Best family vacation destinations in India

Serene landscape in Varanasi
Image courtesy: ©Flickr/Pedro/CC BY 2.0

A new vacation season has begun, kids are almost done with exams, elders have been waiting to step out of home and rest in nature’s lap- there are reasons enough for you to plan a family trip. If pondering about where to spend a holiday this time of the year, then here is a list of places worth exploring with your dear ones.


Famed for being the birthplace of Krishna, Mathura is one of Hinduism’s seven sacred cities and attracts floods of pilgrims. The town is dotted with temples from various ages and the stretch of the sacred Yamuna River which flows past here is lined with 25 ghats. They’re best seen at dawn when many people take their holy dip, and just after sunset, when hundreds of candles are set floating out onto the river during the evening aarti ceremony.

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St. George Orthodox Koonan Kurish Old Syrian Church in Kochi
St. George Orthodox Koonan Kurish Old Syrian Church in Kochi
Image courtesy: ©Flickr/Mattancherry koonan kurish/CC0 1.0


Serene Kochi has been drawing explorers and travellers to its shores for many years now. Nowhere else in India could you find such an intriguing mix: giant fishing nets from China, a 400-year-old synagogue, ancient mosques, Portuguese houses and the crumbling remains of the British Raj.

Havelock Island

With sublime silken beaches, twinkling teal shallows and some of the best diving options, Havelock has the well-deserved reputation of being a traveller’s paradise. Watch the sunset from different beaches like Radhanagar and Kalapathar. Don’t forget to visit the gorgeous ‘lagoon’ at Neils Cove, a gem of sheltered sand and crystalline water.

Mount Abu nestles among green forests around Aravalli hills
Mount Abu nestles among green forests around Aravalli hills
Image courtesy: ©Flickr/Andrew Phillipo/CC BY 2.0

Mount Abu

Rajasthan’s only hill station, Mount Abu, nestles among green forests on the southwestern end of the Aravalli Hills. Quite unlike anywhere else in Rajasthan, Mt Abu provides travellers with a respite from scorching temperatures and arid terrain elsewhere. The town is dotted with temples, which makes it a good pilgrimage site too.


Varanasi is one of the most colourful and fascinating cities in the world, surprises abound around every corner. Pilgrims come to the ghats lining the Ganges to wash away sins in the sacred waters and travellers seek the most serene views which also make for great photo ops. Walking the ghats and alleyways or watching sunrise from a boat can be unforgettable.

Sunset over Wayanad forest
Sunset over Wayanad forest
Image courtesy: ©Flickr/Ashwin Kumar/CC BY-SA 2.0


The elevated Wayanad region in Kerala is often seen as the most beautiful part of the state. Encompassing part of a remote forest reserve that spills into Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, Wayanad’s landscape combines mountain scenery, lush green rice paddies, bamboo and rubber, cardamom and coffee plantations. It’s also an excellent place to spot wild elephants.

Pillar rocks in Kodaikanal
Pillar rocks in Kodaikanal
Image courtesy: ©Flickr/Ahmed Mahin Fayaz/CC BY 2.0


This misty hill station, in the protected Palani Hills, is more relaxed and intimate than any other hill town in Tamil Nadu. The weather is perfect here- days feel more like deep spring and nights are not shivering cold. Centred on a beautiful star-shaped lake, Kodai rambles up and down hillsides with patches of shola (virgin forest), unique to Western Ghats, and evergreen broadleaf trees. Do not miss the kurinji shrub, whose lilac-blue blossoms appear every 12 years, the next being this year itself.