9 Beaches In India For Exciting Water Sports And Adventures

From surfing to diving—and everything in between—these are the best beaches for the thrill seekers.

Published On Apr 13, 2022 | Updated On Mar 04, 2024

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Whether you’re looking to snorkel over colourful reefs, ride the waves on a surfboard, or go kayaking in the open sea—we have something for every type of water baby. Head to these gorgeous beaches in India for some fun under the sun.

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Off the Malabar Coast, the archipelago of Lakshadweep sits pretty in the Arabian Sea. Its 36 islands offer calm waters with endless visibility, making it a popular spot to try scuba diving. Kalpeni Island in particular has spectacular dive sites where you can explore stunning coral reefs, shipwrecks, caves, drift dives, and much more. Don’t miss the Wall of Wonder, an incredible drift dive along a 20-feet reef wall with tropical fish darting about. Turtle Nest is another dive site to try, sloping down nearly 60 feet, with abundant turtles, fish, and moray eels.

If you are a non-swimmer or find scuba diving a bit intimidating, try undersea walking (or helmet-diving) in the Andamans. Don a helmet with a transparent visor and descend to the seabed on a secured ladder from a boat or a platform. The crystal-clear waters and rich marine life in the Andaman Sea make this an unforgettable experience. Admire the colourful fish and stunning coral reefs and get up close with sea animals. You can try undersea walking at North Bay Beach near Port Blair or at Elephant Beach on Havelock Island—the latter is particularly recommended. The activity is quite safe, and a trained guide will accompany you at all times.

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Located in North Goa, Sinquerim Beach is one of the cleanest and most popular beaches in the sunshine state. While the imposing 17th-century Fort Aguada overlooks this palm-fringed golden sandy beach, it is also a hub for water sports in the area. Try a jet ski or a banana boat, or if you’re a bit more adventurous, go parasailing. Head out on a boat and get harnessed to an open parachute that will whisk you up above the sea, giving you a bird’s eye view of the beautiful beach and the fort as you feel the wind in your hair!

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With its long, extended coastline and clean, sandy beaches, Tarkarli in Maharashtra’s Sindhudurg district is an emerging hotspot for beach lovers. Apart from sun and sand, it’s also known for many water sports opportunities. You can go diving, snorkelling, parasailing, and even dolphin-spotting. One of the most fun ways to experience Tarkarli is to try kayaking at Tsunami Island, a small island situated in the middle of the Tarkarli River near Devbagh. The island is only accessible by boat and there are several vendors who rent out kayaks and other equipment once you get there. 

If you want to experience the undersea world but are wary about scuba diving, why not go snorkelling instead? There are several places in India where you can try it. Apart from the more well-known sites like Lakshadweep and Andamans, you can go snorkelling at Netrani Island, also known as Pigeon Island. This is a small island off the coast of Karnataka and has an amazing diversity of fish and other marine life, such as butterfly fish, parrotfish, eels, mantas, clownfish, and more.

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Think Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), and you will naturally picture the stunning shore temples constructed by the Pallava dynasty between the 4th and 9th centuries AD. But did you know that this coastal resort town is also a centre for adventure sports? It’s a particular favourite with surfers from around the world with several surfing schools popping up where you can rent surfboards and also get lessons. Mahabs, as it’s referred to locally, is not just for advanced surfers—even if you’re a beginner, you can sign up to learn how to handle the board in water, stand on it, and finally surf your first waves close to the beach.

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There’s no dearth of gorgeous beaches in God’s Own Country. Cherai Beach on Vypin Island, just north of Kochi, stretches 10 km long and is one of the most popular beaches in the state, especially to catch glorious sunsets. But it’s also known for its water sports opportunities. You can go speed-boating or jet-skiing, try a catamaran or banana ride, or even kayaking. For the adrenaline junkie, Cheria beach is a great spot for windsurfing--an activity that induces an exhilarating rush over the roaring blue waters of the Arabian Sea. Or try knee-boarding where you kneel on a board, hold on to a rope and get pulled by a boat. 

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Just an hour’s ferry ride from Mumbai, Alibaug is a favourite weekend getaway offering an array of clean beaches, gorgeous villas, and excellent food. It’s also evolved into a major water sports locale, offering opportunities for jet-skiing, parasailing, kiteboarding, and more. One of the more adventurous activities here is sea-kayaking off Mandwa Beach. The kayaks are around 15 feet long and can be used individually or as a couple. Rent one and explore the waters of the Arabian Sea at your own pace—it’s an offbeat way to enjoy Alibaug!

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The hugely popular Calangute Beach in North Goa is where all the action is! Apart from all the restaurants, bars, and swinging nightlife, there are plenty of water sports and adventures that you can try. Flyboarding is one of the newest sports here, where a flyboard is strapped to your feet and connected by a hose to a jet ski. You are then propelled into the air, literally flying on the water! It’s all rather exciting and quite safe as you’re kitted out with all the safety gear you need, plus you have professional instructors at hand—it’s better if you can swim, although it’s not a requirement. 


Photo: Shutterstock

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