Planning a weekend getaway from Chennai, but are also worried that the virus might get you? Then, may we suggest you do something a little unordinary and pick one of the less-crowded places near Chennai for your vacation? Since only a handful of people know about these places, you can enjoy every bit of your holiday, while also maintaining the all-important ‘social distancing’. And, just so you don’t have to take a train or flight packed with people, all the places we are picking up in this blog are near Chennai, hence perfect for a road trip! Read ahead for more…

1. Nagalapuram

Nagalapuram is a hidden gem of the Eastern Ghats, which gives you the opportunity to trek, witness amazing scenery and frolic under a waterfall. Though the trek is around 15 km in length, it is moderate in difficulty, with not many steep climbs and sudden drops. Plus, most of the trail goes along a stream, so cooling off after a tiring hour of walking won’t be a problem.

  • Distance from Chennai: 75 km
  • Driving Time: 2 hours
  • Things to Do: Trekking, boating, camping, nature walks
  • Best Time to Visit: October to February

2. Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary

A great place for a one-day trip near Chennai, Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary is a paradise for birdwatchers. The wetland, interspersed with small islets completely covered by trees, is home to numerous resident and migratory species of birds. Apparently, the migratory birds come here from as far as Canada! Some of the most incredible birds to look out for here are painted storks, open-billed storks and pelicans.

  • Distance from Chennai: 85 km
  • Driving Time: 2 hours
  • Things to Do: Birdwatching, photography
  • Best Time to Visit: November to March

3. Tada Falls

One of the best places to visit near Chennai within 100 km, Tada Falls is a true oasis of tranquillity. It is located within the Eastern Ghats, so you can expect the area to be utterly green and alive with birds’ chirping. You will need to park your vehicles at the base camp and then trek for around 10 km to reach the waterfall, which drops from a height of around 100 metres.

  • Distance from Chennai: 90 km
  • Driving Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Things to Do: Hiking, photography, birdwatching
  • Best Time to Visit: October to February

Check out our blog about all the pretty waterfalls near Chennai

4. Pichavaram Mangrove Forest

The Pichavaram mangrove forest, which is located between the Vellar and Kollidam rivers, is the second-largest mangrove forest in the country, after Sunderbans. Not only is this area exceptionally green, but also full of wildlife, so don’t forget to take your camera along. To enter the jungle, you need to reach the village of Pichavaram, where boats and ferries are available to take you through the mangroves, on narrow canals.

  • Distance from Chennai: 215 km
  • Driving Time: 5 hours
  • Things to Do: Boating, ferry rides, kayaking, canoeing, rowing, fishing, photography, birdwatching
  • Boating Time: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • Boating Charges: ₹200 onwards
  • Best Time to Visit: October to February

5. Yelagiri

If you are looking for unknown places to visit near Chennai for couples, then Yelagiri is a good choice, as its mountain surroundings and weather would definitely fill you with love. It has everything you would look for in a hill station, but, thankfully it is not as crowded as Kodaikanal or Ooty, therefore perfect for a quiet escapade. Waterbodies, hills, greenery, blue skies, clean air, tea plantations and a lot more keep couples engaged during their visit to this idyllic place. Additionally, you can even enjoy rock climbing and paragliding

  • Distance from Chennai: 230 km
  • Driving Time: 4 hours 25 minutes
  • Places to Visit: Punganoor Lake, nature park, Jalagamparai Waterfalls, telescope observatory, Swamimalai Hills, government herbal farm, Nilavoor Lake
  • Best Time to Visit: October to February

6. Tranquebar

Tranquebar doesn’t sound like an Indian town, does it? That is because it was originally a Danish seaside colony, so, apart from the sun, sand and the sea, it will treat you to historical ruins. An incredible place to visit near Chennai in two days, it is not only less-crowded than many other beach towns near the city, but also so magnificent that it has been featured in the Nat Geo Traveller magazine. An almost unadorned, yet grand mud-coloured fort on the edge of rocky shores makes the scene here dramatic.

  • Distance from Chennai: 270 km
  • Driving Time: 6 hours
  • Things to Do: Fort Dansborg visit, beach fun, tasting local seafood
  • Best Time to Visit: October to February

7. Horsley Hills

This might not be one of the truly lesser-known destinations near Chennai, but it still witnesses a lower footfall than some of the other places near the metropolis, such as Pondicherry and Mahabalipuram. Green, cool and calm are just a few words that describe the surroundings that await you here. The place has several viewpoints, lakes, streams and waterfalls, as one would expect from a hill station.

  • Distance from Chennai: 275 km
  • Driving Time: 6 hours
  • Things to Do: Hiking, photography, wildlife tours, adventure sports
  • Best Time to Visit: October to February

Want to know about more incredible hill stations near Chennai? Click here

8. Kolli Hills

If you like the idea of a road trip, then you will love the ride to the Kolli Hills, which is a picturesque range in the Eastern Ghats. As it is still untouched by tourists to a large extent, it retains much of its natural charm. In these hills, several tropical fruits and medical plants are grown by local villagers. So, come here for some time away from the crowded city, and let go yourself in the arms of nature!

  • Distance from Chennai: 360 km
  • Driving Time: 6 hours 20 minutes
  • Places to Visit: Agasagangai Falls, botanical garden, Tampcol Medicinal Farm, Siddhar Caves, Vasalurpatty Boat House
  • Best Time to Visit: October to March

These are some of the best lesser-known destinations in Chennai on our list. Don’t wait now. Get your loved ones and head out on a memorable road trip near Chennai.