By writing about our top 10 family friendly summer activities in and around Morzine, I hope to inspire families to get outdoors and have fun without spending too much money. I hope our summer adventures will motivate you to hike, picnic and play outside as much as you can – even with babies.
To start with I will be sharing my top 10 summer adventures with young children. Often people associate Morzine with mountain biking or road cycling. Both of these are huge here, however there is so much on offer that doesn’t involve being on two wheels.
There are some incredible activities in and around Morzine, however my top 10 are all baby friendly and free or low-cost. My mountain girls are young – the oldest is four and the youngest is not yet a year old. This rules out some of the more extreme sports and difficult hikes. I am looking forward to doing these with the girls as they grow up.
This beautiful sandy beach is on the shores of Lac Leman and is just over half an hour from where we live. The beach is extremely popular in the peak summer months. Our visits have mostly been during this beautiful warm Autumn. The water has been surprisingly warm and the lake is shallow for a long way out, which is perfect for little ones.
Excenevex is the only natural sandy beach on the shores of Lake Geneva. There are restaurants and snack bars around the beach, kiosks to hire paddle boards and pedalos, volley ball courts, and a fantastic play park right on the beach. During the peak season, you have to pay 5 euros for parking, however we have not minded this as it is to keep the beach clean and groomed for all to enjoy. To live in the mountains with a lovely sandy beach nearby is a dream come true. Next summer I’d like to take our tent to the campsite next to the beach so we can wake up at the waters edge.
This is one of the most stunning areas that I have visited in the Alps. We are extremely fortunate to live only ten minutes away. Needless to say, this is probably our favourite local place to visit. My eldest daughter loves the play park which includes a mini zipline. On the large lake, you can hire a canoe or stand up paddle board. With children the smaller swimming lake is a big hit. The water can feel a little fresh, it is a mountain lake after all, but on a hot day it is a perfect way to cool off.
There are a number of restaurants around the lake, including a new one at the entrance to the main carpark. We often picnic around the lake, then head to the restaurant kiosk for an ice cream. Other activities on offer include hiking, pony riding and fishing.
With its glistening emerald waters set against towering cliffs, Lake Montriond oozes peace and tranquility. When we first moved here, the stress of the move, my husband working away and endless unpacking whilst looking after a baby and a four year old was overwhelming at times. A trip to Lake Montriond would immediately give me a sense of calm and tranquillity, so this became a regular outing. Lake Montriond therapy……..health and happiness in the mountains!
We visited Aquariaz in Avoriaz on a rainy day when my sister and her family came to visit. It is a fairly windy drive up to Avoriaz, but once you are there the views are stunning. Entrance to the pool was slightly on the pricy side (9 euros for adults and 6 euros for children aged 3 – 11 years. Babies are free) and being a rainy day the pool was busy, but my four-year old was in her element.
She loved floating around the lazy river, playing in the aqua park and riding the little water slides. The kids area was a little too chaotic for my liking, with over excited children running in all directions and the occasional pile up on the slides. However, this has made my top 10 for my daughter!
For older children there is pool side rock climbing, a rope swing and a rubber tubing half-pipe which looked like great fun! We will be back.
Seytroux Natural Pool
We headed down to the village of Seytroux and followed the signs to the mini golf. When we arrived we were greeted by glistening turquoise waters, where the river ran into a beautiful natural pool.
Overlooking the pool there is a bar-restaurant which also provides deck chairs for relaxing next to the water. Instead of playing mini golf we ended up splashing around in the water. Next time we go, I plan to follow the river walk from our house to get there.
When we moved to the area earlier this summer, we had no idea that Thonon-les-Bains has so much to offer. We love going down to the port for an ice cream and a walk along the shores of Lac Leman. We like looking out over the water and choose which boat we would like to own!
The port is linked to the town centre by a cable car. There are a range of water front restaurants, a children’s play area and a carousel during the summer months.
Plage Municipal Thonon
Not far from the port, right on the waters edge is the Plage Municipal. Here are find various sized swimming pools, a lovely splash pool for little ones and a water slide. There are also diving boards and a slide into the lake. There is a large grassy area with the bonus of being shaded by tall pine trees, a children’s play park and various sunbathing areas / solariums. The lake is easily accessible for a swim and all areas are well monitored by life guards.
We think that the Plage Municipal is great value for money. Entrance is only 4, 50 euros for adults and it is free for children under 5. The beautiful views over the lake set against mountain backdrops are a bonus. We took a picnic, although there is a restaurant and a snack bar on site.
Running from Morzine all the way down to Lac Leman is the river Dranse. During the summer months it hosts a whole range of activities from white water rafting and hydrospeed to fishing. Unfortunately, my girls need to be a bit older before we can play on the river, however there are plenty of beautiful river walks to do all the way down the valley.
Our chalet is located just off the river. We often pick up a river path from home and wander as far as a four-year-old’s legs will allow. Being in the mountains, we have an off-road pram; the Jané Trider which allows us to be adventurous with our terrain. There are plenty of places to sit by the river, paddle and skim stones.
Lake in Les Gets / Lac des Ècoles
Another day, another picturesque mountain lake to visit! The Lac des Ècoles is yet another beautiful place to relax, enjoy a picnic (although there is a bar-restaurant at the lake) and have lots of fun! During the summer you have to pay a small fee for access to the lake (although it is free if you have a multipass), however you benefit from lifeguards being on duty. We have not swum in this lake yet, however we went for a lovely stroll and used the play park.
On the lake, the Witbit water park looks like great fun. The minimum age for Witbit inflatables is 6 years and you must be able to swim. There is also a water slide which looked very popular with children.
Play park in Morzine
If you head to Parc des Déreches and walk along the river, past the swimming pool complex you will come to a lovely children’s play area. The park is surrounded by tall trees, providing much needed shade on hot days.
Nearby is the Indiana Park which has high ropes and zipwires. We are looking forward to trying this next summer.
The Goat Village / Lindarets
My brother-in-law first told me about the Goat Village. He said that you were served by goats in the restaurants and that the goats manned the shops (this is not an insult to the actual people working there – more a testament of how many goats there are freely wandering around!) and he wasn’t far wrong. The goats certainly seem to rule the village!
Whilst I do question how much the goats really do enjoy being overfed by the huge numbers of tourists that visit, Lindarets is a picturesque old style alpine village set high up above Ardents with stunning views. My daughters were both enamoured with the goats, which roam freely around the village. Goat feed can be purchased for 1 euro in the local shops.
There are a number of restaurants in the village, and although we didn’t eat here some of the daily specials sounded great and the food looked yummy. My taste buds were slightly put off by the ‘eau de Goat’ aroma, although I will definitely go back to try the alpine specialities on offer.
There is so much to do around Morzine and Thonon and we have barely scratched the surface. On our autumn and next summers bucket lists are:
- Les Gorges du Pont du Diable,
- A visit to the town of Evian,
- A trip to the medieval town of Yvoire on the shores of Lac Leman
- A walk to Ardent falls
- A boat trip to explore Lac Leman
If you live here or know the area well, I would welcome other suggestions of activities to do with young children and babies. You may also be interested in our blog on why we think that living in the mountains is awesome.