Feel like escaping the city for a while to have fun with family and friends, or simply relax somewhere quiet? There are some appealing one day picnic spots near Mumbai that offer something for everyone, whether you want to enjoy yourself a resort or do your own thing elsewhere. Here are 11 of the best places to go, listed in order of proximity to the city.
Hanging Garden and Kamala Nehru Park
Looking for a picnic spot that's centrally located and doesn't require a lot of traveling to get to? Head to Hanging Garden and Kamala Nehru Park. Hanging Garden is blessed with plenty of shady trees, and a lookout that provides a dramatic view of Marine Drive and Girgaum Chowpatty. Children will also love the giant shoe, which they can climb up to the top of. On the other side of the road, the sprawling Kamala Nehru Park is home to an unusual menagerie of topiary animals. The park has plenty of lawns and it's usually easy enough to find somewhere to spread out on.
- Location: Malabar Hill, south Mumbai (close to the city center).
- Entry: Free.
Elephanta Island, a one hour ferry trip from the Gateway of India, is home to seven ancient caves hand carved out of rock in a similar manner to the Ajanta and Ellora caves, but on a smaller scale. The main cave has a number of stunning large sculptured panels depicting the Hindu god of creation and destruction, Lord Shiva. If you're feeling energetic take a walk up to Cannon Hill, named after the old cannon there, on top of the island. Do be sure to choose your picnic spot wisely though, or else be prepared to go into battle for your lunch against the gangs of unruly monkeys! There's a tourist train up to the caves.
- Location: 10 kilometers (6 miles) east of Mumbai.
- Entry: Indians, 10 rupees. Foreigners, 250 rupees. Closed Mondays.
Who would’ve thought that it’s possible to enjoy wildlife and nature at a national park right in the middle of the Mumbai! Sanjay Gandhi National Park is an oasis among the city's concrete jungle. Its lush greenery extends for 104 square kilometers (65 square miles) and includes the ancient rock-cut Kanheri Buddhist caves, a tiger sanctuary, tiger and lion safaris, a recreational zone for the kids, campsite with tented accommodations, and nature trails. It's possible to go trekking, boating, and also ride a toy train through in the park. You'll quickly forget there's a city of 20 million people outside!
- Location: Borivali, around 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the Mumbai city center.
- Entry: 48 rupees per person, 12 years and older. 25 rupees for children aged five to 12 years. There are additional charges for vehicles. Closed Mondays.
Yeoor Hills occupies the eastern part of Sanjay Gandhi National Park but its entrance is in a different location. Inside, there are six small villages with a substantial Adivasi tribal population, some lavish bungalows, and a few decent restaurants. Exotica, The Tropical Retreat is a recommended place to spend a day relaxing. The food is delicious, and there's a swimming pool plus entertainment on weekends. At the end of the road near the bus stop at the last village, Patonpada, you'll come across a trekking track deep into the forest. It's particularly picturesque during the monsoon season, when it leads to a waterfall. Birds and butterflies are a highlight along the way.
- Location: Near Upavan, Thane West. Around 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the Mumbai city center.
Jump on a boat from the Gateway of India in Mumbai and in a bit over an hour you'll find yourself at Alibaug, beach playground of the rich and famous. Awas and Sasavne beaches are the closest options (around 15-20 minutes) to the jetty at Mandwa. The main beach, with its black sand, near the town center is very popular. It's possible to walk across to Kolaba Fort during low tide. Venture a little further south and you'll find the lesser-frequented Akshi, Nagaon, and Kihim beaches. Horse and cart rides on the beach are a big attraction.
- Location: Around 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Mumbai. 100 kilometers (62 miles) if traveling by road.
Can't travel all the way to Goa? Visit Vasai instead! This town was an important headquarters of Portuguese rule during the 16th and 17th centuries. Its pervasive Portuguese heritage, coupled with its peaceful palm-lined streets and coastal location, make it feel overwhelmingly like Goa instead of the outskirts of Mumbai. Explore the sprawling remnants of its once impenetrable fort city and chill at the pristine beaches. In the Vasai area, Seagull Resort has a water park and games, and holds day picnics. For agri-tourism, try Rohini Krupa Paryatan Kendra.
- Location: Around 60 kilometers (37 miles) north of the Mumbai city center.
- Entry: Free.
The leafy environs of Karnala Bird Sanctuary are part of the Western Ghat mountain range and provide a welcome reprieve among nature, not far from Mumbai. The small sanctuary is located just past Panvel on National Highway 17 (the Mumbai-Goa Highway). It's home to a diverse variety of birds. However, the main attraction is Karnala Fort, with its distinctive pinnacle. Perched high on the hill, the fort will reward you with a great view of Mumbai harbor after a one hour trek to reach it. In the vicinity, Karnala Panoramic Resort has a swimming pool and water park, and offers affordable one day picnics. K Star Woods Resort is another popular option. Jashan Farms is a bit more expensive.
- Location: Around 60 kilometers (37 miles) southeast of the Mumbai city center.
- Entry: 30 rupees for adults. 15 rupees for children. There are additional camera and parking charges.
The lush undulating Karjat countryside draws trekkers and adventure enthusiasts. There are many easy and lengthy trekking routes, as well as ancient rock-cut Buddhist caves, and rafting on the Ulhas River during the monsoon season. Pinewood Resort is close to Karjat railway station and has water park, swimming pool, rain dance with DJ, and plenty of activities for one day picnics (see rates). River Touch Resort is a wildlife lodge close to the Pej River with swimming pool, music system, and inexpensive packages for one day picnics. Van Vihar, in Kondana village, is a simple lodge situated near the start of the trekking trail to the Buddhist caves. Tasty home-cooked food is served and guides can be hired.
- Location: Around 75 kilometers (46 miles) southeast of the Mumbai city center.
Neral is renowned for being the starting point of the toy train to Matheran. However, it's also a fabulous place for a one day picnic, mainly because of Saguna Baug and the exceptional rural experience it provides. Guests can take a tour of the farm and learn how it operates, see the fish breeding ponds, ride water buffaloes, and try milking a cow. Other activities include gardening, swimming in the river, fishing, paddle boating, and bullock cart rides.
- Location: Around 90 kilometers (55 miles) southeast of the Mumbai city center.
Lonavala and Khandala
The twin hills of Lonavala and Khandala are a favorite one day picnic destination, located about halfway along the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Attractions in the area include lakes, forts, hills for hiking, and the ancient Karla Buddhist Caves. Luxurious Fariyas Resort offers a special picnic and wild water package. Clound9 Hill Resort is a cheaper option with swimming pool and games. To enjoy adventure activities amid the wilderness, head to Let's Camp Out overlooking Tungarli Lake. Della Adventure Park has more than 50 adrenaline pumping activities! The new Adlabs Imagica theme park and Aquamagica water park in nearby Khopoli is also super fun.
- Location: Around 95 kilometers (59 miles) southeast of the Mumbai city center.
If you're a beach person, skip unsightly Palghar town and go straight to Kelva. Kelva Beach Resort, with its wooden cottages and leafy surroundings, is one of the best hotels in the area. It's right on the beach and day packages are available. However, there are many other cheaper options in and around Kelva, including basic guesthouses and homestays. You'll find that most places offer day rates for groups. During peak season, there are camel rides, horse and cart rides and parasailing on the beach. There's also a fort and temple that can be explored. Satpati beach is less crowded and known for its fishing industry. Inland from Palghar, Silent Hills Resort at Manor is set on 60 acres of grounds with picnic village, amusement park, water park, mini train, boating, and games.
- Location: Around 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of the Mumbai city center.