Kalkudah beach next to Passekudah

Top kid-friendly beaches on Sri Lanka’s east coast

Now that the southwest monsoon is pouring down on our beloved stretches of golden sand in southern Sri Lanka, I took my 4 kids to the east coast over the weekend to feed our beach addiction. I have one word to describe Sri Lanka’s east coast: different. Unlike in the south, many of the beaches in the east are still isolated and wild. There are hardly any big resorts or party scenes like on the west coast. Simply put, it’s the ideal beach destination for families with kids looking for some quality R&R. Here are the places you shouldn’t miss:

  • sunrise Uppuveli
    Mesmerizing sunrise at Nilaveli.

Trincomalee

Trinco has one of the finest natural harbors in the word. You can sunbathe on close by golden beaches, swim and explore the area. Visit the nearby Pigeon Island National Park for some of the finest snorkeling on the island. About 10 km from town is the holy Kanniya natural hot water wells. My kids loved bathing here with a tin bucket. Between beach breaks you can tour the historic Fort Frederick and colorful Koneswaram Hindu temple. If you are here between May and October, don’t miss out on going on a whale-watching excursion the kids will surely love.

Nilaveli Beach

Very close to Trinco, Nilaveli is famous for the rich blue color of the ocean (the name derives from this color). It’s a clean beach with friendly waves perfect for the kids to play and swim. The sunrise here is mesmerizing and in the evenings you can relax watching fishermen pulling big nets ashore. This is a great place to try freshly-caught seafood and local homemade curries. Trust me, it’ll be a memorable culinary adventure for the kids.

Vakarai Beach

For that deserted beach experience, head to Vakarai, located south of Trincomalee. The cream colored beach here is empty for miles. There are no restaurants, hotels or even houses nearby. When we went there it was just us. We had a picnic lunch on the beach and brought the trash back with us. Be warned that there are no proper toilet facilities in the vicinity.

Passekudah Beach

Imagine long stretches of white-gold sand that seamlessly disappear into the shallow azure ocean…that’s Passekudah, which I’d say is one of the best beach destinations north of Maldives. We enjoyed a luxurious retreat here at a chic chalet doing nothing but sunbathing and walking in the shallow water. My oldest somehow managed to drag himself away from the beach to go snorkeling at the beautiful reefs on the southeastern edge of the bay.

Arugam Bay

Ah, the surf capital of Sri Lanka. This scenic bay is hidden in a sleepy fishing village on the southeast coast of the island. The point breaks here create amazing waves over 3 feet high. This is where we all learned to surf. There are numerous surfing instruction centers with equipment rentals right on the beach. My kids were so excited to try something they never had before. We took our first lesson right on the golden sand and then went to Crocodile Rock to practice. There are different surf spots for different levels of expertise so don’t chicken out.