There are a surprising amount of Chennai beaches that await the incoming vacationer. It's fair to say that beach-going is not one of the city's primary draws—as one of India's major urban hubs, alongside the likes of Kolkata, New Delhi and Mumbai, this is more a city-slicking destination than a laid-back beach town. Nonetheless, going to the beach in Chennai is a genuinely attractive thing to do while in the city, and there is more than one Chennai beach resort hotel in the area offering a beach-dwelling vacation.
The first thing for the traveler to keep in mind is this: Don't confuse Chennai Beach train station with the city's shoreline. The first is a major part of the transport network that links the city with India's other attractions, and it is far from a sunny and relaxing place to be!
The coastline that sits alongside the city of Chennai basically forms one beach: the Marina Beach. Stretching more than miles, it's said to be the second-largest city beach, beaten only by Ocean Beach in San Francisco. Chennai beaches don't come more fascinating than this. Walk the length of the Marina Beach, and you'll come across various stone statues, memorials to historical figures, countless fishing nets, a huge amount of sand, and, of course, quite a lot of water, too. It's illegal to swim in this water due to the lack of lifeguards, but then, you probably wouldn't want to anyway, given the pollution that is visible to the naked eye. As such, this beach in Chennai is more of a tourist sight than a viable place to spend days lounging around in the sea.
Other Chennai Beaches are much more conducive to typical beach-going vacations. Elliot Beach is a good example; it's often considered one of the best beaches in Chennai among those who have toured the area. It stretches south from Marina, proving a calmer spot where you can sunbathe. Swimming is allowed on this beach in Chennai, making it a popular thing to do among locals and travelers alike. Interesting attractions near Elliot Beach include the Velankanni Church and the Ashtalakshmi Temple.
If you're looking for a Chennai beach resort, it's best to head a little way out from the city. Just a short drive will bring you to near-deserted stretches of coastline, where the atmosphere is decidedly more relaxed than in the city and where the sea is much less polluted. For example, about 25 miles south of the city, you'll find the coastal town of Mamallapuram and the popular Chennai beach resort, the Mamalla Beach Resort. MGM Beach Resort is another popular place, especially among those who are happy to pay for that added element of luxury. Facilities here include a gym and yoga room, a holistic spa treatment area, and a lounge that features live music most days of the week.
Vacationers who are thinking of heading to Chennai for a beach vacation might also want to consider Goa, which is probably considered India's premier beach destination. Finding a quiet spot in Goa can be hard, however, as the area is famous among travelers the world over, not only for its awesome beaches, but also for its pumping nightlife.