1. Kolad – Thrill and tranquility by the riverside
A treat for adventure junkies and nature lovers, the picturesque camp site at Kolad is set on the banks of the river Kundalika. During the day time, there are activities like kayaking, water rafting, boating and others present near the campsite. You can also explore the villages nearby or trek to the nearby hills and catch a breath of fresh air as you can see mesmerizing views all around. Come nightfall, the beautiful night sky, the cool air and the sound of the flowing river is bound to soothe you. You can go night trekking or indulge in a toasty camp fire and revel in the company of friends and loved ones. This short trip is sure to fill you with memories and melt your stress.
2. Gorakhgad Fort – The simpleton’s vacation
A slightly offbeat experience compared to the other camps, you don’t spend the night in a tent but in a cave! Gorakhgad trek is one of the easier treks in the Sahyadri mountain range. You can trek to the pinnacle and have an once-in-a-lifetime experience of spending the night in a cave. The cave is hundreds of years old, and attracts trekkers and locals alike. The locals sing devotional songs for Lord Shiva, and their devotion and spirituality is sure to leave you spellbound. You can start you own campfire, enjoy the company of your friends and exchange the odd “ghost story” and indulge in some hot camp-food. Spend the night here, and descend the next morning; a dam is located nearby where you can spend some peaceful moments. A short and relaxed trip that you will reminisce about for ages!
3. Pavana – Because you need that barbecue under the stars
Situated on the banks of the Pavana dam near Lonavala, this is a hugely popular camping site for distressed fellows from Mumbai and Pune. Its rustic settings and quaint charm are what attracts campers to this peaceful heaven. Spend some quiet time camping here – breathe in the fresh air, start a campfire, enjoy a hot barbecue, swim in the cool waters, indulge in star-gazing in the clear skies and chat with your best buds. For those craving for some adventure, the historic forts like Lohagad, Tikona and Tungi are situated close by. Enjoy the company of nature and best friends on this short but surely relaxing getaway.
4. Karnala – Of green hills and clucking birds
Situated a short drive away from Mumbai, Karnala is a Mumbaikar’s much-loved destination for a quick getaway. It hosts a bird sanctuary where you can spend some time sighting exotic bird species in their natural habitat. For those seeking adventure, a trek to the Karnala fort is highly recommended. You can enjoy the odd waterfall during the monsoon season. There are plenty of options and campsites to camp in Karnala where you can spend some quiet time in nature’s lap and some fun camping activities.
5. Panchgani – To enjoy those strawberry and cream moments
If camping in the wilderness is what you are excited about, look no further than Panchgani. Situated near Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani has a lot to offer. It is reminiscent of the British Raj and there are a lot of touristy things you can do here – visit the strawberry gardens and shop for some jams and jellies, enjoy superb views and fresh air at Table land, go trekking or just spend the day rambling about the local shops. You can camp by the river Krishna and spend some quality time under the stars in the wilderness and forget all the hassles and tensions of life. Nothing like some nature therapy to brush aside your worries, eh?
6. Rajmachi – Man’s attempt to match Nature
One of the most popular destinations for trekking near Mumbai, it is the famous for the awe-inspiring Rajmachi fort. The sheer ruggedness of the fort and an enthralling trek will soothe your adventurous instincts. For those of you who are feeling too ravenous and craving some delicious food, you can visit the village and stop by Tai’s place, which serves some mouth-watering fare that trekkers swear by. Spend the evening setting up a campsite, campfire, start a barbecue and welcome the night enjoying the company of your friends. If you are lucky, you may be able to spot some shooting stars in the clear skies.
7. Kaas Plateau – India’s answer to Skagit Valley
For those looking to indulge in some mean nature photography, Kaas Plateau is the place you should be. Featuring in the UNESCO World Heritage sites list, it is home calming greens and a jaw-dropping 800 odd species of beautiful, colorful flowers. Trek through less-tread paths, see the fascinating flower spreads and check how many types of those countless beauties you can spot. Stop here and there to capture the bounty of nature with your mean machine. Camp in this flower valley and spend a night amidst the alluring treasures of nature.
8. Malshej Ghat – A postcard-perfect vacation
Malshej Ghat is a quick monsoon getaway for those wanting to explore the beauty of the countryside during the wet months. Get wowed by the lush greenery and fascinating environs, catch glimpses of the mighty Harishchandragad fort and the Taramati peaks and fall in love all over again. Venture near the banks of the lake Saptatirtha and set up your camping site, enjoy some hot barbecue food and enjoy the bounty of silence, clean air in the shadows of Harishchandragad. A truly memorable and unique experience for those who just cannot get enough of nature.
9. Tikona Fort – Enthralling, exhilarating and simply ravishing
If camping in the forest or by the lake seems too mainstream to you, try hill-top camping at Tikona fort. Trek to the fort during the day and enjoy some adventure activities like rappelling, adventure games etc. Go for a walk and get mesmerized by a 360 degree view of the surrounding hills and lakes. You can also visit the Pavana lake and enjoy a cool swim. By nightfall, you can set up your campsite, enjoy some fun times around the campfire and indulge in star-gazing. Wake up to a sun-kissed morning and enjoy the colors of nature – the orange-yellows of the morning sun, the greens of the exotic flora, the browns of the hills and forts and the blues of the lakes. Enough activities to keep you busy for a couple of days and leave you refreshed to tackle your mundane responsibilities.
10. Harishchandragad – A vacation that makes you do some soul-searching
Adventure, nature, thrill, excitement, peace are what you are looking for, then head out to Harishchadragad. One of the oldest, most difficult and trickiest treks, this place is sure to challenge you and give you an adrenaline rush. Visit the Konkan Kada and enjoy the breath-taking view which is worth a million bucks. Visit the Kedareshwar cave being held up by just one pillar, and see the shiva linga standing in a pool of ice-cold water. You can also visit the Taramati peak and the Saptatirtha Lake. Enjoy the simple joys of camping and have an adventure-filled weekend.
11. Revdanda – The ultimate beach vacation
Long stretches of golden sands, the soft-swaying breeze, the azure waters of the Arabian sea, the abundant coconut trees – welcome to beach camping! Revdanda offers all these plus more. There is also a fort you can explore during the day. You can enjoy some water sports to tame your wild side. Catch the glorious sunset. Spend the night in trying your hand at barbecue or some local seafood, enjoying the warmth of the bonfire and the company of loved ones, star-gazing and enjoying the sounds and silences of the sea. Wake up to sun-kissed seashores and take a walk along the beach to revel in the abundance of nature.
12. Bhandardara – The maximum bang for your buck
If you are just trying to escape monotony and not looking for any adventure, Bhandardara is your best bet. It is situated near the calm, blue waters of the lake, and during the monsoon, the rising water levels may lead to submerging of some areas, giving you the experience of island camping. You can go for a walk and enjoy the greenery and light forests. Come nightfall and Bhandardara gives you the bang for your buck. It is the most amazing place to simply gaze at the night sky and probably the best stargazing experience you will ever have. If you go in the pre-monsoon period, it is the mating season of the fireflies and the millions of fireflies, glowing in the dark makes it a sight to behold, as if the stars have descended on earth. Soak up the beauty and abundance of nature and its myriad experiences in Bhandardara.
13. Murud Janjira – To enjoy your ship-in-a-bottle moments
A formidable fort sitting in the midst of the sea, Murud Janjira is a seaport and town situated in Konkan, Maharashtra. Trek to the fort and soak in its history or visit the local town to amble around the shops. Visit the beaches to catch the panoramic views and breathe in the smell of the sea. Being a fishing village, it is teeming with fresh catch and you just cannot miss the sumptuous, local seafood. Camp near the seaside and open yourself to a world of tranquility, serenity and peace.
14. Khopoli – To enjoy those lazy escapades
Situated very close to Mumbai, its great for a quick camping getaway. Set up your campsite and enjoy a day of nature trails, a swim in the nearby river and explore the village and the countryside. By dusk, set up a great campfire, enjoy chatting with your dear ones, playing and listening to music and the general peaceful chatter. Keep the adventure, trekking and thrilling activities for another time. Sleep under the blanket of the clear skies and twinkling stars and wake up to a world of peace and solitude.
15. Dahanu- For a relaxing weekend with family
A simple camping location situated very close to the city, this is the place to go if you are looking to have a quiet weekend with the family. There are several games and adventure activities available. You can visit the beach, head over to the Dahanu fort, explore the Bahrot caves, visit the dams or just relax at the Kalpataru botanical gardens. Head back to the campsite and enjoy an evening of fun and warm camaraderie. There are some campsites that even offer you a stay in a tree-house. Soak in the simple pleasures of this small town and enjoy a fun camping weekend.
16. Bhatsa-The ideal spot for riverside camping
The source of one of the dams that supplies water to our megapolis, Bhatsa is a great place to camp on the banks of the dam or the river. The riverside camping here is a great family activity. You can go swimming or boating in the lake, or try your hand at fishing. Spend the day ambling around the river and going on long nature trails. In the evening, enjoy a barbecue of your own fresh catch and the simple joys of camping.
Each of these off-beat places has something unique to offer tired souls, and help them rejuvenate in nature’s lap. Nothing like a day or two in the midst of nature to nurture your mind, body and soul. So where are you headed for your next camping trip?