Varkala beach is my favourite beach in India. Having been to Goa before, I prefer the chilled out atmosphere of Varkala. The beach is beautiful (with a strong current), there are many small shops on the cliff (in season) and many reasonably cheap guesthouses.
I spent my days doing yoga in the morning on the empty beach, going for walks during the midday sun or drinking chai in a restaurant while reading my books and going to the beach in the late afternoon and enjoying the beautiful sunset.
In Varkala you find both travellers and families. It’s not a party place, but a place to really relax.
The video below shows you a bit of Varkala. Enjoy