Sabra-style vacations at Israel’s 10 best campsites


Gorgeous sunsets, gorgeous views, and campfire cooking – there’s really nothing quite like spending the night outside.

If you want to ditch the posh hotel room for simpler pleasure the next time you visit Israel, we recommend the following choices.

They might not be as fancy, but they’re twice as memorable and you can get away from the hordes of other travelers. Don’t forget the bug spray.

  1. Horshat Tal

Horshat Tal in northern Israel offers a relaxing and peaceful getaway. Photo by Fares Daabous / Israel Parks and Nature Authority

The beautiful Horshat Tal Forest is located at the foot of Hermon Mountain in northern Israel. Spread over 170 hectares, it has immense lawns, a large lake, hundred-year-old oaks and an orchid reserve.

Camping in the forest requires an entrance fee and in return offers a wide range of amenities, from lighting, hot showers and bathrooms to picnic tables and cell phone charging points. You know, not to completely disconnect from civilization.

Visitors can choose to spend their days in the forest or go on water hikes in the nearby Banias or Nahal Snir nature reserves. Either way, a day of fun filled with water is guaranteed.

  1. Kohav Hayarden

Sleep right next to a Crusader Castle in Kohav Hayarden, Israel. Photo by Avi Bahari / Israel Parks and Nature Authority

This is the one for those who need a little more than greenery during their weekend. Kohav Hayarden, otherwise known as Belvoir Fortress, is a Crusader era fortress with a moat and everything.

The breathtaking historical view of the north of the country is a must visit on any trip to Israel, and what better way to enjoy it than to sleep a few moments away?

For a small fee, campers can either pitch a tent or sleep under the stars. And while kitchen sinks and running water are provided, showers will have to wait until you get home.

  1. Khirbat Homema

This modest-looking, free-entry campsite is a popular spot for keen hikers. Located at the foot of Mount Meron in the Upper Galilee, this is an excellent starting point for the Meron portion of the Israel Trail.

The campsite has a water fountain, picnic tables and parking, but the rest is up to you. Our advice? Bring a good drink, light a fire and feel in harmony with nature. And be sure to dress warmly – after all, you’re far north.

  1. Achziv

Wake up to a sea view in Achziv on the shores of the Mediterranean. Photo by Yaniv Cohen

Perhaps the most beautiful location ever for a campsite, Achziv is a wonderful place to lightly relax in this whole campsite.

The seaside campsite is just a stone’s throw from one of Israel’s best beaches, which already makes sleeping outdoors so much more appealing. Entrance grounds are well maintained, providing visitors with a picnic table, restrooms, hot water, showers, and much-needed phone charges. However, no kitchen is available so bring a dinner to go. Or to take away, for that vacation feeling.

  1. Yarkon

Enjoy a night in nature just a short drive from Tel Aviv to Yarkon. Photo by Limor Katan Friedman

Want to go camping without driving too far from Tel Aviv? Then head to Yarkon Campground. Straddling the banks of the Yarkon River, the grounds are above par in terms of facilities – there are even summer movie screenings and lantern tours.

Entrance fees are modest, and visitors can choose to crash completely outside, bring their own tent, or rent one on site.

Keep in mind that the level of comfort and the short distance to the metropolis make the adjacent Yarkon and Tel Afek National Park a huge hit on weekends, so for a quieter time, try a midweek getaway. .

  1. Masada

Getting up early to hike Masada isn’t that bad when it’s so close. Photo by Avi Bahari

Masada really doesn’t need to be introduced. Morning sunrise hike, fascinating archeology, and legendary history make this mountain one of Israel’s most famous sites. So, is it cool to sleep next door?

As you can imagine, this campsite is one of the best equipped in Israel. Visitors can choose to bring their own tent, rent one, or even sleep in a larger Bedouin-style structure. There are ‘staff rooms’ for up to five people for those who don’t yet like sleeping in the open air and a caravan park, in case you brought a motorhome.

There is also a barbecue area, bonfire areas, toilets, showers and mandatory charging points for mobile phones. There is an entrance fee to the campsite, but really, you can’t put a price on this kind of experience.

  1. Khan Be’erot (Ramon crater)

Wake up to Ramon Crater from the comfort of your own tent in Khan Be’erot. Photo by Yaniv Cohen

Is the fabulous Beresheet hotel out of your budget? Look no further than Khan Be’erot. For a much lower price, you can still sleep in the middle of the desert, right next to the unique Ramon Crater.

Amenities include drinking fountains, barbecue and bonfire areas, restrooms and showers, plus a fridge for the ingredients for that fine meal you’ll whip up after saving so much money.

As comfortable as camping is, don’t be tempted to sleep too long. Ramon Crater is a full day hike, and you’ll want to start before things really heat up.

  1. Lotz cisterns

Don’t come here if you can’t stand the thought of not having cell reception. But if the thought of spending the night in the middle of nowhere excites you, Lotz Citerns in the Negev Mountain is the place for you.

The old cisterns around the free campsite date back thousands of years, and some of them are still filling up to this day. Thanks to these water sources, in winter and spring, the desert area enjoys a beautiful flowering – a sight that is really worth thinking outside the box. The remote location also attracts astronomy enthusiasts, as the darkness makes stargazing so much better.

  1. Small crater

The sun rises over the small crater in southern Israel. Photo by Maor Kinsbursky / Flash90

Another free desert getaway is camping near the Little Crater. The grounds are as basic as it gets – meaning no facilities – but easily accessible and provide an ideal base from which to explore the desert of Israel.

The viewpoint near the small crater is particularly pretty. Be sure to take in the view at sunrise to appreciate the dark hues in all their glory.

  1. Nahal Havarim

This free campsite also has no facilities, but it’s the entry point to one of Israel’s coolest hikes, earning it its place in this top 10.

Said hike is Nahal Havarim, a dry desert stream that is crossed by moonlight – an experience you won’t want to miss. It’s also a fairly short hike, leaving you plenty of time to cook dinner, open a bottle of wine, and enjoy the silence of the desert.


Sally J. Minick

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