Prospective visitors to Israel are likely very familiar with – and enthusiastic about – the Dead Sea, ancient Masada plateau, the diverse religious culture of Jerusalem, and the legendary Tel Aviv nightlife. The country’s scenic camping opportunities, on the other hand, likely aren’t top of mind. Well, they should be. From the coast to the desert to lush nature reserves, there’s a wide range of stunning natural landscapes perfect for camping. These are the best campsites in Israel to experience the country’s natural beauty.
On the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, Gofra beach is one of the country’s most popular beach campsites. Full of eucalyptus trees (meaning there’s plenty of shade for tents), the area certainly isn’t lacking in natural beauty. There are thermal springs nearby as well. If you’d prefer a less rugged camping experience, there are campsites available with fridges, lighted areas, and picnic tables.
Campsite Masada West
Masada is a must for any traveler to Israel. The famous rooftop fortress overlooking the Dead Sea was the site where Romans laid siege to the Jewish people who rebelled against Roman rule in the first century. Located near three national parks – Masada National Park, Tel Arad National Park, and Tel Be’er Sheva National Park – the Masada West campground is surrounded by natural beauty. Campsites feature “field kitchens” with fridges, showers, fire pits, and electrical sockets, and the nearby hills and ridges make for perfect sunrise hikes.
The Yehiam Fortress campsite is steeped in history. You’ll be camping just minutes away from Yehiam Fortress National Park, which is home to an ancient fortress dating back to the era of the Crusaders and the Ottoman Empire. When you book a campsite, lantern and fortress tours are available to further immerse yourself in the area’s history and learn about the mid-century Independence War. Campsites are equipped with lighting, faucets, electrical outlets, picnic tables, field kitchens, and a restroom – but keep in mind that showers are not available.
Dor HaBonim Beach
Just south of Haifa, Dor HaBonim Nature Reserve is home to rocky coves, a long sandy beach, and dramatic sandstone quarries. It’s also replete with wildlife like foxes, sand cats, gazelles, sea turtles, and ghost crabs. The main campsite is on the beach, with picnic tables, fire pits, showers, and a small offshore shipwreck that’s easy to explore. Dor HaBonim is the best of all outdoor worlds, as you’ll get a rugged camping experience and a beach vacation all in one. Take the Dor HaBonim Beach Trail for a perfect romantic sunset hike.
Tel Arad is one of the most important archeological sites in Israel. It’s the site of the remains of a Canaanite city and fortresses, dating back as far back as the 11th century BCE. In addition to the fortifications themselves, there’s also the remains of a Judean temple, a water reservoir, and access to the Israel National Trail – a hiking path that crosses the entire country. The campground offers stunning views of the surrounding area and the ancient Canaanite city, making it one of the best campsites in Israel to wake up and marvel at the country’s beauty.
One of the most scenic campsites in Israel, the Amud Stream Nature Reserve, near the Sea of Galilee, is filled with streams, natural pools, wildlife, and caves. The reserve is one of the best places in Israel for historic remnants from the 1930s Great Palestinian Revolt, the Second Temple, and the 50,000-year-old Mousterian culture. Campgrounds are located in the middle of the reserve, with drinking fountains, solar lighting, and bonfire areas, and many offer unparalleled views of the nearby mountain town of Tzfat.
Yarkon National Park
Conveniently located near Tel Aviv, Yarkon National Park offers a woodsy getaway for those looking to escape the city for a bit. Campsites have access to the Yarkon River for boating and kayaking, colorful gardens, bike trails, hiking, and a water park that’s one of the largest in Israel. The campground at Yarkon also has cooking and bonfire areas, a water heater, restrooms, and rental mattresses. Various tours are offered, like a night cooking tour or lantern tour, to fill out the experience based on your interests.