The study was conducted in the coastal region of West Bengal, India to document the prevalent farming systems and explore the opportunity of nonfarm activities in generating income and livelihood for the rural households. This paper concentrates in finding out the key determinants of participation in nonfarm income and employment generation activities across rural households. The analytical framework yields different activity choices as optimal solutions to a simple utility maximization problem. The empirical inquiry reveals that education, family size and access to land assets plays major role in accessing more remunerative nonfarm employment. The region is quite underdeveloped such that traditional rural self-employment activities still contributes 30.94 percent of household income and provide employment to 40.71 percent rural household. The number of working men, number of working women, age and education level are the other important determinants of nonfarm activities for the rural households.