Imagine enjoying the end of beach season at a campground and nature reserve, jeweled with well-preserved archeological finds, on one of Israel’s most beautiful beaches. And imagine, still, that this can be found in the heart of one of Israel’s major cities? That’s Ashkelon National Park, one of Israel’s best-kept secrets.
Ashkelon National Park – The beach
While some enjoy endless stretches of sand, many prefer shorter walks to the water’s edge, like the one here at Ashkelon National Park. Those visiting Israel with smaller children can especially appreciate easy access to the fresh water faucets and restrooms.
The wonderful thing about this being a paid beach on a nature reserve is that there are staff members that enforce slightly higher standards, ensuring the comfort of other beach-goers.
On your way onto the grounds, signs will inform you that playing loud music and littering is prohibited, and the beach signage will additionally inform you that playing ball is prohibited as well. So it’s just you, the sand, and the waves.
For many, especially tourists visiting Israel, that’s a beautiful thing.
Ashkelon National Park – the Campgrounds
Those of us who have been to a beach in the evenings are wary of the insects that tend to come out and, well, bug you. At Ashkelon National Park, however, the campsite is clearly separated from the beach by a relatively small but distinctive ridge.
Tents are pitched among large trees and ancient ruins, stone picnic tables and barbecue pits. Then you have free rein to hit the waves, explore the site, or even head into town for some civilization.
Ashkelon National Park – The Archeological Finds
From the remnants of a Canaanite settlement– the nations that immediately preceded the arrival of the Jews from Egypt– to the wonderfully-intact Basilica of the Roman Empire, the arches and stone ruins tell of an opportune fortress that once was.
Ashkelon was an extremely prized city both because of its strategic location as one of the main crossroads of the Mediterranean, and its fertile soil, which is also thanks to its proximity to the ocean waters.
If you are looking to experience Israel’s southern coast in a comfortable, family-friendly environment, Ashkelon National Park is truly a place that has something for everyone.
Summer: 8 am – 8 pm (exit at 10 pm)
Winter: 8 am – 6 pm (exit at 6 pm)
More information can be found on the Israel Nature and Park Authority site.
Read More about other PARKS in ISRAEL.
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