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Summer in Alps with kids -what to do ,where to stay?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
So we have decided to drive to Alps from London mid August with our boys aged 6 and 9... we haven’t booked anything and it is getting a bit last minute, but in the current uncertainty we didn’t get organised. Anyways I am looking for recommendations where is best to try and go ( Annecy, Chamonix, Acosta in Italy?) and where to stay? I was hoping to book a mobile home in a campsite but seems not many options left.. maybe someone has an apartment available somewhere?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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@Bella2015, I've a one bedroom apartment in Le Monetier-les-Bains, Serre Chevalier available from Sunday 23rd August for 1 week, but that might be a bit late for you? Website in my signature, PM me if you want any more information. There's loads to do in the area and the residence has a shared pool (rules in place for Covid).
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@Hells Bells, thank you. Yes, 23 August maybe a little late, but I am not sure what else I will find so will keep it in mind. Thank you.
Ideally was hoping to leave the week of August 9 or the week after...
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@Bella2015, if you look at resort websites they'll tell you what they have on offer, and give links to accommodation. Location depends a bit on what you want to do. Family hikes, mountain biking, lakes, swimming etc.

Chamonix does have a lot to offer but is a big, busy town. Maybe somewhere smaller and quieter would suit you better? Aosta (if that's what you mean) in Italy is a big town too.

If you give us an idea of what activities you enjoy, you'll get plenty of advice.
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@pam w, thank you. Lake and hiking , maybe some kids friendly climbing would be great... and yes, ideally would like to be somewhere quieter so maybe not Chamonix itself but around it .. or somewhere else ( I did mean Aosta but autocorrect had different ideas;) ... but l really open to anything at this stage as long as drivable from London. Will have a look at resort pages...
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@Bella2015, many of the ski resorts have been working on attracting the summer family business for a few years now, so I think that you are spoilt for choice. Have you looked at apartments on the local tourism office websites or HomeAway, Booking.com etc.? You may need to be a bit flexible on arrival/departure days as turnarounds on properties are not necessarily being done within one day, but there’s lots of accommodation out there.

Most resorts will have enough to keep your two boys active - we are in Morillon, which has a fantastic swimming lake, pump track and other free/low cost activities and many other resorts can offer a similar set up. I don’t think that you need to restrict yourself to looking at mobile homes as there should be lots of apartment capacity.
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@rachelharrisonsmith, thank you. Will look into Morrillon as well.. doesn’t have to be a mobile home (it was just an idea, haven’t done anything like that before). In fact l am thinking l should try and find two different locations as we might be going for 2 weeks, so want to make sure that kids don’t get bored
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Samoens, Les Gets, Morzine all fit your bill and you will find something there. For LG check the resort website
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@Bella2015, we’ve done what you’re planning (in chalets or apartments), many times. I think the Alps are fantastic for summer family holidays, and the drive is part of the fun (for me anyway, as OH prefers to drive). Les Gets, Samoens, Morillon, St Gervais (discovered in the summer, loved it, skied there a couple of times since), will all give you plenty to do and see with easy access to amenities. Try www.chaletsdirect.com for accommodation; there is a Solutions Room bulletin board where you can place a request and owners can respond. Finally, if you’re driving, I’d suggest 10 to 14 days might be better. I’m quite jealous!
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@Bella2015, i've never been to the alps in the summer, but I know Morzine is a popular mountain biking spot, also not far to Lake Geneva for day trips.

Here's some examples of places on Airbnb:

https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/39570884?adults=4&location=Morzine%2C%20France&check_in=2020-08-09&check_out=2020-08-16&source_impression_id=p3_1594711482_PK0YdaN4%2BU9tPFJC

https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/19941979?adults=4&location=Morzine%2C%20France&check_in=2020-08-09&check_out=2020-08-16&source_impression_id=p3_1594711576_pJFM5WKJT0QO14yu&guests=1

https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/9892656?adults=4&location=Morzine%2C%20France&check_in=2020-08-09&check_out=2020-08-16&source_impression_id=p3_1594711609_%2BqClYV1WqJDkurGC&guests=1

No idea what your budget is, but those places range between £640 for a week to £985 and are all pretty central within Morzine by the looks of things.
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From LG/Morz we did day trips to Cham, St Gervais and down to Lake Geneva as well - nothing is that far away. For 2 weeks you'll have loads to do, my 7 year old would have lived on the inflatables in the lake if she could have !
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
a trop up the aiguille de midi cable car in Chamonix is a must, the TMB in StG is also great.
Annecy & Yvoire are also great medieval towns to visit.
Then there are masses of activities all over the place rock climbing, tree treaking, white water rafting
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@Bella2015, you will be spoilt for choice for accommodation (even in a "normal" summer let alone in this COVID-affected environment). I don't think you can make a bad choice; if you've decided you want an open air active holiday in the alps, all resorts have an enormous amount laid on. We've been going to our place for over a decade in the summer, and still haven't exhausted all the activities - high ropes, via ferrata, via corda (basic climbing routes), mountain biking, lake swimming, wild camping in the mountains etc.

I think weather is one of the key distinctions between "mountains" (i.e. ski resorts) and valleys (St Gervais, Chamonix etc.). In my experience I'd allow for at least 1 day in 3 being bad weather (and more typically bad afternoon weather). Personally, I'd look for a place with its own indoor pool. A cool windy (even without rain) afternoon in a slightly dusty ski resort at 1500-2000m is more "chilling" in the literal sense rather than chillaxing, but if it's like last summer and 40C in the valley, the higher the better.

If you're in the Chamonix/St Gervais/Les Contamines area, there are a couple of amazing lakes with giant inflatable assault courses. Lac de Passy in particular is stunning with huge sandy beaches, clear warm water, great swimming as well as play areas, cafes etc. Les contamines has a smaller one, but with a huge inflatable slide into the lake.
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@snowdave, where are you, we’re in StG?
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Jonny996, Argentiere. Perfect blend for us (and I suspect similar for you in StG) - at least half the time we don't need to drive anywhere, and within a half hour drive there's everything we could possibly want to do.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all thank you for all the helpful advice. Just got an approval from my manager for 2.5 weeks holiday (provided that l work a few days over the period) so will get planning! So excited.. l suppose we can make it a bit of a road trip and stay in 2-3 places
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Bella2015, France is a lovely place for a road trip. So much to see and do.
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@Bella2015, don't know if your family are into cars but I stayed out longer 1 year with my boys (Mrs flew home) & instead of drive up through France we went via Stuttgart & visited the Porsche & Mercedes museums, the extra overnight was same price as road tolls we didn't have to pay, so free trip...…………..
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I know this is classic snowheads deviation and this place is better than that, and you could do on way/way back, but the Jura is worth a visit. A few years ago when our sons were a bit older than yours, we spend a week or so camping in the Ain region, near Clairvaux les Lacs. Lots to do in the area and its worth visiting Lac de Chalain for watersports, Baume les Messieurs which is a village in an enclosed limestone valley. At the head of the valley there are caves which you can walk through.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Dolomites, Italy.

Via ferrata (iron ladder).
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If you book accomm in Tignes you should get a free MyTignes card giving you free access to loads of activities from archery to stand up paddle board and dozens of other things. Plus the majesty of the mountains and lots of indoor stuff if the weather turns wet.
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We summer in Les Carroz, outdoor pool complex and good hiking and carts/bikes/high ropes. Morillon has a small lake and a little pitch and putt. Samoens is nice and there is a campsite by the river, rafting etc. Annecy is gorgeous, really gorgeous but you can go on day trips. The eco lake at Combloux is lovely, its on the road to Megeve. Folks have listed the Chamonix highlights but I would not bother to stay there with young kids.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Bella2015, looking at this thread I am not sure it helps you know where to go! But if you choose somewhere you find driveable you will find that all the ski resorts have summer activities on offer (and as @chocksaway says, check the local tourist deals). Pretty much anywhere in the Alps is a great summer destination, even gentle hikes in that territory feel like real adventures to kids. You will find them much more excited doing a walk up the "mountain" towards a destination and then taking a cable car down once they are tired, rather than the reverse.

It is probably a good idea to check there are indoor options (e.g. swimming pool, for that matter ice skating) for the occasional bad weather days. And if you drive you can plan day trips to get the experiences your particular resort doesn't offer. Have fun!
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@Bella2015, we spend 3 weeks each summer in the portes du soleil (PDS). The whole area is easily accessible from morzine, Les gets, st jean d'aulps and montriond. They are all no more than an easy 15 minutes drive. We have 2 kids (now 8 and 11) and we never lack for things to do. The area has a thriving summer schedule. In no particular order
Fantastic walking - recommend an easy interesting one via lifts to height from lindarets to champery
Swimming - lac montriond has both life guarded and wild (wild far better). Kayaks and sups can be hired. Also lac d'ecole in les gets - fully life guarded with slide and water inflatable park.
Masses of mountainbiking.
Tennis in les gets and morzine.
Morzine has great swimming centre with inside outside pools including slides.
Scooter/skateparks in les gets and morzine.
A number of excellent high ropes for kids and adults
Lake Geneva and various fabulous beaches easy drive. Also Yvoire, a must visit - about 60 minutes.
Montriond all day fair and evening fireworks by the lake (cancelled this year due to covid)
++++long list of published free activities from woodwork for kids, craft, guided walks, morzine market.

We have an apartment in St Jean (not available) but checked airbnb and lots of availability at really good prices.

Good luck. Hope you find a destination. Love summer in the alps.
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@paddyDT, What he said ... Plus:
Whitewater rafting, Canyoning, Hydro-speed, via ferrata, climbing, fantasticable, horse riding, paragliding, golf, mini golf, luge, sailing, kite surfing, road cycling.
Just across the border in Switzerland there's a huge aquapark ( https://www.aquaparc.ch/ ), 2 really good thermal spas (Lavey & Val d'illiez) the Labyrinth park in Evionnaz ( https://www.labyrinthe.ch/ )
If it rains, there's bowling, laser quest, and a good pool hall in Thonon, or visit Chateau Chillon, Montreux, Natural History Museum in GVA, The Salt Mines in Bex ( https://www.seldesalpes.ch/en/salt-mines/ ), the Gruyere Chocolate train & Giger museum trip ( https://www.myswitzerland.com/en/experiences/chocolate-train/ )...
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I've spend many summers in the Alps with the family and while I love Chamonix, it is over-busy in (most) summers. My preference is for Bourg St Maurice. There is a great campsite there. Very near an outdoor pool with 50m laps, and 1m/3m/5m diving boards. Take the funicular up to Les Arcs (free this summer). White water rafting. Drive up to La Rosiere, cross the border into Italy for a hot chocolate. Val d'Isere and Tignes are both day trips, 30 mins drive. Beaufort in the Les Saisies direction. Plenty of options for rainy days.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
For the last 40 years we have been doing this, first with our boys, now with grandchildren, all over the alps.
My advice is where we decided to buy.
Pralognan
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Thank you so much for all the lovely recommendations... our planning ended up pivoting towards Chamonix ( my husband’s really likes it there) but l am a bit worried that it will be too busy so have found an apartment a bit further from central area ( near Le Brevent). But before l book this l also have some options in Morzine and camping in Bourgeois St Maurice seems to have some glamping options too .

Wonder if Morzine or Chamonix will be busier?

@iainm, do you remember what was the name of the campsite in Bourg St Maurice ?

For the second week we decided to drive to Italy to Lake Maggiore, which seems stunning. Will be staying there in Stresa or Baveno.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Quote:

Bourgeois St Maurice

Toofy Grin
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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Chamonix will be extremely busy, you will hear "je suis desolee, pas possible " very often, Morzine less busy than Cham. but you will have make sure the mountain bikers don't kill your children.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Morzine is normally (don't know about this year though) completely packed with English mountain bikers in the summer, plus a handful of Scottish and Welsh. The best description I heard was "Blackpool in the Alps".

Chamonix also busy but more cosmopolitan. There are several Snowheads who live there who can no doubt tell you this year's situation.

In either case you will find it more relaxing in the surrounding villages. And the mountains are the mountains wherever you are.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Morzine will be busy, though I'm hearing less than usual. However the PDS is not just Morzine. Les Gets is more laid back in comparison. Lac Montriond and Lindarets webcams (can't help myself) also suggest less people out there. Not sure when the French go on summer holidays so that may change things. To be honest I never find it especially busy by UK standards.

We are going out a week tomorrow. Very Happy
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@paddyDT, we too, tomorrow, though to St Gervais. Fingers crossed we successfully negotiate all the Covid requirements.

In fact it will be the anniversary of us making the offer to buy our small apartment there. We had also looked in Morzine (walking good in both, but to our taste a better ambience in StG as well as nicer places for the money).
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I've got to wIt until the 10th August, can't wait
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@Bella2015,

https://europe.huttopia.com/en/site/bourg-st-maurice - This is the link to the campsite in BSM. Loads of activities for the kids up in Arc 1800, that I'll be taking the kids to in August.

And Lake Maggiore is stunning, we were there a few years ago.
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@paddyDT, @j b, we were in Morzine last week - my first time in summer. Certainly didn’t seem bonkers busy to me, and the hotel we stayed in was dead (I think we were the only guests for most of our 5 night stay). Was v impressed with how much there is to do - we just did one day’s road biking and a bit of walking as we were there sorting stuff for our impending apartment purchase, but I’m looking forward to some kayaking on the lake, maybe even some MTB riding and dusting off my old climbing gear for some low-grade bolt-clipping.
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We had a chalet in Les Gets for 18 years and it was great in the summer. We were close to the lake for swimming and our grown up kids used to loved taking their small children to stay in the summer. All the things that people have mentioned and our daughter used to go over to Praz de Lys for pony riding.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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