During summer, and especially at weekends, CABO FRIO is at a pitch of holiday excitement, generated by the out-of-towners who come here to relax in the fresh sea breezes. The town was founded in the late sixteenth century, but it was only really in the twentieth century that it developed, thanks to the salt and tourist industries. Built around sand dunes, there are beaches everywhere in Cabo Frio – indeed, this is the only attraction, since the town is both extremely ugly and poorly planned, but it's a relaxed place and the bars are full of happy holiday-makers at night.
The closest beaches to town are the small Praia do Forte , near the centre, with its fort of São Mateus (daily 8am–6pm) built by the French in 1616 for protection against pirates, and the larger, more popular Praia da Barra . Six kilometres north in the direction of Búzios, near Ogivas, lies Praia do Peró , a good surfing spot, peaceful and deserted on weekdays, and further on is the small Praia das Conchas , with its sand dunes and clear, calm, blue waters.