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Oostduinkerke, located in the Belgian province of West Flanders, is a quaint seaside town that offers a unique and fascinating experience – shrimp fishing on horseback! Today, this tradition that dates back to the 15th century is still alive and well, and visitors can watch the fishermen and their horses in action.
Here are our practical tips on how to plan your family visit, the best things to do, and where to stay.
In a Nutshell
- Best hotels
- Luxury: Plopsa Hotel has themed rooms, and it also offers parking, breakfast, dinner, and tickets for amusement park Plopsaland and indoor water park Plopsaqua, which are included in the price.
- Midrange: Sunparks cottages offer an indoor playground, an indoor water park, and a wellness area with a sauna and pools.
- Budget: Holiday Suites Nieuwpoort offers an indoor pool, a sauna and hammam, an outdoor playground for kids, and comfortable apartments that come equipped with all the necessary amenities.
- In a Nutshell
- How Long to Stay in Oostduinkerke
- How to Get to Oostduinkerke
- Where to Stay in Oostduinkerke and around
- Best Things to Do in Oostduinkerke
- Best Things to Do with Kids in Oostduinkerke
But Oostduinkerke offers much more than just shrimp fishing. The long sandy beach is perfect for a day of relaxation and sunbathing, while the heated outdoor swimming pool is ideal for those who prefer to take a dip in warmer waters. The town also boasts a playground for children and plenty of ice cream shops to satisfy any sweet tooth.
For those looking for more excitement, nearby De Panne is home to Plopsaland amusement park and Plopsaqua water park, which offer thrilling rides and water slides for all ages. And a short ferry ride away from Oostduinkerke is the natural reserve of Nieuwpoort, where visitors can discover the beautiful Flemish coastline and get a short ferry ride to the natural reserve of the area.
Overall, Oostduinkerke is a charming and unique destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in experiencing the tradition of shrimp fishing on horseback, relaxing on the beach, or seeking adventure at nearby attractions, this town is sure to delight and surprise you.
How Long to Stay in Oostduinkerke
If you’re looking for a delightful coastal retreat in Belgium that’s just a short distance from Brussels or other nearby cities, Oostduinkerke is your perfect destination. While a day trip is a great way to explore the area, I highly recommend staying for the weekend to make the most of your visit. There’s a ton of fun activities for children in Oostduinkerke that go beyond the popular shrimp fishing attraction.
For instance, you can treat your little ones to an awesome experience at an outdoor heated pool located right by the beach. The pool is a fantastic spot for a refreshing swim, especially on hot summer days. Furthermore, your kids can have an amazing time riding electric mini cars or playing at the nearby playgrounds.
Here are our practical tips on how to plan your family visit, the best things to do and where to stay.
If you’re looking to explore beyond Oostduinkerke, there are plenty of nearby coastal towns worth visiting. De Panne, for example, is home to the amusement park Plopsaland and the indoor water park Plopsaqua. Your kids will love the thrilling rides and attractions that these parks offer.
Another nearby town worth exploring is Nieuwpoort, just a short ferry ride away. Here, you can take a stroll around the natural reserve and appreciate the stunning scenery. Overall, Oostduinkerke and its neighboring towns offer an array of activities that are sure to keep your family entertained and engaged throughout your stay.
How to Get to Oostduinkerke
Oostduinkerke, a charming coastal town located in the north-west of Belgium, is a highly sought-after tourist destination that provides a variety of exciting attractions and activities suitable for people of all ages. Whether you’re planning a short visit or a longer trip, reaching Oostduinkerke is both effortless and convenient. There are two primary modes of transportation to get to Oostduinkerke, namely public transport or by car.
If you choose to travel by car, the journey from Brussels to Oostduinkerke should take approximately 1.5 hours, dependent on the traffic conditions. The quickest route to take is by utilizing the E40 motorway, which leads you towards Oostende and makes a turn before you reach it. Along the way, you’ll pass through several towns and cities, including Ghent and Bruges, both of which are worth exploring if you have the time.
If you drive to Oostduinkerke, you can park at this outdoor parking near the beach:
IJslandplein 10-15, 8670 Koksijde
By Public Transport
Alternatively, if you prefer to travel by public transport, there are regular trains from Brussels to Oostende, which take around 1.5 hours. Once you arrive in Ostende, you can take either bus 68 or the coastal tram to reach Oostduinkerke.
The coastal tram is the longest tramline in the world, stretching over 67 km along the Belgian coast.
If you’re looking for a picturesque journey that showcases the breathtaking coastline and takes you through quaint seaside towns and villages, the coastal tram is the perfect option for you. However, if you’re short on time and prefer a more direct route, bus 68 is a quick and efficient alternative. Both choices are reasonably priced and have convenient connections to Oostende.
So, getting to this wonderful city is easy no matter if you prefer driving or using public transport. Each option has its own benefits, and it all depends on your personal preference and travel needs. Regardless of how you choose to travel, one thing is certain: Oostende is a must-visit destination that is sure to provide an unforgettable experience.
Where to Stay in Oostduinkerke and around
If you’re planning a family vacation in Oostduinkerke, Belgium, and wondering where to stay with your little ones, then you’re in luck. Oostduinkerke is a beautiful coastal town that offers a range of family-friendly accommodations that are sure to make your stay a memorable one. Among the top picks are the Sunparks cottages, Domein Westhoek near Nieuwpoort, Holiday Suites Nieuwpoort, and Plopsa Hotel.
€€€€ Plopsa Hotel is a themed hotel that offers a unique experience for families. The hotel’s themed rooms are perfect for kids who want to experience something different. The hotel also offers parking, breakfast, dinner, and tickets for amusement park Plopsaland and Plopsaqua, which are included in the price.
€€€ Domein Westhoek near Nieuwpoort is a great choice, if you’re looking for a hotel with an indoor pool. The hotel offers a range of family-friendly rooms and apartments that come with all the necessary amenities. The hotel also offers an indoor pool, which is perfect for days when the weather isn’t great.
€€ Sunparks cottages are perfect for families who want to enjoy a comfortable and fun-filled stay. They offer a range of amenities, including an indoor playground, an indoor water park, and a wellness area with a sauna and pools. The cottages are spacious and come equipped with all the necessary amenities to ensure that you and your kids have a comfortable stay.
€ Holiday Suites Nieuwpoort is another excellent option for families. The hotel offers an indoor pool, a sauna and hammam, an outdoor playground for kids, and comfortable apartments that come equipped with all the necessary amenities.
This two-bedroom apartment with access to indoor pool is perfect for those that prefer staying in an apartment. It is centrally located a few minutes away from the center of the beach of Oostduinkerke.
With so many options to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect accommodation for your family in Oostduinkerke.
Best Things to Do in Oostduinkerke
Shrimp Fishing on Horseback
For centuries, the people of Oostduinkerke have been practicing the extraordinary and age-old craft of catching shrimp on horseback. This traditional fishing method is deeply connected to the natural world, relying heavily on the elements and the tides.
Do not miss the Shrimp fishermen on horseback, if you are in the area!
Shrimp fishermen on horseback is a tradition for over 500 years that you can see only in Belgium nowadays!
National Fisheries Museum and Estaminet
The National Fisheries Museum is about 5 minutes by car
NAVIGO – National Fisheries Museum
Pastoor Schmitzstraat 5, 8670 Koksijde
Estaminet is a restaurant with a terrasse next to the museum. You can enjoy fresh sea food (about 5 minutes by car from the beach)
Estaminet De Peerdevisscher
Pastoor Schmitzstraat 4, 8670 Koksijde
It might be worth checking out Sint-Niklaaskerk, built in modern style by architect Jean Gilson (near NAVIGO and Estaminet). Personally I found this building quite interesting.
Leopold II Laan 85, 8670 Koksijde
There is also a small playground next to the church
Duindistelpad, 8670 Koksijde
Exact location here
Best Things to Do with Kids in Oostduinkerke
Oostduinkerke is a hidden gem on the Belgian coast that offers a plethora of activities for families with kids. The beach is the main attraction here, with its soft sand and clear waters. Kids can swim, build sandcastles, and run around for hours, while parents can relax and soak up some sun.
Outdoor Heated Pool on the Beach
But that’s not all! The heated outdoor pool on the beach is another great option for families who prefer to avoid the salty seawater. The pool is well-maintained and offers a safe and clean environment for kids to splash around in.
There is a small, shallow section for kids.
You can find more details and book in advance here.
Zeedijk 425-441, 8670 Koksijde
There are public toilets for EUR 0.50 right next to the swimming pool on the beach. Also accessible to people with reduced mobility
Exact location here
For the little adventurers, electric mini cars are available for rent, which allow kids to explore the coastline in a fun and exciting way. The cars are easy to operate and come with safety features such as seat belts and speed limiters.
Zeedijk 430, 8670 Koksijde
Playground on the Beach
The playground on the beach is another highlight of Oostduinkerke. With its swings and climbing frames, kids can burn off some energy while enjoying the sea breeze.
Zeedijk 481, 8670 Koksijde
Indoor Water Parks for a Rainy Day
The Sunparks cottages are perfect for families who want to enjoy a comfortable and fun-filled stay. They offer a range of amenities, including an indoor playground, indoor water park, and a wellness area with sauna and pools.
You can get a day pass to access the indoor water park – which can be a great idea for a rainy weekend!
In De Panne you can also find Plopsaqua, which has more water activities and is more thrilling for kids.
Read our post on Plopsaqua here.
Plopsaqua De Panne is an indoor fun water park with water slides and water playgrounds for kids
And what’s a trip to the beach without ice cream? Oostduinkerke has plenty of ice cream shops that offer a variety of flavors to satisfy any sweet tooth.
You can find good ice cream here (also another ‘t Zoet Genot opposite of the playground):
‘t Zoet Genot
Zeedijk 446, 8670 Koksijde
Open Air Escape Game
Last but not least, for kids older than 14 years old who love a challenge, an escape game is available. The game requires players to solve puzzles and riddles to escape from a locked room. It’s a great way to keep older kids entertained while also sharpening their problem-solving skills. Overall, Oostduinkerke offers a perfect balance of relaxation and fun for families with kids.
You can find more details here.
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Indoor and outdoor activities, kids friendly cafés/ restaurants, hotels and more all under separate layers
Jo Koni (Georgia Konidari) is a nationally syndicated writer and the creator of World Wild Schooling, a digital platform dedicated to travel. She is on a mission to explore the globe and share her experiences with fellow travelers. She has been featured on MSN, the Associated Press Wire and more. You can follow Jo on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube.