One-Day Picnic Spots Near The City If Time Is The Only Thing You Don't Have

    There’s a reason why Mumbai’s known as the city that never sleeps – whatever the time or even the place, there’s sure to be a mad rush somewhere. The city keeps you on your toes and there are moments when you just want to get away for that much-needed break.

    A long weekend sounds like a luxury to most of us, so we’ve done something better. Here’s a list of places you could visit for a one day picnic near Mumbai, to have that perfect picnic and bring back happy memories. These one-day picnic spots near Mumbai are great because you can go in the morning and be back before Monday Blues set in. 

    Elephanta Island

    An hour-long ferry ride from the Gateway of India transports you to this beautiful island which houses seven ancient caves with murals. These caves date back to 8th century A.D. and is also a part of UNESCO world heritage site. 

    What To Do There: Explore ancient Buddhist and Hindu caves, hike all the way up to Cannon Hill, laze around near the little flea market at the bottom. 

    Popular For: Art and culture, history, adventure. 

    How To Reach There: The best way to reach the caves is via a ferry from Gateway of India. The ferry ride is just 60 minutes from there.

    Yeoor Hills

    Yeoor Hills

    Thane Area, Mumbai

    Home to tribals in the region, Yeoor Hills are situated inside Sanjay Gandhi National Park. It’s the perfect place for nature lovers to camp about and spend the day trekking through the demarcated trails. You’ll find waterfalls and a flourishing forest and even some hotels and resorts where you can relax and have enjoy a picnic.

    What To Do There: Set up a tent, explore rare flora and fauna, opt for adventurous cycling.

    Popular For: Trekking, sightseeing, nature walks. 

    How To Reach There: Thane is the nearest railway station from the hills and is 30 minutes away from the station. From the station you can either take a bus or a rickshaw.  

    Essel World and Water Kingdom

    Essel World

    Borivali West, Mumbai

    Established in the 1980s, both these popular tourist spots are famous for an ideal escape outside the city. You’re sure to have a memorable, adrenaline-filled day here, where you can enjoy rides and shrug the stress. A perfect spot for a family outing and a one-day picnic. 

    What To Do There: Try the amazing roller coaster rides, def take a trip to the horror house, explore a bird park. 

    Popular For: Adventurous rides and water sports

    How To Reach There: You can either visit them by ferry, hire a taxi or even directly drive there via the Western Express Highway (it's an approximate 3 hours drive) 

    Karnala Bird Sanctuary

    Home to approximately 200 bird species, Karnala bird sanctuary is one of the prettiest national parks in the city. Apart from finding quiet spots to hear bird calls, Karnala is a nice trekking spot for a beginner that takes you right up to the Karnala fort. If you leave early morning, you can enjoy a one-day picnic and be back home before sundown. 

    What To Do There: Explore rare and endangered species of birds, go trekking up to the popular Karnal Fort. 

    Popular For: Bird Watching, trekking, nature walks, stellar view. 

    How To Reach There: The bird sanctuary is a half-hour rickshaw ride from Panvel railway station. 

    Matheran

    Being an eco-friendly hill station, Matheran is a magnet for nature lovers and those wanting to get rid of the pollution and looking for peace. Only two hours away from the city, Matheran is also one of the closest hill stations from the city. 

    Matheran’s quaint charm begins from the toy train service that connects it to Neral station on the Central Line. The old-world charm going through the Western Ghats and exploring the various points before reaching the top of the hill is quite an experience. Of course, you could always trek there as well, but the train journey is ideal for a one-day picnic.

    What To Do There: Explore tons and tons of points, go for waterfall rappeling and treks, opt for horse riding, visit the popular Shiv temple, shop for their local products, especially honey.  

    Popular For: Fresh air and spectacular weather, horse-riding, toy train. 

    How To Reach There: While you can always drive it up there, the journey is best by train. You can board a toy train from the Nerul station. From there it's a two-hour journey. 

    Bhandardara

    Also known as the Wilson Dam, the Bhandardara Dam is a beautiful sight you can’t miss if you enjoy a serene road trip and a lot of greenery. Built in 1910, this is one of the largest dams in India. The base of the dam has a garden that boasts of thick greenery, huge trees and little streams.  

    What To Do There: Explore multiple waterfalls, visit the Amruteshwar temple, trek up the forts or set up a camp there. 

    Popular For: Lush greenery and scenic views, adventure, authentic Maharashtrian food. 

    How To Reach There: Well, a drive is the best option to get to Bhandardhara. Or the nearest station to this picnic spot is Igatpuri, which is 45 kms from the station. 

    Manori Island

    Manori

    Manori, Mumbai

    Hailed as one of the cleanest beaches on the Gorai stretch and 'mini Goa', Manori is a favourite for its ability to refresh a person within a day or weekend. A quick getaway that, a) won’t cost you time, and b) won’t burn a massive hole in your pocket. Coconut trees, hammocks and clean beach, Manori is an ideal destination for one day picnic. And well, over the years, tons of resorts and villas have popped up in the island. Here's a list of our favourite ones. 

    What To Do There: Take a stroll by the beach, visit the Vipassana Pagoda, 

    Popular For: Resembling Portuguese culture, history, beach parties, temples and churches. 

    How To Reach There: The fastest way would be to board a train. The nearest stations are either Malad or Borivali in the western lines. From where you can take a rickshaw. 

    Madh Island

    Madh Island

    Madhanandapuram, Chennai

    Madh Island, a group of villages and comparatively cleaner beaches in the northern side of Mumbai, is a great place for a staycation. Located away from the humdrum of the city, it has a peaceful vibe and beautiful surroundings to keep you entertained.

    What To Do There: Stroll the beaches while eating the local fruits and roasted corn cobs, explore artistic churches, eat at Bollywood Stars (a movie-themed restaurant), try the authentic Bombil (deep fry fish)

    Popular For: Fishing, adventure, beach and nature, art and culture.

    How To Reach There: While a drive would be the best option as it's just an hour's drive, you could also opt to head there via a ferry. You can take a ferry either from Malad or Versova. 

    Pawna Lake

    Pavana Lake is essentially an artificial lake brought into existence due to the Pavana dam. A picturesque sight, the Pavana Lake, along with the Pavana Dam is for visitors looking to skip the busy town of Khandala and other more popular tourist spots.

    What To Do There: Chill by the lakeside, explore multiple forts and caves in the vicinity, star-gaze at night,  enjoy adventure sports and water activities. 

    Popular For: Camping and trekking, star-gazing, trekking, water sports, adventure and nature. 

    How To Reach There: The nearest station to Pawna is Lonavala, which is just 20 kms away from the station.

    Kolad

    A hamlet that's well-known for its river-rafting facilities, Kolad's an easy one-day breakaway. We're all fans of a little thrill every now and then, and Kolad's proximity to the Kundalika River, which is the fastest flowing river in Southern India, makes it the ideal adventure getaway.

    Make your plans during the monsoon months to experience Kolad at its finest - the hills are lush green, the weather's pleasant, and the rapids, livelier than ever!

    What To Do There: Go for water rafting, explore multiple dams and forts, visit the Kolad museum

    Popular For: Adventure sports, nature and trekking. 

    How To Get There: It's only a three-hour drive from the city, so we'd recommend you hit the roads. Or there are multiple early morning trains which board from Dadar and Panvel, so you could board those as well.