Ameland with kids: 8 fun activities!
Is it fun to visit Ameland with kids? Yes it certainly is! The island lends itself well to a nice tour of the island by bicycle. We were there in one day (way too short), but there is enough to do (especially in the summer) to keep you entertained for at least an entire weekend. Especially if the weather is good and you can also visit the various beaches, we can imagine that you can easily spend a week here. We list the best activities and attractions in Ameland with kids for you!
Table of contents
Ameland with kids: general information
Most tourists reach Ameland by boat (or you have to arrange a helicopter or private boat). The boats leave from the town of Holwerd in Friesland, and you can also park your car here for a few euros a day. It is also possible to take your car on the boat, but of course you will pay extra for that.
It is possible to get to the boat by public transportation. Buses run from Leeuwarden toward the port in Holwerd. It is also possible to explore the island of Ameland itself by bus. When a boat arrives in Ameland at Nes, there are several buses ready to take you to the various villages.
For the crossing, you have a choice between express and ferry service. The express service is a smaller boat that gets to Ameland from Holwerd in twenty minutes and the ferry service is the big boat and it takes about fifty minutes. You can book in advance on Wagenborg Passenger Services’ website, but if you make the crossing on the big boat without a car, you can get many people on the boat before the boat is full.
We bought tickets ourselves only at the box office, so we could decide at the last minute (based on the weather forecast) whether to go or not. On the boat itself it is possible to have some food and drinks and you can sit on top of the deck and inside the boat. You always buy a return ticket and on the way back, therefore, no one has to show their ticket anymore.
Ameland with kids #1: Renting bikes
Ameland is best explored by bicycle, and most tourists also rent a bicycle on the island. The best provider of bicycles on the island is Kiewiet Bike Rental. They have a huge selection of different bikes and the company is located near the boat landing. We had rented a children’s electric tandem and a regular bike. When we got off the boat, we had to walk a few minutes to the rental company and from there we could immediately start exploring the island by bike.
For parents with kids, you can choose from many different options. So you have the children’s tandem which our daughter really enjoyed riding with us. They also have cargo bikes, where you can put your kids in the front, and they also rent child seats for the back. They also rent children’s bikes, but keep in mind that there is generally quite a bit of wind on the island and for kids to ride their own bikes can be quite heavy. By the way, Kiewiet Fietsenverhuur also has a branch in the center of Nes and at the Duinoord campsite, and they can also deliver rental bikes to your vacation address for free.
When we were there it was quite stormy and there was a huge wind. Sanne and Sophie were on the electric children’s tandem and they made fine progress. I myself had a regular bike and I wouldn’t recommend that easily. I really had to do my best to move forward with the strong wind. It’s really best to rent an electric bike, as otherwise cycling can be very tough. In retrospect, we had really very much underestimated the wind on the island.
We ended up cycling a round trip from the boat in Nes to the lighthouse near Hollum, then heading north on the bike path along the beaches back to Nes via the village of Buren. An excellent round trip that can be done well in a day and where you can already see much of the island.
Ameland with kids #2: Climbing the lighthouse
The red and white Ameland lighthouse is one of Ameland’s most visited sights. You can already see the top of the lighthouse from a great distance if you ride your bike there from Nes. You can climb the lighthouse and you do so by taking the many stairs up to the top. Along the way, though, there are small exhibits in the tower that you can view. Once at the top, you have a beautiful view of the surrounding area. The entrance fee to the tower is a few euros per person.
For families with kids, it’s fun to have lunch near the lighthouse at Pannekoekhuis onder de Vuurtoren or Qurios Ameland, for example. We had lunch at the Pancake House when we were there. You have an excellent playground at both restaurants for kids to play. Only drawback for us was that due to corona measures, we were not allowed to sit inside and it started raining outside on the terrace (see the photo below ;)). There is also a duck pond near the lighthouse, but we honestly didn’t think that was much of a feature.
Another thing nearby that is fun to visit with kids is the play forest in Hollum. In two places in the forest you have play equipment for the kids (Forest Playground + Playground Hollumer Forest). As you can see, there is enough play around the lighthouse to keep you and your kids entertained for half a day.
Ameland with kids #3: Visiting the different villages
The villages on Ameland are obviously not that big, but are fun to visit for a while. The village of Nes has a nice little center with several cozy terraces where you can get something to eat and drink. By the way, there are also several nice beach bars along the way between the villages where you can have a good meal and drink. During our bike ride, we stopped at several places to have a drink.
For example, we found beach bar Bravo just a little outside the village of Nes very nice to have a drink. There was a nice atmosphere at this beach club and a playground next to the beach club itself. Also, the villages of Hollum and Buren are not large, but fun to cycle through with the kids.
Ameland with kids #4: looking for seals
You can look for seals on Ameland by boat. With the ship MS Zeehond you will take a seal tour of about 2 hours from the village of Nes. Along the way, a guide will give you information about the island.
You sail to an island between Ameland and Terschelling which is dry almost all year and you can spot two different species of seals. In addition to passing by the seals, the boat also sails past the Shell Bank, where, of course, there are lots of shells. For more information about this cruise check out the website here.
Ameland with kids: other activities
Of course, there is even more to do on Ameland with kids. We briefly list the remaining activities for you:
#5 Nature Museum: in the museum you will find many stuffed animals, aquariums with sea creatures and you can watch a movie about the island. You can also take the elevator inside the museum to a vantage point over the surrounding area. Near the nature museum is also a barefoot trail, where kids can learn about the different substrates of the island.
From this museum it is also possible to walk the toad path with kids of 2.6 kilometers through nature reserve the Vleijen. You will also find several pieces of playground equipment such as a slide, swings and an observation tower on this trail. A great activity in nature on Ameland with kids.
#6 Nature areas on the island: you can really get into nature on Ameland with kids and also see animals up close. For example, near Ballum you have the Krumeltjespoor, where you can hike and encounter horses, goats and cattle in the wild and get close to these animals. If you want to spot birds on Ameland, you can do so at Vogel Uitkijkpost Duinmeer. You can also take beautiful walks in nature on Ameland with kids in the Oerd nature reserve in the east of the island.
#7 Horse rescue boat demonstration: a few times a year there is a free demonstration on the beach of how drowning people used to be rescued. A lifeboat is then pulled by ten horses through the water. Check the website for the dates that the demonstration will be given.
#8: The beach: of course it is also fun to go to the beach on Ameland with kids. The entire island is surrounded with beaches and also beach bars, so there is always a place to find on the beach. Especially in the summer, we can imagine that the beaches of Ameland are a great place to be with kids!
Where to stay on Ameland with kids
Because the island is not super large, the choice in terms of hotels with rooms for families is therefore not that great. We list the two hotels available for families with two kids. Both hotels are located in the town of Nes and you can book a studio for four family members at both.
We ourselves chose to take a day trip to Ameland from Groningen, so we slept in the city of Groningen. We also wrote the Groningen with kids report on this. Of course, the selection here is a lot greater. If you want to see the range of hotels in the city of Groningen please click here.