We are in the beginning stages of planning a family trip to Israel - two families with 3 kids in the 13-14 range. We are well versed in the standard [Jewish] itinerary - Kotel, Masada, Dead Sea, etc. - of which we will do plenty. Can you make suggestions of some things off the beaten path - things that the kids will enjoy and remember. The trip will be late December, so water related fun, like rafting on the Jordan River and spending an afternoon at Sachne, are probably not options. Thanks.
Shalom, Burton. And since today is a holiday, Happy Tu BiShvat (new year for trees - it's a very minor holiday, but my favorite).
It's usually warm enough at the Dead Sea in December to experience the sea. The best way to visit is to rent a car in Jerusalem for 24 hours. Pick it up in the evening, so you can get an early start out of the city to avoid the traffic. Hike in Ein Gedi and keep an eye out for the animals. Or you can take the car for a few days and go north from the Dead Sea to the Galilee on Route 90.
There's a lot to see and do in the north, mostly nature-related. Christian sights will likely be very crowded then, but the many other places probably won't be. One of my favorites is the Hula Lake. There are usually about 40,000 cranes in residence for the winter and you can get pretty close to them (binoculars are recommended). You can rent golf carts and drive around, or (the best) is to take the sunset tour. I've done it 3 times and will probably do it again next week.
Douglas Duckett has written his own guide as a PDF (now up to 75 pages after about a dozen trips here). You can now download it directly here
Thanks for the info.
I visited Israel in 1985 and loved it, but only did 4 days in Jerusalem area. Wife wants to go, so we are considering a Gate 1 tour of Israel and Jordan next year, in March, prior to Easter. Want to visit Masada, Haifa and Tiberius as well.
Thanks, Chani. DD's guide should keep me busy for a while.
The kids might enjoy a few sites in Jordan-----camping and a 4X4 jeep tour in Wadi Rum----and Petra is pretty amazing. Stop by Mt Nebo as well.
In addition to DD's guide which is great, the official tourism site of Israel has a list of itineraries that is excellent. I made my trip just by browsing through different days of different itineraries and mixing and matching. Easiest trip planning I have ever done.