We have been driving with our kiddo ever since she was a 6 month old baby. In-fact I was doing a quick math and figured out that in the past 2 years or so, the little one has clocked close to around 10,000 Kms on road :). Road trips with your family can be real fun if you plan and execute them properly. If you are planning to take your kiddo on a road-trip from Bangalore, the following 5 destinations can be an ideal option.
Before I highlight the 5 options, let me take a stab at what I define is a kid-friendly road-trip. When you plan a road trip, there are multiple factors that you need to take into consideration:
a. The route and the roads: this is absolutely critical. Driving with a toddler on-board it not that straight forward. You need to have a drive which is not strenuous on the young one. The last thing that you would want is a cranky kid screaming her guts out at the back seat. I usually look for route which has toll roads, 4/6 lanes and in good condition. Also, I always go for roads which have good infrastructure in terms of restaurants, fuel stations etc. You can always stop at your convenience and keep your kiddo engaged
b. Engaging the kid: I usually start all my road-trips pretty early in the morning. If the road-trip is lesser than 6 hours of drive, I leave home latest by 6 in the morning. If it involved drive more than 6 hours, I start as early as 4 AM. This means usually my daughter is back to sleep in her car seat for first couple of hours of our drive. I usually do not take any breaks during this period and with traffic being thin at this hour, I generally make good time. The last 2-3 hours of your drive can be challenging once the little one becomes active. I strictly follow the rule of having my daughter strapped on to her car seat for the entire duration of the journey. So the best way to keep her engaged is to have her Zen space created by having right books, attaching sun shades to the window, things to munch and drink around her. Try these simple techniques and your kid will start having fun during the road trips.
c. The destination: it goes without saying that you need to choose the destination wisely. Remember, you need to create lasting memories so that the kid is excited about road trips.
d. And finally the accommodation that is available in the place that you are visiting.
With these factors I have listed down 5 possible kid friendly road trips that you can plan from Bangalore
Mysore (around 150kms, 3.5 hrs drive) Click here for details
Road conditions: The 4 lane national highway connects Bangalore with Mysore. Though the road has heavy traffic, the road conditions are great. There are loads of eating joints all along the highway and you will not run short of options.
What does the destination offer for kids: A visit to the Mysore zoo (which undoubtedly could be one of the best in India), Mysore palace and Brindavan gardens. Kids should have fun at these destinations.
Kid Friendly accommodation: There are loads of options – Radisson Blu and Windflower Resort stand out as they have good options for the kids.
Kabini / Bandipur (around 250 Kms, 4.5 hours) Click here for details
Road conditions: The roads are excellent right up to the Bandipur. If you are choosing to camp at Kabini, the last 20-30 kms would be through roads which are 2 lane and not in great condition.
What does the destination offer for kids: Kabini and Bandipur would take you very close to nature and the ideal time would be visit right after the monsoon recedes. My daughter loved this place mainly because of the wildlife that you can see from close quarters. Kids would especially love the safari’s which take you into the reserved forests.
Kid Friendly accommodation: Orange county Kabini, The Serai Bandipur, Windflower Bandipur in the order of preference.
Coorg (around 250 Kms, 5 hours) Click here for details
Road conditions: The roads are excellent right up to Coorg. The road from Mysore to Coorg is in great shape, but would not have as many eating joints as you would find on the Bangalore-Mysore highway. Plan your stops accordingly.
What does the destination offer for kids: Coorg is known for its Coffee and is one of the well know destinations in the Western ghats. Kids will love a trip to Madikeri fort, Abbey falls, walk through coffee plantations and a trip to Bylakuppe.
Kid Friendly accommodation: Vivanta by Taj Madikeri and Windflower Coorg are few options where we have stayed and enjoyed our stay.
Ooty/ Coonoor (around 320 Kms, 6.5 hours) Click here for details
Road conditions: The roads are excellent right up to the Bandipur. As you pass through the reserved forests you need to be a bit careful with your driving due to the many factors- roads are pretty narrow, you might fight those invisible humps now and then and last but not the least wildlife on the road, that’s correct, we had to wait for 30 minutes during one of our drives as there was a herd of elephants lazing on the road 🙂
What does the destination offer for kids: Ooty being a hill-station provides ideal setting for kids to explore the flora and fauna associated with hills. You can enjoy a boat ride at the lake and the famous toy train ride from Coonoor to Ooty. Kids just love it. There elder kids, there are tea museums which take you through the process of converting tea leaves into the end product.
Kid Friendly accommodation: The Taj Savoy, Sherlock Boutique hotel, Club Mahindra Derby green and Zest Danish Villa, my favorite being our stay at Taj Savoy.
Pondicherry (around 380 Kms, 7 hours) Click here for details
Road conditions: There are 2 routes that one can take to reach Pondicherry. The shorter one through Tiruvanamalai, which had patches of bad roads and the one through Arcot which is in great condition (the longer option). I usually prefer the later as 70% of the drive is through 6 lane toll highways.
What does the destination offer for kids: If you are looking for a beach destination near Bangalore and do not want to drive too far, Pondicherry is the ideal location. The beaches are beautiful (Paradise beach) and if you book a resort with a private beach, you can spend the entire evening enjoying the breeze. Kids would also enjoy the trip to Auroville which is an hour’s drive from Pondicherry.
Kid Friendly accommodation: Le-pondy and Windflower Pondicherry are couple of options that I would recommend. Le-pondy has a private beach and would be perfect if you want to spend most of your time by the beach
I am hoping that the above information would help you plan your road trips. There are many more destinations that can be driven down from Bangalore like Goa, Kovalam etc which are kid-friendly, but I wanted to start with drives that are not very long. Once your kiddo is comfortable with these drives, you can always explore the other drives that I have called out in my blog. Happy driving !!
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