During my trips to Israel, I have the perfect guide. My half-Israeli friend spent most of his summers exploring Israel with his family, and when I visit Israel, he prides himself on showing me what's beyond the typical tourist swim spots.
There over a dozen different water parks in Israel. Each one has something unique, like a wave pool, a lagoon, spas and even extreme slides, and many of them have restaurants for refreshments. If the activities of a water park don't amuse you, consider the beach!
Bograshov Beach in Tel Aviv is one of the
best places to visit in the world!
The texture of the sand is unlike any other. It's spongey, firm and squashy. You have to swim out a bit before the water deepens and the water feels cool at first, but eventually it evens out to the perfect temperature. The vibe is surreal. There are beachfront cafes, people lounging on blankets with books, and soccer, paddleball, or volleyball games happening all along the water.
Beyond the obvious places to swim, Israel has some amazing spots to take a dip!
The first top secret swim spot in Israel is a dream. If you didn’t know you were heading to a national park, you’d think you were seeing a mirage in the middle of the desert. The water is naturally warm, the grass is lush, and the architecture is remarkable.
#1 An Oasis in the Desert
I've been to Jordan as well, and I felt safe traveling through Israel and Jordan. It was nerve-wrecking to pass through all of the military checkpoints as we drove along the barbed-wire electric fences of the border, but I kept my mind on the oasis.
During a routine checkpoint stop, I had to hand over my passport to an official as another man checked our trunk, but I never felt intimidated or unwelcome by anyone.
We even stopped at a little store on the side of the road for picnic snacks and beverages for our final destination.
After driving for a couple of hours along the Jordan border via Highway 90, we reached Gan HaShlosha, also known as Sachne.
If you want to experience the definition of an oasis in the desert (in my opinion), Sachne is a must on your Israel bucket list.
Lush palm trees and foliage seemed to spring up from nowhere.
We paid, parked, and set up in no time. Like any established park, there's a grassy area with picnic tables and public restrooms. But unlike other parks, the natural spring pools house an authentic Greek-style bath and an old water-powered mill operating.
You'll leave feeling exfoliated with little "doctor fish" swimming in the water.
In most cases, they won't harm you, but you'll feel a little zap sensation
when they nibble away your dead or dying skin.
It’s no wonder some believe that Gan HaShlosha is the real-world location of the garden of Eden. With its warm waters and green grass, it’s popular among locals and a hidden gem to travelers looking for a refreshing dip in the desert.
It is a national park, so please check the ticket prices and seasonal operation times before making the journey.
#2 Floating of the Beaten Path
Just as we approached yet another security checkpoint on Route 90, he told me to start getting ready to hit the beach. I was under the impression that we were going to a Dead Sea resort town. So I was a little perplexed when I didn’t see any luxurious hotels or even a public bathroom, just land and sea.
Quickly approaching the lowest point in Israel and the lowest land elevation on earth, we passed through the checkpoint.
As we stopped at a parking lot just beyond the checkpoint,
I could see the white water with the majestic mountains of Jordan as its backdrop.
Initially I was unsure if we could swim there, but I began feeling more at ease when I noticed folks unpacking their cars with beach towels and bags. Jeremy mentioned that he's even camped there before.
I followed him across the two-lane highway and to a flat desert area that led right to the water. Just tucked away behind shrubs and grass was the beautiful turquoise and white beach.
We found a source of “sweet water” (fresh, flowing water) to bathe in after our swim
and we jumped right in.
Well, he did. I was a little more reserved. Plus, you should never submerge your face in the Dead Sea waters because you have eyes, a mouth, and nose, and the salt will burn.
I eased myself in and found my groove, eventually letting go fully and just floating. I swam around, inched farther and farther away from the shore, and applied my very own uber-authentic Dead Sea mud mask.
It felt like we had the whole Dead Sea to ourselves.
We didn’t stay for hours, let’s face it. Things started getting pretty uncomfortable after 30 minutes or so. Once we rinsed off in a stream, we headed back to the road.
I relaxed in the still and serene waters and left feeling silky smooth after my mud mask.
I wasn't prepared for how much I liked my time wading in the Dead Sea. Floating in the serenity of that lake in Israel sticks with me until this day.
We eventually made it to the hotel and resort district of the Dead Sea shore
and floated again.
Video of Gan Hashlosha National Park in Israel