Best Places For Camping Near Pune That Are Worth Visiting!

As we get used to our same old humdrum life, Friday evenings come as a huge respite for all of us! Haven't at some point, we all debated quitting our jobs and head to a place more calm and peaceful and settle down along the riverside, amidst lush green nature, in a wooden hut or camp in a tent and gaze at the stars all night long? Seems like a dream life, doesn't it?

You can quickly do the balancing act, especially if you stay in Pune! The city is nestled between the mighty Sahyadris on one side and the lovely plateau on the other, leaving us with ample options to explore! Camping near Pune is one of the favourite activities and recreation options for the tourists or even the locals. 

We've listed a few places for Camping near Pune:

1. Pawna Lake Camping

Pawna Lake Camping, Camping near Pune
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Ever imagined waking up to a lake adjoining your tent, with the last smoke coming out from the bonfire? You can experience all this at Pawna Lake. Situated ten kms off Kamshet on the old Mumbai-Pune highway, it makes a scenic location for camping. Various players have their campsites, and their offerings include barbeque, outdoor games, music nights etc. Pawna is the perfect location for a quiet weekend with your friends and family. 

2. Kaas Plateau

Kaas Plateau, Camping near Pune
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Maharashtra is proud to have its very own Valley of Flowers! And why not? Located at a distance of 136 km from Pune, the place evokes a feeling of being in nothing less than heaven! Kaas is an abode for families and especially for all photography enthusiasts! The best time to visit here is between September and November as this is when the place is at its full glory! It is home to around 850 species of flowers and has plenty of trails for hiking. You have an option of either checking in into one of the camps or pitching your tent. Till recent times, this place was a well-guarded secret, but now people from nearby cities flock to see the blooms, to trek and for photography.

3. Rajmachi Camping

Rajmachi, Camping in Pune
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Rajmachi Fort is located about 16 kms from Lonavala. It is one of the most popular trekking and camping destinations. The best part about trekking to the top is that the trek grade is 'easy' making it the most loved destination for beginners and for those who are not looking for too much adventure.

Once you reach atop, you can perch your tent on the open grounds, or you can stay at the villager's homes at a nominal cost. Your breakfast, lunch, and dinner are sorted when the immensely hospitable locals serve you delicious Maharashtrian cuisines!

Other seasonal attractions include seeing fireflies before the onset of monsoons and the Kataldhar waterfall during monsoons. Because it is a trek, winters and monsoons are ideal as the summers tend to get too hot and uncomfortable.

4. Camping in Velhe

Velhe, Camping near Pune
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Another off-beat destination about 50 kms (1 hour 45 minutes drive) away from Pune is Velhe - a small hamlet close to nature. A place where you can set up your campsite, or opt for one of the already set up campgrounds, you can do some real good soul cleansing here.

Indulge yourself in various activities like football, cricket, and archery, learn to pitch a tent and enjoy the barbeque and campfire in the evenings.

Monsoons and winters are ideal seasons when you can go camping at Velhe, but the campsites are available whole year round! If you want to go beyond camping, the adventure junkie in you can opt to trek the Torna Fort which is merely five kms away from the village. The fort has the historical significance of being one of the first forts to be acquired by Shivaji Maharaj- the great Maratha warrior!

5. Lonavala-Khandala

Lonavala, Camping near Pune
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These twin hill stations are an absolute favourite! Located at a distance of approximately 70 kms from Pune, one can easily drive down in two hours at the most! The drive itself is smooth and picturesque. The best thing about these places is that it has something for everyone! An ideal picnic spot for the entire family! From luxurious stays to water parks, to adventure resorts, to camping, it has it all! Thanks to the easy accessibility, it can be visited throughout the year. And that explains the crazy crowd there every weekend, although the ideal season would be in winters and monsoons! Heading to Lonavala-Khandala is an absolute no-brainer! Just pack your bags and leave!

6. Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar

Panchgani - Mahabaleshwar, Camping near Pune
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Another great belt in a different direction, Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar have been the go-to hill stations for many. The distance is merely 100 kms, but reaching the top is time-consuming because of the ghats. The winters and early summers are ideal if you enjoy strawberries ? as you get to see the strawberry farms in full bloom. The mesmerising views of the valley from the winding, narrow roads are a treat for the eyes. Again, Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar caters to all age groups!

One can go and relax; children can enjoy the adventure activities like rappelling, rock climbing, zip-lining etc. while the youngsters can enjoy trekking and you can even take back a lot of locally made food products like jams, juice and syrups! The most popular attractions are the Parsi point, Sydney Point, Venna Lake, Lingmala Waterfall and half-day excursions include heading to Tapola or Pratapgadh. These places are great if you are looking for lakeside camping near Pune.

7. Kundalika River

Kundalika River, Camping near Pune
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Game for rafting, but no time to head to Rishikesh? Worry not. Head to this destination 100 kms away - the only place in Maharashtra to have rafting is the Kundalika River. For the adrenaline rush and to experience Grade two and three rapids, this is the place to be! There are a plethora of campsites to choose from! You can take your pick based on your budget! The months after monsoons are when the rafting takes places! So make sure to plan your trip accordingly.

8. Karnala

Karnala, Camping near Pune
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Located at a comfortable distance of 120 odd kms from Pune, Karnala is mainly a fort and has a bird sanctuary below it. It is another favourite picnic spot frequented by families and groups all year round. The sanctuary is a bird watcher's paradise; it's home to more than 150 species of birds and 35 species of migratory birds. This place offers a plethora of trails - the difficulty levels ranging from easy to moderate.

The ideal time to visit Karnala is during the monsoons, as the forests turn lush green and there is a waterfall inside the sanctuary that comes alive during rains and is a sight to behold! There are many camping players in the market, who offer attractive packages for an overnight camping trip. You can opt for one if you don't have much company, and have the time of your life!

9. Bhor

Bhor, Camping Near Pune
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Another off-beat and less known destination near Pune is Bhor. The village is a part of the Pune district itself and can be easily reached in an hour and a half at the most (distance is 55 kms). It is an ideal place to go if you're looking for a short trip, somewhere not too far from the city.

The place is just perfect, being away from the chaos of the city, having fresh air that is bound to leave you re-energised and geared up for the week to come. Surprisingly, many Bollywood films, as well as Marathi TV serials, have been shot at the various locations here.

You can enjoy outdoor activities like cricket, football volleyball as well as indulge in some adventurous activities like kayaking, zip lining, zorbing etc. and enjoy some mouth-watering barbeque in the evenings at the campsite.

10. Khopoli

Khopoli, Camping Near Pune
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Unlike Lonavala and Khandala, Khopoli is a quaint town in the valley. On the one hand, it has certain pockets which have the settlement, while many of the adjoining areas are secluded enough for you to enjoy a peaceful weekend in the lap of nature. There are a lot many options to choose from in Khopoli which include hiking, rural tourism, nature trails, barbeque etc.

It is about 80 kms away from Pune and is surrounded by mountains from all sides. You know, what's the best part? The place looks gorgeous when viewed from the top in the night when it is all lit up! It's a sight to behold! One should not miss out on visiting Khopoli!

11. Lavasa

Lavasa, Camping near Pune
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If there is a luxury in your mind, then hey! Pune has got you covered for it! What can be better than heading out to Lavasa? A one of its kind planned, own artificially built city near Pune, it's a heaven for not only the Punekars but others alike. People make it a point to visit Lavasa and spend time there.

Situated just 60 kms off Pune, Lavasa is pretty diverse with its offerings. Although the rates are expensive, who doesn't mind spending at times?

Although you cannot perch your tent at a location, you like, but you have a wide range of campsites available to choose from based on their itinerary, offerings and budget. Lavasa is always top notch when it comes to quality and services. So you can pick out a plan that best suits your pocket and preference and head to this beauty!

12. Kamshet

Kamshet, Camping Near Pune
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Lately, the first word which comes to the mind when someone says Kamshet is 'paragliding'! The place has become synonymous with this particular adventure activity owing to some players have sprung up in recent times. Located just 50 kms from Pune, this is the place to be if you are craving to indulge in an adventure activity that you have meant to tick off your checklist for the longest time!

Once you are done with your turn, you can stay in a tent and enjoy all the offerings of a typical campsite like barbeque, campfire, singing and dancing and have a memorable time. Kamshet isn't confined to only paragliding. The place is so strategically located that it is easily accessible from Lonavala and Khandala. The nearby attractions include Karla Caves, Lohgad Fort, Tikona and Tung Forts etc. Do you know what the best part is? The paragliding activities and plains are visible from the Mumbai-Pune expressway and are a treat for the eyes! It's a lovely feeling to see the gliders zoom in the sky and land just perfectly!

13. Kolad

Kolad River Rafting
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Known as the Rishikesh of Maharashtra, Kolad is a quaint village hidden amidst cascading waterfalls and valleys of Raigad. River Kundalika, South India’s fastest flowing river meanders through the camping sites of Kolad. The rugged terrain of the towering Sahyadri Mountains at this village makes it an ideal destination for hiking and observing the fauna. 

The misty peaks have also gained impetus for adventure sports and water sports sites. White water rafting, banana boat rides, trekking and mountain climbing are also popular in the location. Sutarwadi Lake and its playful birds offer a peaceful environment for picnickers. For those who wish to escape urban life, Kolad has tranquil resorts, homestays and campgrounds around spectacular forts like Tala Fort and Ghosala Fort. 

14. Torna Fort

Torna Fort
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Captured by Shivaji in 1646, Torna Fort stands at a startling elevation of 4,603 feet as the highest hilltop fort and highest trekking point of Pune. Torna Fort is surrounded by steep tropical peaks on the lap of the Sahyadris. Let the hidden beauty of Maharashtra unfold on your trek from base village Velhe to Torna Fort as you walk along kaleidoscopic flower beds and camp overnight next to pristine dams. Gather bountiful natural vistas at the cliffs of Budhla Machi and Zunjar Machi.

The huge,intricately carved Menghai Goddess temple juxtaposed to the fort is known for its picturesque campgrounds with fort and valley views. The temple can accommodate tents for up to 25 persons at a time. Similarly, Maruti Mandir houses secluded luxury camps for families and travellers.

15. Malshej

Malshej Ghat
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The mountain pass and mesmerizing hill station of Malshej is tucked amidst crystalline lakes, rumbling waterfalls, mountains and thriving wildlife. This popular weekend getaway attracts tourists and travellers to its sites of historical importance like Harishchandragad Fort, Ajoba Hillfort and other 16th century temples known for architectural excellence. Malshej and Malshej Falls area have plenty of campsites with modern amenities like restaurants, barbecues and even more eco-friendly, down-to-earth cottage style tents for a rustic experience.

During your stay, you can enjoy thrilling treks, hikes, mountain biking, nature walks and birdwatching. Malshej is a perfect destination for nature photography and relaxing next to dreamy rivers with migratory pink flamingos.

16. Bhandardara

Bhandardara
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This holiday resort village near Igatpuri is a chest of scintillating tourist attractions like the famous Bhandardara Fort, Maharashtra’s highest peak Mount Kalsubai and breathtaking natural formations at Umbrella and Radha Falls. The term Bhandardara means valley of treasures and is sought after by mountain climbers and camping enthusiasts for its diverse terrain. 

Apart from trekking, hiking and zip line, boat rides, nature walks and picnics are your key to grasping all that Bhandardara has to offer at locations such as Arthur Lake, Wilson Dam and Ajoba Peak. Every campsite at Bhandardara ensures you have an experiential stay with campfires, singing, live performances and scrumptious Indian meals.

17. Panshet

Panshet
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Built in the early 1950s, Panshet Dam has completely altered the landscape of Panshet on the banks of Ambi River and made it an abode for adventure aficionados. Most campsites at Panshet are located near Sinhagad Fort and Panshet Reservoir where you get natural stream water source, lavishly upholstered tents and facilities like restaurants and spas. Hosts at the camp guide you on exhilarating treks, banana boat rides, kayaking and water scooters. 

Panshet is one of the camping destinations in Pune which does not require you to trek uphill to reach your accommodations as most roadways are compatible with cars. This makes Panshet an easily accessible hideout for the aged.

18. Wai

Wai
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Wai is a religiously revered hill station with over a hundred Hindu temples, Buddhist caves and water reservoirs that beckon backpackers to get lost in the Sahyadris. Kamalgad, Varaitgad, Kindergad, Pandavgad and Vandan-Cahndan are the 6 forts surrounding the quaint town of Wai. You can enjoy trekking to these nearby forts from Wai, apart from sightseeing at Menavali Ghat, Dholya Ganpati Mandir, Narashima and Dhomeshwar Temples. 

Balakwadi Dam on the course of Krishna River at Wai serves as a picture-perfect campsite, encircled by cascading waterfalls and gigantic teakwood trees. The seven ghats of Wai host an annual festivity of honouring Goddess Krishnabai with pomp and ceremony.

19. Bordi

Camping
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Nestled in the verdant coconut and palm groves of Palghar Beach, Bordi is a beautiful village flaunting coastline. The unique terrain with steep cliffs and rock-cut bluffs at Bordi’s beach are perfect backdrops for your vacation photos. You can take a stroll through the aromatic chikoo orchards and farms at Bordi to revitalize your senses and go on juice tasting sprees. These chikoo farms also house Bordi’s campsites from where you can visit Dahanu Fort, Mahalakshmi Temple and Kalpataru Botanical Gardens. Along with expansive ocean views, these camps also have DJs, eateries and bars.

20. Murud

Murud Janjira Fort
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Silhouetted with numerous coconut trees, Murud Beach in Dapoli is renowned for its sprawling swathe of black-sand, cosy beachfront grill shacks, traditional market and jolly dolphins. In fact, it is one of the top 4 camping destinations in the Western Ghats. The beachside locale is an excellent weekend getaway for families, couples and solo travellers. You can pitch your own tent on the sylvan shores or opt for spacious tented accommodations with contemporary facilities.

Murud Beach is surrounded by lush hills on three sides, making the town a hub of offbeat adventure activities like trekking, paragliding, ATV rides on the beach, banana rides and water scooting. Janjira Fort is a major tourist spot on a well-connected island near Murud, reachable by boating.

21. Kambre

Camping
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Perched on the shores of Lake Andhra, Kambre is one of those campsites where you unwind amidst dense tropics, dramatic waterfalls and natural plunge pools at an elevation of 3000 feet. Staying at a campsite in Kambre allows you to indulge in outdoor adventures and night camping in Pune. In contrast to the same at many other spots, these campsites are known for serving delicious food, helping with bike rentals, organizing bonfire BBQs and arranging group treks, rock climbing and rappelling. You would come across elegant wildflowers, shrubs, ant houses and colourful birds at every corner of Kambre.

22. Shirota Lake

Shirota Lake
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Shirota Lake is located on the foothills of Rajmachi Fort, on the way to a vintage village campsite. Starting at a base camp in Lonavala, you have to trek along wonderful tropical jungles to reach Shirota Lake. Overlooked by mystic foliage and graceful hills, this vast lake is bound to charm anybody with its crystal-clear water, mature rocks and migratory birds. 

Campsites near Shirota Lake are equipped with solar power, bonfire amenities, eating joints and gazebos. Shirota Lake is also a popular and safe spot for night treks, a unique feature that contributes to the area’s thriving tourism industry.

23. Revdanda

Revdanda Fort and Beach
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Revdanda Village and beach is a serene picnic and camping spot that Mumbaikars and locals look out for. As you stroll the beach and soak in the scenery, you can spot a plethora of fishing harbours, the places which bring in Revdanda’s primary revenue. Beachfront campsites at Revdanda are particularly quiet and surrounded by untouched valleys and forests. Some of the cottage style camps are made with local coconut coir and bamboo. You can visit Revdanda Fort and the mouth of Kundalika River on site, a hotspot for white water rafting and canoeing.

24. Mandangad

Camp
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Home to one of the oldest forts in Ratnagiri district, Mandangad is an amazing forest camping site with night camping facilities. Having perennial rivers around, the hill station is full of rafting, fishing and canoeing opportunities. Mandangad is home to many 3-star campgrounds flanked with lock-shaped rocks and two glistening ponds. Since these sites are frequented by school excursion groups, foreign travellers and vacationers for their wealth of tropical flora and fauna, some camps may be more crowded than others. You can enjoy scenic treks, swimming in waterfalls and yoga sessions during the day and stargazing and bonfires by the evening

25. Uttan

Uttan
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Uttan is a bustling beach town where idyllic hillocks surround the coastline. Offering a spectacular Goan-Boho experience, Uttan is both serene for its tropical forests and lively for its jolly campers and stellar live entertainment. Walking down Uttan Pali Road, you can go sightseeing at St Andrews Church, The average day at this old-world town begins with Koli tribe fishermen out for work as the first light breaks. Visitors gather in Uttan’s colonies for pitching their tents or booking camps, a convenient way to relax and explore tourist attractions. Uttan Beach is lit up at night with string lights of the local traditional market. You can play Jenga and volleyball at the beach or simply unwind and sunbathe.
 
Move over partying, and hoteling, the memories and experience of these trips that you end up taking remain etched in your memory for many years! Reward yourself for a short weekend escape, after a hectic week! It's bound to leave you all energised and fresh for the long week ahead!

This post was published by Parthivi Joshi

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