Beach Escapades beyond Goa – The Vacationer Guide to Lesser Known Beaches in India
The beaches of Goa attract millions of tourists from around the world, every year. But Goa is not the only place in India with amazingly beautiful beaches. In fact, those looking specifically to relax are often found at these lesser known beaches, simply because of the peace and serenity that comes with a less frequented area.
We’ve documented the ten lesser known beaches in India for the vacationer who wants to look beyond Goa. Enjoy these exotic locations, whether you want to surf, water ski, or simply bask in the view.
#1 – Karaikal Beach – Pondicherry
The sandy beach in Karaikkal is easily one of the best natural beaches in the southern region of Tamil Nadu. The beach has been made even more accessible through the widening of the 2 kilometers road along the Arasalar River, which has also been illuminated with sodium vapor lamps. In addition to the gorgeous beach, attractions include the childrenâ€™s park and the tennis court, which make the area as frequented by locals as by tourists. Facilities include immovable seating arrangements, a beach-themed restaurant, and convenient vehicular parking. You can watch the beautiful Arasalar River make its way to the ocean, as well as sail, kayak, and canoe.
#2 – Kappil Beach – Kerala
This tranquil beach is located conveniently close to the capital of Kerala but remains scenic and unspoiled. It is a haven for anyone trying to escape from the big city, or even with some time to spare in transit. As yet, it is untouched by any form of commercial exploitation. Watch the coconut trees lean towards the water and enjoy the perfection of this small, untouched beach. Very close by is the Kodi Cliff, with its incredibly panoramic view of the Arabian Sea. Other nearby attractions include the Bekal Fort, which is 6 km away, and the Pallikunnam Temple, which is 2 km away.
#3 – Ganpatipule Beach – Maharashtra
Along the Konkan Coast lies one of the most sublime places in India. It has religious significance as it is supposed to be a sanctuary of Ganesh. The clean shoreline and clear waters are as well known as the coconut palms and mangroves, with lots of places to simply relax and laze in the shadows. The peace to be found in Ganpatipule is like no other and must be experienced to be believed. It is for pilgrims and tourists alike, and the golden sands are as frequented as the numerous trails to be explored and enjoyed.
#4 – St. Mary’s Islands – Karnataka
St. Maryâ€™s Islands are known for their basalt shakes, which have formed hexagonal shapes which look as though they have been crafted by hand and dot the shorelines. The name refers to a cluster of four that lies in the Arabian Sea, in the Udupi region and off the coast of Malpe. The otherworldly atmosphere draws visitors from around the world, and beautiful shells are to be found on the beach, specifically on the western shore. Birds found in the area include green bee-eaters and brahminy kites, as well as sandpipers. The islands are completely uninhabited, leading to an unparalleled experience.
#5 – Neil Island – Andaman
The white sand beaches of Neil Island are a must see for visitors to the Andaman Islands. The sandy beaches are only 40 kilometers or so from Port Blair, and close to luxuriant flora, not to mention sweeping banana plantations and paddy fields. Also famed is the rich marine life, so it is a good thing Neil Island affords tourists opportunities for diving and other water activities. If you’re wondering how to get there, there are regular government ferries which run from Port Blair to the island, and a handful of great hotels to stay at. Internet connectivity isn’t great, but if you wanted to stay connected, why go on holiday?
#6 – Cherai Beach – Kerala
Just 25 kilometers from Kochi is the 10 kilometers long stretch that has been referred to by many admirers as the princess of the Arabian Sea. This is the Cherai beach, and nothing will prepare you for the exquisite beauty of this wonderful place. The sea and the backwaters together create an unspoiled, sensuous ambiance that this beautiful beach is known for. You can take the traditional country boats out into the water and watch the lush countryside pass before your eyes, or spend some time in the fishermen’s village where you never know what exotic seafood dish will be available for your dinner.
#7 – Bakkhali – West Bengal
As visitors to Bakkhali will tell you, most days you have the place to yourself. It is a part of one of the islands in the Sundarbans, lined with casuarinas trees. There are secluded spots galore for you to lose yourself in. Seven kilometers down is another beach, Frasergunj, and the habitations of the two have now been merged to form one locality. Like many areas in the Sundarbans, Bakkhali is not suitable for driving or cycling but is perfect for long, meandering walks. All the myriad flora and fauna of the islands is on display, and the sunrise is a thing of astonishing beauty.
#8 – Gopalpur – Orissa
Gopalpur beach was, at one time, a commercial port, but you wouldn’t think it to see it now, famous for its sea beach and tourist destinations. Conveniently located 15 kilometers from Berhampur, it provides visitors with stunning views of the Bay of Bengal. Try to visit during the Gopalpur beach festival, held since 1996, every December, and very, very enjoyable. And visit as soon as possible to enjoy this unspoiled beauty, because the reconstruction of the port may lead to sweeping changes in this beautiful area, with its barren coastline that has a strange and unnatural beauty all of its own.
#9 – Radha Nagar Beach – Havelock
This beach is completely untainted by any kind of commercialism, making it a rarity in our times. It is indeed a gem among beaches, one of the most beautiful in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where pretty beaches are a dime a dozen. As you walk these sands, you will feel as those they have been waiting for you, as though no one has traversed them for ages past. This timelessness is the reason why so many flocks to Havelock, and it is not for nothing that Radha Nagar beach has been named, time and time again, one of the best beaches not just in India, but in Asia.
#10 – Agatti Island – Lakshadweep
Imagine a lagoon the color of a flawless aquamarine, and pristine white sands beneath your feet. Imagine yourself lying near the water, the cool breeze playing with your hair, with no disturbance or disruption in sight. You do require an entry permit to get to Agatti, and certain other regulations are definitely in place but believe us, it’s all worth it. When you have had your fill of lazing around, you can hire a bicycle from a number of places, and tour the island on the road that stretches along the length of Agatti, before retiring to one of two great resorts.
There you have it. Next time you are in the mood for sand and surf, look beyond Goa. If you’ve already been to Goa and decided that it’s not for you, don’t worry: there’s so much more out there to experience. No two beaches are alike, and sometimes it’s good to get away from the beaten path and take the road less often traveled. As the truly discerning traveler might tell you, the most enjoyable places are the ones that few people know about, allowing you to appreciate all that exquisite beauty in peace and seclusion. And if it’s relaxation that you truly want, sometimes you can do without all that clutter.