Sun, surf, sand, forts, wildlife, cool climes and even some hot springs, it's all here. So it comes as no surprise that while looking for weekend getaway options, we don't look too far or beyond our home state. That would also probably explain why eight places from Maharashtra feature in the list of top 10 popular tourist hangouts in West India, according to a survey carried out by travel portal, Holiday IQ.
The results were arrived at after checking out traveller preferences, Internet page searches, booking enquiries and membership registrations.
Incidentally, according to the travel portal, the top 10 most visited spots in the state are within reach for those looking to escape the city, accessible with just a tank full of gas and some good company.
With the twin towns of Khandala-Lonavala having unofficially been declared as Mumbai's extended suburb post the completion of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway (people drive down after work to Trios, Lonavala's only mall), Mahabaleshwar has piqued other cities to take the top spot of the most popular destination near Mumbai.
The hill station, approximately 285 kms or a five-hour drive from Mumbai, is a regular haunt for those looking for "fair weather, strawberries, mulberries, honey, and horse rides," not always in that order. For those looking for some respite from the crowds, the idyllic Panchgani is close enough.
Tarkarli, near Malvan, is another favourite for long weekends, thanks to its reputation of being the only place in Maharashtra where you can indulge in some government-approved snorkeling. It's also home to a marine sanctuary.
Incidentally, Diveagar a comparatively unheard of spot, also features in the top 10 list, showing that Mumbaikars, as that cult Star Trek line goes, are willing to go where no one has gone before. So tank up and head out.