Dusshera: Fun weekend getaways near Mumbai for you and your kids

The Dusshera vacations have begun. You’re trying your best to keep your kids occupied because you haven’t been able to get out of the city for a full-blown holiday. How, how, how are you going make sure they’re out of trouble for another week? Worry not. Even if you or your spouse couldn’t take the week off work, you’re bound to have a long weekend. You don’t have too much time to plan or too many days to plan for. We’re pretty sure you’ve gone to Lonavala several times, so we’re giving you a list of five places, all nearby, where you have enough to do for three days at least. Take a look!

1. Matheran:

This scenic hill station is just 70 km from Mumbai, so it’s only a one-and-a-half hour car ride away for you. We suggest that you stay at the MTDC resort, which is family friendly and affordable. You might wonder how to spend four full days in one small place. But trust us: if you want the full Matheran experience, you have to walk the kachcha roads on foot. There are several ‘lookout points’ that are a few kilometres apart. If you kids’ little feet can’t carry them any further, put them on horses! And don’t forget to take a trip on the toy train to Neral. The view is a no-miss!

2. Kashid:

A quiet beach town known for its whispering casuarina trees, Kashid is the complete opposite of cramped, polluted Mumbai. True, you have a beach right at the doorstep of your own city, but how often do you really feel like stepping into the plasticky waters of Juhu? Plus this place is so small and the traffic so little that it’s perfectly safe and distinctly possible to commute by bicycle. How about that?

3. Khandala:

Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old

This haunting song from The Hobbit describes “Aati Kya Khandala” perfectly. Perched at the Sahyadri foothills, it makes for one of the most perfect family vacations ever. Its shimmering lakes and dancing waterfalls are reminiscent of Rivendell, of elves and fairies. Take your kids rock climbing at The Duke's Nose peak and Karla hills. Play hide-and-seek on the darkest of caves. Just make sure they don’t hide so well that you don’t find them in the end!

4. Harihareshwar:

Imagine Mumbai were less crowded. No no, a lot less crowded. You still have a beach and a river running through, but instead of seeing only skyscrapers and slums when you look around, you’re surrounded by four hills. Now picture an old, old temple at the centre of the town. Don’t you really wish you could keep your city this way? Well, you can’t. But you can visit Harihareshwar 200 km away, walk through Ganesh Gully, play in the water at Srivardhan and Diveagar beaches and take a ferry to Bagmandala, an even quieter beach village just a few kilometres from the town.

5. Murud Janjira:

Now, you’ve seen the beaches, you’ve seen the rivers, you’ve even seen the hills. You’re yet to see the forts. That you can do at Murud Janjira in Raigad district, just 158 km from Mumbai, with its Murud Janjira Fort, Kasa Fort and Gol Gumbaz. Of course, you still have the full package with glimmering beaches and resorts, making it one of the best family vacation packages you can ask for.