This small country has a lot of coastline to explore and over the last three years, we’ve seen quite a bit of it. Read on for our list of the five best beaches in Israel (Imho). These are the ones we keep on going back to.
If you don’t agree, leave a comment! I’d love to hear your suggestions.
1. Palmachim Beach
This stretch of coastline is pretty unspoilt, thanks to its designation as a national park. And, possibly, its proximity to a military zone.
South of Tel Aviv and just 45 minutes from Jerusalem, it’s easily the most convenient place to hit the beach if you’re driving from the holy city, and there’s always parking available.
Head past Ikea and the yellow-gated entrance to Kibbutz Palmachim on the 4311, and keep going. When you spot the surface-to-air missile launchers on your left, you know you’re nearly there.
There are no highrises here, although the superstructures of Tel Aviv glint in the distance. There’s a lifeguard tower, a couple of dozen extra-big tiki-style umbrellas for shade and a snack bar.
Bring a beach rug, bring a picnic, and you’re set for the day.
Our advice is to go on a Sunday – unless that Sunday happens to be an Israeli holiday. Saturdays in the summer can be crazy-busy and on holidays you’ll definitely have to take your own shade.
The beach is made of super-fine yellow sand, which gives way to a tidemark of pinky-coloured shells by the truckload. Beach shoes will help you get to the water faster, but are also a must at the height of summer, when the sand can be too hot for bare feet.
Watch out for jellyfish from around late June until early August (a problem along the whole coast, not just here.) And don’t be alarmed by the occasional deep boom out to sea, or the hum of a drone above.
Here’s the website: Palmachim Beach National Park
2. Beit Yanai Beach
Super-accessible and with easy parking, this national park-run stretch of sand is well worth a day trip.
But our No.1 reason for coming here is to pick up some awesome sandwiches on the way.
Before you hit the beach, there’s an unassuming deli in an unremarkable retail park that you MUST stop at. (Here’s the pin.)
‘The Deli’ just outside Bitan Aharon, makes fresh, stuffed-to-the-max Italian-style sandwiches. And they’re non-kosher. In fact, their speciality seems to be an endless combination of meat and cheese, including bacon and salami.
If you skipped breakfast, try the ‘Mountain of Meat’. There are lighter options too, plus veggie combos and smaller sizes for the kids. It’s also a great place to pick up some decent Israeli wine and fresh bread.
It’s less than ten minutes from here to the beach, which is just off Highway No.2 at Yannay Interchange. There’s a cafe, play area and some wooden cabana-style shaded areas.
And a huge area of the beach is set aside for kitesurfing.
North of the main beach, the Alexander River spills into the sea. It’s part of the same national park, and, if you head inland (towards Vitkin Winery—also worth a stop!) you can call at ‘Turtles Park’. You might catch a glimpse of the strange-looking soft-shelled turtles that live here.
Beit Yanai Beach is here.
3. Anywhere in Tel Aviv
There’s just something about a city by the sea… especially one as cool as Tel Aviv.
Miles and miles of soft, golden sand set against shiny highrises and curvy Bauhaus buildings.
Everything you could possibly want is right here, right now. And it is so, SO, different from Jerusalem. A day trip to Tel Aviv is like a teeny tiny holiday.
There are more than a dozen named beaches to choose from in this city, including a segregated religious beach, a well-known gay beach and a beach just for pooches.
We usually head to the super-central and always popular Gordon Beach. There’s easy underground parking and it’s a short hop across the promenade to the sand. Just watch out for two-wheeled traffic. Electric bikes and scooters are everywhere.
Here you can hire a surfboard or paddleboard, try out beach volleyball or compete with the ultra-fit bods at the outdoor gym. There’s plenty of choice for coffee or lunch too, including Lala Land, where you can eat with your toes in the sand.
Further down the coast—and another easy pick for parking—is Charles Clore Beach. This one’s quite small, but family-friendly. And has a top-notch restaurant.
Manta Ray is a great spot for fresh seafood and views of the Med. It’s popular though, so probably best to book—especially if you want one of the coveted beach-side tables.
Close by is the trendy neighbourhood of Neve Tzedek, which is well worth a wander. Originally a Jewish suburb of Jaffa, the curious narrow streets feel quite different to today’s glossy downtown. Plus there’s some great ice cream to be found!
4. Givat Aliya / Ajami Beach
This beach, just south of Jaffa, has a definite local vibe.
There’s a mixed crowd and anything goes, from abayas to bikinis. At the weekend, expect to see extended families out for the day, complete with BBQs and extended dining tables.
Thankfully, you don’t need to keep up with the locals; there’s a lovely restaurant right on the beachfront. Cassis has plenty of outdoor seating, and a great value business lunch if you can avoid the Israeli weekend. Plus plenty of fresh seafood, straight from Jaffa.
Come later in the day for a cocktail on the terrace, and watch the sun sink into the sparkling Mediterranean sea.
The super-soft sand and crystal-clear water are pretty standard for this stretch of coastline. And there’s plenty of shade—share some space under the fixed cabanas, or pay for your own umbrella.
The stone arches and tall palm trees along the raised promenade hide the car park beyond. But the plus point is that it’s all pretty accessible. Along the prom, there’s also a play area for kids, with one of the best views I’ve ever seen from a pretend pirate lookout.
Givat Aliya Beach is here.
5. HaBonim Beach
If you prefer your beaches on the wild side, then a trip to HaBonim is well worth the effort.
Not the beach of HaBonim Nature Reserve. Oh no! Literally next to it is the wild beach of HaBonim.
And by wild, I mean it has zero facilities. Just the sea.
And a very bohemian, free-spirited kind of vibe.
If you can find your way—off-road past banana plantations and rows and rows of grapevines— to the bit of scrubland that passes for a car park, it’s a short walk to the sandy curve of HaBonim. (Or a LONG walk, if you have to do it five times carrying camping gear.)
But it is beautiful. Soft sand and sparkling water (obvs!), and the black silhouette of a sunken ship. People clamber on it, and jump off it, with the sunset behind.
Camping is allowed here. That is to say, people camp. But not in a conventional way.
We rocked up with our four-man (or woman), two-compartment blackout tent. Turns out we just needed a tarpaulin and an old mattress. Plus maybe a sofa.
All along the beach, there are semi-permanent shanty-style camps. Young Israelis, some fresh out of the IDF, pitch up with their friends and stay for the summer.
As the daytrippers disappear, the locals relax; there’s yoga and meditation by the seashore; gentle drumming and juggling practice; and late-evening and early-morning skinny dipping. Despite the jellyfish.
It’s a beautiful place to wake up in the morning. IF you’ve managed to get any sleep in a bed full of sand in the searing heat. Maybe go in the spring… or autumn… or just be brave and sleep under the stars.
Here’s the pin. Good luck!
Any other contenders?
Because there are so many! Did we miss one of the best beaches in Israel? Let us know if there’s one that should be on our list. We will happily scout it out!