12 Best National Parks in India for Families

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12 Best National Parks in India for Families

Are you curious to see the wildlife of India? There are little over 100 National Parks in India and about 553 wildlife sanctuaries in India. Can you believe it? I was equally shocked. The diversity across these parks is surely going to fascinate you. From wildlife to natural beauty to snow-capped mountains to the largest mangrove forest. It was a tough task to list down a selected few as Best India’s National Parks.

Top National Parks of India

Read our curated list of the best National Parks of India. Out of them, there are many Tiger Reserves in India that are considered the top national parks in India for tigers. So it is a treat for all the wildlife enthusiasts and photographers to visit the famous National parks in India.

Let’s take you through some of the most beautiful Indian national parks:

PERIYAR NATIONAL PARK

One of the renowned National parks in Southern India is Periyar National Park located in Thekkady, Kerala and even borders with the state of Tamil Nadu. This protected region is a Tiger reserve and Elephant reserve. Lush greenery amid the mountainous region, it is a delight to the eyes.

Periyar Tiger Reserve is a haven for wildlife lovers that boasts of animals like elephants, wild boars, bison, tigers, sambar (a species of deer) and birds.

Activities to do:

There is an artificial lake in the middle of the park called the Periyar Lake. This picturesque lake with tree stumps standing out has featured in many movies for its sheer beauty. Boat cruises in the lake are run by KTDC(Kerala Tourism Development Corporation) and KFD (Kerala Forest Department). There can be sighting of bisons, elephants, deer and many birds on the cruise.

There are many activities for adventure and wildlife lovers in the National Park from Bamboo rafting to Jeep Safaris to guided treks. Click here to read the details.

There are many guided treks and hikes to choose from depending upon the time and route that intrigues you. One of the most interesting is the Night Safari that is a 3-hour trek through the wild which is accompanied by armed guards and guides. Most of these guides were poachers earlier who have been brought into the mainstream.

Entrance fees:

The entrance fees to the National park is
Indian Adult: INR 33, Indian Child (5-12 years) – INR 5; Foreigner Adult: INR 450, Foreigner Child – INR 155

Boat ride tickets can be booked at INR 240 for adults while INR 75 for kids aged 5 to 12 years. It is best to book the tickets online. The Jeep safaris range from INR 2500 to 3500 per person.

Note: Private vehicles are not allowed inside the park and need to be parked around 1 km away from Park entrance. There are park buses that ply from parking to the park.

How to reach:

Thekkady is easily connected by rail and road. There are both private and state buses from Ernakulam, Kotayam and Madurai. The nearest airports to Thekkady are Kochi and Madurai.

Best time to visit:

October to April is good time to visit with weather being pleasant.

Where to stay:

There is camping option available in the Periyar park that costs around INR 5000 per tent that accommodates 2. There are two Jungle lodges inside the Periyar Tiger Reserve run by KTDC – Periyar House and Aranya Nivas for the enthusiasts who want to experience wildlife. Other great option in the town are Greenwoods resort Thekkady perfect to stay with families. Read about our wonderful stay at Greenwoods.

12 Best National Parks in India for Families

JIM CORBETT NATIONAL PARK

The very first national park in India, the oldest national park in Asia, and one of the top wildlife sanctuaries of India snuggled between the Himalayas and Shivaliks, Jim Corbett National Park is located in the Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand.

Activities to do:

The park, with about 250 Bengal tigers, 600 elephants, and a good number of golden jackals, barking deer, sambar deer, spotted deer, hog deer, Himalayan black bears, and leopards, is a great place for wildlife viewing. Corbett is divided into 5 different safari zones (Dhikala, Jhirna, Durga Devi, Dhela, and Bijrani) that run safari tours in two shifts (morning and evening). You can choose to take a jeep safari, canter safari, or elephant safari.

Just outside of Corbett Tiger Reserve, a forest reserve zone, Sitabani Buffer Zone, is also open to the visitors of Corbett. It’s well-known for its lush forests, lakes and streams, and ancient temples. You are allowed to take your car inside this zone.

To enjoy wildlife in the Dhikala zone that in fact, is the celebrity among all other zones, you need to stay in Dhikala Forest Rest House.

Apart from wildlife, there are quite many adventure activities like mountain biking, trekking, bird-watching, nature walk, river rafting, and fishing you can take on when in Corbett.

If you’ve more time on hand, you can plan to visit the Corbett Museum and Corbett Falls in Kaladhungi that’s just about 45 minutes away from Corbett.

Where to stay

There a good number of stay options in and around the national park. You can choose to stay in a forest lodge or rest house inside the park or can enjoy camping inside the park or book a luxury resort around the park.

We stayed at Jim’s Jungle Retreat on our first trip and at Golden Tusk on our second trip and enjoyed each one of them. Both of them are in the Dhela zone. You must book your safari first, and then choose the accommodation near the zone you’ve booked your safari for.

How to reach

Jin Corbett is about 275 km (6 hours journey) from New Delhi. The best way to reach Corbett from Delhi is by road viz NH9. Alternatively, you can catch a train (Ranikhet Express) from New Delhi to Ramnagar (nearest town) and then hire a local taxi from Ramnagar Railway Station to your resort or rest house.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit the park is from December to May. It’s when all the zones are open to the public and the park is at its best.

Entrance Fees

A jeep safari costs INR 4500 (up to 6 persons) for Indian nationals and INR 9000 for foreign nationals while a canter safari costs INR 1750 (each seat) for Indian nationals and INR 3500 for foreign nationals and both of them include entry fees, pick up and drop from Ramnagar or your resort, and gypsy tariffs.

12 Best National Parks in India for Families

GANGOTRI NATIONAL PARK

One of the best national parks in India for families is Gangotri National Park, which is located near the beautiful village of Gangotri in the mountains of Uttarakhand. Due to its high-elevation, Gangotri National Park remains inaccessible for most of the year.

Activities to do:

Gangotri National Park is not only home to stunning mountain vistas and ideal camping sites, but it’s also where families can embark on a spiritual journey: the Gaumukh Trek.

This trek is perhaps the best thing to do in Gangotri National Park, as it brings trekkers to the Gaumukh glacier, which is believed to be the very start of the holy Ganges River. Though the distance from Gangotri Village to Gaumukh may seem long (21 km), the route is very flat and straightforward, making it accessible to families with children of all ages.

Where to stay:

Camping is major highlight of Gangotri National Park, and staying the night at Chirbasa alongside the Bhagirathi River is a great choice for families to break up the long trek. The next notable place to stop for food and sleep is Bhojbasa, which is only about 5 km from the famous glacier. At Bhojbasa, you will find both the GVMN Resthouse (about 500 rupees/night, meals not included) and Lal Baba Ashram (350 rupees/night which includes meals). Camping is also possible at Bhojbasa as tents are available for rent.

As the park is at such a high altitude, I definitely recommend spending a day or two in Gangotri town before starting your adventure into the park. There are numerous hotel options to choose from, and you can keep busy by visiting the beautiful Gangotri Mandir, as well as the Pandav Cave which is located in the nearby forest.

How to reach?

To reach Gangotri by shared jeep, you’ll have to first reach Uttarkashi which lies about 4-5 hours away. Jeeps cost about 230 rupees/person. Even if you’re coming in your own 4WD vehicle, I highly recommend breaking up the journey at Uttarkashi anyways. The mini-city has some nice riverside views and tasty restaurant and street food options to enjoy.

Best time to visit:

Tourists can usually begin to visit in either April or May depending on weather, and can continue coming up until October. While the weather is wonderful in May, this is also high-season for the Char Dham Yatra, so keep in mind that while the park might not be too busy, Gangotri town will be absolutely packed.

Entrance fees:

To enter Gangotri National Park, you will first have to get a permit from the Forestry Department Office in Gangotri Village. The permit costs 150 rupees per person for Indian citizens and 600 rupees for foreigners. The park only allows 150 people to visit per day, so be sure to get yours the day before you plan to enter. Keep in mind that the office only issues permits from 8:00 AM- 10:00 AM and again from 5:00 PM- 7:00 PM each day. Permits are valid for two days, though you can stay in the park longer but note that you’ll have to pay a fee of 250 rupees/day for each day beyond those initial two.

12 Best National Parks in India for Families

SUNDARBANS NATIONAL PARK

The Sundarbans is a very special and unique ecosystem in the Bay of Bengal, straddling both India and Bangladesh. It’s a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, a World Network of Biosphere Reserve, and extremely rich in biodiversity. The region harbours a dizzying array of animals, reptiles, birds, and marine life, including Royal Bengal tigers, Asian elephants, leopards, dolphins, and Olive Ridley turtles.

The Sundarbans is a tropical region, full of shifting islands, waterways, and wetlands. It’s home to the largest mangrove forest in the world and the Sundarban National Park and Tiger Reserve of India. At 2,585 square kilometres, it’s the largest tiger reserve in India. However, most of it is inaccessible to tourists.

Activities to do:

A tiger safari in India is one of the most exciting wildlife experiences you can have — but at Sundarbans it’s very different as you go by boat instead of jeep. Wood boats with open decks motor slowly through the waterways, stopping at watchtowers where visitors can get down to see the forest from on land. It’s a very leisurely way to enjoy this unique landscape.

How to reach?

To get to the Sundarbans in India, drive about 90 kilometres (2-3 hours) east from Kolkata to Gadkhali Village, where ferries are available to take visitors to the entrance of Sundarbans National Park and Tiger Reserve.

Entrance fees:

The park entry fee is 60 rupees for Indians and 200 rupees for foreigners. Foreigners need a permit to enter the national park That can be obtained from Forest Department at Sajnekhali or the West Bengal Tourism office in Kolkata.

Best time to visit:

The park is open all year, but the ideal time to visit is between November and March for the best chances of viewing wildlife and migratory birds.

Where to stay:

Sunderban Tiger Camp is an ideal choice for families. It’s very near the entrance to the park, offers spacious cottages, lots of activities, and on-site naturalists who guide walks around the property, and also accompany visitors on boat rides into the park. In the evening, documentaries and performances by local musicians take place in the open-air dining area. Sunderban Tiger Camp will provide you with everything you need to enjoy the Sunderbans natural and cultural experience, including arranging your boat safaris into the park.

12 Best National Parks in India for Families

KAZIRANGA NATIONAL PARK

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kaziranga National Park is situated in India’s north-eastern state of Assam, covering the districts of Golaghat and Nagaon. Famous for its conservation efforts, the park is home to two-thirds of the world’s population of the endangered one-horned rhinoceros. It has the highest density of tigers in the world, a significant bird area and breeding ground for Elephants, Asiatic Water Buffaloes and Swamp Deer. Located at the edge of the Eastern Himalayas biodiversity hotspot, the snow-capped peaks of Arunachal Pradesh are also visible from the park.

Activities to do:

Jeep Safari and Elephant Safari facilities are provided by the park authorities. The park is accessible through four circuits- Central Zone, Eastern Zone, Western Zone and Burapahar. Each entrance has its own ticketing counter. Jeep safaris are allowed for all the zones and in two shifts – morning and afternoon. However, elephant safaris are available only in the Central and Western Zone in two shifts both in the morning. One can opt for boat rides in the Eastern Zone.

How to reach?

By Air: LGBI Airport, Guwahati and Jorhat airport is located about 217 km and 87 km from the park respectively.

By Train: Furkating Railway Junction, about 75 km from Kaziranga is well connected to all the stations of the country.

By Road: The main entrance to the park is through Kohora town, at a distance of 2 km from the National Highway- 37. Local buses and state transport services are also available.

Best time to visit:

November to May. The park remains closed from June to October due to floods.

Entrance fees:

Rs 100 for Indians and Rs 650 for foreigners.

Where to Stay?

Nature Hunt Eco-camp, Jupuri Ghar, IORA- Retreat Resort, Borgos Resort are some great options for accommodation.

12 Best National Parks in India for Families

MANAS NATIONAL PARK

Of all the national parks that I have visited in India, Manas National Park in Assam is one of the largest and most photogenic. Located on the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas in the autonomous region of Bodoland, Manas is full of exotic flora and fauna including the rare one-horned rhinoceros of India. Today, Manas National Park is a protected tiger reserve as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The national park gets its name from the sparkling river Manas that runs through it. Both dense forests and grasslands fill it up while picturesque blue mountains dot the background. Elephants, rhinos, tigers, pygmy hogs, and birds abound. Needless to say, Manas National Park is a wonderful holiday destination for kids and families.

Activities to do:

An open jeep safari with a knowledgeable tour guide is the best way to enjoy the beauty of Manas. You can also do an early morning elephant safari if you wish. Birding opportunities are plenty. Plus, you can tour various tea plantations in the vicinity.

Where to stay:

The most wonderful part about visiting Manas is that you can stay in a tourist lodge right inside the national park and enjoy the feeling of being close to nature. Here, you can help bathe an elephant, enjoy local Assamese food, and experience snippets of Bodo culture and life.

Best time to visit:

The best time to visit Manas is between November and March when the weather is pleasant and sightings are plenty.

How to reach:

You can easily get here by rail or road from Guwahati.

Entrance fees:

Remember to pick up your permit from the Field Director’s office on Barpeta Road after which you can enjoy your trip to this beautiful nature reserve.

12 Best National Parks in India for Families

RANTHAMBORE NATIONAL PARK

Once a hunting ground used by the Maharajas of Jaipur, Ranthambore National Park has now become one of the leading national parks in India for photographers and wildlife lovers. Ranthambore National Park is a popular destination to see tigers, and keen photographers looking to capture good tiger pictures are likely to be rewarded.

Activities to do:

It’s also an excellent national park for bird watching and wildlife safaris. The park is vast, and you could be driving around for ages before spotting tigers, but there are other animals to see along the way such as sambar deer, chital deer, langurs, and marsh crocodiles.

Ranthambore National Park has safaris in six-seater jeeps or larger 20-seater canters in 10 zones. Safaris are twice daily in the morning (6.30 am to 10 am) and afternoon (2.30 pm to 6 pm). Book the safaris here.

Besides tiger safaris, Ranthambore is a top destination for bird safaris, and the lakes around the region attract over 300 species of birds such as waterfowls, cormorant, bronzed-winged jacanas, sandpipers, and great-horned owls. Other activities in and around Ranthambore National Park include exploring Ranthambore Fort, Jogi Mahal (former royal hunting lodge) and visiting the Village Women Crafts or the Ranthambore School of Art to admire the work of local artists.

How to reach?

You can get to Ranthambore National Park by train, and the closest railway station is Sawai Madhopur 14 km from the park. Ranthambore is connected by road to major cities of India, and the nearest airport is in Jaipur, 200 km away.

Entrance fees:

The Jeep safari charges are INR 1500 for Indian while INR 2900 for a foreign tourist. The Canter charges are INR 1000 and INR 2300 for foreign national. These charges include the park entry fees as well.

Best time to visit:

The park doesn’t operate during the Monsoon, from 1 July to 30 September. Take a tip and choose zones 1 to 6 for the best chances of spotting tigers.

Where to stay?

There is no accommodation in the park. The closest is Aman-i-Khas, a luxury tented camp on the border of the park.

12 Best National Parks in India for Families

KANHA NATIONAL PARK

Kanha National Park is absolutely stunning and a perfect nature getaway for the whole family. Located in central India, in Madhya Pradesh to be exact, it is known as one of the oldest and largest National Parks in India. It is most famous for its tiger sightings of course, but there are plenty of other amazing animals that you might come across as well. The famous Barasingha, also known as Swamp Deer, roams the meadows, wild dogs and jackals chase monkeys on the trails and you might even see some skinny little wild chickens or a massive wild gaur.

Activities to do:

You can only enter the park with a guided safari tour. The best way is to set it up with a safari lodge. I love Pugdundee Safaris, because they do not only offer amazing accommodations, but also send you with well-trained naturalists who take conservation very seriously. You can tell your naturalist if you have special interest in specific animals, so they can take you to the areas in the park, where you are most likely to see them.

How to reach?

Kanha Tiger Reserve is about 4 hours by car from Jabalpur and 3 hours from Gondia. From there, you can book a pickup service with your lodge.

Best time to visit:

Kanha National Park is open from Mid-October to the end of June and closed for the duration of the monsoon.

Entrance fees:

The entrance fee is 6500 for Indian Nationals and 9500 for non-Indians. It includes the entrance fee, a guide fee, jeep rental, and service charge. Tips are always appreciated and you should tip each guide individually.

12 Best National Parks in India for Families

KEOLADEO NATIONAL PARK

One of the top national parks to visit for families is the Keoladeo National Park aka Bharatpur National Park in Bharatpur, Rajasthan. The best thing about this park it has over 350 species of birds and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The nature reserve consists of grasslands, wetlands, woodlands, etc. which makes it a suitable habitat for different species of animals and birds. So, you can easily travel here with your entire family to observe birds and flowers and learn more about different species.

And if you manage to plan your trip here in the months of December to February, you can even find migratory birds that visit this park every year.

Apart from getting to know about the different bird species here, people can even enjoy a walk in the woods and make the most of the trip. You can even rent a cycle at the entrance to explore the park at your own leisure. And if you want a unique experience, then you can go for a horse carriage ride here as well which is a lot of fun for both the kids and the elderly.

How to Reach:

You can take a train or car to reach Bharatpur. Bharatpur is around 4 hour away from Delhi and 1 hour away from Agra. Apart from that, you can also take a flight to Agra which is the closest airport to Bharatpur to reach Keoladeo National Park

Entrance Fee:

75 INR (for Indians), 500 INR (For others)

Best time to Visit:

Ideally, you should visit this national park in winters so that you can enjoy and won’t feel too hot or thirsty when exploring the park. Also, this is the time when you can watch migratory birds here too.

Where to Stay:

There are several good hotels and resorts just under 5 km from Bharatpur National Park. Personally, I would suggest Pride Kadamb Kunj Resort that is just 2 km from the park and is situated away from Bharatpur city. There is a game room here to keep yourself entertained so your kids will love the stay here.

12 Best National Parks in India for Families

GORUMARA NATIONAL PARK

Gorumara National Park is situated in the foothills of Eastern Himalayas in the state of West Bengal. The forest spreads over an area of 80 sq. km. It was declared as a National Park in 1994. Gorumara National Park has mixed vegetation of tropical forest and Terai grasslands. The park is rich in large herbivores like Asian Elephant, Indian Rhinoceros, Gaur, Sloth Bear, Sambar Deer. But it is the large population of Indian Rhinoceros that make this park popular among wildlife enthusiasts.

Activities to do:

Apart from the usual jungle safari, there are five watchtowers inside Gorumara National Park for animal sighting. They are Jatraprasad, Medla, Chandrachur, Chukchuki and Chapramari watchtowers. Among them, Jatraprsad watchtower near Gorumara Forest Bungalow is the best for animal sightseeing. Whereas Chukchuki watchtower is best for bird watching.

All the safaris are done in open four-wheel-drive Maruti Gypsy vehicles which are already registered by the Forest Department. Maximum six people are allowed in each vehicle. There are usually four safaris in a day – two in the morning and two in the afternoon.

Entrance fees:

The entry fee for each safari varies depending on which watchtower you are visiting and what is the time slot. It is usually around INR 2000 for one vehicle including entry fees for six-person, Gypsy charge, guide charge and Gypsy entry fee.

Best time to visit:

The best time to visit Gorumara National Park is from November to March. The jungle gets closed from 15th June to 15th September every year and also on Thursdays throughout the year.

How to reach:

The nearest airport to Gorumara National Park is Bagdogra (IXB) and the nearest major railhead is New Jalpaiguri (NJP). Both of which is 70 km away and takes 2 hours to reach by cab.

Where to stay:

There are three Forest Department run eco-camps and quite a few private hotels at Lataguri near Gorumara National Park which can be booked online. Book hotels in Lataguri.

Pro-Tip: Visit Medla or Chapramari watchtower on the last safari of the day. Though the entry fee is a little higher, you will enjoy the evening Tribal Cultural Programme arranged in a nearby jungle camp.

12 Best National Parks in India for Families

SARISKA NATIONAL PARK

Nestled between Aravali hills, Sariska National Park or Sariska Tiger Reserve is located in Alwar, Rajasthan. The park embraces dry deciduous forests, grasslands, cliffs, and rocky landscape.

Activities to do

With the largest population of peafowl and 220 species of beautiful birds including treepie, crested serpent eagles, golden-backed woodpeckers, harbor quails, grey partridge, sand grouse, Sariska is a haven for the bird-watchers.

The national park has a good number of Indian tigers, jackal, sambar, spotted deer, blue bull, hyena, wild boar, four-horned antelope, leopard, jungle cats, and rhesus macaque.

The park offers jeep safari as well as canter safari for its visitors. The safari takes place in two slots (morning and evening) and the timings are slightly different depending upon the season.

You are allowed to take your car inside the park for a nominal charge. Though a jeep safari with a knowledgeable guide is highly recommended.

Apart from nature and wildlife, the park also attracts history enthusiasts for its medieval ruins including the 6th-century Neelkanth temple, the 17th-century Kankwari fort, Jain temple, ancient Shyamsa caves, Pandupol Hanuman temple, and Sariska Palace.

Located on the border of Sariska are Siliserh Lake and the famous or rather infamous Bhangarh Fort.

How to Reach

Sariska National Park is about 200 km from Delhi and 122 km from Jaipur. The best way to reach Sariska is by car. The drive is smooth via NH48 AND takes around 4 hours 30 minutes. Taking a bus or train is also an option. Alwar (35 km) is the nearest railway station and bus stand from Sariska.

Sariska can also be done as a weekend trip from Delhi and Jaipur, owing to its sheer proximity.

Where to stay

Sariska Palace is a good option if you want to stay near the park. We stayed at the heritage hotel in Alwar, Dadhikar Fort, and loved everything about it.

Best Time to Visit

Though the park is open all through the year, October to March remains perfect months to visit.

Entry Fees

For jeep safari, Indian nationals need to pay INR 999 per passenger for zone 1,2, and 3 and INR 499 per passenger for zone 4 while foreign nationals are charged INR 1599 for zone 1,2, and 3 and INR 799 for zone 4.

12 Best National Parks in India for Families

BANDIPUR NATIONAL PARK

Bandipur National Park located in Karnataka is one of the most beautiful places to visit in India. It was established as a tiger reserve and is a top place to see the magnificent national animal of India. Bandipur has the second largest population of tigers in the country. It is a perfect destination for families and kids of all ages enjoy seeing the animals, birds, and the forest.

Apart from the tigers, you will see a lot of wildlife including wild elephants, bison, deer, jackals, monkeys, and even pythons. The national park is also home to many birds including peacocks, eagles, hawks, kingfishers, and ospreys. The trees in the forest are majestic and provide a lot of shade even during the summer months. The leafy canopies of teak, sandalwood, and clumping bamboo look great in photographs.

How to reach:

Bandipur makes an easy day trip or weekend getaway from Mysore. It is just 80 kilometers from the city and makes a perfect road trip pitstop if you are headed for Ooty. Consequently, it is popular with tourists and hence, crowded during holiday seasons.

Best time to visit:

The best time to visit Bandipur is during the cooler months from October to February. In the monsoon, the park looks green and you can enjoy the beauty of the western ghats within the park.

Entrance fees:

The entrance fees is INR 300 for Indian nationals and INR 1100 for foreign tourists. The safari charges vary from INR 3000 to INR 4500 for the vehicle depending upon the gypsy, safari or canter.

Where to stay:

There are rooms and suits in Forest rest houses inside the National Park that can be booked online. Other great options outside the park are Wildflower resort & Spa and Dhole’s Den perfect for families.


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Travel Melodies
Last Updated : Apr 29,2021
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