Be it with your family or friends, a picnic is always fun. The traditional way, you would head out to a place with lush lawns with a big, hearty lunch in a wicker basket. But, why limit the idea of a picnic to the ‘conventional’, when there are so many other ways you can enjoy it. And, when you are in a city like Chennai, which is surrounded by endless serene and beautiful places, the case for an ‘unconventional’ picnic holds even more water. So, without further ado, here is our guide to the best picnic spots near Chennai that promise a day of the ultimate fun.

Picnic Spots in Chennai

1. Semmozhi Poonga

Semmozhi Poonga

Semmozhi Poonga | #1 of 15 Best Picnic Spots in Chennai

Situated smack in the centre of the urban jungle, Semmozhi Poonga is a lush botanical garden sprawling across around 20 acres. The garden has over 500 species of plants, and some specimens are more than 100 years old. Come here with your family to enjoy a refreshing day amidst flowers and birds of all colours and sizes. You might not be able to sit on the grass as it is a government-administered place, but the experience of walking amidst greenery will be the one to remember.

  • Timings*:
    10:00 am to 7:30 pm (visitors)
    6:00 am to 8:00 am (monthly pass holders)
    *closed on Tuesdays
  • Entry Fee: ₹ 15 (adults); ₹ 10 (kids)

2. Marina Beach

Marina Beach

Marina Beach | #2 of 15 Best Picnic Spots in Chennai

When talking of picnic spots in Chennai, how can one not mention the famed Marina Beach, which is arguably one of the best places to visit in the city? Be warned that being extremely popular, the beach sees a heavy footfall, be it morning or evening, weekday or weekend; therefore, finding a quiet spot might not be possible. So, you don’t take a picnic basket to the beach…big deal. Instead, sit on the sand, build sand castles, run around with the kids or play volleyball.

  • Must Do: Kite flying, beach sports, sunset watching, pony riding

Here is our blog on all the fun things to do in and around Chennai

3. Elliot Beach

Elliot Beach

Elliot Beach | #3 of 15 Best Picnic Spots in Chennai

Now, this is one of the more serene beaches in Chennai and also among the prettier ones. This is where you can enjoy the ‘conventional’ picnic with a hearty lunch, sitting on the sands, while the kids run around and have fun among themselves. You can even pack your swimwear and go for a little dip in the Bay of Bengal for the ultimate refreshment.

  • Must Do: Sunset watching, morning walk, swimming

4. VGP Universal Kingdom and VGP Golden Beach

VGP Universal Kingdom and VGP Golden Beach

VGP Universal Kingdom and VGP Golden Beach | #4 of 15 Best Picnic Spots in Chennai

One of the few privately operated beaches in Chennai, VGP Golden Beach is located within the eponymous resort-cum-amusement park. So, after you are done with the numerous thrilling joy rides and splashing in the chlorinated pools, you can get the much-needed relaxation on the beach. This is an amazing place, where kids, youths as well as grown-ups can let loose and have fun.

  • Location: East Coast Road
  • Timings: 11:00 am to 7:30 pm (VGP Universal Kingdom)
  • Entry Fee:
    Universal Kingdom – ₹ 550 onwards (adults); ₹ 450 onwards (kids)
    Golden Resort – ₹ 5000 per night onwards

Read our blog on more amazing theme parks in Chennai

5. Guindy National Park

Guindy National Park

Guindy National Park | #5 of 15 Best Picnic Spots in Chennai

Visiting Guindy National Park is one of the essential picnic places to visit in Chennai for couples, especially those who want some peace and quiet to enjoy their time with each other to the fullest. Walking through immense greenery with the chirping of birds or the sounds of deer accompanying you, you wouldn’t realise you are still within the city. You can walk hand-in-hand for hours, having a tête-à-tête with your beloved.

  • Timings: 9:00 am to 5:30 pm (closed on Tuesday)
  • Entry Fee: ₹ 15

Picnic Spots near Chennai within 50 km

6. Muttukadu Lake

Muttukadu Lake

Muttukadu Lake | #6 of 15 Best Picnic Spots near Chennai

Among the numerous lakes near the metropolis, Muttukadu backwaters are the perfect place for an adventurous picnic! Yes, the boat house here has facilities for several thrilling watersports, and the charges are not exorbitant either. So, get your entire brood and get ready for a day of some high-octane fun. The scenic beauty of the lake with palms and the sea in the distance are a bonus.

  • Location: East Coast Road
  • Distance from Chennai: 32.8 km
  • Timings: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
  • Ticket Price: ₹ 120 onwards
  • Activities: Water scooter, speed boat, motor boat, row boat, pedal boat
  • Best Time to Visit: October to March

7. Arignar Anna Zoological Park

Arignar Anna Zoological Park

Arignar Anna Zoological Park | #7 of 15 Best Picnic Spots near Chennai

Just outside the city, this zoo is a must-visit if you have children with you. The largest zoological park in India, it is spread across over 1000 acres, where you can see more than 1500 individual animals! Among the prominent species here are the golden jackal, barking deer, lion, giraffe, camel, elephant, Bengal tiger, mugger crocodile, saltwater crocodile, gharial, white-backed vulture, grey wolf, zebra, gaur, hippopotamus, Himalayan black bear and even llama!

  • Location: Vandalur
  • Distance from Chennai: 33.2 km
  • Timings: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm (closed on Tuesdays
  • Entry Fee: ₹ 50 (adults); ₹ 20 (children)

8. Covelong

Covelong

Covelong | #8 of 15 Best Picnic Spots near Chennai

Yet another incredible place for adventure activities near Chennai, Covelong or Kovalam takes the thrill quotient a notch higher than Mattukadu. Here, you get to indulge in the ultimate watersport, parasailing. Fastened to a parachute, which is itself tied to a high-speed boat, you soar above the sea with the wind hitting your face and the adrenaline rushing though your body.

  • Location: Off East Coast Road
  • Distance from Chennai: 35.9 km
  • Duration: 20 minutes
  • Ticket Price: ₹ 750
  • Best Time to Visit: October to March

Picnic Spots near Chennai within 100 km

9. Mahabalipuram Beach

Covelong

Covelong | #9 of 15 Best Picnic Spots near Chennai

You cannot talk about picnic spots near Chennai and not mention Mahabalipuram Beach?! It’s a perfect place to have endless beachside fun with loved ones. Besides, Mahabalipuram is a historical and cultural hub, popular for its architecturally brilliant Shore Temple and Pancha Rathas rock-cut temples.

  • Distance from Chennai: 54.1 km
  • Best Time to Visit: October to March
  • Must Do: Sightseeing, beach hopping, surfing

10. Pulicat Lake

Pulicat Lake

Pulicat Lake | #10 of 15 Best Picnic Spots near Chennai

One of the largest lakes in the country, Pulicat is a great spot to combine a picnic with bird watching. It is one of the most important flamingo migration sites in the world, with reportedly 15000 of these magnificent wading birds staying here every winter. Apart from flamingos, you might be able to see other aquatic birds like pelicans, spoonbills, storks and ducks. Apart from these, raptorial species, such as the peregrine falcon (the fastest animal on earth) and white-bellied sea eagle can also be seen.

  • Location: Nellore District and Thiruvallur District
  • Distance from Chennai: 55.8 km
  • Timings: 6:00 am to 9:00 pm
  • Entry Fee: Free entry
  • Best Time to Visit: October to March

Also read our blog on the 7 Scintillating Lakes in and around Chennai

11. Sadras Beach

Sadras Beach

Sadras Beach | #11 of 15 Best Picnic Spots near Chennai

Known to only a few people, Sadras is a sleepy coastal village south of Chennai. Locally named Sadurangapattinam, Sadras is historically significant owing to its Dutch fort constructed during the 17th century. Apart from the fortress, there is the beach where you can escape the city madness and enjoy a real picnic in utter tranquillity.

  • Location: Kanchipuram District, Tamil Nadu
  • Distance from Chennai: 68.2 km
  • Must Do: Fort tour, sand castles, lazing on the sand, ocean swim

12. Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary

Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary

Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary | #12 of 15 Best Picnic Spots near Chennai

Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary is apparently the oldest bird sanctuary in India, having been established in 1936. Apart from resident birds, thousands more come here from different parts of the world in the colder months as part of their annual migration. The natural ponds are full of fish, which attract the birds. The small lakes are interspersed by dense mangroves and even paddy fields, reflecting that humans and animals have lived here in complete harmony for centuries.

  • Location: Kanchipuram District, Tamil Nadu
  • Distance from Chennai: 82.3 km
  • Timings: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
  • Entry Fee: ₹ 25 (adults); ₹ 5 (kids)
  • Best Time to Visit: November to March

13. Tada Falls

Tada Falls

Tada Falls | #13 of 15 Best Picnic Spots near Chennai

If you are looking for picnic spots near Chennai that also offer you trekking opportunities, then Tada Falls is the right place for you. Also known as Ubbalamadugu Falls, this bewitching natural wonder is located deep in the Eastern Ghats.  The trek to the falls is a little arduous, so be careful if you have children or grandparents with you. Once there, you can unpack your food and sit on the big boulders and frolic under the falling water in the plunge pool.

  • Location: Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh
  • Distance from Chennai: 90.1 km
  • Best Time to Visit: Round the year

14. Mudaliarkuppam

Mudaliarkuppam

Mudaliarkuppam | #14 of 15 Best Picnic Spots near Chennai

For those whose heart never stops yearning for some adventure, Mudaliarkuppam is another must-visit place. This small village is home to the Raindrop Boathouse, administered by the Government of Tamil Nadu. With nothing around but the vast expanse of the sea on one side and a backwater lake on the other, you are sure to get relaxed. Apart from the several types of boats on offer, there is also a facility for camping!

  • Location: East Coast Road
  • Distance from Chennai: 90.4 km
  • Timings: 9:00 to 6:00 pm
  • Ticket Price: ₹ 150 onwards
  • Activities: Motor boat, speed boat, sail boat, water scooter, kayaking, camping

15. Nellapattu Bird Sanctuary

Nellapattu Bird Sanctuary

Nellapattu Bird Sanctuary | #15 of 15 Best Picnic Spots near Chennai

Yet another bewitching picnic spot near Chennai, Nellapattu Bird Sanctuary is one of the most significant breeding grounds for the majestic spot-billed pelicans. It is believed that the birds that feed at Pulicat Lake, actually build their nests in Nellapattu Bird Sanctuary. Of the around 190 species of birds to be seen here, about 50 fly in from other places in winters. So, come here and bring a camera for a great session of bird watching with your loved ones or by your lonesome.

  • Location: Nellore District, Andhra Pradesh
  • Distance from Chennai: 94.5 km
  • Timings: 9:00 to 5:00 pm
  • Entry Fee: ₹ 2 (adults); ₹ 1 (kids)
  • Best Time to Visit: October to March

The next time you look for hotels in Chennai for a vacation or even an office trip, keep at least one day extra to head to any of these incredible picnic spots.