Everyone goes to Canet-Plage and forgets the lovely village of Canet or more properly, Canet-en-Roussillon. It was there long before the beach resorts opened and there is a lot of history. It is very picturesque and quite friendly. Drive inland a few kilometers from the beach following signs to Canet (or take the bus) and discover another world.
There is parking above Eglise St. Jacques just off of ave. de Ste. Marie. Park and walk through the Old Town and don't miss the church with it's fountain. There is a sculpture garden around the church and Maire (town hall) that is a lot of fun. They are in the process of restoring the ancient chateau-fortress and it's worth a walk-around. Virtually all the information is in French so use a translator to get an idea of it or look at the excellent photos. http://ot-canet.fr/articles-1/42-37-le-chateau-vicomtal/
Enjoy a place completely without tourists as you take a break from the beach.
There is a long stretch of perfect sand beach with lovely waves and mountain views. If you park your car (or bicycle) along the beach and turn away from the sea, you will find the Canet en Roussillon Nature Reserve waiting to be explored. These straw houses are still used by local fishermen who are the only ones who have rights to fish here and use the traditional methods.
You can walk the paths and there are two viewing stations for bird watchers. You may even spot the elusive ragondin (French version of the muskrat and, unfortunately, an introduced pest, albeit a cute one).
Canet Plage is walking on its sandy beaches, it is Mediterranean seas and a marina and watersports.
Canet Plage is a massive nature reserve with winding walks along the creeks and peaceful pine forests.
Canet Plage is criss-crossed with cycle tracks and I'm looking forward to cycling along most of the Catalan coast to Canet Plage, next Spring.