By Hadassah Levy
The Kinneret is called the Sea of Galilee in English but it’s not a sea at all; it’s actually a large (in Israeli standards) lake which stretches from Tiberias to Ein Gev and to the foot of the Golan. A trip to Israel is really not complete without a day at this beautiful body of water, especially if you’re traveling with kids since it has so much to offer the younger contingent.
Boat rides on the Kinneret
Who doesn’t love a good boat ride? Large boats sail from Tiberias to Ein Gev and back, complete with music and a deck from which to enjoy the view. At night, some of the boats turn into discotheques with dancing and a fun party vibe. You can also take a tour of the lake in a small wooden boat, reminiscent of the boats that traversed the Kinneret in Second Temple/New Testament times.
For a truly magical experience, book a meal on a floating restaurant and make sure to be onboard as the sun sets over the lake.
Kinneret water sports
Older children will love the variety of water sports offered on the Kinneret. Speed boats race through the water pulling banana boats, inflatable tubes, water skiers and wakeboarders. You can also rent pedal boats, inflatable kayaks and jet skis. On a recent trip to the Kinneret, my family chose to be towed on an inflatable tube and it was quite a thrilling ride. The entire family enjoyed, from the 45 year old down to the 9 year old!
Gai Beach and Luna Gal water parks
The Kinneret is a natural place to locate a water park, and there are two to choose from. Gai Beach is situated at the entrance to Tiberias and offers water slides, a wave pool, a wet children’s playground and easy access to the Kinneret. Hotel-style cuisine is on sale for both breakfast and lunch so you don’t have to stop for too long to eat your meal. Luna Gal is located on the eastern shore of the Kinneret and includes wild and scary water slides, a little kids’ wading pool with sprinklers, climbing equipment and a tremendously fun tube ride. The tube ride looks tame but it’s actually one of the most exciting rides at the park.
Swimming in the Kinneret
The cool water of this freshwater lake is is clean and pleasant. The shore and the bottom of the lake are rocky, so it’s best to wear water shoes while you swim. Out of the many beaches to choose from along the Kinneret, I recommend checking out Ein Gev, which includes lifeguard services, showers, restrooms, a restaurant and a shaded area for barbecuing. Another beautiful beach is the Hakuk Beach, which is clean and well-kept and has lots of shade. To enjoy your swimming experience even more, bring swimming aids for the younger kids and inflatable mattresses for everyone.
The Tiberias boardwalk
The boardwalk in Tiberias stretches from the Old City to the commercial district and offers breathtaking views of the Kinneret. The boardwalk is dotted with restaurants serving various cuisines, ice cream parlors, discount clothing stands and souvenir shops. During vacations, the boardwalk bustles with locals and tourists alike and is a great place for an evening stroll or a relaxing dinner. Horse-drawn carriage rides leave from the boardwalk and give you a slightly different view of the city.
There’s nothing like a day at the Kinneret. The entire family will love the excitement of boats, water sports, scary slides and a rejuvenating swim, all surrounded by some of Israel’s most beautiful nature. So put your bathing suits on, grab some towels and get ready for an exhilarating experience!
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