With a coastline spanning more than 7,500km (4,660 miles), India boasts an abundance of scenic beaches offering turquoise waters and soft white sands. Whether you enjoy exploring the waters in solitude, or partying on the beach late into the night, India has something for you.
While there are many well-known tourist destinations among India’s numerous beaches, there are also some beautiful hidden gems for those wanting to get off the tourist trail for a weekend or more. Eight beaches in India were awarded the coveted ‘Blue Flag’ certification in 2020.
This certification is awarded by an international jury that includes members of the Foundation for Environmental Education, the United Nations, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Before awarding the certification, the jury verifies that a beach is safe, clean, and ecofriendly.
Hence, for beach-lovers visiting India, there is no dearth of attractive and safe destinations to relax, sunbathe, and indulge in exciting water sports. After all, being a peninsular country, India is bordered on three sides by the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean, and the Arabian Sea. The mountainous north of the country is the only region that is not water-locked.
So, if you’re planning to visit India in the near future, you should definitely try and spend at least a weekend at some of their many picturesque beaches. There is a plethora of different activities you can try, to enhance your enjoyment at the beach. The destination you choose, and the weather conditions, will also play a role in determining how you spend your time.
Water Sports at Indian Beaches
Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie looking for your next water-based adventure, or a seeker of relaxation and tranquility, there is a beach in India that is perfect for you. The country has an array of destinations for beach lovers of all types.
For instance, the beaches of Goa are ideal for the party animal inside you, while those of Puri are perfect for a spiritual rejuvenation. You can try the remote beaches of Andaman for some exciting water sports, or head to Kovalam, the famous coastal town in Kerala, to experience a unique seaside culture and cuisine.
While India has long been known as the land of spirituality and miracles, the many destinations for adventurous water sports in the country are less well known. Yet, there are hundreds of beaches in India that offer everything from simple kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding to more advanced water-sports like wind-surfing and parasailing. From the novice to the adrenaline junkie, there are some amazing beaches in India for water-sport lovers of all types.
A rather unlikely watersport that has really taken off in terms of popularity, in recent years, is stand-up paddleboarding or SUP. Originating in North America, stand-up paddleboarding is popular among locals and tourists alike and has become quite the common sight at Indian beaches. The best part about SUP is that it is easy to learn and requires minimal gear. All you need are an inflatable board, an adjustable paddle, an ankle leash, and a PFD. See here for more info about paddleboarding.
There is a growing number of surfing and stand-up paddleboarding academies, accredited by the Surfing Federation of India, working to make the sport more accessible for the people of the country. Tourists can also take lessons from these academies, regardless of whether they’re beginners or experienced paddleboarders. There are classes designed for paddleboarders and surfers at all levels of experience.
Beginners should stick to beaches on the east coast of India, which offer safe, flat water conditions for easy paddling. The monsoons are light and the waves manageable in the picturesque beaches of Goa and Pondicherry, so beginners can safely choose these destinations for some enjoyable flat-water paddling. Experienced paddlers vacationing here should also respect local traditions, plan in advance, and seek local advice before jumping into the sea with their paddleboards.
Best Beaches to Visit in India
India boasts some of the most scenic and breathtaking beaches in the world. But unless you’re planning to spend over a year in the country, you can’t see all of them during your visit. So you’ll need to decide on your interests and priorities, in order to narrow down your options. Because which beach you should visit will depend on what you want to do once you’re there.
If you want to go on a romantic long drive and try some delicious local cuisine, for instance, you should opt for the Muzhappilangad Beach in Kannur, Kerala. Not only is it the longest drive-in beach in Asia, but it was also featured on the BBC’s list of the six best drive-in beaches on earth. The soothing breeze and the gentle waves of the sea will enhance the romantic ambiance and make your beach holiday even more memorable.
On the other hand, if you want to try stand-up paddleboarding and other water sports during your vacation, then you should pay a visit to Radhanagar Beach in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Best visited between the months of September and February, this beach is famous for its surf breaks and scuba diving points.
You can also go snorkeling, parasailing, and stand-up paddleboarding while at the Radhanagar Beach. If you are lucky, you may even get to see an elephant or two sunbathing on the pristine sands. Gokarna in Karnataka, Mandrem Beach in Goa, and Tharangambadi in Tamil Nadu are some of the other seaside destinations that offer excellent stand-up paddleboarding opportunities.
Lastly, if you enjoy parties, fun, and socializing, then you should head for the Palolem Beach in Goa. Like many other beaches in Goa, Palolem offers excellent food, unlimited wine, and the best music. In short, it has everything you could want for a memorable beach party. For more of an adrenaline rush, you could even go dolphin spotting with your friends during the daytime.
No matter which beaches you choose to visit during your trip to India, you will need to take some important gear with you, such as a wetsuit, sunscreen, PFD, and a high-quality inflatable paddleboard. These items will help keep you safe and comfortable when you’re riding the waves at a tropical seaside haven in India.