The summer heat is at its head, and schools and colleges in India are officially closing down for the season, which translates to ample time and incentive to get out and escape to a cool summer vacation destination with the whole family. And while there are plenty of summer vacation family destinations in South India, the north has its share of choices to. So take a look at these popular destinations in North India where you can go on a summer vacation with the family and get free from the usual humdrum city life and explore, enjoy and make wonderful new memories to cherish. ALSO READ: 5 best hill stations in India for that perfect summer vacation with family
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The hill station of Mussoorie is located in Garhwal, Uttarakhand, around 2,000 metres from sea level and at a comfortably close distance from Delhi. You can come to Delhi with your family and spend a day or two exploring the sights of the city before heading out to the cool little hill station. At Mussoorie, you have popular tourist attractions like Kempty Falls, the shopping destination of Cloud’s End and Gun Hill, where you can see an incredible vista of the Himalayan mountains on the horizon. Mussoorie can get crowded in the summers, though, but it is still enjoyable. The cable ride to Gun Hill, a walk down Mall Road and bathing under Kempty Falls are wonderful ways to spend time with your family here. Also Read - Hina Khan's Workout Tip: 'Wearing Stylish' Matters When You Sweat it Out
The twin destinations of Shimla and Manali make for a wonderful long vacation in the cradle of the Himalayas. Located in Himachal Pradesh, both Shimla and Manali are child-friendly tourist spots and popular summer vacation destinations. Shimla, for instance, has several pleasures to offer, like walking along the Mall Road or visiting the Jakhu Temple, Christ Church, Dorje Drag Monastery and Viceregal Lodge. The nearby Chadwick Waterfalls and Kufri are also worthy destinations to explore with the whole family. Manali offers plenty of natural beauty and tranquillity. You can go to Solang Valley or Rohtang Pass and indulge in adventure activities like paragliding and trekking, or go river-rafting and water crossing. Also Read - Effective Ways to Stay Healthy And Safe During Pregnancy in Current Times
Toy Train, Darjeeling
Darjeeling is incredible famous for a reason; its picturesque and breath-taking natural beauty. The hill station lies around 2,000 metres above sea level and, during the summers, offers a wonderful clear view of the third-highest mountain peak in the world, Kanchenjunga. You can spend time with your family enjoying the views on offer while visiting its various cafes and restaurants. And if you are in Darjeeling, you cannot forget the tea or toy train ride. If you and your family are up for it, you can trek up Tiger Hill to visit a beautiful sunrise. Other great sights here are the Darjeeling-Rangit cable car ride and the Ghoom Monastery and Tamang Ghumba. ALSO READ: Darjeeling: Tea, toy train and memories of the hill station
The hill station of Nainital lies around the scenic Naini Lake and is surrounded by the Kumaon Himalayan mountains. The emerald green volcanic lake is obviously the biggest attraction here, and boating along its waters makes for the perfect family activity. You can also explore the bustling Mall Road and feast on some wonderful street food, or visit the relatively more secluded Thandi Sadak side of the lake. There is also the cable car ride to Snow View, where you get to see the distant snow-capped peaks of the upper Himalayas. Tiffin Top, China Peak, Naina Devi Temple and the Tibetan market are other popular haunts here that can be explored with the family.
Corbett National Park
Tiger at Jim Corbett National Park
The Jim Corbett National Park lies near Nainital and is part of the massive Corbett Tiger Reserve, but makes for a great summer vacation destination on its own especially for families that love wildlife. The park spreads across around 520 square kilometres, covering marshy lands, grasslands, hills and the immense Ramganga Reservoir. You can spend your days exploring the park on elephant back or an open Jeep, and spend the nights in the park itself. In fact, Corbett is one of the few tiger reserves that let you stay overnight. Tigers are the obvious draw here, but you can also spot other rare and incredible animals like otters and crocodiles. Dhikala on the border of the Patil Dun valley is one of the most popular spots in the park because of its rich wildlife.
Amber Fort, Jaipur
While other entries in this list are decidedly high up the northern mountains, Jaipur lies along the edges of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan. Despite the heat, Jaipur can be a fascinating summer vacation destination for the family because of its rich history and culture. Jaipur is an odd mix of the old world of kings and warriors and the new world of democracy and Wi-Fi. Amidst all the mayhem on the streets, Jaipur’s past shines through its myriad monuments and palaces. The Jantar Mantar royal observatory, the architecturally unique Hawa Mahal and the expansive City Palace are just some of the highlights here. Go out of the city for a bit, and you encounter even more sights from centuries ago, like the grand Amber Fort and Palace.
Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim, is one of the most beautiful places in the country and a great summer vacation destination. You can head to Ganesh Tok and Tashi viewpoint from where you can see a clear view of the Kanchenjunga range. The Pemayangtse and Enchey monasteries are worth a visit for their incredible antiques. Other major attractions here are the Chogyal’s Palace, once the seat of the Sikkim kingdom, Tsomgo Lake and the Botanical Garden. Changu Lake offers a chance to go on a yak ride and take some photos. The Nathu La Pass, of course, should not be missed.
Shikaras in Srinagar
You can get the quintessential Kashmir experience by visiting just two places: Srinagar and Gulmarg. Srinagar charms you with Shikara rides along the pristine Dal Lake, water-skiing adventures and a stay at a houseboat. The city’s Mughal Gardens, which include the Nishat Garden, Shalimar Bagh and Chashma-e-Shahi, are also beautiful sights to see. Gulmarg, meanwhile, gives you a glimpse of the natural beauty of Kashmir. Take a cable car ride to the Khilanmarg Snow Point to see incredible vistas of the valley and surrounding mountains. Or simply relax in the midst of the snow-capped mountains. You can also go up from Kongdoori and Apparwath via cable car to get an breathtaking view of the terrain.
Located on the northern end of West Bengal, Kalimpong is not just a postcard-perfect summer vacation destination, but a melting pot of different cultures. You can spend your time over here simply taking in the scenery and mixing in with the locals, trying out the interesting cuisine in the hill station. But if your family is more of the adventurous kind, you can go trekking up the mountains around Kalimpong. One great family-friendly trekking destination is Samthar, which lies around 4,500 feet above sea level and takes you through dense forests. Other points of interest here are Lava, Jhandidara and Rissisum.
The quiet little hill station of Ranikhet lies in Uttarakhand, a little over 60 km from the more popular and busy Nainital. If you prefer a more relaxed summer holiday with your family, this would be a great place to head to. At Ranikhet, you can simply lay back and enjoy nature at its finest, making for a well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of life. You can visit points of interest like Bhalu Dam, Syalikhet, Tarikhet and the Chaubatia Garden, which is spread across more than 250 acres. If you prefer, you can also go trekking up to Dwarahat. The treks are typically calm and relaxed, and you can also savor the local Kumaoni cuisine. ALSO READ: 10 tips for planning the perfect summer vacation with family
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