Big city life can be mind-numbingly dull. A road trip every once in a while is essential to connect with yourself and take a much needed break. Chennai, a city within which many outdoor activities can be done, also happens to be geographically well-located from where many enjoyable road trips are possible.
Take a look at our list of the best road trips from Chennai and explore them over weekends or holidays.
Road trips from Chennai: 2-day trips
Immerse in the laidback atmospherics of the French colonial city of Pondicherry. An early morning start on the East Coast Road will land you in Pondicherry by brunch, after which you can explore the French quarters and the town of Auroville.
Enjoy the gorgeous seaside boardwalks of Pondicherry and chill at Paradise Beach and Serenity Beach. On Sunday, shop at the famous Sunday Flea Market and head to Pichavaram to boat among mangroves and enjoy relaxing at the Silver Beach.
- Distance from Chennai: 156 kilometres
Drive to this small hill station of Yelagiri to enjoy the best of nature and adventure. Road trips to Yelagiri from Chennai are quite popular due to its winding roads and green landscape. While in Yelagiri go trekking in Yelagiri Hills and Swamimalai Hills and the calm ambience of Punganoor Lake & Park.
You can also enjoy different types of adventure sports like paragliding, rock climbing, zip-lining and zorbing.
- Distance from Chennai: 230 kilometres
Enjoy the best of Tamil Nadu’s East Coast Road on a relaxing visit to the charming town of Tranquebar, a famous Danish colony of the past. Visit the Danish Fort, Dansborg Fort and the Zion Church.
Further ahead at a close distance, drive down to Nagapattinam and check out a few ancient temples before heading to the serene Velankanni Beach and pay a visit to the Church of our Lady of Velankanni.
- Distance from Chennai: 284 kilometres
Yet another favourite summer getaway for residents of Chennai, Yercaud is a pleasant hill town. The route is scenic and interspersed with greenery and winding roads. Top attractions here are Kiliyur Falls and Shevaroy Hills.
A road trip to Yercaud can be enjoyed in two ways – a solo trip to enjoy some ‘me time’ and a getaway with friends and family to enjoy ‘we time’, going trekking and sightseeing in the lap of nature.
- Distance from Chennai: 340 kilometres
A road trip to marvel at the cultural heritage of Tamil Nadu. Through the Villupuram road, stop at Kumbakonam to enjoy the ancient Chola Dynasty carvings at Airavatesvara Temple. Also check out the sacred Sarangapani Temple and Uppiliappan Temple.
Head on to the epic town of Thanjavur to visit its ancient Brihadeeswara Temple known for its tall Shivling and fantastic architecture, here you can enjoy live Carnatic music and watch Bharatanatyam recitals.
- Distance from Chennai: 340 kilometres
6. Nandi Hills
A stunning hill station which was supposedly Tipu Sultan’s favourite summer resort, Nandi Hills is a perfect destination for a road trip. It’s famous for its view of the clouds from the hills, an out-of-this-world experience.
The route to Nandi Hills will be quite enjoyable too. Check out Tipu’s summer residence and enjoy paragliding over the hills. Another curious place is Tipu’s Drop, a cliff from where prisoners were allegedly dropped in the past.
- Distance from Chennai: 350 kilometres
Road Trips From Chennai: 3 days or more
This road trip is worth taking for the stops enroute and for the wonders of Mysore city. The route from Chennai to Mysore will include many interesting stopovers like Yelagiri, Krishnagiri, Ramanagara and Mandya.
While in Mysore, you can enjoy visiting best of its tourist attractions like the Mysore Palace, Mysore Zoo, Brindavan Gardens, Lalit Mahal Palace, Karanji Lake, Jaganmohan Palace, Mysore Rail Museum. Shop for Mysore silk sarees and sandalwood carvings.
- Distance from Chennai: 485 kilometres
An awesome road trip to one of the most strikingly beautiful hill towns Kodaikanal – a place nestled in granite cliffs, deep valleys, and lush forests. Plenty of reasons to take this road trip – the scenic route, the joy of driving, and the splendid attractions of Kodaikanal.
Visit Berijam Lake, Kodaikanal Lake, walk in the the misty ambience of Suicide Point, gaze with awe at the epic boulders of Pillar Rocks and enjoy bathing in Bear Shola Falls. Also see the cleft at Devil’s kitchen and stroll down Coaker’s walk. Go walking in the famous Kodaikanal pine forest too.
- Distance from Chennai: 540 kilometres
A popular road trip from any city. Not only are the road routes filled with beautiful stopovers, the destination too is a spectacular place surrounded by hills, lakes and stunning vistas.
Ride in the famous Nilgiri Mountain Railway, stroll around the famous Pykara Lake, and enjoy the famous Botanical Gardens of Ooty. Also take a tour of tea plantations, visit Dolphin’s Nose and Tiger Hill.
- Distance from Chennai: 570 kilometres
This will be one road trip filled with cultural gems and nature’s marvels. The drive will be pleasant and filled with noteworthy stopovers. Rameswaram’s top attractions are its pristine beaches such as Dhanushkodi Beach which is home to a ‘ghost town’ and the clean and pretty Aryaman Beach.
There is also the legendary limestone shoal bridge called Adam’s Bridge that allegedly connected India to Sri Lanka during the times of Rama. Also visit the spectacular Annai Indira Gandhi Road Bridge and Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple.
- Distance from Chennai: 570 kilometres
A must visit for wildlife and nature enthusiasts. Soak in the natural wonders of Periyar Lake and Periyar National Park. The highlight of this trip will be visiting Periyar Tiger Reserve. Do take the informative walk to learn about the spice plantations in the park.
Other immersive activities to enjoy here are boating tours, bamboo rafting, jungle night patrols and tribal walks.
- Distance from Chennai: 590 kilometres
12. Nagarhole National Park & Mudumalai National Park
A great escape for nature and wildlife aficionados. This road trip will take you to two of the best national parks of South India. While on the road you can stop over at many interesting places like Iruppu Falls and Kabini River.
At Nagarhole, de-stress among nature, flora and fauna, enjoy Kabini backwaters, take jeep safaris to spot leopards, elephants and tigers. Stay in the enchanting quietude of the forest lodge. At Mudumalai, spot tigers wandering around. Bask in the refreshing aura of Nilgiri forests.
- Distance from Chennai to Nagarhole: 571 kilometres
- Distance from Chennai to Mudumalai: 626 kilometres
A popular road trip destination and a secluded and quaint hill station full of lovely sights and hospitable locals. On the road trip you can stop over at a handful of mention-worthy spots, such as Vellore, Krishnagiri, Channapatna and Madikeri.
The top sights of Coorg are the dreamy Abbey Falls, Madikeri Fort, Bhagamandala – a temple-river confluence, Dubare Elephant Camp, Iruppu Falls. Popular activities to do in Coorg are white water rafting, trekking, rock climbing, boating and fishing.
- Distance from Chennai: 576 kilometres
The gorgeous hill station of Munnar is certainly one of the must-visit destinations in the south. Enroute visit the famous Dindigul Fort. When in Munnar, stay in a tree-house, enjoy touring its many tea plantations, go camping and trekking among lush green hills, visit Lakkam waterfalls, go mountain biking on its winding roads, and check out its spectacular hill points.
- Distance from Chennai: 584 kilometres
Last but definitely not the least, Kanyakumari road trip is an essential experience for all travellers. Who wouldn’t want to visit the tip of mainland India? Visit the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, the last mass of land in the southern part of India. And also Vivekanandapuram to enjoy a beach sunrise.
Go to the Our Lady of Ransom Church and Padmanabhapuram Palace. And of course, take a long walk on the Kanyakumari Beach.
- Distance from Chennai: 710 kilometres
Whether it’s an impulse road trip or a planned one, there are plenty of wonderful locations around Chennai that will satisfy the travel bug in you. If you have any questions about road trips from Chennai, please use the comment box below.