Best Beaches In Chennai That You Can’t Miss
Located in the northeastern part of Tamil Nadu, Chennai is the fourth-largest city in India. Commonly referred to by its former British name, Madras, this city offers a wide range of attractions. These include fine building specimens of Raj architecture, pilgrimage sites connected with the apostle, Doubting Thomas, and of course, superb Chola bronzes that you can find in the state museum .
However, if you are more of a beach person, don’t worry because beaches in Chennai will provide you with a well-deserved respite from the chaotic and crowded city life. So whenever you find yourself craving some alone time to rejuvenate after a tough day, these beaches in Chennai have you sorted. After all, a beach vacation does not have to mean the same old boring sun , sand and surf. Excited? Well, let us get started with these incredible beaches in Chennai.
1. Marina Beach
One of the most popular beaches in Chennai, Marina Beach is popular among both locals and tourists. This beach is one of the longest city beaches in the world as it stretches nearly five kilometres from the harbour at the southeastern corner of George Town till close to San Thomé Cathedral.
The Marina beach can become quite crowded, especially during the evening hours. It has many stalls that are set up on the beachfront during the second half of the day, which lends to a carnival-like atmosphere here. From rides for children to vendors selling snacks and handicraft items, many people head here for a walk on the beach. A swim in the sea is not recommended as the tides are quite erratic, so make sure you are careful.
How to reach – If you are coming from the Chennai airport, the Marina beach is located less than 18km away and you can reach here within an hour by car. You can also use local transport like buses, taxis and three-wheelers, which are easily available as well.
2. Kovalam Beach
Located along the Coromandel Coast of India and around 40 km from Chennai, Kovalam Beach is one of the stunning beaches in South India. Popular for its swimmable waters, it attracts both tourists and locals in equal measure. However one of the biggest draws of the beach is surfing – in fact, whatever time you come here, you will always find surfers who are riding the waves or just chilling on the beach. In addition, Kovalam beach also has a host of adventure and water sports including windsurfing, scuba diving , jet-skiing, paragliding, parasailing among others. A word of recommendation – head to Kovalam beach during the Covelong Point Festival, which is a great time to explore the beach and indulge in the multiple lively options including food and music that you can enjoy during the same. How to reach – Kovalam beach is located around 38 km and takes approximately close to an hour depending on traffic. You can also use local transport to help you reach the beach.
3. Mahabalipuram Beach
Known as Mamallapuram by the locals, the Mahabalipuram beach lies along the Bay of Bengal. The beach also boasts of rock-cut sculptures which are extremely attractive. Additionally, it also has a few caves and temples which make it a unique getaway for travellers. That is not all – the beach also has a crocodile bank with close to 5,000 crocodiles belonging to six different species. Many people flock to the beach and since you are allowed to swim in the sea here, it attracts travellers all year round.
Tip – There are many resorts dot the beach, so you can always book a stay there so that you can just chill at the Mahabalipuram beach to the maximum. Highly recommended!
How to reach – The nearest train station to Mahabalipuram beach is Chengalpattu Junction – which is connected to all major cities of India. From the station, you can hire a cab and reach the beach which is close to 31 km away (one-hour duration). You can also hire buses (both AC and non-AC) from places like Chennai, Pondicherry, Chengalpattu and other cities near Chennai.
4. Besant Nagar Beach
Also known as Edward Elliot’s Beach, this is one of the cleanest beaches of India. Ideal for those who like to watch sunrise or sunset, the beach also has multiple restaurants where you can chill and eat some incredible sea-food . In addition, there are many old temples and churches located near the beach which are worth the visit.
The Besant Nagar Beach is also a perfect weekend getaway as there are many activities that you can enjoy here including surfing and boating. How to reach – The beach is located a little over 14 km from the Chennai International airport. You can take a taxi from the airport and takes around 15-20 minutes depending on traffic.
5. VGP Beach
Located inside the VGP Universal Kingdom amusement park, this beach requires an entry fee. However, if you are looking for a clean and safe beach, it is worth paying the extra amount. On the beach, you can indulge in a variety of adventure sports as well. In addition, there is an amusement park with a number of rides so you can always head there after a visit to the beach.
Tip – Did you know a number of movies have been shot at this beach, so you can always head here for bragging rights as well.
How to reach – The International Chennai Airport is close to 20 km from the VGP beach. From the airport, you can take a cab or even book a cab or bus from there .
Besides beaches, here are a few offbeat things that you can do while planning your trip to Chennai.
1. The Hiding Caves of Little Mount
A unique spot, this cave is a religious spot and is located 10.5 km from the airport. The cave is still intact and there are still imprints of St. Thomas feet imprints which are still visible. Entry to the cave is free.
2. Ripon Building
An iconic landmark of Chennai, the Ripon Building is located near the Chennai Central railway station. TIt was built in 1913 and is an amazing example of the neoclassical style of architecture. One of the major attraction of the Ripon building is a mechanical chiming clock that needs wounding every single day.
3. Burma Bazaar
Located outside Chennai beach railway station, there are rows of small shops that sell various items like toys, perfumes, and chocolates to various electronics. Although it is congested, it was started by the Burmese refugees in the late 1960s. These refugees after coming to Chennai began to sell items to earn some extra money – soon the market gained a lot of reputation for smuggled goods.
Tip – A ten-minute drive from the Burma Bazaar will lead you to Fort St. George, the first English fortress that was built in 1644.