The hustle and bustle of Mumbai can often leave you yearning for a tranquil away-from-the-city weekend experience. So, whether you want to head out of town for a dash of adventure, or for some quiet time in the lap of nature, our list of 10 favourite picnic spots near Mumbai won’t disappoint you.
1. Sula Vineyards: For a day of wine and sunshine
About 230 kilometres from Mumbai, here’s a vineyard where you can relax and rejuvenate in style. Whether you want a grape-to-glass experience—complete with a tour of the vineyard and the winery, or just want to park yourself at Sula Beyond—the exclusive in-house villa, Sula Vineyard fits in perfectly for a day trip or even a weekend stay. Dine at Café Rose, their all-day dining restaurant; take a dip in the pool, or go for a bicycle ride on the country roads.
While you’re heading to Sula, you can take a detour to Vaitarna Dam, also known as the Modak Sagar Dam on the Vaitarna River. The dam, which supplies water to Mumbai, is in Igatpuri in Nashik district, and is known for its beautiful lagoon and picturesque surroundings.
2. Kolad: For water sports rush
The adventure central of Maharashtra, Kolad, in Raigad District, is best known for its white water rafting in the Kundalika River and its trekking trails. Nestled in the Sahayadri mountain range and 121 kilometres from Mumbai, Kolad is buzzing with adventure activities. Besides rafting, there’s canoeing, kayaking, paragliding, rappelling, rock climbing, and river zip line crossing to choose from. Waterfall rappelling and mountain biking are some of the other activities that attract adventure seekers to Kolad, like bees to honey.
3. Matheran: For an old-fashioned slice of hillside serenity
Just 90 kilometres from Mumbai, this peaceful hill station is nestled in the Western Ghats and is 800 meters above the sea level. This eco-sensitive region is one of the few places in the world where automobiles aren’t allowed, which helps to notch up its serenity level. While you’re here, you can go for long walks in the wooded areas, ride through the town on horseback, try zip-lining between Louisa and Honeymoon Point, enjoy the views from the various points scattered across the hill station, and tuck into a picnic hamper next to Charlotte Lake.
4. Karnala: For a dollop of nature and a smattering of history
Karnala offers picnickers a chance to create an itinerary around bird watching, nature treks and a visit to the Karnala fort. About 12 kilometres from Panvel, the Karnala Bird Sanctuary is spread over 12.11 square kilometres, a tiny gem of a place that’s teeming with 150 species of resident birds and 37 species of migratory birds. The Karnala Fort, which was built by the Devagiri Yadavas and later occupied by Tuglaq, is the other place here that you must visit. While it’ll take an hour to trek up to it, once you reach the fort, it’ll offer you a fabulous view of the Mumbai harbour.
5. Lonavala: For a scenic break
Just 96 kilometres from Mumbai, this hill station is just as famous for its chikki, as it is for its breathtaking views. Lonavala is a very accessible picnic spot for Mumbaikars and boasts of ‘points’ that offer picnickers scenic views of the hills and valleys around. The Rajmachi Point is a favourite with many as it gives you a commanding view of Rajmachi – Shivaji’s famous fort. Tiger’s Point, also known as Tiger’s Leap, is another site frequently visited by travellers. With a steep drop of over 650 meters and a small waterfall that’s active only when it rains, it’s a must-see for nature lovers.
6. Mandwa: For a day of beach, gorging on good food and water adventure
A cosy seaside village that’s 102 kilometres away from Mumbai via a ferry from the Gateway of India, Mandawa is known for its sunny beaches, delectable grub and water-sports. Whether you’re here for a day trip or for the entire weekend, you can spend your time exploring the sleepy village, soaking in the surroundings at the old RCF Jetty, walking on the Mandwa beach and interacting with the local fisher folk.
7. Elephanta Island: For a day filled with hikes and history
An hour to reach by ferry (from the Gateway of India), Elephanta Island that’s 10 kilometres east of Mumbai, houses seven ancient caves with hand-carved murals, very similar to the Ajanta and Ellora caves. After exploring these, you can hike up to Cannon Hill, which has old cannon perched on its peak. All that exploring might leave you famished and yearning for the goodies in your picnic basket, so be sure to find a spot that’s not frequented by the resident monkeys before you sit down for your treat.
8. Yeoor Hills: For a day of frolic under waterfalls
Situated in the eastern part of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Yeoor Hills is home to six small hamlets and the tribals who live here. A picturesque little jewel with waterfalls and a thickly wooded area, it’s a haven for nature lovers who’d like to spend the day trekking through the forest trails. Often visited by bird watching enthusiasts as well as school kids, Yeoor Hills also has a few resorts, where you can spend the day relaxing and tucking into lip-smacking meals. It’s just 25 kilometres from Mumbai and an accessible picnic destinations for Mumbaikars.
9. Aamby Valley: For a luxurious, memorable outing with a gang of pals
For those who love a day packed with activities and excitement galore, and are willing to stretch their budget for a luxurious fun outing, Aamby Valley is the place to head to. Spread over 10,000 acres, this is a luxury resort with lots of things to do indoors as well as outdoors. Just 30 minutes from Lonavala and 105 kilometres from Mumbai, Aamby Valley has a 7-star restaurant, an 18-hole golf course, a fancy water park, and an exclusive section for kids, which makes it an ideal family picnic destination for Mumbaikars looking to let their hair down after a hectic week.
10. Panchgani: For enjoying pleasant nature scapes from fantastic viewpoints
Once known as a perfect place for post-retirement settlers, Panchgani has now become a hotspot for picnickers from Mumbai and Pune. Nestled amidst five hills and villages in the Sahayadri mountain range, it is 285 kilometres from Mumbai and is known for its salubrious climate. While here, do visit the Sydney Point from where you can view the Dhom Dam; the Devil’s Kitchen, which, according to mythology, was where the Pandavas spent some time in; and the Parsi Point, which gives you a fantastic view of the Krishna Valley. Another interesting thing to know about Panchgani is that the volcanic plateau that tops the five hills surrounding this place is the second highest in Asia, and ranked right after the Tibetan Plateau.
So Mumbaikars, next time you’re itching to pack a picnic hamper and head off to an interesting destination for a day-trip or even the weekend, pick a place from our list, and get ready to unwind.
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