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The shores of Israel may not come first to mind when dreaming of a beach vacation, but they could be the last you'll forget. From the Dead Sea to the Mediterranean, the country offers some of the most amazing beach spots that you never thought to look for.
Shore culture is alive and strong in Israel. This is none too surprising, given that Israel is home to four separate seas, namely, the Mediterranean, the Sea of Galilee, the Red Sea and The Dead Sea. Tel Aviv alone offers dozens of beaches across 9 miles of coast, free of charge, according to The Associated Press. As spring wears on and summer soon approaches, crowds of Israelis will take to their shores for swimming, soaking and plenty of paddleball. It may be worth joining them.
Catching the action
In most respects, the activity at Israeli beaches isn't too much different from other shorelines around the world. Sunbathing is common, as is a casual dip in the water. However, travelers may find some interesting experiences depending on where they go. The Dead Sea, for example, offers the surreal opportunity of swimming in high-density salt water, which makes paddling around feel more like floating. The Mediterranean meanwhile, provides warm waters for a relaxing foot soak. Another special activity is a rousing game of matkot, or beach paddleball, which has become an unofficial national sport. It's possible to join in a pick-up game or else wile away the afternoon watching pros dual it out on the weekends.
To take part, it's best to head to Israel in the warmer months. The spring shoulder season of April and May is the best time to visit, according to Lonely Planet, with temperatures becoming uncomfortably warm come the summer months.
Where to go
Choosing the right beach depends on the interests of the traveler. While the Mediterranean has nice views and good paddleball, Frommer's reports riptides, rocky shelves and floating garbage from other countries as reasons to keep forays into the water brief. The Dead Sea's main draw is the supposedly therapeutic, mineral-rich water. However, the water will sting if a swimmer has any cuts or open wounds.
The Ein Gev Resort Village Beach along the Sea of Galilee is one destination recommended by the travel resource as one of the best beaches in Israel. Comprised of freshwater, it serves as a relaxing and refreshing retreat, complete with a date palm grove and rockless shores.
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