If your holiday plans include Arugam Bay in Sri Lanka, it’s likely because you plan to go surfing. However, there are plenty of outdoor activities to keep you occupied on low-swell days. For the nature-lover in your bunch, take a day trip to one of these three beautiful national parks surrounding the villages of Arugam Bay.

Yala National Park

Also featured in our post of the best national parks in Sri Lanka, visit Yala National Park to see leopards, sambars, wild pigs, monkeys, buffalos, mongooses and spotted deer. This park is one of the most popular in the country, so be prepared to see many other tourists when you visit. Yala National Park is 57 kilometres from Arugam Bay, or roughly two hours by car. The park is 171 kilometres from Colombo, or four hours by car.

Kumana National Park

Large flocks of birds are the greatest draw in Kumana National Park. See waterfowl and wading birds in the Kumana Bird Sanctuary, which is part of the park. In the past, as many as 255 species of birds have been observed in Kumana. The park is 30 kilometres from Arugam (a car ride of less than one hour) and 345 kilometres from Colombo (a six hour car ride).

Kumana was rocked by the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004. This park also remained closed from 1985 to March 2003 due to civil war dangers (primarily attacks by the LTTE – the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam). The park changed its name in 2006 from Yala East National Park to Kumana and is now said to be safe. The ecosystem, however, is still recovering from these travesties.

Lahugala Kitulana National Park

For elephants, visit this tiny national park located near the city of Pottuvil. Though it is small in size, this park is an important breeding habitat for elephants and endemic birds. Herds of up to 150 elephants are attracted to the park’s grass on a daily basis. Lahugala Kitulana National Park is only 12 kilometres from Arugam Bay, or a 15 minute drive. The park is 305 kilometres from Colombo, or a five hour car ride.

When visiting Arugam Bay, a visit to one of the surrounding national parks is a must. Stay safe when travelling to new locations by planning ahead and purchasing travel insurance from Cover-More Travel Insurance. The world can be a dangerous place, international cover from Cover-More Travel Insurance can give you the peace of mind you need to relax.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Prabal Jayeta