School will be out soon and summer is in – two major reasons why you need to make that family trip happen now. Consider our list of places in India that you can visit with your young ones.
Kashmir has plenty to offer children, from pony excursions and sled rides, to a chance to play in snow.
Parks: Jammu’s Bahu Fort and Srinagar’s Mughal Gardens are perfect for picnics and horseplay.
Sled rides: Plummeting down the slopes of Thajiwas Glacier at Sonamarg or at Khilanmarg on a sled is almost always a hit with children. Note, however, that though the operators are experienced, the sleds are very basic wooden devices.
Cable Car ride: The most popular activity in Gulmarg, for adults and children alike, the Gulmarg Gondola snakes up Mt Affarwat, offering stunning bird’s eye views of the town.
Pony rides: Every single meadow in Kashmir, and there are lots of them in every town – Gulmarg, Yousmarg, Sonamarg, Pahalgam – has a pony stand with saddled up horses ready to go.
Hall of Fame: Children will love the collection of weapons at this museum in Leh. There’s also an interesting film screened with real wartime footage (with no gore and suitable for children).
Boat rides: Shikara excursions on the Dal Lake are as popular with kids as they are with honeymooning couples. Kids will also love the experience of staying on a houseboat.
For more, grab a copy of our Jammu & Kashmir guidebook.
From a first-hand encounter with Rajput history to camel- and horse-safaris, Rajasthan has much to offer children, especially school-going kids.
Nahargarh Rescue Centre: In Jaipur, after visiting the Naharghar and Jaigarh Fort, children can visit the Nahargarh Rescue Centre, to see animals rescued from the forests close to it.
Dera Amer: This camp, in the foothills of the Aravallis in Jaipur, organises horse safaris. Kids can also spend time with baby elephants.
Ropeway: In Udaipur, the Ropeway from Dudh Talai to a nearby hilltop is sure to be a hit.
Speedboat ride: This thrilling ride on Fateh Sagar Lake in Udaipur is an exciting proposition.
Folk dance and puppet show: In Udaipur, the entire family can enjoy the folk dance at Bagore ki Haveli, however it is the puppet show at Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal that the children will love. The puppet show at Maru Sanskriti Kendra in Jaisalmer draws families.
Safari: Take a Bishnoi Village Safari in Jodhpur where children can watch traditional activities like weaving and pottery. Camel and jeep safaris in the desert are also available in Osian. In Jaisalmer, the camel safari in the Sam Sand Dunes is the main attraction.
For more, grab a copy of our Rajasthan guidebook.
Despite the media-spawned image that young people have the most fun in Goa, the state is a great destination for all age groups in the family. It is also safe for families travelling with children or elderly members.
Bondla Zoo: This mini-zoo is in the middle of Bondla Forest and has plenty of attractions for children.
Splashdown: This water park in Anjuna has a number of rides, pools and slides that can keep children busy for hours!
GoBananas: GoBananas in Calangute offers paintballing for kids over 12 years.
Caculo Mall: The Caculo Mall has gaming areas with video games, and organises regular competitions for children.
Goa Science Centre: This is tailored for kids and has several interactive activites as well as film shows for them.
Ancestral Goa: In May, Ancestral Goa arranges workshops where kids can learn how to make earth colour dyes, how to roast cashewnuts, etc.
Baba Shack: This shack in Calangute is aimed at children. It has high chairs, a sleeping area (with a mattress and mosquito net), child-friendly food, TVs with cartoon channels, toys and board games.
Beaches: Sand tools and floaters are available at low rates on the beach. Kids can make sandcastles, or get into the water. There are lifeguards so you don’t need to worry about their safety.
For more, grab a copy of our Goa guidebook.
In Kerala, you can expect children to get quickly and surely wooed by nature; the lure of spotting a langur in a national park or splashing around with an elephant in a pool will definitely keep the fun levels up. It is also a good place to introduce them to vibrant dance forms like Kathakali.
Periyar Tiger Reserve: It has multiple options for trips into the jungle and waterways within. Try a bamboo-raft trip for a unique experience. Remember to bring warm and waterproof clothing.
Boat Rides: Houseboats can have a lazy pace that may not match the energy levels of children. Instead, opt for a motorboat ride to Pathiramanal Island in Vembanad Lake where they can spot a wide range of migratory birds.
Elephant Interaction: The Guruvayur Anna Kotta has 63 elephants that can be seen at close quarters. At Carmelgiri Elephant Park in Munnar and Elephant Junction in Kumily, your kids will have a field time feeding and bathing pachyderms.
Theme Parks: Spend a day at Wonder La in Ernakulam or Vismaya Water Theme Park off Kannur to hear some excited squeals.
Beaches: Arm the young ones with a pail and a plastic shovel to build sand castles on the flat sandy stretches of Lighthouse Beach in Kovalam.
For more, grab a copy of our Kerala guidebook.
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The article was first published in May 2015, and has been updated since.