Days spent playing the soft sand, then boogie boarding in the waves until the sun sets over the Arabian Sea. Absolute bliss. For anyone visiting India with kids, I always recommend tagging on a few days (or more) in Goa at the end of a trip to relax and balance out the city travel, which can often feel rather confronting and chaotic. Check out our Northern India itinerary with kids.
It’s important you get the ‘right’ beach to fit your family though, as the beaches of Goa present quite an eclectic mix. Check out our post on best beaches in Goa for kids. But, if you start to get a bit twitchy and want to get out and explore, here are my top 5 things to do in Goa with kids away from the beach.
Visit a spice plantation
There are two main spice plantations in Goa – Sahakari Spice Farm in Curti and Tropical Spice Plantation near Ponda. Learn about the spices, how they are grown, and about the ecosystem in which they thrive. Kids will love smelling all the different aromas on a plantation tour and you can also enjoy a traditional Goan lunch.
Hire someone with a fishing boat to take you out to sea to spot dolphins. Just ask your accommodation to arrange for you, although there are formal tours available. Good places to spot them are off Paolem Beach and Coco Beach. This is a lovely activity for sunset.
Take a cookery class
For those children aged 8 and over, enrol into a Goan cookery class and try your hands at conjuring up some Indian dishes. If your kids are a bit younger and you think they would love the experience, just ask the cooking school and they will probably let them in.
Explore the crumbling ramparts of Fort Aguada, still standing from the Portuguese colonial days. There is also a lighthouse, jail and the Church of St. Lawrence.
Wander around the Portuguese-style churches of Old Goa. We visited at Christmas, which is a popular time for a holiday to India, and my boys loved seeing the Christmas trees and nativity set up.
Goa Science Centre & Planetarium
If it’s a rainy day, or you just need a break from the humidity, head to the Goa Science Centre & Planetarium. There are lots of interactive displays, and a 3D show, the planetarium, and an outdoor park.
Splashdown Waterpark Goa
Whizz down the slides at Splashdown Waterpark Goa. This is perhaps one of the best waterparks in India with regards to cleanliness and maintenance. It may be a bit tame for older kids, but will definitely be a huge hit with the younger ones.
Explore the jungle
Visit India’s second highest waterfall, Dudhsagar Falls, deep in the jungle near the Karnataka border. You can only get there by car, and you may find it cheaper to visit as part of a tour booked through your accommodation
Snow Park Goa
Now if you really want to escape the heat, head to Snow Park Goa to throw snowballs, slide down ice, hide in an igloo.
To read more about travelling India with young kids, head to our India page.
The India Lonely Planet is an excellent guide to purchase for further research.