For some reason, beaches don’t usually come to mind when most people think about planning a trip to India. There are so many wonderful sights to see, but those who overlook these sandy shores are definitely missing out.
With over 4,000 miles of shoreline, it is crazy to think that the beaches aren’t the hottest attraction in the country… when they absolutely should be. The good news is, with so many people rushing to the center of the country’s busy city life, it’s stunning beaches are usually left empty.
Lay out your towel wherever you please, listen to the sounds of the crashing waves, and breathe deep knowing you have the place to yourself.
Scroll down for a list of the top 9 beaches in India that’ll have you relaxing in no time.
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1. Mandarmani Beach
Located on the northern end of West Bengal, Mandarmani Beach is one of the longest beaches in all of India. Its vast sandy shores guarantee wide open space to lay out your towel, and the atmosphere is nothing short of tranquil.
You’ll see tourists and locals alike partaking in water sports like surfing, jet skiing, and taking a banana boat ride. The crystal clear water is still calm enough to enjoy a safe and relaxing swim.
The beach is also known for its breathtaking views as its prime location makes it possible to watch the sun both rise and set over the water.
Along the beach, vendors set up their stands selling handcrafted jewelry and trinkets. Surprisingly, with all its amenities, the beach doesn’t get too many visitors – making it the perfect place to sunbathe in peace. While you’re in the area, be sure to check out a few of the other pristine beaches like Tajpur, Udaipur, and Digha.
Keep in mind that although the weather is hot enough to strip down to your bathing suit year-round, July through September is considered to be monsoon season. To avoid getting caught in a torrential rainstorm, you should plan your visit around this time.
2. Serenity Beach
Nestled in the scenic town of Pondicherry, the golden sandy shores of Serenity Beach are a beachgoers’ dream. The hidden oasis is surrounded by palm trees and clear, aqua blue waters stretch out into the iconic Bay of Bengal.
The beach is never really crowded, and the soft sand is begging for you to lay out your towel to take in the sun. Nothing can be heard around you other than the soft waves crashing upon the shore and the birds chirping overhead.
If you think the beach is beautiful in midday lighting, you have to see it at sunrise when photographers gather around for a picture-perfect shot.
The waves are perfect for folks who are looking to learn how to surf, and surfing equipment can be rented at one of the local shops. In fact, Kallialay Surf School offers a bunch of different courses to get you out on the water in no time.
You can easily spend the entire day here thanks to the abundance of food stalls lining the beach serving tasty seafood dishes. You’ll also find a variety of shopping stalls selling handcrafted items, spices, clothing, jewelry, and more. If you’re visiting on the weekend, these shopping stalls triple in size during the Serenity Beach Bazaar market.
The beach is also in close proximity to many local attractions like the Sadhana Forest, Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple, and Eglise De Notre Dame Des Anges. There’s also a huge selection of resorts, restaurants, and bars to keep the fun going for days.
3. Bakkhali Beach
On the southern edge of Bengal lies Bakkhali Beach, surrounded by lush green forests and accessible only by taking the small bridge from the mainland, giving it the ultimate feeling of an untouched beach.
Aside from the occasional holiday that attracts locals and tourists alike, Bakkhali usually has a minimal amount of visitors, so a trip to this beach will be a peaceful experience.
The waves are slim to none, so it’s not the beach for surfing – but its wonderful swimming conditions definitely makes up for it.
There aren’t as many shopping like many other India beaches, which adds to the tranquil feeling of a raw beach. As the sun starts making its way down, food vendors pepper the beach to satisfy a day’s worth of hunger with fried fish and cold refreshments.
4. Palolem Beach
Of all the beautiful beaches located along the shores of Goa, Palolem Beach is by far the best if you’re looking to beat the crowds in a rather popular, beach-focused city. The mile-long beach curves into the shape of a crescent-moon and the golden sand invites guests to spend a day relaxing along its shore.
Grab a drink or a quick bite to eat at one of the many beachfront restaurants and enjoy free access to their sunbeds, umbrellas, and wifi.
Boat trips take you out to hidden island beaches like Butterfly Beach and Honeymoon Beach while also offering possible sightings of dolphins. You can opt for a personal boat tour or take a tour with other guests to minimize the cost. Other options for exploration include kayak and SUP board rentals at one of the nearby kiosks.
For an even more secluded experience, take a scenic 20-minute walk to Patnem Beach to enjoy its lazy vibes, untouched sandy shore, and romantic atmosphere.
After a day of sunbathing, watch the sunset transform the sky as you sip on a cocktail at one of the beach bars. The moment the sun sets, every bar on the strip partakes in a never-ending (until closing) happy hour of two for one cocktails.
If you’re looking for something more lively, the inner limits are home to a variety of nightclubs with exciting parties that go on through all hours of the night.
5. Gahirmatha Beach
Known as the nesting grounds for the Olive Ridley sea turtles, Gahirmatha Beach is a sanctuary of soft sand, lush mangroves, and marine life. The sandy shore goes on for miles providing endless choices to lay out your towel and enjoy time in the sun.
Plan your trip between October and February for the best chance to see thousands of sea turtles burying their eggs in the sand. Because the beach is considered a preservation center for these gentle creatures, the only way to visit is by requesting permission from India’s government through a visa. Once you’re granted access, you can spend as much time as you like sunbathing, swimming and sightseeing.
As popular as this beach may be, amenities are slim to none – so plan ahead for the most enjoyable experience. There is one restaurant along the beach serving authentic Oddisi dishes if you want to get a taste of the region, but many choose to have dinner in one of the bordering towns where accommodations are also available.
When you need a break from the sun, check out some of the nearby attractions including:
- The Gahirmatha Wildlife Sanctuary
- Bhitarkanika National Park
- The Shiva Temple
- Paradip Port.
6. Paradise Beach
Also known as Plage Paradiso, Paradise is one of the most popular beaches in Pondicherry because of its remote location and an abundance of amenities. The only way to access the beach is by taking a boat from the mainland – which only adds to the feeling of a hidden paradise.
If you have an eye for photography, you should definitely visit during sunrise or after a big storm to see the vibrant colors of the sky and the lush greenery of the mangrove forest.
The soft sand is perfect for sunbathing or partaking in beach sports like volleyball and badminton. The sandy shore is peppered with straw huts to hide under when it rains or for shade when the sun feels overwhelming. Food vendors line the beach serving tasty treats like fried fish and refreshing coconut water.
The shallow waters are safe for swimming but there are no lifeguards on duty so avoid going out too far as the current gets pretty strong. However, the water is usually busy with visitors kayaking, canoeing, jet-skiing, and surfing.
For dolphin sightings, take a short walk over to the Chunnambar Boat House where marine life is said to be thriving.
Paradise Beach is close to Promenade Beach and Auroville Beach if you’re looking for a bit of variety.
7. Radhanagar Beach
Considered to be one of the best beaches in all of Asia, Radhanagar Beach seems to go on for miles but the tropical rainforest is always within reach.
The moment you step upon the soft, white sand all your troubles will wash away as you take in the magnificent views of the turquoise sea.
There are huts, chairs, and benches scattered all around the lake, so arrive early to score the best spot. There are restrooms available on site, and lockers and showers can be accessed by paying a small fee.
The water is on the calmer side, so guests can enjoy a relaxing swimming experience with a gradual increase in depth for those who really want to get out there. There are lifeguards on duty to keep you safe, but the cutoff point is about 30 feet from the shore where the current gets rough.
When you’ve had enough time with the sun, venture along one of the walking trails that take you through the thick, biodiverse forest. Neil’s Cove is a popular 2-mile hike that takes you along the beach and through the rainforest to a stunning lagoon with clear views of the sea.
8. Varkala Beach
Located along the northern cliffs of Kerala, Varkala Beach is just a staircase away with its vast sandy shore and crystal blue water. Although there is plenty of space to lay out your towel even on a busy day, you should still arrive early if you have any hopes of renting an umbrella or lounge chair.
While a large portion of the beach is dedicated to sunbathers and surfers, there is a section that has been established as the Varkala Beach Holy Site. So, if you see locals dressed in their traditional clothing, possibly performing a ceremony, please make sure to be respectful. The village focuses heavily on the importance of yoga, so don’t be suprized to find a yoga class directly on the beach or atop the roof of a local café.
There is a flat 4.5-mile hike that will take you past the booming resorts and into a wonderland of deserted little beaches and tall palm trees.
The hardest decision you’ll have to make is choosing between the many restaurants serving local cuisine and dishes from other countries. Some of the best places to enjoy authentic curry at an affordable price include the Nomad, True Thomas, and Darjeeling. After you’ve stuffed your face, make your way over to one of the lively bars and sit out on the patio to watch the sunset with a drink in hand.
There are no ATMs anywhere near Varkala Beach, so make sure to bring enough cash with you or you’ll be taking a rickshaw back to town.
9. Butterfly Beach
Hidden away between the cliffs of southern Goa, only accessible by boat, lies the beautifully secluded Butterfly Beach. Nicknamed “Honeymoon Beach”, Butterfly has been attracting newlyweds for years thanks to its isolated and romantic nature.
Along the northern edge, thousands of butterflies go about their day and marine life sightings are more common than anywhere else in the country.
It is important to note that there are no boat rides available during the monsoon season which means the beach is inaccessible on most days between July to September.
Sign up for a snorkeling tour to explore some of the Arabian Sea’s most vibrant marine life. The calm waters are great for swimming, floating, and kayaking to nearby beaches completely untouched by humans.
Although there are no food vendors on the beach, you’ll have a fair share of choices if you walk to one of the neighboring beaches, Palolem beach or Agonda beach.
So pack your bag accordingly and head to Butterfly Beach for a peaceful experience that will have you feeling like you’re on a deserted island.