While you might associate India with mountain trekking, incredible food, and bustling cities, some people overlook its incredible beaches. But with more than 7,500km of coastline, it’s safe to say that there are a lot of stretches of sand well worth a visit. From the chilled out golden sands of Goa to the backwaters of Kerala, there’s sure to be a beach for you.
In this post, GiliSports suggests taking a look at the best beaches in India where you can try to stand up paddleboarding. If you want an alternative way to see the shores and get a great workout at the same time, there’s nothing better. Let’s check them out!
Mandrem Beach, Goa
If you’re planning to go stand up paddle boarding for the first time, you won’t want one with big waves and difficult currents. You’ll want something cool, calm, and refreshing so that you can learn the basics and really get to grips with your board. Mandrem is the perfect place for you. Stand up paddleboarding uses a lot of muscles that have lain dormant for years, so it’s good to know that Mandrem is synonymous with its relaxing massages. Enjoy one of them after a day of paddling. If you want expert tuition on paddleboarding, check out the SUP Centre on Mandrem which is open from October to April.
Palolem Beach, Goa
Mandrem is in Northern Goa, but if you’re looking to head further south then it’ll be Palolem you want. This stunning shore is one of the most popular in India and rather than just regular stand up paddleboarding, you could explore SUP yoga. As well as beautiful sunsets and walks on seashores, Palolem boasts yoga retreats, ayurvedic massage, and dolphin spotting tours.
It’s impossible to write about all the great beaches in Goa and still give the rest of India some attention. But if neither Mandrem nor Palolem are up to your street, check out Agonda, Arambol, Anjuna, and Bagar, Candolim, and Calangute. The list really is endless!
Kovalam Beach, Kerala
One of the most popular shores in Kerala, Kovalam Beach is a wonderful place to take your paddleboard into the gentle waves. As well as SUP, you can enjoy walks to the lighthouse or seaside mosque. Rather than just a single beach, Kovalam is actually three in one: Lighthouse, Hawa, and Samudra. It attracts lots of families and tourists and the best time to visit is between November and February.
While Kovalam is no doubt stunning, it has become commercialized as more and more tourists flock to this beautiful part of India. If you’re staying in Kerala and want a bit of peace and quiet location, perhaps check out Varkala instead.
Often hailed as a rival to the spectacular shores of Goa, Gokarna in Karnataka has a swathe of beaches with powder-white sands and azure blue waters. The best-known is probably Om- a haven for hippies! Backpackers will love this area as an alternative to Goa as it’s cheaper but you still have some cool tourist sites, cafes, and nightlife. Om’s natural beauty and secluded coves are a wonderful place to explore on the back of your stand up paddleboard.
Radhanagar Beach, Andaman, and the Nicobar Islands
Located on Havelock Island, Radhanagar is one of the most beautiful secluded beaches in India. It’s often listed as one of the best in the whole of Asia and was even voted as number one by TIME Magazine. Also known as Beach No. 7, it’s picture-perfect and there are lots of water sports on offer. As well as stand up paddleboarding, you could try kayaking, surfing, and scuba diving. If you want some time away from the water, rainforest treks are an unforgettable way to explore the islands too!
Tharangambadi, Tamil Nadu
India has been colonized by many European nations throughout history. The architecture of Goa shows a strong Portuguese presence, while much of the sub-continent was under the rule of the English. However, fewer people may be aware that Danes also conquered India. In fact, Tharangambadi was a Danish colony for more than 200 years before the British took over. Overlooking the sea, you’ll see Fort Dansborg, which you can get incredible views of as you paddleboard along the Bay of Bengal.
Marina Beach, Chennai
The longest urban natural beach in India, Marina Beach in Chennai is around 8 miles long. Across that stretch of sand, there are plenty of opportunities to find your own spot or head out and enjoy a bit of stand up paddleboarding. However, since the undercurrents are quite strong, it’s best for experienced paddlers. Like Tharangambadi, it’s on the Bay of Bengal and there are several interesting tourist attractions nearby. Check out Fort St. George in the north and the Lighthouse. Don’t expect to have it to yourself though – it gets around 50,000 visitors daily during weekends and holidays!
Lakshadweep means 100,000 islands. However, that name is a bit overly-optimistic as there are actually 36 in the Minicoy Archipelago. This is not a beach that is easy to reach, so it may appeal more to seasoned travelers who are looking for absolute seclusion. The island is on the edge of one of the biggest lagoons in India, meaning that it is not just wonderful for stand up paddleboarding but also scuba diving. Though the island is small and it’s quite off the beaten track, the culture here is vibrant and you may even happen upon a festival when you visit.
Now you know more about the most famous beaches in India…
You might want to book your trip. Whether you want to spend your time paddleboarding on the beaches, exploring the food markets of New Delhi, or hillwalking in the Himalayas, it’s always good to have a little extra help when planning your trip to India. For useful and helpful travel tips on India, check out here. Have a great trip!