The Indian state of Tamil Nadu boasts of being adjacent to the Coromandel Coast and Bay of Bengal, making it a coastal area flanked by numerous beaches. What’s interesting is that each beach in Tamil Nadu is distinct from the other and has a unique story to tell. While some are commercial and attract thousands of tourists every day, there are others that are perfect for a quiet stroll in the evening. The beaches are nothing less than the others in the country and have their own charm that leave tourists with a bag full of memories. Tamil Nadu is home to the famous Marina Beach that is the longest natural urban beach. On the other hand, it also has the Poompuhar Beach which is pretty non-descript and not on most tourists’ itineraries. Nevertheless, we tell you about some of the most beautiful beaches in the state along with their history, facts and options for accommodation and how to get there. Bookmark this page for your next trip to Tamil Nadu.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Tamil Nadu, Covelong Beach is a hotspot for locals as well as tourists alike. The golden sand beach was once a sleepy fishing village but today has emerged as a tourist destination and hotels have mushroomed around it thanks to its growing popularity. Covelong Beach is en route Mahabalipuram which is known for its temples.
For beach lovers who can’t miss a chance to go swimming in the waters, this beach is perfect as it is safe for a dip. Covelong Beach is also a surfer’s paradise and these two activities make it a popular hangout destination for youngsters. When here, don’t miss going around visiting the villages that are full of churches, ruins of Dutch architecture, mosques and forts. Covelong Beach also has the old seaport that can be explored when you are here. Whether you like a romantic stroll on the soft sands of the beach or you love to indulge in water sports, Covelong Beach has both for you and more.
Where to stay: Vivanta by Taj -Fisherman’s Cove (044 67413333) is one of the best properties here. It is four minutes away from the beach and offers a luxurious stay.
How to reach: Covelong Beach is about 23 km away from Mahabalipuram and 34 km from Chennai. It is well-connected by road and you can hire a car or a cab to reach here.
If you prefer beaches that are away from the crowds and madness of the city, Elliot’s Beach is perfect for you. It is popularly called Besant Nagar Beach of Bessie and is named after Edward Elliot. The beach is not very crowded and isn’t thronged by tourists, giving you ample opportunity to laze around carefree. The beach does not have many touristy activities as other beaches offer which makes it less popular among travelers and more of a hangout joint for locals.
If however, you plan to go to Elliot’s Beach, here’s what you can expect. The prime attraction of the beach is the Karl Schmidt Memorial who was a Dutch sailor who lost his lives saving people from drowning in the sea. Apart from this, there’s nothing much to do here expect for taking long walks and enjoying the beauty of nature as the cool breeze soothes your soul. Elliot’s Beach is one of the cleanest ones in the state and if you love some quiet time, you won’t be disappointed here. If you are hungry, you can grab a bite at the various coffee and snack shops near the beach. Swimming is not recommended here as there have been many incidents of drowning in the past and you will find police patrolling the beach in ATVs. When here, you can also pay a visit to the Ashtalakshmi Temple and Velanganni Church.
Where to stay: Keys Hotel Katti Ma (044 49002051) is a mid-range accommodation 2.3 km away from the beach.
How to reach: Elliot’s Beach is in Besant Nagar and is only 13 km away from Chennai central railway station. Cabs, autos and busses also ply here.
One of the most popular beaches in the state, Marina Beach is in Chennai and is the longest natural urban beach. It is a long stretch of golden sandy beach that is a favorite spot for tourists and locals alike. The beach’s location makes it a popular getaway for people in the evening and attracts about 20,000 to 50,000 people on weekdays and weekends respectively. Despite swimming and bathing being banned here due to the strong undercurrents, people flock here for the cool breeze and the glimpse of the Bay of Bengal. However, beach cricket and kite flying are common activities on the beach. it also has several shops and restaurants, a jogger’s track, lover’s spot and many memorials that attract the people. At both ends of the beach, you will find fishermen colonies and their nets spread on the sands in the evening. Two swimming pools and an artificial waterfall are also present near the Marina Beach.
Being a prime attraction and a prominent landmark of the city, several events take place either on the beach or along its promenade. Among them, the most noteworthy ones are the annual Republic Day ceremonial parade, the Chennai Marathon and the festival of Pongal. These attract the largest crowds of people to Marina Beach. Even Ganesha immersion takes place here and a few years ago, the country’s first international beach volleyball championship also took place on Marina Beach. There are more plans to revamp and improve the promenade the surrounding areas with more amenities for the people. A visit to this beach is a must when in Chennai. If you watch Tamil movies, you must have seen the beach feature in many of them including one titled Marina.
Where to stay: Clarion Hotel (044 28472211) is only 2.4 km away from Marina beach and offers decent rooms at an affordable price.
How to reach: Being such an iconic landmark, you will not have any trouble reaching Marina Beach. Taking public transport is the easiest way to reach this beach.
The town of Poompuhar that is 40 km away from Chidambaram is home to a black sand beach of the same name. Once a thriving port in Tamil Nadu during the reign of the Chola Dynasty, today, it is a prime tourist attraction of the area. It is also a picnic spot for the locals. Poompuhar Beach has an engraved monument that is one of the attractions here. The other one is Silappathikara Art Gallery which tells you the history of the place. When here, also pay a visit to the Thiruppallavaneeswaram Temple and the Zion Church that are located near the Poompuhar Beach. Owing to the role it played in the state’s history, the beach is also a popular point during the celebration of Chitra Pournami that falls on a full moon night. Perfect for swimming and sunbathing, visit the Poompuhar Beach on your next trip to Tamil Nadu.
Where to stay: There are aren’t too many hotels near the beach. You can look for homestays when here or opt for ones a few kilometres away.
How to reach: If you are coming here from Chidambaram, it is 40 km away. Buses and taxis are available till Poompuhar Beach.