Summer Vacations: Options for School Tour
“Mrs Neeru Kumar: My son is going to a summer camp.
Pallavi Singh: Where?
Mrs Neeru: Corbett National Park.
Pallavi Singh: Wow!! Lucky child! Let’s see whether Saiansh’s (Pallavi’s nephew) school is planning a summer trip or not.”
This exchange of information behind my back made me a little annoyed. “We have gathered here to discuss sanitation issue of our society and DAM…N it what they are discussing” I said to myself and left the meeting.
But on the way back to my apartment, I noticed that “SUMMER SCHOOL TOURS” is a hot favourite topic of discussion among society residents. Even the children were busy chatting over it. “Is it so important?” I asked myself and once again shook it off from my mind. But the buzz remained with me the whole night. The very next morning a call from my niece (Aakiriti) made me to take the buzz seriously. Actually, she wanted to know about the top destinations for school summer vacations which she could suggest to her teacher.
It is obvious that as a travel writer I write about various things and tours but summer vacations options for school tour made me little nervous. In our days, we never went for such trips but now such school trips have become an important part of students’ academic curriculum. So, to help her (Aakiriti), I took up the task and started discussing over it with others. And after all the efforts (web research and conversations), I prepared a list of following places for school summer vacations. Let’s have a look:
Summer Vacation Places in North India
Rishikesh – Fusion of Tranquility and Excitement
Beautiful location on the banks of River Ganga, pleasant weather, rich cultural heritage, world-class yoga institutes, excellent camping facilities and a variety of adventure activities including rafting and cliff jumping make Rishikesh one of the best summer vacation places in India for school students. This holy land provides the much-needed respite from the daily classroom routines and imparts knowledge about Indian culture in a sensuous way. Adding more to Rishikesh’s popularity is its closeness to Haridwar.
Nearby Major Cities: Delhi, Dehradun, Panipat, Chandigarh and Ghaziabad
Major Activities: Yoga, Camping, Rafting, Cliff Jumping, Bungee Jumping and Rock Climbing
Manali – Striking Snow Splendor
One of my friends, Geetika, is Himachali (local of Himachal Pradesh region) and she often speaks about the natural splendor of the state but I never take her seriously. But the frequent mention of Manali along with Shimla and Kullu forced me to take a visit to Manali. I was stunned! Pretty good elevated location (around 2,050 meters), lovely climatic conditions (though there was a nip in the air during my visit in November 2013), views of deodar and pine trees with snow-capped mountains in the backdrop simply make Manali a spectacular place to fall in love with. Adding more to this, the place offers wonderful camp bases for trekking expeditions to Kangra, Lahaul, Spiti and Zanskar ranges. While having conversation with some locals, I came to know that the place also witnessed a large number of school students looking for adventure camps during summers.
Nearby Major Cities: Shimla, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Delhi, Ambala and Amritsar
Major Activities: Sightseeing, skiing (only in winters), rafting, trekking and adventure camps (for school students).
Dalhousie —Summer Delight
My fascination towards Himachal Pradesh urged me to take another break. This time I chose Dalhousie, a beautiful place located about 341 km from Manali. Despite the calmness in the surroundings, I was welcomed by bustles from a group of teenagers. Later, I came to know that they were students who had come to Dalhousie during their winter school break. Dalhousie lies on the western periphery of Dhauladhar Mountain Range and is a place for peace-seekers and nature lovers. Because of my odd selection of time (December), I failed to enjoy most of the interesting things except some fun in the snow. Dalhousie is mainly a summer delight and is an excellent hill station for people of all age groups. Also, because of its proximity to a number of popular places like Khajjiar, Kalatope Sanctuary and Chamba, Dalhousie is a top summer vacation ideas for school groups too.
Nearby Major Cities: Shimla, Chandigarh, Pathankot, Jalandhar, Dehradun, Delhi, Ambala and Amritsar.
Major Activities: Sightseeing, trekking, rock climbing, river crossing and camping.
Shimla –Gateway of Himachal Pradesh
Ah! Enough talk of me and my expeditions; let’s focus on the main theme, ‘summer vacations’. As I have mentioned the discussion started over selection of places for school tours in summers and in this hot debate one name that popped up after every short interval was Shimla. It is obvious that with the passage of time, Shimla has undergone lots of makeover in every aspect. Whether it is its connectivity with other places, attractions, number of hotels or other contemporary charms, Shimla can be called the modern face of Himachal Pradesh. But what makes it so popular that almost every school included it in their tours prompted me to do some research. And here are my post-research overcomes.
1) Shimla is dotted with a number of popular attractions, giving school students multiple options for sightseeing.
2) It serves as the main excursion gateway for other destinations like Chail, Kufri, Kasauli, Narkanda and Rampur (the biggest commercial and market area of the region).
3) Favourable climatic conditions and several recreational activities including camping.
Nearby Major Cities: Chandigarh, Patiala, Dehradun, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Panipat, Amritsar and Delhi.
Major Activities: Sightseeing, shopping, trekking, ice-skating, golfing, river rafting and camping.
Srinagar –Amalgamation of Beauty and Fun
When you are thinking of summer vacations options for school tour in North India, Srinagar routinely makes the travel itinerary. A perfect amalgamation of natural beauty and recreational activities, it always fascinates the playful mind of youngsters. There is much to know on eco-tourism aspect in Srinagar. Nehru Botanical Garden, Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden, Shalimar Bagh and many other beautiful gardens enrich your knowledge of flora in a memorable way. Similarly, bird watching, golfing, horse riding, shikara rides, leisure walks in apple orchards, cultural trip, excursions to destinations like Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Yusmarg and Sonmarg, are things students can do during their school trips in Srinagar.
Nearby Major Cities: Jammu City, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Patiala, Hisar and Delhi.
Major Activities: Sightseeing, shopping, horse-riding, golfing, fishing, nature walks, shikara rides and trekking.
Corbett National Park –A Distinct World of Wild
Corbett National Park as a summer vacations destination? Yeah! I know that it may sound somewhat surprising but I’m including it in the list of summer holiday destinations in India after doing much-needed homework. Enriched with varieties of flora and fauna species, a trip to Corbett National Park gives golden opportunities to know about the exotic bio-diversity of India. As for school trips are concerned, the park offers special summer camps for students. Children can enjoy a wide range of fun-filled activities like bird watching, animal spotting, fishing, trekking, and river crossing during their stay. In addition, these summer camps conduct yoga sessions, cultural programs and camp fires as well as painting and craft making workshops which are aimed at developing a child’s creative skills. If you want to add a touch of luxury during your stay then Corbett Leela Vilas is an excellent choice to go for.
Nearby Major Cities: Chandigarh, Ambala, Sonipat, Meerut, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Rohtak, Panipat and Delhi.
Major Activities: Sightseeing, shopping, horse-riding, golfing, fishing, nature walks, shikara rides and trekking.
Nainital- Worthy Option for Unlimited FUN
When it comes to summer vacation destinations in North India, there are several lovely hill stations that provide respite to our monotonous urban lifestyle. But the overwhelming enthusiasm of Mrs Joshi (my neighbor) on her son’s school trip to Nainital during summer vacations amazed me. I asked myself when there are so many wonderful options available then why Nainital? But I found my answer in my niece’s simple yet meaningful reply. Nainital not only provides a rejuvenating atmosphere but is also quite close from Delhi and other plain areas thus reducing the journey time, especially for kids. For me also, it is a plus point. The other reason of its popularity as one of the top destinations for school summer vacations may be due to the availability of large numbers of summer camps in the region. The camp organizers focus on the overall development of a kid’s personality in a fun-filled and relaxed environment while making them aware of our rich biodiversity. The last but not the least reason (as per my calculation) is that Nainital, in comparison to other far-flung places, is quite affordable and most of the schools can easily manage a tour to this awesome place without any constraint.
Nearby Major Cities: Haldwani,Bareilly, Haridwar, Dehradun, Delhi, Agra and Lucknow.
Major Activities: Sightseeing, boating, horse riding, aerial ropeway, camping, bird watching, rock climbing and trekking.
“It is not obvious that Indian schools only prefer hill stations of North India. There are equally fascinating destinations in the rest of the country too”, this quick reaction from my friend Subhalakshmi, marks the entry of a new debater in this hot topic. Her statement struck the right chord and in the next moment I was on my laptop searching for some beautiful summer vacation places in India. And what I found is here:
Summer Vacation Places in South India
Coorg- An Eternal Splendor for Tired Souls
Misty hills, vast spreads of tea and coffee fields, and green views of sandalwood and teakwood forests- in my words Coorg is simply spectacular. Adding the rustic charm are its villages and hamlets that reflect the rich cultural heritage of Karnataka. As for school trips and fun-loving nature of teenagers, Coorg is laced with several outdoor activities like angling, trekking and white-water rafting. There is much to learn about coffee plantation and procession in India’s coffee bowl. Nagarhole National Park is a must-see attraction for people of all age groups.
Nearby Major Cities: Kasargod, Kannor, Mangalore, Bangalore and Mysore.
Major Activities: Nature walks, trekking, angling, rafting, quad biking, boating and bird watching.
Thekkady- Serenity amidst the Wild
With bountiful treasure of evergreen and deciduous vegetation, it is not possible to escape the breathtaking beauty of Thekkady. But what makes it one of the top destinations for school summer vacations is Periyar Tiger Reserve, one of the finest wildlife sanctuaries in India. You don’t need to be a youngster to get excited at the sights of elephants and on the roars of wild cats. It will simply rock you! Taking the excitement to new levels is picturesque spice plantations that provide beautiful treks and the surrounding hills that are good for adventurous mountain expeditions. A trip to Thekkady also lets students know about a variety of flora species as the reserve has over 1900 flowering plants including Podocarpus wallichianus, the only south Indian conifer that grows in Periyar Tiger Reserve.
Nearby Major Cities: Alleppey, Kottayam, Kochi, Kumarakom and Madurai.
Major Activities: Nature walks, elephant rides, bird watching, boating and trekking.
Kodaikanal –An Eye-catching Forest Beauty
With a name that means ‘The Gift of the Forest’ in Tamil dialect, Kodikanal is a wonderland blessed with immense natural beauty. A stroll through its wooded forests or a bath in a splashing cascade, everything about this lovely destination is captivating. Sitting pretty at an elevation of about 7,200 feet above sea level, Kodikanal is not only meant for honeymooners and nature lovers. It equally attracts schools to organize summer vacation trips as there are several interesting things to do and explore like exotic flora species, hilly treks to trail down and bird watching for students. Kodikanal is also a wonderful destination for weekend trips.
Nearby Major Cities: Dindigul, Madurai, Tiruppur, Coimbatore, Kochi, Thrissur, Tiruchirapalli, Thoothukudi and Salem.
Major Activities: Nature walks, bird watching, boating, horse riding, trekking and yoga at Kodaikanal Yoga Center.
Munnar-Dewy Drop Magnificence
If you are thinking where to go in summer vacation then Munnar is a perfect choice for people of all age groups. It is another emerald beauty from the treasure of Idukki district. Its elevated location (1,600 meters above sea level) at the union of three mountain rivers gives Munnar a dew drop demeanor. Adding prettiness to this dewy-drop look is its sprawling tea gardens and winding lanes that altogether make Munnar an oasis of tranquility and eternal magnificence. Eravikulam National Park, Anamudi Peak, Chinnakanal and Anayirangal are some of the main highlights of this striking destination. Along with them, Tea Museum in Munnar and the hydro-electric power station at Pallivasal are great spots to enrich our knowledge.
Nearby Major Cities: Madurai, Coimbatore, Kochi, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Alleppeye and Mysore.
Major Activities: Sightseeing, camping, mountain biking, rock climbing, trekking, jeep safaris and boating (at Mattupetty Lake)
Ooty-Visual Treat of Nilgiri Hills
When it comes to top summer vacation ideas for school groups in South India, Ooty is the most common preference like Shimla and Nainital in North India. And like other hill stations, it is fully loaded with scenic natural vistas. Then what sets Ooty apart from others and makes it one of the most sought after hill stations in India? Here lies the answers…..Ooty is a land of beautiful sights that are great for picnic outings and school trips like Jolly World. The hill station is dotted with distinct flora species, native to Nilgiri Mountains, and enhancing this beauty are sprawling tea and coffee gardens and vegetation of eucalptus, confiers, pines and wattle trees. A ride in the historic Ooty Mountain Train, which wends through various curves, tunnels, tea plantations and deep gorges, sets it apart from other destinations.
Nearby Major Cities: Bandipur, Bangalore, Calicut, Cochin, Coonoor, Coorg, Ernakulam, Kannur and Palakkad.
Major Activities: Sightseeing, bird watching, toy train ride, horse riding, boating, fishing, hang-gliding, hiking and trekking.
Summer Vacation Places in East India
Tawang –Blend of Natural and Cultural Allure
If you are deciding to throng North-east states of India during this summer vacations then Tawang is a wonderful choice. Placed at an altitude of over 3,000 meters from sea level, it is a peaceful abode tucked between snow-covered peaks. Tawang is an ideal summer retreat that provides a beautiful blend of sightseeing and activities. The breathtaking views of Chong-Chugmi and Gudpi ranges along with Tawang Valley and river give the entire landscape a heavenly feel. Besides being gifted with the best of nature, Tawang is also culturally important. Tawang Monastery, Urgyelling Monastery, Ani Gompa, Sangetsar Lake and Tawang War Memorial are some must-see attractions.
Nearby Major Cities: Guwahati, Shiliguri, Imphal, Agartala, Aizawal, Bhagalpur and Darbhanga
Major Activities: Sightseeing, trekking and hiking
Shillong –The Heart where lies the Rhythm of Meghalaya
It is undoubted to leave Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, from the itinerary of your summer vacations expeditions in East India. It is the only hill station in the state that can be accessed from any side. Presence of large numbers of educational institutions makes the city an educational hub for the entire northeastern region of India. From the natural attractions like Elephant Falls and Shillong Peak to manmade marvels such as Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures, Shillong golf course and Ward’s Lake, this lovely destination has all the ingredients that make it a popular choice for travelers. Even for school students, the city is a dreamland offering multiple activities to enjoy like boating, rappelling and mountain cycling.
Nearby Major Cities: Guwahati, Shiliguri, Imphal, Agartala, Aizawal, Bhagalpur and Kolkatta
Major Activities: Sightseeing, boating, rappelling, mountain biking, trekking and caves exploration.
Darjeeling- A Walk on the Clouds
The moment I found Darjeeling among the top recommended destinations for school summer vacations in East India, an AH!!! came out of my mouth. ‘Something familiar’, I said to myself and gave my tired eyes a break. This hill station of West Bengal is very close to my heart as it always takes me back to my childhood days. Vast stretches of tea gardens, whistle of toy train, market area flooded with shops selling a wide variety of Chinese and Tibetan goods, white shinning peak of Kanchenjunga on the way from Tiger Hill, the aroma of fresh tea leaves and the FLOATING CLOUDS, the place and its memoirs lives inside me. Despite the fact that things might have changed so much over the years, one thing that still remains intact is the beauty of Darjeeling.
Nearby Major Cities: Shiliguri, Guwahati, Gangtok, Bhagalpur, Darbhanga and Kolkatta
Major Activities: Sightseeing, boating, paragliding, trekking, rafting and mountain biking.
Gangtok- Mirror of Sikkim
With a ‘HAPPY-GO-LUCKY’ Tag, Gangtok is more functional, more urban and more bustling in comparison to other places in Sikkim. But still, it appeals to a large number of travelers who love to explore its rich cultural heritage hidden inside its magnificent monasteries. From shopping complexes to local eateries and from Buddhist peace abodes to adventure activities, Gangtok, in short, is a potpourri of experiences. Nathu La Pass, Rumtek Monastery, Khecheopalri Lake and Hanuman Tok are some of the famous attractions in Gangtok. Don’t miss the bi-cable Zig-back ropeway ride from Deorali to Tashiling Secretariat for having a bird’s eye view of Gangtok.
Nearby Major Cities: Shiliguri, Guwahati, Bhagalpur and Darbhanga
Major Activities: Sightseeing, trekking, yak safaris and hang gliding.
Bomdila—Dazzling Himalayan Beauty
For most of us, except locals of northeastern region, Bomdila appears like a foreign land. But it’s not. Bomdila is a small yet beautiful town situated at a height of around 8,000 feet above sea level. The jagged white peaks of Himalayan Range in the backdrop, favourable climatic conditions during summers, breathtaking views of apple orchards and a tranquil world imbibed inside Buddhist monasteries as well as number of exciting activities to do and enjoy-what more it requires to be a wonderful holiday destination to spend the summers. The town also has the Orchid Research and Development Station and two other orchid conservation sanctuaries at Sessa and Dirang making it quite favourable for school trips. These sites help students to gain knowledge about orchids and other floral varieties.
Nearby Major Cities: Siliguri, Guwahati, Itanagar, Aizwal and Shillong.
Major Activities: Sightseeing and trekking.
Summer Vacation Places in West India
Mahableshwar- The Rejuvenation Point
If you are thinking that I chose Mahabaleshwar as a summer vacation destination only because it is the largest and most popular hill station in Maharashtra, then you are not completely wrong. Situated in the Western Ghats range, Mahabaleshwar soars high with an average elevation of about 1,353 meters. Lush evergreen forests, panoramic valleys, fresh breeze and numerous sightseeing points including Sunrise Point (the highest peak of the hill station) are the major highlights of this beautiful destination. Its pristine beauty never gets unnoticed among travelers visiting West India, especially from Mumbai and Pune. Tourists can also enjoy a number of fun-filled recreational activities like fishing, trekking and camping. The hill station gets very crowded during weekends and vacation breaks.
Nearby Major Cities: Pune, Mumbai, Kolhapur, Kalyan, Bhiwandi and Thana.
Major Activities: Paragliding, rock climbing, trekking, fishing, boating, camping and nature walks.
Matheran –An Escape from Fast-paced Life
A perfect gateway to escape the humid and scorching summers! Matheran is another wonderful destination that you would like to visit during summers. Pleasing weather, serene atmosphere, good connectivity with cities like Mumbai, Pune and Thana, and old world charm make Matheran a well-known summer retreat for holiday seekers and schools opting for an excellent destination for summer breaks. But what caught my attention was its ‘NO VEHICLE’ Tag. Yes, vehicles, even bicycles, are totally banned in Matheran so that the environment remains away from the confines of noise and pollution. You have to explore the place on foot only. Second is its toy train that slowly chugs into the valley and gives an old-world charm. Do not miss valley crossing activity between Honeymoon Point-Louisa Point.
Nearby Major Cities: Mumbai, Pune, Bhiwandi, Kolhapur, Kalyan, Nashik, Ahmednagar and Thana.
Major Activities: Horse riding, trekking, valley crossing and nature walks.
Mount Abu –A Green Cool Oasis amid Heated Desert
I didn’t need to navigate from page to page much for Mount Abu as it is the only hill station in Rajasthan and that’s why quite popular. When the rest of Rajasthan is reeling under heat waves during the summers, Mount Abu brings the much needed respite to the people. Situated at an elevation of about 1,220 meters above sea level, the hill station is quite picturesque. Thanks to various streams, waterfalls and evergreen forests that provide this rocky plateau a green carpet look. Along with these natural points, there are several ancient and medieval sites too depicting the historical sagas of bygone years. Pleasing weather and diverse flora mean that schools can organize trips for students to Mount Abu with the intent of increasing their knowledge pool and building curiosity in them to know their country better. Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is a major sightseeing spot in Mount Abu.
Nearby Major Cities: Ahmedabad, Udaipur, Gandhinagar, Jodhpur, Bhilwara, Vadodara, Ajmer and Ratlam.
Major Activities: Sightseeing, horse riding, bird watching, wildlife tours, camping, rappelling, rock climbing and trekking.
Silvassa -Reflecting the Beauty and Richness of Dadra and Nagar Haveli
Yeah! I know that many of you are amazed with this suggestion. But I guarantee that my selection of Silvassa, the capital city of Dadar and Nagar Haveli, as summer vacations option for school tour would not let you down. Silvassa is a former Portuguese colony that still retains its old world charm in the form of churches and historical ruins. There is everything that schools look for a great holiday trip, from wildlife sanctuaries to beaches and from cultural sites to exciting water sports activities. Along with these, Silvassa is also a great place to know about the culture of the WARLIS, an indigenous tribe that lives here. Visitors can also enjoy lion safaris at Vasona Park. Hirwa Van Garden is another major attraction where you will be welcomed by roaring cascades and eye-catching flowering gardens.
Nearby Major Cities: Surat, Nashik, Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Thana, Bhavnagar, Malegaon and Mumbai
Major Activities: Nature walks, lion safaris, boating, jet skiing, kayaking, canoeing and trekking.
Saputara- A Jewel of Gujarat
Enclosed by the dense woody vegetation of Sahayadris, Saputara is an ultimate tranquil beauty. It is located in the Dangs district of Gujarat and is a place that will give a new definition to your holidays. This exotic hill station experiences uniform weather throughout the year and temperature hardly exceeds 28° degree even in summers thus making it one of the best places to enjoy summer holiday packages in India. It is also one among the few well-planned hill resorts in the country and is dotted with a variety of hotels, theatres, parks, ropeways and swimming pools. Along with that, Saputara also has a boat club and a museum that exhibits tribal objects. In addition, there are several wonderful places around Saputara that add more fun to your trip. Notable ones are Gira Waterfalls, Mahal Forest, Vansda National Park and Ambapada village.
Nearby Major Cities: Nashik, Surat, Bhiwandi, Malegaon, Thana, Bhavnagar, Manmad and Mumbai
Major Activities: Nature walks, ropeway rides, trekking, camping, boating, horse riding and camel safaris.
I hope that my selection of best summer vacation places in India for school students will help you make the right choice. So, let your kids participate in school trips because apart from being a pleasure trip, it would also help in their all round development.
How to get Best Deals on Summer Vacation Tour Packages for School Groups
School vacations are much eagerly awaited by students who spend most of their time buried in books. These vacations help students to unwind and release frustrations that may accumulate over time. But the selection of the ideal destination for the impressionable students is never easy; things like the cost of the trip, how to travel, and how to plan the itinerary need good research. This is where Tour My India Pvt Ltd with its vast expertise can play a significant role. Be it affordable packages, the most eligible tour guides, or booking tickets, Tour My India delivers everything you want. To know more about the company and our School Group Summer Vacation packages, just give a call at 9212777223/24.