Here is a list of 11 off-beat places to take your kids to in their vacations. These are guaranteed to keep them busy and involved as they learn and experience new things and, at the same time, have a gala time with the family.
1. Lamadug, Himachal Pradesh
A not-so-well-known trekking trail, Lamadug meadows above Manali provide a great opportunity for families with kids to chill out and relax. The easy trek to the meadows has its fair share of adventure and is an ideal destination to introduce kids to trekking. Lamadug is around 6 km walk from Manali.
The trek takes you through mountain forests under the shadow of snow-covered Himalayan – Dhauladar and Pir Panjal ranges with amazing views of the Kullu valley. The meadows are perfect for overnight camping and are a good place to relax, bond and have a good time with the family.
2. Chakrata, Uttarakhand
Chakrata is a quiet and picturesque hill station located in the Garhwal region of Uttarkhand between the banks of river Yamuna and Tons. With a rich and varied flora and fauna, it is an ideal place for nature lovers and adventurists.The town has many attractions to keep both the adults and kids busy. There are permanent campsites available for stay, or options to camp yourself if feeling a bit more adventurous.
About 5 km from Chakrata are the Tiger Falls which, at 95 meters, are one of the highest waterfalls in India. One can hike till there and have a bath under the falls which collects into a small pond below it. The area is not common with tourists and provides calm and peaceful getaway.
3. Khajjiar, Himachal Pradesh
Khajjiar, also called as the Mini Switzerland of India, is a small hill station in Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh about 23 km from Dalhousie. Unlike the numerous other hill stations also called as the “mini Switzerland”, Khajjiar was named so by Mr. Willy T. Blazer, Vice Counselor and Head of Chancery of Switzerland on 7 July 1992.
Khajjiar is covered with dense deodars and pines with lush green meadows and being at the base of Dhauladhars, provides panoramic views of the mountains. Khajjiar is not much of an adventure destination with the activities one can do here involving walks around the lake or in the thick pine forests.
The place is ideal for children because of wide open grasslands which provide enough spaces for them to play and the gradual slopes are fun to roll down to the Khajjiar lake. One can even try horse riding here.
When looking for offbeat travel, there’s no better destination than Meghalaya, home to the wettest place on earth, Cherrapunji. With its pristine beauty, the perpetual clouds, mists, huge waterfalls, lush green and dense forests, the amazing living root bridges, you will fall in love with this place.
Nohkalikai Falls near Cherrapunji are the tallest plunge waterfall in the country. Another spectacular waterfall is the Nohsngithiang Falls, also called as the Seven Sisters fall. These falls, with their surging waters, are a sight to behold.
Meghalaya has one of the best caving sites in the world and exploring these with the children can be big learning experience for them. Meghalaya also is known to have the ‘cleanest village in Asia’ – Mawlynnong.
5. Barot, Himachal Pradesh
Barot is another off the beaten track destination in Himachal Pradesh and has not yet come to much attention. It is landscaped by beautiful terrace fields, cedar forests and offers a range of outdoor activities. Barot provides a perfect setting for serene nature walks.
The Uhl River flows next to the village and adds to its beauty. There is a trout farm here and the river stretch at Barot is great for angling, especially for the children, who will enjoy the experience of fishing alongside the river.
6. Pabbar Valley, Himachal Pradesh
Pabbar is one of the most spectacular valleys in Himachal Pradesh and totally isolated from the general tourist rush. It offers amazing panoramic views of the Himalayas, and an opportunity for nature walks in the dense forests.
There’s a wide range of activities that both the adults and the kids one can enjoy like camping, trekking, fishing, and some adventurous ones like rafting and paragliding. If you want a vacation away from the rush and the commercialization which have become a characteristic of every hill station, Pabbar Valley is a must in your travel plans.
7. Tirthan Valley, Himachal Pradesh
Situated beside the Tirthan River from which it derives its name, Tirthan Valley is a place to forget the world and relax & rejuvenate. This the place for nature walks alongside the river or in the woods, camping and getting together.
There is also an option of going trout fishing in the river. Tirthan Valley even has a lot of treks – some of which are perfect for kids. The time spent with family in the serenity of this valley is something you’ll not forget.
8. McLeodganj, Himachal Pradesh
Mcleodganj or the Upper Dharamshala is a small Buddhist town, the Dalai Lama lives here and if lucky, you can even get an audience with him. A quiet little hill station, it is a great place to experience the Buddhist culture.
The monasteries, the winding lanes, steaming momos, and numerous bakeries make it an exciting place to explore. One can take a hike to the Bhagsu waterfall which lies just beyond the Bhagsu Village or numerous treks which start from here. (10 Treks Which Put Dharamshala on Every Enthusiast’s List)
A trip to Mcleodganj is a great way to get kids to experience the Buddhist way of life and increase their cultural outlook.
9. Chindi, Himachal Pradesh
Located in the Karsog valley in Himachal Pradesh, Chindi is a small hill station with dense hilly forests and apples orchards. Perfect for a weekend getaway or a small vacation, it provides you with a welcome break.
The Karsog valley serves as a nice excursion spot with family and the apple orchards are worth a visit once. Still not so popular with the tourists, Chindi makes an excellent off-beat destination.
10. Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The Andaman & Nicobar Islands are truly amazing and are a must-visit for everyone. With their spectacular beaches, adventure opportunities and a colorful history, these islands are loads of fun for families.
There are a whole bunch of activities you can experience here like scuba diving, snorkeling, riding jet skis, ferry rides and much more.
There are many places of historic importance on these islands like the Kalapaani Jail. One can even take a ferry ride to various islands which make for a once in a lifetime experience.
11. Pangot, Uttarakhand
Pangot is a small picturesque town in Nainital district in Uttarakhand. Surrounded by thick tall pine, oak, cedar and rhododendron forests, Pangot is a heaven for bird watchers with scores of migratory birds that come thronging, as it hosts more than 150 species of birds .
Pangot also provides spectacular views of the Garhwal and Kumaon and is an ideal retreat for families, isolated and close to the nature.