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9 Super Summer Holiday Options For Families

Last updated on: May 03, 2024 13:06 IST
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Photographs Mayur Sanap/

In spite of the heat, there so many great things to do in summer in India with your children and family.

The kids are home, exams are over and the grandparents too are yearning for an escape. Take a cue from us and make the most of the sunny days ahead. Plan something special. Maybe a simple serene outdoor experience or finding the cool in the exotic higher slopes of the Himalayas -- and make long-lasting memories for the fam.

Gir lions

IMAGE: An adorable pride of lions chilling in the grasslands of Gir National Park. Photograph: Kind courtesy Mayankvagadiya/Wikimedia Commons

1. Experience the wilderness

Yes, most lions live in the savannah grasslands of Africa. But India is lucky to have a flourishing population of woodland-dwelling lions in our very own Gir National Park in Gujarat.

Witness these gorgeous creatures -- that vie for the king of the jungle crown with tigers -- in their full glory in the Gujarat forests.

Summer is one of the best times to spot wildlife because the heat thins the jungle and wilderness and decreases the waterholes and you can observe animals coming to refresh themselves at larger lakes and ponds. Opt to see Gir's lions or the rhinoceros of Assams Kaziranga National Park, the elephants of Karnataka's Bandipur National Park, the tigers of Uttarkhand's Jim Corbett National Park.

There are also opportunities to see leopards, jackals, spotted deer, wild boars and many more species of birds and animals, apart from a wide range of flora in any of our sprawling forests. For your children to see wildlife in their natural habitat is an experience like no other.

Riding a gondola in Kashmir

IMAGE: A swinging gondola ride up the mountains in Gulmarg. Feeling dizz even looking at the pic? Photograph: Vaihayasi Pande Daniel/

2. Ride the ropeway

Soar to new heights in one of the world's highest gondolas at Kashmir's Gulmarg. The 2.5 km long cable car pierces through the clouds and takes you straight to the top of Kongdoori mountain at over 13,000 feet above the sea level! Experience the unforgettable aerial panoramic glimpses of expansive meadows and the snow-covered Himalayas during this thrilling ride.

Even in peak summer, there are high chances of finding a few snow pockets at the top of the mountains that promise fun. Sounds like an ultimate summer escape? It sure is!

IMAGE: Mudhouses on a farm are a striking example of sustainable living. Photograph: Mayur Sanap/

3. Do a farm visit

How about taking a break from the crowds and hustle bustle of the city and sample the slow, rustic life of the countryside?

There are many farm stays to choose from close to cities like Mumbai, New Delhi and Pune, where you can spend time in a tranquil setting, walk along the nature trails, relish farm-to-table organic produce, swim in a lake or river, learn more about the farm's plants and farming activities.

This would be a great way to introduce your children to new ways of life while also learning a thing or two about reconnecting with nature.

IMAGE: A heavenly Himalayan scene at Nag Tibba, Uttarakhand. Photograph: Mayur Sanap/

4. Witness the magic of cool mountain meadows

The Himalayan states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, as well as parts of Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal, have glorious weather in the summer and offer plenty of hiking escapes that take you to high-altitude meadows. Think of easy day-hikes to Deori Tal in the Garhwal region, or Nag Tibba near Mussoorie, or Lamadugh near Manali.

Forging your way up to these lush green carpeted hideaways and taking in the stunning vistas of Himalayan peaks will be sights to treasure all your life. It's also a chance to participate in outdoor activities like camping, stargazing in a natural setting without the disturbance of technology. Fun digital detox? Yes, that's what it is!

IMAGE: How cute are these colourful canoes at Dawki! Photograph: Mayur Sanap/

5. Go for a relaxing boat ride

A picturesque valley, peaceful surroundings, and lazily-flowing crystal clear waters... That's Dawki river in Meghalaya, a perfect setting for a summer vacation.

Close to the India-Bangladesh border in India's Northeast, Dawki, locally known as Umngot, has lured tourists from all over because of its status as Asia's cleanest river. Taking a canoe ride through the azure blue, sometimes emerald green waters, is an experience in itself.

Besides boating, you can also choose camping, fishing, snorkelling here.

IMAGE: Surf away at Varkala. Photograph: Mayur Sanap/

6. Take surfing lessons

Don't we just love being in the water in summer?

Channel your inner Aquaman and learn how to surf. India's extensive coastline has number of beaches ideal for surfing.

Karnataka's Mulki, Kerala's Varkala and Kovalam, and a few spots in Goa offer customised sessions for different age groups.

IMAGE: Set your hearts racing to the beat of the rapids of the icy cold water in Rishikesh. Photograph: Mayur Sanap/

7. Get adventurous!

Make this summer all about challenging your fears!

It could be paragliding over tranquil landscapes in Himachal Pradesh's Bir. Or bungee jumping from towering heights in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand. Else rafting in the white water rapids in Uttarakhand’s Rishikesh or on the Zanskar river in Ladakh. Or maybe immersing yourself in serene aquatic life by scuba diving in the Andamans. The more daring the escapade, the more precious the memories! 

IMAGE: Nom nom! Samosas fried in 'shuddh desi ghee' and jalebis with creamy rabdi. Photograph: Mayur Sanap/

8. Dig into some GOOD food

Pani Puri, Chole-Bhature, Aloo Tikki, Dahi Bhalla, Samosa Chaat, Soya Chaap... Oh, you can hardly find a person whose mouth does not water when these dishes are mentioned, right?

Make it a summer of eating. The annual food festivals in Delhi are the place to find wonderful delicacies along with a multi-cuisine dishes from across India. You will find a whole variety of dishes sold by vendors. We Indians are One People when it comes to our love for food.

Once you are well fed, head out for a spot of local sightseeing to get a taste of the capital's bygone eras at Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Hauz Khas Fort, Humayun's Tomb, Agrasen ki Baoli, and many more locations.

IMAGE: Houseboats as your floating residence for the summer. Photograph: Mayur Sanap/

9. Chill in the calming backwaters

The calming backwaters of Kerala are a vision of beauty -- no wonder it tops travellers' bucket lists. Hop on a luxurious houseboats at Alleppey, Kottayam, or Kollam, and enjoy floating past the bazaars, temples, churches, fishing nets, cutesy hamlets and coconut groves that make this area so picturesque.

If you are feeling a little brave, try kayaking through smaller canals. The green paddy fields, tall coconut trees, chirping of birds will add to this gratifying experience. Take time out to tuck into the best of Kerala food.

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