The galle fort, buildings, lighthouse, and the greenery at Galle, one of the best places for family outings in Sri Lanka
Galle, One of the Best Places for Family Outings in Sri Lanka

Family trips are the best! So, are you also looking for the perfect destination to have an unforgettable holiday with your loved ones? Then, Sri Lanka must be your choice! This tropical country will guarantee a fun-filled and exciting vacation for your whole family, with so many amusements. There are several places in Sri Lanka that offer you these exciting experiences ranging from adventurous spots, historical monuments, wildlife sanctuaries, and natural wonders. Therefore, it would be hard for you to choose the best among them. Well, to make that decision easier for you, we thought of sharing with you the 15 best places for family outings in Sri Lanka. Read and make your choice!

1. Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is one of the most famous places in Sri Lanka for elephant lovers. There are about 100 captive elephants in this place. It acts as a nursery, breeding centre and also treatment centre for the wild Asian elephants.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage operates under the Department of Wildlife.  The objective of establishing such a centre in Sri Lanka is to care for orphaned elephants. Out there, the elephants have the facilities to live in a natural habitat. 

However, you might be wondering why the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage happens to be one of the best places for family outings in Sri Lanka. Well, that is simply because there are several activities for you to try there. You can observe how elephants take a bath at Ma Oya daily from 10.00 a.m to 12.00 p.m and from 2.00 p.m to 4.00 p.m. Moreover, you can feed fruits and milk to the baby elephants at the orphanage daily from 9.00 a.m to 9.45 a.m and from 12.00 p.m to 1.45 p.m. Besides, the surrounding village of Pinnawala is ideal for you to enjoy an elephant back safari as well. Therefore, if you love to observe the life of an elephant, this is the ideal place for you to visit. And trust us, even your kids would love this experience immensely.

The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage locates in the Pinnawala village, northwest of the town of Kegalle. Reaching this place is never hard. There is approximately a 1-hour drive to the orphanage, from the majestic city of Kandy. The distance from Colombo to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is around 86 kilometres. Moreover, this place is open daily for visitors from 8.30 a.m to 5.30 p.m, and you can visit at any hour between that time.

2. Galle Face Green

Galle Face Green is an ideal family outing spot situated at the heart of Colombo. This is also one of the most famous beaches in Sri Lanka.

This place features a five-hectare ocean-facing urban park which stretches a half kilometre along the coast. This is a place where you can sit and relax amidst the busy city of Colombo. Specifically, the vibe of the park in the evening and night is exquisite. Apart from that, there are many activities to try at the Galle Face Green park. This large open space in Colombo is now used for many recreational activities. Besides, you can see many children flying kites in this park during the windy seasons. Meanwhile, the sight of families playing with their children in this place is never rare. Also, you can even see many couples visit this place to talk a bit while enjoying Sri Lankan street food from the stalls out there. Owing to all these things, hanging out at Galle Face Green surely offers you a unique experience.

Try to visit Galle Face Green in the evening hours so that you will be able to enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets ever! On one side you can enjoy the views of the dazzling Indian Ocean and on another side, the beauty of Colombo city with its sky kissing towers and buildings.

This location is very easy to reach from anywhere in Colombo. After all, Galle Face Green is a wonderful hanging out spot, and indeed one of the best places for family outings in Sri Lanka.

3. Viharamahadevi Park

Viharamahadevi Park is a popular public park situated in Cinnamon Gardens, Colombo. It also goes by the name Victoria park. This public park scatters across 50 acres which makes it the largest public park in Colombo.

Viharamahadevi Park consists of a golden statue of Lord Buddha, a mini zoo, a fun walking path, a cycling track, water fountains, playgrounds and many comfy benches. Further, out there, you will feel the Sri Lankan hill country vibe amidst the hustle-bustle of Colombo city. Therefore, this is a favourite location as a hangout spot among the Colombo community.

However, the Viharamahadevi Park gets quite busy on the weekends rather than on weekdays. Yet, this attractive space is perfect for your family to relax and enjoy for a while. In Particular, your kids can have a lot of fun doing many activities freely in this large green park. Besides, there isn’t any entrance fee to this park as it is a public park.

The best time to visit the park is in the months of March and April. That is because the spring season decorates the whole park with flowers and lush greenery. Viharamahadevi Park is simply one of the best places for family outings in Sri Lanka and is a must-visit location on your family vacation in Colombo.

4. Galle

The historic city of Galle is an absolute must-visit if you are paying a visit to southern Sri Lanka. This city is also a UNESCO world heritage site.

There are many reasons why Galle happens to be one of the best places for family outings in Sri Lanka. Simply, from historic places to luscious beaches, there are so many interesting destinations to visit around Galle. But of course, the highlight of the city is the Galle Fort. The majestic building which belongs to the colonial era is now a major tourist attraction of the city with many trendy shops and restaurants along with the ancient ruins. Then, obviously, you shouldn’t miss the gorgeous beachline of the coastal city of Galle. After all, what better way is there to have a fun family outing than having a beach day? You can try many water activities like swimming, surfing, whale watching, and snorkelling in Galle.

If your family loves to explore the Galle city and its unique lifestyle and culture, you can hire bicycles and go on a guided tour around the city. You will also love paying a visit to a turtle hatchery in Galle as it will be an amazing experience to volunteer together for such a great cause. These are just a few of the fun activities for your family to do in Galle. So, remember to put Galle on your bucket list when visiting Sri Lanka, to enhance the delight of your holiday!

5. Kandy

Kandy is the pride of Sri Lanka’s upcountry. It is the cultural capital of Sri Lanka. So, if your family loves to explore the unique cultural heritage of this beautiful island, then certainly this marvellous city happens to be one of the best places for your family outings, here in Sri Lanka.

Kandy is also famous as the most important city for Buddhists in Sri Lanka. That is because this city houses the most sacred religious attraction of Buddhists, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. It is the place that shelters the left tooth relic of Lord Buddha. Further, the unique architecture of the white palace complex of the temple, and the ancient paintings, and carvings out there, further magnify the value of this place. Owing to these religious and cultural values, this sacred Buddhist city is also identified as a UNESCO world heritage site.

Moreover, there’s a beautiful man-made lake in front of the temple which is known as ‘Kiri muhuda’ which translates into ‘sea of milk’. Then, there’s an international Buddhist museum right behind the temple. All these things, coupled with the natural scenic beauty of this mountain town, take the importance of this wonderful city to the next level. So, it will be an enriching experience for your whole family to visit such a valuable city, here on this splendid island.

Besides, don’t forget to roam around the majestic Kandy city and streets. The ancient streets with colonial-era buildings have a totally different vibe. Besides, the famous Royal Botanical Garden of Peradeniya is located just 15 minutes away from Kandy. Likewise, there are several places for you to visit and enjoy, if you are to spend a day in this majestic city. So, visit and experience its delight with your family!

6. Dambulla

Dambulla is another city in Sri Lanka, which is rich with amazing cultural values. This historic city is situated 160 kilometres away from Colombo, in Central Sri Lanka to be specific.

The main tourist attraction of Dambulla is the Dambulla cave temple complex. It houses five important caves that shelter a number of valuable ancient statues and are rich with ancient paintings and murals. Therefore, it will be an amazing experience for your family to explore these caves as they would reveal to you a lot about Sri Lankan culture. Furthermore, there’s a breathtaking view around the temple which is built about 160 metres above the surrounding plains. So, owing to all these reasons, this cave temple is just iconic, and there is a belief that it is the best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka.

Apart from that, there are many other places that you can visit around Dambulla. One of them is Jathika Namal Uyana. It is a rose quartz mountain. So don’t forget to visit this extraordinary natural wonder as well. Besides, if your family loves cricket, there’s an international cricket stadium situated in Dambulla. You will be guaranteed an awesome time if you can visit the stadium during an international cricket match.

Moreover, Dambulla is one of the most scenic villages in Sri Lanka. So, you can choose to go on a village tour. It will create opportunities to go on a boat ride, enjoy a hot air balloon ride, cycle a bit, rest awhile by the lakes, and enjoy the charm of these beautiful surroundings. All these things will guarantee your family the perfect times, and thus, Dambulla is undoubtedly one of the best places for family outings in Sri Lanka.

7. Sigiriya

Sigiriya is a historical landmark in Sri Lanka and is an ancient rock fortress that attracts tourists on a large scale.

King Kashyapa built this indestructible fortress in the Sigiriya rock for his Kingdom in the 5th century AD. According to historical records, the entire fortress was built in 7 years. The architecture of the fortress, the design of the gardens, the mind-blowing irrigation system and the infamous Sigiriya frescoes are a display of King Kashyapa’s incomparable creativity. In fact, Sigiriya is an archaeological marvel considering its time period as well. Hence, UNESCO declared it a world heritage site a few years back.

There’s a moderately hard hike through the stairs to reach the top of the Sigiriya fortress. Yet, the view at the top is so worth the climb. Simply, Sigiriya and its surrounding area is a magnificent view that is just second to none. Still, if you want to see the amazing Sigiriya from a different perspective, pay a visit to the nearby Pidurangala rock as well.

Generally, the months of July, August and then January are considered the best time to visit Sigiriya given the climatic conditions. So, if your family is a set of history and adventure lovers, then Sigiriya is certainly one of the best places for your family outings in Sri Lanka!

8. Dambana

Dambana is a small village located close to Mahiyanganaya in the Badulla district. This village is very special as it is the home of Sri Lanka’s indigenous community, the Veddas.

This non-commercialized rural village is mingled amidst a thick jungle. And yes, since the Veddas live away from the city, they stay true to their original lifestyle. So, in Dambana village, you have the opportunity to understand the lifestyle of the Vedda people. You can also have a chat with the chief of the tribe, Uruwariagye Wannila Atto. Further, the visitors can get a glimpse of their culture and traditions, and also experience some of them such as using the bow and arrow,  hunting and tasting fresh bee honey. After all, don’t forget to capture some iconic photographs with these Vedda people as well.

This indigenous community or the Vedda people used to be a large community but now they are limited to some villages like in Dambana. However, you can understand the roots of Sri Lanka’s indigenous community from a tour of the Dambana village. Simply, it will be an interesting experience to have a family outing in a rural village like Dambana which is situated about 266 kilometres away from the major city of Colombo. So, never miss this unique experience, while you are here in Sri Lanka!

9. Trincomalee

Trincomalee, which is also famous as Trinco, is simply an exciting city to have such a fun family outing. The reason why we say so is that it is one of the most charming shores on the Eastern coast of Sri Lanka. Besides, there are so many things to do in a wide range of places in this beautiful coastal town.

Here are some of the most memorable things that you shouldn’t miss in Trincomalee!

First of all, do not miss the dazzling beaches in Trinco, such as Nilaveli, Dutch Ray beach, Pristine and Marble beach. They are not only perfect places to sit back and relax a bit, but also ideal locations for several water sports. So, you can certainly enjoy snorkelling, surfing, and also whale watching along with your family members, amidst the blue waves of these picturesque beaches.

Pigeon island is another tourist attraction situated close to Trincomalee. It is literally a natural paradise. Besides, if you are into cultural and religious attractions, don’t forget to pay a visit to the colourful Koneswaram temple and Gokanna Raja Maha Viharaya as well. Such religious places are the best way to get closer to the culture of a country. Then, Fort Frederick and Maritime museum are some more awesome locations to visit in Trincomalee.

Likewise, there are several attractions in Trinco that would magnify the delight of your visit to this beautiful city, which is situated about 265 kilometres away from Colombo. So, without a doubt, choose Trincomalee for an outing with your family.

10. Dehiwala Zoo

Dehiwala Zoo or the National Zoological Gardens in Sri Lanka is one of the oldest zoos in the whole of Asia as it was established in 1936. It is home to a wide variety of animal species, and undoubtedly it is one of the best places to have some quality time with your family, close to Colombo.

In this premise, there are about 2500 different kinds of animals, birds, and reptiles. Besides, this zoo not only creates opportunities to observe a wide array of endemic animal species but also various creatures from different countries of the world. Walk-in aviaries, the huge aquarium, the butterfly garden, the reptilium section and the elephant show are the highlights of the Dehiwala zoo. All these sections of the zoo are sure to delight the visitors, especially the kids who love animals.

However, it is better to visit the zoo in the morning as it will be less crowded at the time. It is located on the Galvihara road in Dehiwala, Mount Lavinia. Please note that there is an entrance fee to visit the zoo.

11. Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura is a major city in Sri Lanka that once used to be the ancient capital of the country. It is considered a sacred city to the Sri Lankan Buddhists because it was the centre for Theravada Buddhism in the Anuradhapura era.

Even in the present, there are many ancient ruins in the city which display the ancient grandeur of Anuradhapura. In fact, there are many places of ancient value to see in this majestic city such as massive Buddhist shrines, monasteries, palaces, bathing ponds, gardens, and reservoirs. Besides, the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya, Ruwanweliseya, Thuparamaya, Jethawanaramaya, Isurumuniya, Samadhi Statue, and Mihintale are some of the such popular attractions in this ancient city.

The archaeological value of these locations is immense. Also, you certainly know that Sri Lanka is a country with a grand history. So, Anuradhapura is the best location to explore this past as it is the first historical capital of the country. You can have an educational and unique experience with your family in the historical city of Anuradhapura. So, never think twice to visit Anuradhapura since it would be one of the best places for family outings in Sri Lanka, especially if you love to explore the Sri Lankan heritage.

12. Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa is another historic city in the North Central province of Sri Lanka. It became the capital of this country in the past after the Anuradhapura era, and thus, is renowned as the second ancient capital kingdom of this island.

Polonnaruwa flourished as the capital of the Polonnaruwa Kingdom under the reign of the great King Parakaramabahu. During his era, numerous significant constructions came up in this city, and their ruins are well preserved in the old Polonnaruwa city even now. However, Gal Viharaya, Lankathilaka Viharaya, Rankoth Viharaya, and the Parakarama Samudra are must visit attractions in the Polonnaruwa area. Owing to their historical and cultural values, the ancient city of Polonnaruwa also became a UNESCO world heritage site.

This city is located about 216 kilometres away from the main city of Colombo, and you can take the unique journey through Habarana to reach the majestic city of Polonnaruwa. If you and your family are excited to explore the grandeur of ancient Sri Lanka, Polonnaruwa certainly happens to be one of the best places for family outings in Sri Lanka. Visit it yourself, and experience the delight!

13. Yala National Park

There are many national parks in Sri Lanka. Yet, Yala is simply the best spot to see such a diversity of wildlife. Therefore, Yala National Park is the perfect family outing spot for all wildlife enthusiasts.

This huge park extends over two provinces which are the Southern and Uva provinces. Besides, it holds characteristics of a dry zone tropical thorn forest. However, there is also a fine coastline with coral reefs. Apart from that, there’s a historical value to the location as there are historical ruins inside the park.

When it comes to wildlife, Yala is a safe haven for 32 species of mammals. Further, it shelters 120-130 species of birds including endemic and threatened species. However, the highlight of your visit to Yala will be seeing leopards and large herds of elephants. A jeep safari in Yala is the best way to experience the best out of this wonderful natural escape. And yes, believe us, all your family members, especially the kids would love this unique experience as they travel through the wild to observe the amazing wildlife in their natural habitat itself.

14. Sinharaja Forest

Sinharaja forest is the most popular nature reserve in Sri Lanka. Further, this biosphere reserve is the largest tropical rainforest in the country.

Sinharaja forest provides shelter to a number of endemic flora and fauna. Hence, records reveal that about 50% of Sri Lanka’s endemic species are living in the Sinharaja forest. The unique natural paradise is characteristic of a tropical lowland rainforest or tropical wet evergreen forest. Besides, there are several super clean and eye-catching water streams inside the Sinharaja forest. Indeed, you’ll be able to take a dip into those refreshing waters. Considering the rich biodiversity of the Sinharaja forest, it is also recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site.

After all, if your family are nature lovers, and if your kids love to spend time with nature, Sinharaja forest is one of the best places for family outings here in Sri Lanka. So, visit Sinharaja, have a proper escapade to this unspoiled nature and relax a bit away from your usual city life.

15. Nuwara Eliya

If you love the cool climate, mountainous surroundings, and natural sceneries, then you should arrange a family outing in Sri Lanka’s little England; Nuwara Eliya! This beautiful town is a major tourist attraction, and it is all about relaxing vibes.

As you may already know, Nuwara Eliya is located in Central Sri Lanka. It houses several significant attractions that delight any. The best attraction of the city is Gregory lake. It is a place where you can try fun water sports like boat rides, jet skis and pedal boats. Further, there’s an amazing park surrounding the lake which is an awesome spot to relax amidst the cool climes. There’s a  play area, a street food isle, a cycling track, a walking path and a horse riding area in this park. Besides, the tea factories, strawberry farms, vegetable farms, viewpoints, as well as the Hakgala Botanical garden create the perfect atmosphere for the visitors to relax and enjoy as they explore this wonderful city of charms.

Moreover, there are several top-class hotels and restaurants in Nuwara Eliya which will make your stay there really comfortable. So, all these things make Nuwara Eliya one of the best places for family outings in Sri Lanka.

The Bottom Line

This splendid island of Sri Lanka is something for each of you. Therefore, it is certainly a country that you should visit with your whole family. The places that we mentioned in this read are some of the best places for family outings in Sri Lanka. So, we believe that they cover a wide range of interests, providing a choice for anyone. Let it be a natural escape, a beach, an ancient city, or an adventurous spot, this list covers all. Each place is unique and different from the others. And why not? All these places offer amazing photography opportunities. Thus, they are undoubtedly the best to create the most wonderful memories on this beautiful island.

So, what are you waiting for? Feel free to select your favourite spot for a family outing and have a memorable time with your loved ones, here in this land of charms. We guarantee you the best experiences and a lifetime of memories. Happy and safe traveling!