It’s beach season in Israel!
If you’re looking for the trendiest beaches along the 185 kilometers (115 miles) of sandy Israeli Mediterranean coastline, as well as the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret), you’ve come to the right place.
ISRAEL21c gives you the inside scoop on the best places to join locals enjoying beach parties, overnights at a “kanta” or “zoola” (pretty much means camping at the beach) or simply grabbing a cold beer at sunset.
Let’s count down to our favorite trendy spot in the sand.
- Gordon Beach, Tel Aviv
Do like a local does and hit the Tel Aviv sand strip for some fun in the summer sun. Start with Gordon Beach, right in the heart of the city, which boasts paddleboarding (SUP), kayaking, windsurfing and the endless volleyball games for which this beach has become so famous.
Up on the boardwalk, overlooking the sea, you’ll find a variety of restaurants serving the classic Israeli breakfast (make sure you’re hungry because the portions are huge!), freshly caught fish, sandwiches and a huge array of salads.
After sundown, don’t miss the various outdoor beach bars along the strip that cool you down with some delicious local beers and continue the evening with some world famous DJs, drinks and dancing.
- Ajami Beach, Jaffa
When they’re done with the party and watersport scene and want to take a little break from the action — especially during tourist season — the locals head south to Old Jaffa for an afternoon getaway with a magical historical backdrop.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the unreal view from Ajami Beach, grab a selfie with one of the world’s oldest cities and absorb the serene atmosphere before you head out to check out the night scene in Jaffa’s Flea Market (Shuk Hapishpeshim).
- Nof Yam Beach (Sidna Ali), Herzliya
Sidna Ali beach (or Nof Yam, as the locals call it) is a cherished “secret” kept by the locals in Herzliya and the surrounding area and it’s only 15 minutes north of Tel Aviv! Those in the loop come here to enjoy the sea, the amazing cliff formations and the beautiful beach.
The strip of sand next to the Sidna Ali Mosque is a declared beach; however, the northern part of the beach is not declared so you make sure you’re careful when swimming. The coolest thing about this beach is “Nissim the Caveman’s” house carved in the rock.
Sometimes, on hot summer days, the Van-Bar comes around and parks at the top of the cliffs. This classic VW wan was turned into a mobile bar by a couple of locals, offering beachgoers some great tunes, cold beers and an awesome atmosphere. What a great way to chill on a hot summer’s day.
- Golan Beach, Kinneret
Let’s put the saltwater aside for a moment and visit a freshwater lake with a beautiful beach located on the northeast shore of the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret). Golan Beach is actually a green corner right on the shore.
But Golan Beach is also popular for another very cool Israeli phenomenon, mesibot teva (nature parties). Israeli trance fans hold secret nature parties and events out of the major cities throughout the year. These events can draw thousands of “in the know” Israelis and small numbers of tourists, not because they aren’t welcoming but because they are quietly promoted to a select audience. Golan Beach offers a great setting for these mini festivals that usually go on for a couple of days.
Check out some of the action here.
- Ma’agan Michael, Hadera
Quick slang lesson: When you hear locals use the words “kanta” or “zoola” they’re not talking about countries in Africa; they mean camping at the beach.
Ma’agan Michael, a kibbutz in northern Israel on the coast between Haifa and Hadera, is one of the most popular camping beaches for locals.
Think of these kantas as a sort of temporary beach resort, only with big shade canopies and mangals (slang for the Israeli BBQ). When you arrive at a kanta make sure to bring some snacks and beers to share with those who built the kanta, and get in on the good vibes.
At night, kantas usually turn into beach parties with great music, amazing people and great vibes. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you may even experience some fire dancing.
But don’t leave yet! Nahal Taninim nature reserve lies just south of the kibbutz and here you can find a Roman dam and aqueduct. Why not make a day of it and visit Ma’ayan Zvi and the Arab village Jisr az-Zarqa, which has another great beach?
- Dor Nahsholim Beach, Carmel
Nahsholim, or as the locals refer to it, Dor Beach, is at the southwestern edge of the Carmel Mountains in north-central Israel. It has small islands and a breathtaking lagoon with crystal clear waters formed by natural rock formations. The beach area itself is on Kibbutz Nahsholim.
You can see why the locals absolutely love this place — it has it all! Snorkeling and swimming in the crystal-clear waters gets you a look into the vibrant underwater sea life in their natural habitat. The sea is relatively calm so you can kayak, paddleboard, windsurf or just relax on the beach and enjoy the vibes. The best thing is, the beach is usually not very crowded even on the weekends or during holidays.
- Dor Habonim Beach
Dor Habonim is undoubtedly one of Israel’s best-kept secrets. It’s a beautiful beach with many inlets, interesting rock formations, vegetation and wildlife. There is even a visible shipwreck. If you’re feeling adventurous, there are two short walking tracks and the Tel Dor National Park that feature the remains of an ancient city and harbor.
- Sdot Yam, Caesarea
Shhh. This is one of the most popular secret locations with the locals. Don’t tell them we told you about it!
Sdot Yam is a pristine stretch of beach that’s actually a part of a kibbutz. So after you got lost a few times on the way, passed three security gates and had a few locals tell you the wrong directions so that you don’t get to it, you will make it to one of Israel’s most amazing beaches.
With rock pools and amazing cliffs around, you would want to spend the whole day here. So pack up your tent, make a few sandwiches, bring your warm clothes for the night and join the locals for a sunset beer along the shore.
Quick tip: Bring your snorkeling gear as the water is warm and super clear. The fish life along the rocks and underwater fauna will blow your mind.
- Achziv Beach
After you’ve partied, camped, enjoyed a cold beer on the cliffs of Herzliya, now it’s time to take a load off and relax in what looks like a Caribbean beach resort! Achziv Beach is a great little strip of beach up on the northern coastline of Israel. It’s just past Nahariya on the road up to Rosh Hanikra, on the border with Lebanon.
If you like your beaches this is our top spot to check out! To get the most out of your visit, you could try the free Betzet Beach just past the main Achziv strip, but definitely check out Achziv’s Banana Beach or Achziv National Park five minutes further up the road. It’s well worth the few shekels for admission.
If you’re up for some more beach partying, Banana Beach often has late-night parties. However, if you just feel like chilling in a great natural setting, Achziv National Park is your spot.