As temperatures climb into the high 80s (20s C) and 90s (30s C) during the dry summers in Israel, many Israelis escape the heat by traveling to cooler climes. But for the tourists who come visit, and the locals who stay at home, Israel’s summer has its very own special charms.

After all, it’s no hotter in Israel during summer than it is in most of the United States and many other places across the world, and there is virtually zero possibility of rain from April to October.

Here are some of ISRAEL21c’s favorite things about summer in Israel. Add yours in the comments section below.

  1. WATERMELON

Red, juicy watermelon (avatiach) grown in Israel and available only through the hot summer months is the quintessential refreshing taste of summer. Eat it plain, blend it into a smoothie or top it with Bulgarian cheese for a flavor that really pops.

Watermelons for sale in the central Israeli city of Petah Tikva last summer. Photo by Nati Shohat/FLASH90
Watermelons for sale in the central Israeli city of Petah Tikva last summer. Photo by Nati Shohat/FLASH90
  1. WET & WILD

It’s important to stay hydrated in the hot months, but you don’t have to limit it to drinking water. Put on your swimsuit and cool down at any Israeli beach, pool, natural spring, water hike (see our top 10 list here), waterpark or city fountain. Thanks to the strong sun, you’ll dry off in a jiffy. If you prefer to swim at night, the seawater is as warm as a bath this time of year. In August, the average sea water temperature of the Mediterranean is about 29C.

Israelis swim in a natural pool at Nahal Kibbutzim in Beit She’an, northern Israel. Photo by Mendy Hechtman/FLASH90
Israelis swim in a natural pool at Nahal Kibbutzim in Beit She’an, northern Israel. Photo by Mendy Hechtman/FLASH90
  1. FESTIVALS FOR ALL

Summer is high festival season throughout Israel. Check our guide to this summer’s festivals to find one that’s just right for you.

There are also many outdoor concerts taking place this summer in Israel. Carlos Santana, Dire Straits, Joss Stone, Natalie Imbruglia, The Searchers and Morrissey are among the international stars expected to perform.

Puppet Festival in Jerusalem. Photo by FLASH90
Puppet Festival in Jerusalem. Photo by FLASH90
  1. JERUSALEM AT NIGHT

Among its other unique qualities, Israel’s capital city is famous for its deliciously cool nights, even during summer. Pack a light sweater for an after-hours stroll in the Old City, Machane Yehuda marketplace, Emek Refaim, Mamilla Alrov mall, The First Station leisure/dining complex or the Sherover and Haas promenades.

The 45-minute Night Spectacular sound-and-light show on the walls of the Citadel at the Tower of David Museum takes place twice a night (except Fridays); buy tickets on the website.

  1. KIDS EVERYWHERE

Israel is well known as one of the most child-friendly places on earth. During summer vacation, special activities for youngsters are available daily in museums, parks and malls across the country. Kids are out in force on the hiking trails, beaches and parks, and the fun doesn’t stop during the day. At night you’ll find the streets, restaurants and cafes are bursting with children enjoying the cooler air of night. And don’t expect them to go to bed early; you’ll find kids still enjoying the night time fun long after midnight.

Israeli preschoolers hiking in Ashdod in the summertime. Photo by Nati Shohat/FLASH90
Israeli preschoolers hiking in Ashdod in the summertime. Photo by Nati Shohat/FLASH90
  1. ROOFTOP BAR/RESTAURANTS

Relax with a cocktail in the nighttime air high above the city. In Tel Aviv, some of the rooftop hotspots are the Brown boutique hotel, 2C on the Azrieli Towers, the new NYX Hotel and B on Top at Hotel Indigo. In Jerusalem, try Rooftop at the Mamilla Hotel, the new Garden Terrace at the Waldorf Astoria or Rooftop Cheese & Wine at the Notre Dame guesthouse.

Rooftop bar at the Brown Tel Aviv. Photo via Hg2.com
Rooftop bar at the Brown Tel Aviv. Photo via Hg2.com
  1. ICE CREAM

Ice cream is a no-brainer on hot summer days. The average Israeli eats about 10 liters of ice cream every year and most of it is during the summer. Try Mideast-inspired flavors such as hummus, halva, 10-spice, fig and pomegranate, as well as fresh fruit sorbets.

Two unusual ice-cream parlors in the Galilee are Bouza, co-owned by a Jewish kibbutznik and an Arab Muslim; and ILO Natural Ice Cream (vegan) at Kibbutz Hagoshrim.

  1. ISRAELI LIFEGUARDS

Israel’s lifeguards are a unique breed unto themselves. Perched up in their towers through the summer season in little red shorts and sporting a dark tan, they’re loud, abrasive and occasionally rude.

While on duty they punctuate the seaside air with a string of assertive demands, and often hilarious asides if you don’t do what they suggest. So if you are happily bathing in an area you really shouldn’t, hear a loud voice on the tannoy, and find the entire beach staring at you, just get out of the water.