Karnataka is ranked as the fourth most popular tourist state in the country and has something to offer to everybody, from beautiful landscapes to rich cultural heritage, scrumptious food and serene beaches. Expanded from Belgaum in the north to Mangalore in the south, the beaches in Karnataka are a world in themselves. Mushroomed with beautiful palm-fringed beaches, the 320-kilometre coastline of Karnataka spans across three districts: Udupi, Uttara Kannada and Dakshina Kannada. Boasting around 40 beaches in its vicinity, beach tourism in Karnataka is still at its infancy. 

Characterised by vast swathes of soft sand and backdrops of lush green hills, the beaches in Karnataka are well known for their clean and beautiful nature with splendid views. Since it lies on the west coast, the beaches here also offer spectacular sunsets. There are plenty of beaches in Karnataka for weary souls who just want to get away from the humdrum of lightning-paced city life.

Also Read: A travel guide to the amazing places to see in Karnataka

Here Are The Top 12 Beaches In Karnataka

1. Take A Yoga Crash Course: Gokarna Beach

Gokarna beach is among the best beaches in Karnataka
Sunset at Gokarna Beach, Karnataka, India

Situated in the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka, Gokarna Beach is one of the cleanest beaches in Karnataka slowly gaining popularity for its spectacular coastline and panoramic vistas. Surrounded by emerald green forests, it offers the perfect spot for celebrating a picnic. With its ocean and clean sands, Gokarna beach is a one-of-a-kind place in the country for swimming. Serving delicious food, you can find numerous shacks, cafés and guesthouses here. You can also spot various birds around this serene beach. Taking a crash course in yoga is also a great way to spend your mornings at Gokarna Beach.

Also Read: An introspective journey, finding joy in the little things at Gokarna

2. A Nature Lover’s Paradise: Tannirbhavi Beach

Lying on the shores of Mangalore, Tannirbhavi Beach is a less crowded beach in Karnataka to enjoy a relaxing evening. People are drawn to the natural beauty of the coastline fringed with trees and golden sand. The sight of tiny fish through the clear water and boats riding the waves makes this place a nature lover’s paradise. The beach is complete with facilities like concrete benches, lifeguards and small eateries. An ideal place for swimming, people often go here in the evening to spend a few hours soaking up the sea and sand to introspect and connect with nature. 

Also Read: 8 of the most beautiful beaches in Mangalore

3. Surrounded By Four Rocky Islands: Malpe Beach

Malpe is a great beach destination in Karnataka

One of the most famous beaches in Karnataka near Udupi, Malpe Beach is a gorgeous stretch of white sand surrounded by four rocky islands—Daria-Bahadurgad, Daria-Gadara-Kallu, Kari-Illada-Kallu and St. Mary’s Island. With a plethora of fun things to do on this beach, you can go for a camel ride or indulge in some exciting water sports. The pleasant weather, pristine white sand, and delectable food shacks make Malpe Beach an ideal spot for a quick escape to simply relax and bask in the sun’s warmth.

4. Host To The Annual Karavali Festival: Karwar Beach

Wonderful sunset at Karwar beach in Karnataka
Sunset at Karwar beach, Karnataka, India

Karwar Beach also known as Rabindranath Tagore Beach is located in the Uttara Kannada district. Less crowded, you will surely find this Karnataka beach to be the perfect spot for those looking to soak up the sun and salt off-the-beaten path. The beach’s miles of soft white sands and soothing coconut groves provide blissful relaxation, while its crystal clear waters are quite tempting for boating and swimming. The annual Karavali Festival is one of the biggest events held at the beach around December and January. This beach in Karnataka attracts a large number of tourists due to its crescent shape offering a splendid view of sunrises and sunsets.

5. Naturally Shaped Like The Om Symbol: Om Beach 

Popular Om beach in Gokarna
Om beach in Gokarna, Karnataka

Located in the town of Gokarna, Om Beach is naturally shaped like the symbol for Om and is one of the most popular beaches in Karnataka with lush greenery surrounding it and pristine waters lapping at its shores. Known for its beautiful rock creations, it also offers abundant outdoor activities like banana boat rides, surfing, and speed boating. You’ll find a few shacks, small eateries, and fishing boats at the beach. A heaven for all the shutterbugs, this place has some mind-blowing scenery amidst its rocky terrain.

6. An Escape From The Noisy Traffic: Kudle Beach

Kudle beach in Gokarna
A view of Kudle beach

Cuddled up in the small town of Gokarna, Kudle Beach with its quiet environs and silent surroundings is one of the most serene and tranquil beaches in Karnataka. Surrounded by lush green hills on three sides and white sand stretching as far as the eye can see, Kudle Beach is a haven suitable for leisurely walks and practising yoga. The sea is shallow enough for dipping your feet or to simply have a bath, but it is always better to be careful. You can put up a hammock and read your book, watch the vibrant sunset, or take a stroll along the shores of the beach. People come here to escape the constant traffic noises that plague the cities.

7. Enjoy Sunbathing: Half Moon Beach 

Situated in Gokarna, Half Moon Beach is one of the most gorgeous beaches in Karnataka. Surrounded by luxuriant hills and lapped by stunning turquoise waters, the beach got its name from its striking resemblance to a half-moon shape. Separated from Om Beach by a cliff, tourists get an amazing view of the Arabian Sea. The beach offers numerous exciting activities including canoeing, swimming, and paddle boats. The beach also has shack restaurants that provide finger-licking food. You can go sunbathing in the afternoon and lie on hammocks at night to unwind and escape the monotony of city life. 

8. Perfect For Solitude Lovers: Paradise Beach

The fourth beach lying across the coast of Gokarna Town, Paradise Beach, also known as Full Moon Beach, is accessible only via boat or a trek from Half Moon Beach. Prized for its serenity and surreal beauty, the mesmerising sight of the Arabian Sea makes it an excellent spot to relish its coastal beauty. You must not miss out on the local cuisine prepared at the shacks and cafés dotting the beach. You can enjoy swimming or camping along the water here to refresh your mind and body. Perfect for solitude lovers, this famous beach of Karnataka is ideal for those who want to get away from the routines of everyday life.  

9. Surrounded By Casuarina Groves: Ullal Beach

Ullal is among the must-visit beaches in Karnataka
Boats at the beach of Ullal village near Mangalore, Karnataka, India

Nestled on approximately 14 acres of casuarina groves, Ullal Beach is one of the cleanest beaches in Karnataka in the oldest town in India, Ullal.  Catering to both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, there are many restaurants nearby, particularly famous for their seafood. You can also take a dip in the waters of the beach as it is very clean. Various arrangements for some water sporting activities are accessible for adrenaline junkies. Ullal beach mesmerises its visitors with a scenic view of the majestic Arabian Sea. 

10. Owned By A Private Enterprise: Panambur Beach

Located in Mangalore on the shores of the Arabian Sea, Panambur Beach is the first beach in the country which is wholly owned by a private enterprise, i.e. the Panambur Beach Tourism Development Project. This beautiful beach in Karnataka has been awarded the cleanest and best maintained beaches in India, owing to its excellent maintenance. Attracting tourists with its range of outdoor activities from camel, buggy, and horse rides to water sports, including jet-skiing, surfing, boating, and parasailing, there are plenty of activities to satiate your craving for thrills. The International Kite Festival that takes places in January at the Panambur Beach is attended by tourists from all across the country. 

11. Witness The Bioluminescent Phytoplankton: Nirvana Beach

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Nirvana or Kagal beach is a lesser-known paradise that is tucked on the banks of the Aghanashini river in Kumta. It is an isolated beach that has endless stretches of shores meeting the bluish-green water of the Arabian Sea. Nirvana beach coastlines are stuffed with silky sands, palm trees that run along the shores, casuarinas groves, and Kagal fort on a small green hillock. Not just that, the water here is shallow and clean to take a swim without having too many people around. Except for some fishers and their colorful boats you will not be able to see anybody.  Kagal Fort or watchtower sits on the top of a small hillock called “Kagal”.Earlier, Mirjaan town in Kumta was well known for pepper exportation that yielded a huge income. And during those days the only way to reach the Mirjan Fortress or town was through River Aghanashini. Hence, Kagal watchtower was built on the banks of River Aghanashini to protect the fort and surrounding areas from intruders. Half an hour uphill trek of 2 kilometers from Nirvana beach will lead you to Kagal fort on the hilltop. In particular, you will be hiking on a well-paved muddy pathway next to paddy fields followed by a small forest cover. It is an easy trail that consists of a lot of picturesque and enjoyable views. Kagal Hills is possibly one of the most picture-perfect landscapes you will see next to the beach. Except for a fort wall that is built along the edges of the cliff which runs for kilometers, you will not be able to find any traces of fort. However, the nature surrounding this place never shies away to impress you with its beauty. With amazing views of teeming lush green meadows, beaches that run for stretches, bluish waters of the never-ending ocean, and rivers that never dry up, this place is sure to sweep you off its feet. You will be able to notice river Aghanashini merging into the Arabian sea and forming a delta from the clifftop. In fact, you can even see the paradise beach and half-moon beach of Gokarna from here. Last but not least, don’t miss out on Sunsets that will paint everything in its way to orange. Image credits : @prasandy93 Location: Nirvana Beach

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A must-visit destination in Kumta and close to Gokarna, the Nirvana beach features the unique phenomenon of bioluminescent phytoplankton at night. Acting as tiny fairy lights, the planktons brighten up the waters in pitch dark surroundings. With rocks on one end and crabs crawling out of the sand, Nirvana beach is one of the best beaches in Karnataka, ideal for a quick dive into its blue waters. Secluded from throngs of crowds, this beach has tree houses to climb up into for those who wish to enjoy the peace and quiet.  

12. Spot Dolphins: Devbagh Beach 

Devbagh beach in Karwar is a private beach and is one of the most famous beaches in Karnataka. A nature lover’s paradise, it’s an untouched beauty, sandwiched between the magnificent Western Ghats and the mighty Arabian Sea. You can also try your hand at some thrilling adventure sports such as parasailing, jet-skiing, parachute riding, speed boating, and banana boat rides among many others. You might even spot a dolphin or two while on an expedition into the waters. Creating a delightful view, you can also spot white seagulls flying across the backdrop of the softly lit coral sky.

Why Should We Preserve the Beaches?

A favourite travel destination amongst most people is the beach.  For some, beach holidays are about relaxing in paradise, for others it’s about swimming, snorkelling, remote coastal strolls, and meeting local fishing communities. If you’re dreaming of beautiful sandy beaches and cool blue sea, then you have already caught the beach-fever! Head out to these beaches in Karnataka for an exciting getaway with your family and friends. 

When at the Karnataka beaches, avoid damaging or removing pieces from their place. We should make sure to pick up after ourselves and dispose of rubbish in a proper manner. When travelling to the beaches, if possible try to opt-out of franchised restaurants, and instead try eating at the local shops and food stalls. 

The decisions we make when travelling to the beaches, or anywhere in general, play a huge role in this ecosystem. An important principle of responsible tourism is to leave the place you visit the same or even better than how you found it. Everything starts with us deciding to make a small change. Save the beaches, save the earth!

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