Top 30 Camping Places Around Chennai


For someone with the love for the outdoors, Chennai has always been a top pick in Eastern India. From evergreen thickets to rugged terrains, the exotic Bay of Bengal to never ending off roading, there’s a lot that Chennai has to offer in terms of an engrossing natural experience. The best thing about these destinations is that you are never too far off from the city limits. If you have been looking for weekend destinations from the city, here are some fascinating treks to explore. So, get your backpacks ready and prepare to be off from Facebook for a few days! You will have memories that not many of your friends and colleagues could ever experience!

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Following is a list of some of the most exotic weekend gateways, not too far off from the city limits.


1. Nagalapuram

Image Source: Nagalapuram

If you would rather like to spend the night under the stars and with waterfalls breaking the silence in the backdrop, Nagalapuram is worth the adventure. While the trek trail is rather well defined, you might have to cut a few bushes to setup your tent beside the various streams and waterfalls. Take the blessings of Goddess Nagala Devi and tread along to Uttakotai to start a strenuous but mesmerizing 10 km trek to summit. Dotted with several smaller mountains, busy streams and dense foliage, Nagalapuram will be a rejuvenating experience.

How to reach Nagalapuram:

Chennai Central to Arai Village (75 km) – Turn to Pichatur (11 km) – reach Nagala Dam

Best time to visit Nagalapuram waterfalls: From late June to late January.


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2. Tada Falls

Source: Tada Falls

Tada Falls is a refreshing gateway, especially if you are looking to escape the busy Chennai lifestyle and the scorching heat! However, be ready to get your boots dirty as you struggle through the rough boulders. Needless to say, you will need some physical skills but the refreshing pools at regular intervals should keep you going. If you are interested in bird watching, this sure would be a heaven!

How to reach Tada Falls: Chennai Central to Tada Fall (Ubbalamadagu) is 80 km – walk a 2 km trek to reach summit

Best time to visit Tada Falls: From June till November


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3. Yercaud

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Nestled in the Salem District, Yercaud allows you to breathe 5000 km above sea level! Popular for honeymooners looking for an adventure camp, this is among the most travelled destination in the Western Ghats. With several hiking trails scattered around, you will be never too far from a rumbling stream or a mesmerizing view of the clouds covering the high peaks.

How to reach Yercaud: 366 km of road trip along the NH 45 Chennai Trichy Highway

Best Time to Visit: From June to late February


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4. Mahabalipuram

Image Source: Mahabalipuram

A well known destination in the eastern side of India, Mahabalipuram is well known for its World Heritage Site inclusion. However, apart from the ancient architecture, you can also choose to lay your camp or stay in one of the several privately owned cottages along the beach. Don’t forget to spot the lighthouse – it looks beautiful, especially on a clear evening!

How to reach Mahabalipuram: 61 km along the Rajiv Gandhi IT Expressway

Best time to Visit Mahabalipuram: All throughout the year except summer months


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5. Pondicherry


Pondi, as we lovingly call it, is a perfect gateway from Chennai if you are looking to chill out for the weekend. Situated along the Bay of Bengal, this has been also called as the “French Riviera of the East”. Things to do here would include exploring the old harbors, walking the beautiful beaches, boating between small islands and experiencing the colorful sunrise/sunset.

How to reach Pondicherry: 170 km along the ChennaiTrichy Highway.

Best time to Visit Pondicherry: November to March


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6. Gingee Fort

Image Source: Gingee Fort

Located in the Villupuram District of the state, Gingee Fort is among the less know weekend gateways in Chennai. However, if you have been looking for a balanced mix of adventure and history, this would be a huge revelation. Apart from the fort quarters, the landscape will be nothing short of a thrilling natural escape.

How to reach Gingee Fort: 170 km along the NH 32

Best time to visit Gingee Fort: From November to February


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7. Yelagiri

Image Source: Yelagiri

Beautifully nestled at 2800 feet above sea level, the climate here is a relief from the dirty extremes of the Chennai. Comprising four separate mountains, Yelagiri is a hill station in all capacities – scenic, serene and captivating.

How to reach Yelagiri: 230 km along the HN 46/NH 4

Best time to visit: All throughout the year


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8. Pulicat Lake

Image Source: Pulicat Lake

If you are a wildlife enthusiast from Chennai, the chances are that you have already been to Pulicat. For other people, this is the place where you would get to see the pink flamingoes and other waders in the blue backdrop of the water meeting the sky. You can even camp on the beach and immerse yourself as nature unfolds beautifully every morning!

How to reach Pulicat Lake: 94 km along the NH 16

Best time to visit: December to February


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9. Alamparai Fort

Image Source: Alamparai Fort

Another less travelled but amazing weekend gateway destination from Chennai, Alamparai is offbeat in all standards. The view of the Bay of Bengal from the top of the fort is something to remember for a whole lifetime and you will always want to come back.

How to reach Alamparai Fort: 110 km along the Rajiv Gandhi IT Expressway

Best time to visit: September to March


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10. Pichavaram

Image Source: Pichavaram

If something can come close to riding a canoe in the Amazonian Rainforest in India, it’s the Pichavaram Mangrove. Largely unexploited and unexplored to this day, this is also the second largest mangrove forest for the country after the Sundarbans, sans the tiger! However, you certainly can expect crocodiles.

How to reach Pichavaram: 240 km along the Chennai Trichy Highway

Best time to visit: November to February


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11. Hogenakkal

Image Source: Hogenakkal

Offering you one o the most beautiful waterfalls in Tamil Nadu, Hogenakkal will be a perfect experience if you have been waiting to see an Indian countryside in its full glory. Put up your tent by the Kaveri River and catch some fishes for dinner!

How to reach Hogenakkal: 345 km along the NH 46

Best time to visit: August to early March


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12. Chembarambakkam Lake

Image Source: Chembarambakkam

Just off the city limits, the Chembarambakkam Lake is famous for family picnics, day trips and photography. Be ready for “blue”!

How to reach Chembarambakkam: 38 km along NH 4

Best time to visit: All throughout the year


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13. Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary

Image source: Vedanthangal

75 acres of lush greenery, Vedanthangal is popular among bird photographers and nature enthusiasts. Don’t miss to see the sunrise and the sunset against the roosting birds!

How to reach Vedanthangal: 88 km along the NH 32

Best time to visit: December to February


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14. Kanchipuram

Image source: Kanchipuram

Go back a few centuries and relive the glory of ancient Indian civilization at Kanchipuram. Apart from being a tourist hotspot, the place offers scenic camping sites.

How to reach Kanchipuram: 75 km along the NH 4

Best time to visit: all throughout the year


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15. Horsley Hills

Image source: Horsley Hills

Come close to an Italian mountainous experience at Horsley Hills just a few hundred kilometers off Chennai. Popular among backpackers, this is a top priority when searching for weekend gateways along Chennai.

How to reach Horsley Hills: 260 km along NH 205

Best time to visit: November to March


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16. Mamandaru

Image source: Mamandaru

Low hills make a perfect opportunity for amateur and enthusiast trekkers. Mamandaru is a unique landscape dotted by rocky hills as far as your eyes can see! Don’t miss a sunset here!

How to reach Mamandaru: 150 km along the NH 4


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17. Nellore

Image source: Nellore

Though largely known for its religious significance, this is a beach destination that can serve a quiet weekend gateway from Chennai, anytime of the year.

How to reach Nellore: 175 km along NH 16

Best time to visit: All throughout the year.


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18. Tharangambadi

Image source: Tharangambadi

Called as the “Land of the Singing Waves”, Tharangambadi is an amazingly tranquil experience that everyone deserves. Camp on the beach for a night full of stars and the sea talking to you!

How to reach Tharangambadi: 286 km along the ChennaiTrichy Highway

Best time to visit: November to February


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19. Nandi Hills

Image source: Nandi Hills

Reach above the clouds and live the experience of being in heaven on Earth! In ancient India, these hills acted as natural fortresses. This weekend gateway from Chennai should be on everyone’s bucket list.

How to reach Nandi Hills: 349 km on NH 4

Best time to visit: November to March


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20. Bear Shola Falls

Image source: Bear Shola Falls

A beautiful waterfall breaking the lush rich greenery, the Bear Shola Falls is a perfect weekend gateway for the outdoor lover. Camp around the green bushes and be alone with nature!

How to reach Bear Shola Falls: 530 km on the Chennai Theni Highway

Best time to visit: July to February


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21. Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary

Image source: Kabini

The wilderness of the Kabini houses hundreds of mammals, birds and reptile species. However, tigers, panthers and elephants take the center stage with hundreds of tourists flocking the sanctuary every year.

How to reach Kabini: 558 km along the 550 km along the NH 46

Best time to visit: November to March


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22. Thekkady

Image source: Thekkady

Among the finest wildlife reserves in India, Thekkady is a perfect opportunity to see forests, sea and sky meet to create magic. The blue waters and the picturesque plantations hide numerous treks and camping opportunities.

How to reach Thekkady: 574 km along the Chennai-Theni Highway

Best time to Visit: November to March


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23. Mudumalai

Image source: Mudumalai

Among the first wildlife reserves for India, Mudumalai comprises five beautiful hills that nestle a rich biosphere in between. Perfect for camping and photography!

How to reach Mudumalai: 570 km via NH 46

Best time to visit: November to March


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24. Perumedu Waterfalls

Image source: Perumedu

Highly endowed with natural riches, Perumedu gives a perfect doze of adventure for anyone looking for a thrilling outdoor experience, away from the city life. A natural above, this road trip demands exhilarating fun!

How to reach Perumedu Waterfalls: 220 km along the Chennai Trichy Highway – 3 km of trek to summit

Best time to visit: July to February


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25. Talakona Waterfalls

Image source: Talakona

With the blessings of Lord Siddehswara Swami, Talakona is a difficult waterfall to trek to but the experience is fascinating likewise. Be ready to get muddy feet and tackle wilderness.

How to reach Talakona: 190 km on the Tirupati Road

Best time to visit: July to February


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26. Dolphin’s Nose Trek

Image source: Dolphin’s Nose

Another highly difficult trek, the Dolphin’s Nose is a mesmerizing experience. Once you reach the top, all your tiredness will vanish into the cloud clad peaks!

How to reach Dolphin’s Nose: 555 km along the Chennai Trichy Highway

Best time to visit: November to February


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27. Meghmalai

Image source: Meghmalai

Meaning, “cream of the sky”, Meghmalai is a beautiful hill that nestles a wildlife sanctuary where you can see magnificent elephants in their habitat.

How to reach Meghmalai: 550 km via the Trichy Highway

Best time to visit: September to December


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28. Kolli Hills

Image source: Kolli Hills

This is a trek that is both feared and revered by any experienced trekker. The tall hills and the plunging waterfall are mesmerizing. Camp here to explore the nearby caves and find out unique opportunities of adventure.

How to reach Kolli Hills: 357 km to Puliancholi Village – Akash Ganga Waterfalls

Best time to visit: February to December


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29. Venkateshwara Hills

Image source: Venkateshwara Hills

Another popular weekend gateway from Chennai, Venkateshwara Hills are rather unexplored and will be a paradise of a trek. Trek deep into the Eastern Ghat wilderness for a thrilling experience.

How to reach: 144 km form Chennai Central along the Trichy Highway. Trek to Angel Falls is 48 km long.

Best time to visit: September to March


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30. Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary

Image source: Nagarhole

Among the most tourist friendly wildlife sanctuaries in India, Nagarhole offers excellent opportunity to see exotic wildlife in their own habitat. Book one of the cottages run by the Forest Department and spend your weekend in awe!

How to reach Nagarhole: 560 km along the NH 46 / NH 4

Best time to visit: November to March

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