamanville and Le Rozel, it is part of the commune of Les Pieux in the Manche department. Its stretch of sand is four kilometers long. Its wild appearance and size make it an excellent playground for all ages, from 8 upwards.

Did you know that in 2019, Le Monde newspaper ranked Sciotot as the fifth most beautiful beach in Europe? All the more reason to consider a water sports holiday!

5. Trouville-sur-Mer

Trouville-sur-Mer char

Photo Credit: Facebook – Office de Tourisme de Trouville sur Mer

If you want to practice sand yachting in Normandy in a legendary location, Trouville-sur-Mer is the place to come. Located close to Deauville, this seaside resort is the oldest in the region. Its long sandy beach stretches for 1.2 kilometers. It combines water sports, relaxation and history.

In Trouville, you can not only try your hand at sand yachting, but also discover Beach Karts! These small remote-controlled craft are based on the same principles as sand yachting, and are available on a variety of courses. Finally, children’s clubs and facilities allow the whole family to have fun at the same time.

6. Jullouville

Jullouville char à voile

Photo credit: Facebook – Mairie de Jullouville

Located 8 kilometers from Granville, Jullouville’s long beach stretches from Saint-Pair-sur-Mer to Carolles, covering some 2 kilometers. Accessible by stroller, it is above all a family beach. Its many seasonal activities are sure to please young and old alike.

At low tide, it becomes the center of attention for foot fishing and sand yachting. In fact, the Jullouville sailing base is THE spot in southern La Manche for this activity. For thrill-seekers, the beach is open to the bay, giving it the wind exposure you need to pick up speed!

7. Cabourg

cabourg plage

Photo credit: Shutterstock – flydragon

Between Caen and Deauville, the « beach of the romantics » stretches over almost 4 kilometers of fine sand. A visit to Cabourg will give you the opportunity to practice sand yachting in Normandy, in a unique setting. The Grand Hôtel Belle Époque, the casino and the Marcel Proust promenade are just some of the attractions that can be seen from the beach.

The seaside resort has also been awarded the « Famille Plus » label, which means that there are clubs on the beach specially dedicated to children. So if you’re coming as a family, you can let your kids have fun while you learn your new favorite pastime! What a pleasure to reward your sporting efforts with a late afternoon ice cream on Europe’s longest pedestrian promenade.

8. Ouistreham

ouistreham voile

Photo credit: Facebook – Sweet Home Cabourg

Head for the beach at Ouistreham Riva-Bella! Labelled a 3-star Nautical Resort, the Pearl of the Côte de Nacre is perfect for marine sports enthusiasts. Among the wide range of activities on offer, sand yachting is a must.

Before you hit the sand, take time to observe the changing landscapes, topped by the dunes that separate you from the town…

9. Bretteville-Sur-Ay

Bretteville-Sur-Ay

Photo Credit: Facebook – Ay-ole sand yachting center

Are you looking for a vast, unspoilt area, untouched by tourism? Welcome to Bretteville beach! Ten kilometers of beach between the two harbors of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay and Surville, with a view of the Isle of Jersey : you’re in for a treat! The small commune of Bretteville-sur-Ay lies on the D650, also known as the « tourist route » to the locals.

From Cherbourg to Coutances, it follows the Normandy coastline and smells of vacations, sun and warm sand (in summer!). Taking this mythical route will take you to many sites of tourist interest… and numerous sand yachting spots. Are you ready for the Normandy sand yacht tour?

Practical information for sand yachting in Normandy

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Sand yachting is a leisure activity in which the aim is both to gain speed and to steer your craft, propelled by the force of the wind. It’s not long before you’ve mastered your craft, and gained a pleasant sense of freedom. The float can be single-seater or two-seater. The tandem version is particularly suitable for taking a child on your lap, or for feeling reassured by the presence of an instructor.

Practice conditions

Sand yachting is accessible to all, from 7 to 77 years of age. It’s best practised at low tide, when the beach is immense and you can draw lines on the still-moist sand. A minimum wind force of 3 is required for propulsion and steering. It’s also ideal to ride on a well-compacted sandbank.

The equipment

For a successful session, bring warm clothing (sweater, fleece), an old pair of closed shoes, sunglasses and gloves. Clubs generally provide helmets and waterproof clothing (wetsuits, oilskins). And don’t forget your change of clothes!

So what are you waiting for to go sand yachting in Normandy?