Check Out These One-Day Getaways From Chennai

Whether you’re seeking spiritual solace, historical exploration or an opportunity to spend time in nature, these one-day getaways from Chennai have you covered
Somewhere in Mahabalipuram
Somewhere in MahabalipuramUnsplash

Nestled on India's southeast coast, Chennai is a vibrant city that serves as a gateway for a plethora of captivating destinations just a short drive away. These one-day trips are a treasure trove of unique experiences that offer the ideal getaway from the daily grind. From historic temples to tranquil beaches and verdant surroundings, every place has a unique charm waiting to be discovered. Come along as we explore some of the top day trips near Chennai, catering to a wide range of interests and offering a rejuvenating break from the routine.

1. Kovalam


Kovalam, the slumbering fishing village of Kovalam (Covelong), just 30km (18.6 miles) south of Chennai, not to be mistaken with the Keralan beach resort of the same name, has rediscovered its mojo as Tamil Nadu's favourite surf site, helped by powerful beach and reef breakers that perform best from June to September. The laid-back and pleasant surf environment at Kovalam owes its existence to Indian surfing pioneer Murthy Megavan, who originally learned to surf on old wooden planks after discovering the waves as a child and borrowing his first board from "surfing swami" Jack Hebner. He now oversees the Covelong Point surf school, near the best right-hand break in the village.

The information

Distance from Chennai: 30 kilometres

Things to do: Surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, windsurfing and beach-hopping

Getting there: Since Covelong is just 30 kilometres away, the best way to reach it is to drive or hire a cab.

2. Mahabalipuram


For a swift escape from urban life, consider a day trip to Mahabalipuram, situated within 100 kilometres of Chennai. This destination is renowned for hosting some of Asia's most astonishing architectural marvels. Key attractions include the Shore Temple, Descent of the Ganges, Arjuna's Penance, and the Pancha Rathas. These temple ruins, celebrated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, showcase the country's rich heritage in architecture. The amazing Mamallapuram Dance Festival is an event not to be missed. 

The information

Distance from Chennai: 56.4 kilometres 

Things to do: Explore plenty of cycling routes and indulge in rejuvenating water sports and spa treatments.

Getting there: The best way to reach Mahabalipuram from Chennai is to hire a cab or rent a private vehicle, which would take around 53 minutes.

3. Pulicat


Located about 60 km north of Chennai, straddling the border between Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, is the beautiful Pulicat Lake, a brackish water lagoon. As India's second-largest lagoon of its kind, after Chilka Lake, Pulicat offers a serene natural retreat. 

Several migratory bird species can be seen at the bird sanctuary, and from October to March, flamingos can be seen in large numbers. Notable sites in the area include the historic Old Dutch Street, the Dutch Church, and Fort Geldria.

The information

Distance from Chennai: 54.2 kilometres

Things to do: Birdwatching, boating, beach hopping and fishing are the best experiences to try in Pulicat 

Getting there: The quickest and most convenient way to get to Pulicat from Chennai is by taxi, which takes around 40 - 45 minutes.

4. Kanchipuram


Renowned for its "Kanchipuram sarees" and often called the "golden city of thousand temples," Kanchipuram is home to numerous important religious and cultural temples dispersed around the city.

This former fishing village has developed into a bustling pilgrimage site, traveller hub, and beach resort thanks to its impressive assortment of temples and shrines. Notable landmarks include Arjuna's Penance, a large rock intricately carved with scenes from the Hindu epic Mahabharata, and the majestic Shore Temple with its dual spires and layers of elaborate carvings, which originally stood adjacent to the beach.

The information

Distance from Chennai: 75.5 kilometres

Things to do: Sightseeing and souvenir shopping are other forms of entertainment for tourists visiting the temple city.

Getting there: The best way to get to Kanchipuram is to take a bus, which takes somewhere around 1 hour and 20 minutes to reach.

5. Tirupati

Tirupati Balaji, Tirupati
Tirupati Balaji, TirupatiShutterstock

The Venkateswara Temple in Tirumala ranks among India's most important, most frequented, and richest pilgrimage destinations. Situated on Tirumala Hill, the primary temple venerates Lord Venkateswara, a manifestation of the Hindu deity Vishnu. In addition, the lush and elaborately decorated TTD Gardens, nestled beyond the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam hillocks, are not to be missed. Tirupati is a highly recommended visit if you're exploring tourist locations within 200 kilometres of Chennai.

The information

Distance from Chennai: 133 kilometres

Things to do: Sightseeing is among the top activities for tourists who visit this historic temple city 

Getting there: The quickest and most convenient way to get to Tirupati from Chennai is to take a taxi, which takes around 2 hours to reach. 

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