Who would’ve thought that it’s possible to enjoy wildlife and nature at a national park right in the middle of the Mumbai! The Sanjay Gandhi National Park is an oasis amongst the city concrete. Its lush greenery extends for 104 square kilometers (65 square miles) and includes more than 100 ancient hand-carved Buddhist caves, a tiger sanctuary, tiger and lion safaris, a recreational zone for the kids, and cottages and camping facilities. It's possible to go trekking, and also ride a toy train, through in the park. With air so fresh and clean, and a wide variety of animal and plant life, you'll quickly forget there's a city of 20 million people outside.
- Location: Borivali, 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the city center.
- Entry: 20 rupees.
2. Hanging Garden & Kamala Nehru Park
- Location: Malabar Hill, south Mumbai (close to the city center).
- Entry: Free.
3. Chota Kashmir (Aarey Colony)
- Location: Goregaon East, 32 kilometers (20 miles) north west of the city center.
- Cost: 20 rupees per per person, for 30 minutes boat hire.
4. Elephanta Island
Elephanta Island, a one hour ferry trip from the Gateway of India, is home to seven ancient caves hand carved out of rock in a similar manner to the Ajanta and Ellora caves, but on a smaller scale. The main cave has a number of stunning large sculptured panels depicting the Hindu god of creation and destruction, Lord Shiva. If you're feeling energetic take a walk up to Cannon Hill, named after the old cannon there, on top of the island. Do be sure to choose your picnic spot wisely though or else be prepared to go into battle for your lunch against the gangs of unruly monkeys! Note that the caves are closed on Mondays.
- Location: 10 kilometers (6 miles) east of Mumbai.
- Cave Entry: Indians 10 rupees. Foreigners 250 rupees.
Jump on a boat from the Gateway of India in Mumbai and in a little over an hour you'll find yourself at Alibaug, beach playground for the rich and famous. The main beach, with its black sand, is very popular but venture a little further south and you'll discover the less frequented Akshi, Nagaon, and Kihim beaches. There are some fascinating old forts and ornate temples to explore in the area, as well as a health spa at the new Radisson Resort for those who feel in need of some pampering. If you don't want to go that far, tiny and tucked away Awas Beach is the closest option (around 15 minutes) from the jetty at Mandawa/Alibaug.
- Location: 110 kilometers (68 miles) south of Mumbai.
- Location: Around 100 kilometers (62 miles) east of Mumbai.
- Entry: 25 rupees for adults, and 10 rupees for children.