Kerala, titled ‘God’s Own Country,’ receives visitors in huge numbers throughout the year. The enticement of backwaters, beaches, hill stations, wildlife sanctuaries, Ayurveda, adventure, and matchless experiences attracts tourists worldwide. But, this is not all Kerala has to offer. There are also many offbeat places to visit in Kerala that are pretty much a secret. So, explore the uncharted territory away from crowds.
Offbeat places in Kerala allow you to experience the bliss of nature’s raw beauty and adventures. Throughout your Kerala tour, you will have numerous opportunities to observe the natural beauty of many dimensions and in multiple ways. Our list of Kerala offbeat places will help you to uncover the gem of this state. So, start the scrolling game and find out Kerala’s matchless charm.
15 offbeat places in Kerala – Far from the crowd infested locales
1. Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom
Vembanad Lake in Kumarakom is one of the offbeat places in Kerala but no less beautiful. Relatively unexplored, the algae-rich green waters of Vembanad is the longest lake in India. The largest source of surface water, it is also a part of an extensive wetland system. A saltwater barrier prevents seawater intrusion and divides the lake into fresh and brackish water.
The Kumarakom Tourist village offer tours and holiday packages on the Vembanad Lake. Cruise around the backwaters on the traditional houseboats equipped with all modern luxuries. During the festival of Onam, attend the high on energy snake boat races. Kumarakom bird sanctuary is ideal for nature lovers.
Things to Do near Vembanad Lake
- Cruise on a Houseboat on the backwaters
- Attend the snake boat race during Onam
- Go bird watching at the Kumarakom bird sanctuary
2. Chembra Peak, Wayanad
Chembra Peak in Wayanad lures the nature lover and adventure enthusiast visiting Kerala. Among the top 15 offbeat places to visit in Kerala, the Chembra Peak is a beauty beyond words.
At the height of 2,100 m, Chembra peak offers exciting trekking activities. Get prior permission from the Meppady forest before you embark on the expedition. Overnight camping is not allowed. While it takes at least three hours to reach the top point, the trekking trail offers fantastic views. Also, stop at the heart-shaped lake on the way, which never dries up. Known as ‘hridhayathadakam,’ the lake is beautiful.
Must Read: Things to do in Wayanad
3. Silent Valley National Park, Palakkad
The UNESCO World Heritage site of the Silent Valley National Park is one of the best offbeat places to visit in Kerala. Kerala’s best-kept secret, located in the Nilgiri Hills, is a haven for wildlife.
Home to the endangered species of lion-tailed macaque, there are 138 species of birds, 730 varieties of insects, and 34 species of mammals here. In addition, around 1000 species of flowering plants, 108 species of orchids, 100 ferns, 75 lichens, 200 liverworts, and about 200 algae, distinctive only to the Western Ghats, grow here. The unique Cobra plant, resembling a snake, is also found here. The dense greenery, rich wildlife, and lack of crowds make the Silent Valley National Park truly unique.
Things to see in Silent Valley National Park:
- Nature walks, bird watching
- Get photographs of rare species inhabiting the region
4. Ashtamudi Backwaters, Kollam
The Ashtamudi Backwaters in Kollam is one of Kerala’s unrevealed secrets. It is the second-largest and deepest wetland ecosystem. The name ‘Ashtamudi’ is adapted from the lake’s topography, which has 8 arms or channels. The labyrinthine network comprises numerous brackish lagoons, canals, rivers, and inlets.
Innumerable species of life populate the backwaters of Ashtamudi. More than 50 species of avifauna, 40 species of wetland-dependent birds, and 26 species of butterflies have been identified inhabiting the ecosystem. The backwaters are famous for houseboat cruises. District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) Kollam provides boats for hire. Many resorts at the backwaters offer the unique opportunity to stay at the floating huts.
Things to do in Ashtamudi Backwaters
- Houseboat tours
- Bird watching
- Indulging in Ayurvedic therapies
5. Nelliampathy, Palakkad
Nelliampathy in Palakkad is one of the top 15 offbeat places to visit in Kerala. The cloud-caressed peaks settled at heights from 467 m to 1572 m are a sight to behold. The journey to Nelliampathy is breathtaking as there are viewpoints from where one can enjoy picturesque views.
En route, those interested in bio-farming can stop and look closely at the farms and vast expanses of tea estates. The hills of Nelliampathi are also well known for their orange cultivation. Over 200 species of birds and 90 species of butterflies inhabit the beautiful forests. Enjoy natural bliss and the unique ecology; the offbeat place offers a lovely holiday.
Things to do near Nelliampathy
- Exploring tea estates and orange farms
6. Thiruvallam Backwaters, Thiruvananthapuram
The stunningly beautiful stretch of the Thiruvallam backwaters in Kerala is one of its offbeat secrets. The serene landscape is known for canoe rides. However, the uncrowded backwater tempts the true nature lover.
The Parashuram temple is also a crowd puller as a visitor come to pay respects to the legendary founder of Kerala. The rivers Killi and Karamana meet here before merging into the Arabian Sea. The backwaters are a pleasant sight, blessed with lush vegetation, water birds, and scenic beauty.
The Veli Lagoon is known for its exciting water sports. Check out the Waterfront Park and floating bridge. In addition, the Akkulam Boat club offers boating cruises on Akkulam Lake.
Also Read: Best Time to Visit Kerala
7. Muzhappilangad Beach, Kannur
Muzhappilangad beach in Kannur is Kerala’s only drive-in beach. One of the top offbeat places to visit in Kerala, this beach has a rare charm. A yearly beach festival celebrated in April is the greatest lure. People are seen performing driving stunts in cars like drifting and wheeling in bikes.
Stretching around 4 kilometers, the Muzhappilangad beach has black rocks strewn on the sands protecting the shore from the deep currents. It is a swimmer’s paradise as the shallow waters are protected from the sea currents. Go for a swim, sunbathe, or relax. Try out adventure sports like paragliding, parasailing, and tethered flying. Jet-ski, boating, or catamaran ride are also available.
Things to do near Muzhappilangad Beach
- Try out water sports
- Sunbathe or relax
- Taste the delicacies of Malabar cuisine.
8. Valiyaparamba Backwaters, Kasaragod
Located in Kasaragod, the Valiyaparamba backwaters is the most enchanting backwaters in Kerala. The little offbeat place lures only the true nature lovers. Valiyaparamba is a slice of heaven dotted by a little island created by merging four rivers.
Houseboat cruises are enchanting as the lush greenery is inhabited by diverse wildlife and migratory birds. Enjoy ferry rides and a trip to the Bekal fort and Chandragiri Fort. The Pallikere and the Kappil beach are perfect for the taste of seashores. Those seeking adventure can indulge in activities like hiking, bird watching, and boating by joining the Mangrove Trail of Malabar. Finally, do not miss the spellbinding sunset of Kasaragod, it is just something else.
Things to do in Valiyaparamba Backwaters
- Houseboat cruises
- Visit the Bekal Fort
- Indulge in adventures with Mangrove Trail of Malabar
- Go boating, bird watching, hiking
9. Marine Drive, Kochi
The Marine Drive in Kochi is a beautiful promenade. Kochi’s beautiful secret, this is one of the top offbeat places to visit in Kerala. The scenic stretch enjoys an impressive view of the Kochi Harbour and the backwaters.
The walkway is only for pedestrians, therefore, vehicles are not allowed. It is ideal for evenings viewing the sunset and feeling the gentle breeze. The boulevard starts from the High Court Junction and continues till the Rajendra Maidan. Stop at the Chinese Fishing Net Bridge. Also, shopping malls, cinema halls, restaurants, cafés, and supermarkets along the drive. The Rainbow Bridge and the International Tourism Boat Jetty Complex are other attractions.
Things to do in Marine Drive
- Shop till you drop at GCDA Shopping Complex
- Marvel at the Rainbow bridge & China Net Bridge
- Taste the scrumptious street food available at the food joints
10. Banasura Sagar Dam, Wayanad
Nestled at an altitude of 3200 feet in misty Wayanad, Banasura Sagar Dam is one of the offbeat places to visit in Kerala. The largest earthen dam in India and the second largest of its kind in Asia, it is made of massive stacks of stones and boulders. The dam collects the waters of the Karamanathodu, a tributary of the Kabini River.
Banasura Sagar Dam is a scenic picnic spot with a breathtaking view of Banasura hills in the background. The set of islands formed during the monsoon season is a visual treat. Trek through the dense forests to the top of the Banasura Peak. Embark on boating. There are many traditional tree swings in the area. Re-live the cherished memories of your childhood.
Things to do near Banasura Sagar Dam
- Trekking to Banasura Peak
- Boating on pedal boat or speed boat
- Bird watching
11. Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, Kochi
Thattekad Bird Sanctuary in Kochi is one of the offbeat places in Kerala one has to visit. Thattekad, associated with the late Dr. Salim Ali, the pioneering ornithologist, is a nature’s haven. It is spread over 25 sq km of lush forests, wetlands, and rivers. The sanctuary is inhabited by hundreds of species of birds and a wide variety of butterflies. The list is ever-growing as new birds are added every year. So go exploring with a guide for better bird watching.
Thattekad is not a tourism hotspot; only birders seem to appreciate its charm. So spend a few restful days in the picturesque beauty.
Things to do Thattekad Bird Sanctuary
- Bird watching
- Nature walks
12. Cherai Beach, Kochi
Cherai Beach in Kochi is a growing tourist hotspot. Located on the north end of Vypeen Island, Cherai beach is known for the breathtaking backwaters merging with the sea. The sandy shore is strewn with abundant multi-hued shells.
Accessible only by boat, the beach is a water lovers’ haven. Tides are usually low here, therefore perfect for swimming and novices. It is a fun destination to hang out with family and friends. Go for walks, and enjoy water fights or boat rides. Dolphins are spotted occasionally here. The thick coconut groves and Chinese fishing nets on the waterfront create a pleasant scene.
Things to do in Cherai Beach
- Dolphin spotting
13. Ponmudi, Trivandrum
Ponmudi, literally translated as the Golden Peak, is a popular hill station in the Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala. A part of the Western Ghats mountain ranges is situated at 1100 meters from sea level. It is home to mountain flowers, butterflies, springs, and rivulets. Occupied by spice and tea plantations and is dotted with waterfalls and viewpoints.
Ponmudi offers excellent opportunities for trekking. The Golden Valley, Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, Mini Zoo, and Meenmutty Falls are the major attractions. Agasthyarkoodam is one of the highest peaks in the Western Ghats. It attracts trekkers. In addition to the charm of nature, Ponmudi is famed for Ayurvedic medical treatments.
Ayurveda Tour Packages
Things to do in Ponmudi
- Trekking and Hiking
- Visit spice and tea plantations
- Trek to waterfalls
14. Thenmala, Kollam
Thenmala Dam in Kollam is one of the offbeat secrets of Kerala. Spanning across acres of dense forests at an altitude of 1650 ft, it has an abundance of medicinal honey. The eco-tourism place has numerous options for fun, adventure along with relaxation.
Thenmala has zones according to the interest of visitors. At the Culture Zone, the Musical Dancing Fountain is enchanting. Taste the traditional cuisine of Kerala or enjoy a bit of shopping. In addition, marvel at Kerala’s art and culture at the amphitheater. The Leisure Zone also has a boardwalk leading to the dam. The beautiful Sculpture Garden, which has Man & Nature as its theme, is worth exploring. Moreover, the Adventure Zone offers trekking, biking, rock climbing, and river crossing.
Things to do in Thenmala
- Learn about Kerala’s art and culture
- Relish traditional cuisines of Kerala
- Also, enjoy adventures like trekking, biking, river crossing, etc.
[ Also read: Top 15 Ecotourism Destinations in Kerala ]
15. Pookot Lake, Wayanad
Pookot Lake is one of the top offbeat places to visit in Kerala. Located in Wayanad, the natural freshwater lake lies at the base of mountain slopes in the middle of evergreen forests. It is one of its kind and spread across an area of 8.5 hectares with a maximum depth of 6.5 meters.
The lake looks like India’s map. The unique waters are also the only home of Pethia pookodensis, a species of cyprinid fish. In addition, the lake has an abundance of blue lotus and freshwater fishes.
The lake’s forests are also home to many wild animals, birds, and flies. Visitors can avail themselves of the boating facilities. Moreover, explore the children’s park, handicrafts, spices emporium, and freshwater aquarium.
Things to do in Pookot Lake
- Trekking in the lake environs
- Picnic in the surroundings