A Sky Full Of Stars: Best Camping With Your Tribe

When all the shor of this city gets the worst out of you, know that its time to gift yourself that well-deserved break amidst nature. And if you're someone who wants to ditch the lavish and concrete vacay spaces to have it all rugged, then Maharashtra won't disappoint you. Hire that tent, make that plan on Whatsapp with buddies (or BAE) and pitch your own abode of calm under a sky full of stars. We know ya'll love the plan already. So read on and keep these camping areas near Mumbai handy for execution! 

Prabalmachi

This one tops our list because it's kinda easy to get to. Prabalmachi lies between Matheran and the Raigad district of Maharashtra and forms the base for two major treks that originate from there-one to Kalavantin Durg, and the other to Prabalgad Fort. Its a two-hour hike (at a normal/beginner's hiking pace) from Thakurwadi and the view from the place is truly enchanting. 

How To Reach:Take a train to Panvel, and get yourself a rickshaw till Thakurwadi (fastest way to reach) Start the hike from there. 

Distance From Mumbai: 50 kilometres (approx) 

Best Time To Visit: Can be visited all year round. But September to January weaves the best of experiences for you here. 

What Makes It Awesome: The base village of Prabalmachi has a family-hut that serves authentic and delicious Maharashtrian meals and thalis to all the campers at reasonable rates. 

Pawna Lake

Pawna Lake near Lonavala has the most popular camping site and is flocked by almost everyone. There are various groups that conduct camping with activities near the lake, along with some bonfire (Which makes it quite the cinematic spot.) To camp up here with BAE inside the tent, and listen to some music in the serenity of the misty hills surrounding the lake, is a feeling that isn't earned easily.  

How To Reach: Take a train from Mumbai to Lonavala. Outside the station, you'll find jeeps that'll drop you to the campsite. 

Distance From Mumbai:117 kilometres (approx) 

Best Time To Visit: You can pitch a tent hear throughout the year. 

What Makes It Awesome: You'll feel blessed to be able to wake up to the most gorgeous sunrise with crimson hues coloring the hills. 

Bhandardara Lake

A picturesque location by the lake with a full view of the open night sky, this site is perfect for camping. Indulge yourself in some stargazing, light a bonfire, cook up a meal, and create conversations with friends here. 

How To Reach:  Take a train from Mumbai to Igatpuri. Post that, you can either cab it up till the lake, or take a State Transport bus (The former's more convenient)

Distance From Mumbai: 165 kilometres (approx) 

Best Time To Visit: The climate's quite breezy from June to September because of monsoons. 

What Makes It Awesome: There's a dam in Bhandardara that was built in 1910, and is the largest earthen dam in India. The base of the dam has a garden that boasts of thick greenery, huge trees and little streams.

Vasind

A star-lit sky amidst the Mahuli mountain range and the Bhatsai River, Vasind is another offbeat gem. There's a permanent campsite set up by a company called the Big Red Tent and they've done it so beautifully that you not signing up for their services would be a loss. Really. 

How To Reach: Board an Asangaon-bound train from Mumbai. The campsite is just ten minutes away from the station. Cab it up. 

Distance From Mumbai: 64 kilometres (approx) 

Best Time To Visit: During or immediately post monsoons. Because the rain-fed waterfalls may otherwise remain dry during summer or winter. 

What Makes It Awesome: You can go kayaking in the moonlight with the Big Red Tent, or just take a dip in the clear river water post sunrise. Sounds like one hell of an experience, right? Go live it! 

Revdanda-Alibaug

There's nothing more rewarding than walking on a seashore in the evenings, and camping on it at night. Out of the many pretty beaches that Alibaug is blessed with, Revdanda is one of the cleanest, most secluded and perfect beach for pitching that tent of yours. 

How To Reach: Take a train till Pen station and cab it up after that or take a cab from Mumbai to Revdanda directly. 

Distance From Mumbai:110 kilometres (approx) 

Best Time To Visit: You can camp throughout the year here. 

What Makes It Awesome:  This beach (unlike others) has black sand, and that's something pretty rare to find.

Kaas Plateau

Maharashtra has its very own valley of flowers that we bet most locals did not know of. The Kaas Plateau (also known as Kaas Pathar) is a UNESCO World Heritage site, that goes into full bloom every September, and it’s a gorgeous site for campers. Located near Satara (and close to Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar), this place is ideal for a quick two-day getaway. 

How To Reach: Take a train from Mumbai to Satara and then a bus from there to Bamnoli (cheapest way) You can also drive it out from the city to Kaas. 

Distance From Mumbai: 270 kilometres (approx) 

Best Time To Visit: September's when the plateau is in full bloom. 

What Makes It Awesome:  You will find more than 800 varieties of flowers at Kaas. But make sure you're a responsible traveller and don't end up plucking them. 

Shirota Lake

While Lonavala is mainly known for its Pawna Dam and well, Maganlal's 10,000 shops, Shirota Lake is a hidden gem waiting to be unleashed by responsible travellers. The lake's nestled on the foothills of the Rajmachi Fort, and is around ten kilometres away from Lonavala and Khandala, with a campsite that offers a calming experience. 

How To Reach:  Take a train till Lonavala, and then hire a rickshaw or cab to reach the lake. 

Distance From Mumbai:   95 kilometres (approx) 

Best Time To Visit:  You can go here all-year round. 

What Makes It Awesome:  For people who aren't in for hiking but also want something more than just camping by the lake, this one's a perfect sight. Because to reach Shirota, one has to cross jungles and streams. Also, you'll hardly find humans. Bond with doggos and use them as guides (Keep that Parle-G handy for bribing them too) 

Saphale

Located in the Palghar district of the State, this one's ideal for you in case you're fond of stargazing. A tiny community of villagers live in Saphale, and for camping purposes, one needs to take their permission first. 

How To Reach:  Take a train to Saphale station from Mumbai, or you can directly drive it up to the lake in Saphale. 

Distance From Mumbai: 100 kilometres (approx) 

Best Time To Visit:  You can go here all-year-round. 

What Makes It Awesome: There’s a gorgeous sea view from here, and you can just laze around the camping area. Also, because its a hidden gem yet, you'll enjoy camping here if you prefer peace (who doesn't?)