Open spaces, plenty of activities and safety are factors to consider when you plan a vacation with your kids. India has myriad destinations that are child-friendly – clean and uncrowded beaches where you can relax and watch your kids build sand castles or heritage destinations where kids can discover a thing or two about India’s rich history. Travellers on HolidayIQ.com speak about the Top 10 kid-friendly destinations in India on Children’s day. This ranking is based on the actual on-site user actions of travellers planning holidays with children for the November 14 – 16, 2014 weekend. HolidayIQ.com receives 50 lakh travellers every month.
Chocolates are sure to entice the young and the young at heart! Indulge your sweet tooth with truffles, fudges and marshmallows available at King Star Confectioners on Commercial Road. Let the little tyke indulge in mini-train and pony rides. An educational trip to the tea and botanical gardens and a live demo about honey gathering and bee keeping at the Honey & Bee Museum must be a part of your trip. Not to forget, make sure to take a boat ride on the famous Ooty lake.
What kids must do: Chocolates at King Star and a boat ride at Ooty Lake.
How to reach: Approximately 88 kilometres away, Coimbatore is the nearest domestic airport from Ooty which is well-connected with most of the Indian cities. The nearest railhead is Mettupalyam, 40 kilometres from Ooty.
Jaisalmer is like an open history book. Don’t miss a chance of walking your kids through historic tales of valour and visit Jaisalmer’s old forts and palaces. And then there are Jaisalmer’s local transport options– the elephants, camels and rickshaws. You can also camp in the Thar Desert and star gaze.
What kids must do: Camel safari and star gazing in Jaisalmer
How to reach: Jodhpur Airport is the closest domestic airport that is functional throughout the year. Jaisalmer is well connected with a wide network of trains covering most of the Indian cities like Delhi, Jodhpur, Jaipur and others.
Adventurous kids will love water sports – snorkeling, boat rides and parasailing. Or you could just flop on the beach under a palm tree while your children make sandcastles. Take them to Old Goa, which has beautiful churches, monuments and forts. Benaulim Beach, Mandrem Beach and Morkim Beach are famous for their soft sand & clean, shallow water.
What kids must do: Water rides at Goa’s beaches and a heritage tour of Old Goa
How to reach: The Dabolim Airport lies just 29 kilometres from the state’s capital, Panjim. The two major railheads in Goa are Madgaon and Thivim, which are well connected by trains from all over the country.
4. Ajanta & Ellora
Walk them through the Ajanta-Ellora Caves – UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The caves are home to beautiful paintings, monuments and sculptures. HolidayIQ Traveller Divya from Delhi suggests you buy something from stores outside the caves.
What kids must do: Buy encyclopedias outside the caves and visit Siddharth Garden in Aurangabad
How to Reach: Currently Aurangabad is the nearest Air point for Ajanta. It can be reached from New Delhi and Mumbai, international airport. Jalgaon is the best place to drop in for Ajanta if you like Rail journey.
Think of Darjeeling and you can think of nothing but the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway or the Toy Train. Make sure that you take kids for a pony ride on Mall Road.
What kids must do: Pony rides on Mall Road, a cable car and toy train ride. Visit the Garg World Amusement Park, Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Observatory Hill, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and Bengal Natural History Museum
How to reach: Bagdogra Airport is the nearest air connection which is 96 kilometres away from Darjeeling. The DHR Toy Train service starts at New Jalpaiguri and will get you to Darjeeling at a speed no faster than 30 miles per hour. It takes seven hours and halts at Batasia Loop from where passengers can take photographic shots of Mt. Kanchenjunga.
6. Gir National Park
Consider the Gir National Park for a quintessential wildlife experience. Spot the Asiatic lion in the wild. Hotels located close to the Park have activities that will keep kids busy. Sasan Gir is a great opportunity to reconnect with nature, hear the chirping of the birds, take a walk along natural streams and breathe in fresh air.
What kids must do: A wildlife safari and nature walks
How to reach: Closest airport to Sasan Gir Railway Station is Keshod Airport.
Living root bridges, scenic surroundings as well as clean and fresh air to breathe in, Shillong is a place where you can let your kids truly enjoy a relaxed vacation. Shillong has many attractions children will love including the Indian Airforce Museum, which is an informative place for kids.
What kids must do: Visit the Indian Airforce Museum and Lady Hydari Park
How to reach: The nearest major airport and railway station is at Guwahati, which is nearly 120 km away from Shillong. Guwahati Airport is well connected to many major cities in India including Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata.
Auli has a vast range of exciting adventure activities. It is a great place for skiing.
What kids must do: Skiing in Auli. Government-certified operators at GMVN offer beginner courses.
How to reach: The Jolly Grant Airport located in Dehradun is the nearest airport to Auli. It is at a distance of around 279 km from the hill station. It connects the place with several cities of the country.
Atop an elephant or in jeep, embark on a family adventure. Drive through green grasslands and spot giant one-horned rhinos, myriad species of birds, elephants, wild water buffalos, and if you are destined to, the tiger. Do not forget to carry a pair of binoculars and watch the beautiful animals in the wild.
What kids must do: An elephant safari at the Kaziranga National Park
How to reach: Nearest airport is in Jorhat town, which is 96 km away from Kaziranga. Jorhat is connected to Kolkata, Delhi and Guwahati by regular flights. The nearest railway station to Kaziranga is Furkating, which is 80 km away.
10. Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The islands aren’t a world away, but the flight across the ocean, boat and ferry rides are nothing short of a fairytale. Diving and snorkeling to watch corals is a must-do. You can also take kids for a ride on a glass bottom boat and let him take a closer look at the vast coral colonies.
What kids must do: Glass bottom boat ride to see corals and underwater sea life
How to reach: Port Blair is Andaman’s major gateway which is well connected by air and sea while regular passenger ship services are available to Port Blair.