St Francis Bay is without a doubt one of South Africa’s top holiday destinations. It has amazing beaches, beautiful scenery and delicious restaurants. It is also very family friendly with some amazing activities to suit little and big hearts alike.
Whether you and your family are into exciting stuff like sandboarding, or more sedate options like river cruising, St Francis has a wide range of activities to suit you. Most of the activities are within the town’s limits or a very short drive outside. Be sure to take sun cream, warm clothing and a hat to every activity. You never know what the weather is going to do!
Cruising the canals is a really fun way to entertain your family and guests and enjoy the sights only seen from the canals Swim, boat or float – people watching, house spotting or take a slow ride to one of the restaurants on the canals.
During the festive season the canals are the centre of the holiday buzz, join the famous annual #flashfloat which raises funds for Talhado Children’s Haven. Or have Father Christmas deliver your Xmas presents to your front lawn on the with the NSRI crew boat.
If you don’t have your own boat, residents of 39 or 40 Canal Rd or 19 Marina Island have the option of renting a 3.6m rubber ducky with a 15hp motor, perfect for cruising and exploring Alternatively, book a barge cruise with one of the licensed operators in town. Most canal cruises are about an hour or so long, and are suitable for younger kids.
Quaysyde Restaurant is also home to many canal based sporting events, like weekly timed paddling and open water swimming sessions, and hosts sporting events like beach tennis and volleyball, and Silent Soul yoga sessions.
St Francis Bay Beach Vibes
From the wilderness and solitude of the river mouth in the east to the surf breaks of Bruces to the west, this bay will not disappoint. Walk or boat to the beach at the mouth to get away from the crowds, or join the bright and busy bucket and spade brigades at George Rd, Anne Avenue or Main Beach. Surf, boogy or SUP the consistent breaks at Huletts and Sowetos or even Bruces when the swell is working. Swim and body surf under the watchful eye of experienced lifeguards at Main beach or Cape St Francis Beach during the holiday season. Treat your littlies to surfing lessons from the pros while you cheer on and take pics from the shallows. Bring your little people to paddle at Granny’s pool while you enjoy a cappuccino and tramazinni at Bruces, the coffee shop above the slipway.
Explore the Kromme River
St Francis Bay lies on the banks of the Kromme River, the world famous tidal canals open up to the river at 2 places. Canal houses have direct access to the river by boat. Water skiing, wakeboarding, tubing, bird watching and fishing up river are great family friendly options. Low tide walks and sundowners on the sandbanks at the mouth are a more sedate way of spending time at the river. The clean sandy banks at the Pumphouse and the Cove make a wonderful playground for children – splashing, paddling, fishing nets, beach cricket and touch rugby are great options whatever the tide. If you don’t have your own boat, residents of 39 or 40 Canal Rd or 19 Marina Island have the option of renting a 3.6m rubber ducky with a 15hp motor, perfect for cruising and exploring. St Francis Bay also has licenced operators who offer river cruises, with onboard drinks, snacks or the options of a lunchtime braai on the banks of the river.
Seal Point Slacking
Seal Point is one of the most iconic places in St Francis. Not only does it have a gorgeous beach with lots of shallow water for swimming, but it also boasts a historic lighthouse.
Seal Point Lighthouse was built in 1878 and remains a working lighthouse with fog detection and modern radio equipment. Take a picnic with you and eat it on the rocks while the waves crash below you. Or sun yourself on the sand while the kids splash in the shallow waters. Seal Point is also well known for its surf breaks, Seals (watch out for the notorious Full Stop rock) and Beachys, where you can ride a fun but less adrenaline fuelled wave. Find Johnson’s Pool for swimming or snorkelling on days when the wind is blowing onshore – Pumpkin shell hunting and fishing for rock pool fishies with a handline or small net will keep your littlies busy and out of mischief.
If your kids are a bit older you can tackle one of the nature walks that wind through the reserve. See indigenous fynbos, wild birds and possibly the odd wild animals such as otters. The walks range in difficulty and there are benches all along them should you need a breather.
The road to the lighthouse is super smooth and a favourite skate-board and rollerblade spot for days when the water isn’t calling.
Cricket, Tennis, Squash, Swimming, Cycling and So Much More
Whether it’s the Village cricket nets, the tennis or squash club or swimming with Maria and Haydn at Liquid Lines that appeals to your family, be sure to pack your kit for some holiday practice, specialist lessons or just plain knocking about.
Family Friendly Restaurants
St Francis has a great selection of divine restaurants. From great homely pub grub to fine dining, you are bound to find something that suits your taste buds. Of course, when you are travelling or holidaying as a family, you need something that the kids can tuck into as well. For added action kids can enjoy the jumping castle at Rambling Rose or the skate ramp at The Brewery in the Village.
Take a look at our selection of 12 Great restaurants in St Francis Bay to find something that your whole family will enjoy.
An interesting and unusual activity in St Francis is the Frog Safari. Amphibians are in crisis all over the world, including in South Africa.
Have an early dinner at Dunes Guest House, and then arm yourselves with nets, gumboots and headlamps. Under the skilled eye of a local guide, you will go out into the night in search of some of the many species of frog to be found in and around St Francis Bay.
All frogs caught will be identified, listed and returned to their homes. Once the night is over you will relax with a glass of sherry or a hot chocolate to relive the night’s adventures.
Port St Francis
The harbour at St Francis Bay, also known as Port St Francis, is one of the biggest private harbours in the country. It is well known for its fleet of “chokka” or squid boats. The fleet goes out most nights and returns in the morning with a fresh catch.
Take your family and spend a day watching the boats come in. Explore the shops and restaurants in the actual harbour, grabbing a fresh, piping hot fish and chips for lunch.
The harbour is a fascinating place full of interesting sights and smells, perfect for little ones or bigger kids.
Whale And Dolphin Cruises
St Francis Bay is well known for its amazing marine life. Whales migrate past on their way to the Antarctic to breed every year, stopping over in the bay to eat and rest. Dolphins are a common site playing among the waves and often putting even the best surfers to shame. The most common dolphin species found off the coast is the well-known bottlenose dolphin.
Dolphin and whale cruises are a great way to get out and view these amazing animals up close in their natural habitat. Various boats are available from large cruisers to more intimate experiences. This is a wonderful way to educate kids on sea life and conservation. Not only that but it’s an adventure that they will remember for years to come.
And when you feel like a change, go East to Jeffreys Bay for dune sandboarding, skydiving or beach horseback rides or shopping the iconic surf apparel factory shops.
If your compass says go West, head along the N2 to Tsitsikamma for black water tubing, zip lining in the treetops above mountain waterfalls or exploring the forests and the Big Tree.
A little further along at The Crags you can find the Bramon Wine Estate for wine tasting and lunch.
With so much fun to be had, are you sure you have booked for long enough?