2020 was due to be our 10th consecutive trip to The Netherlands. Unfortunately, world events and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has put a stop to that. Rather than dwell on what might have been, I thought I’d take the opportunity to look back at our previous trips to The Netherlands.
This is part 5, looking at the first leg of our 2014 camping trip in August, staying at Camping Geversduin. You can find part 1 here, looking at 1989-2011, part 2 here, looking at 2012, part 3 here, looking at 2013 and part 4 here, looking at June 2014.
This was our second trip to The Netherlands in 2014, we’d already been in June, spending a week at Duinrell. This time though, we were camping, staying at three different sites, two in Castricum, North Holland and at Duinrell.
The two Castricum sites we stayed at were Camping Geversduin and Camping Bakkum. Both are part of the De Kennemer Duin Campings campsites, which, as you may guess, are located in the dunes around the Castricum area.
As with the previous two years, we drove up through France and Belgium to get to The Netherlands. My partner isn’t great on boats, which is why we normally get the tunnel, though it wasn’t possible this time, so we got the channel ferry. It wasn’t a great success to be honest, so we wouldn’t end up doing it again! The last few years, we’ve been getting the Hull to Rotterdam ferry, which has been much better.
Geversduin was the first campsite we stayed at, and we were really impressed with the place when we arrived. The campsite is located about 3km south of Catricum and about 4km from the closest beach. While the campsite was a reasonable size, it didn’t feel too big.
The pitches were a good size and well spaced. Our pitch was in an area with one other pitch, surrounded by trees and really pleasant quiet spot. Another nice thing was you could only bring your car on site when you’re pitching up or leaving. Otherwise, you had to leave it in the car park outsite of the site. This meant the campsite was car free and great for kids.
Near the entrance was a large kid’s play area, with an absolutely huge sandpit. Surrounding the play area was shops, a bar and restaurant. This was great, as it meant we could watch the kids play, while we had some food and drinks, perfect!
As typical with The Netherlands, the area around the campsite is great for cycling. There’s protected cycle paths on the busier roads to keep you safe, and there’s lots of quiet rural roads that are perfect for cycling on. We took the opportunity to cycle around the area while we were there and really enjoyed it.
One of the best features of Camping Geversduin is access to the beach at Strand Heemskerk. From just outside the campsite entrance, there’s a traffic-free route directly to the beach. And when I say traffic-free, I mean completely traffic-free, there’s no other way to get to the beach at Heemskerk than either walking or cycling as cars aren’t allowed.
The route to the beach was fantastic, with a very well maintained paved path through the dunes. It’s very reminiscent of the route from Duinrell to Wassenaarse Slag and just as enjoyable. The views across the dunes are amazing and there’s one or two things to see along the way, like gliders taking off.
The beach is very similar to the other beaches we’ve been to on the North Sea Coast, with a wide expanse of sand and dunes in the background. While the sea can be a little rough, it’s pretty child friendly on the actual beach, particularly at low tide, when there’s pools of water kids can play in.
Strand Heemskerk is one of the quieter beaches along North Sea Coast. If you’re looking for a beach with lots of facilities, then it’s probably not for you, but for us it was perfect. There’s a few things there and a place to eat and drink, which we stopped in.
After a thoroughly enjoyable day at the beach, we headed back to Camping Geversduin, through the dunes, just as the sun was starting to go down. I always love that ride home after a day at the beach, just as things are starting to cool down.
Castricum aan Zee
The beach at Castricum aan Zee is a little further away from Camping Geversduin than Strand Heemskerk, but not that much further. The route there starts the same when leaving the campsite, going across the dunes, though then it takes you further north, past some small lakes. As with the route to Strand Heemskerk, it’s a really beautiful route and a really nice ride.
The beach at Castricum aan Zee is a bit more built up than Strand Heemskerk and a bit busier. This might be partly because there’s a route for cars and a car park there (plus plenty of cycle parking). The beach itself is very similar, though there’s a few more options for eating and drinking there.
We had another fantastic day at the beach and really enjoyed the ride there and back. It was busier than Strand Heemskerk, but not too busy. The kids enjoyed digging in the sand and playing in the pools at low tide. They even got to see the coastguard driving along the beach in a 4WD, which seemed a little inappropriate, given how busy the beach was!
That was almost the end of our stay at Camping Geversduin. After another evening at the campsite, it was time to pack everything away and head to Camping Bakkum.