A family vacation is always about spending quality time together. A family vacation in Israel means spending that quality time not only drawing closer to each other, but building a lasting love of the land and its heritage and memories to cherish over the generations. The best news about traveling to Israel with your kids is that because most Israelis go on vacation with the whole family, Israel is very child-friendly. The easier nature trails, for example, are even officially designated “family trails.” And if you are planning to visit Israel during summer or winter school vacations and especially during the interim days of Passover and Sukkot, you’ll find dozens of Israel Nature and Parks Authority sites as well as museums to be treasure-troves of fun and learning – from costumed guides to hands-on workshops in pottery, mosaic-making, bread-baking and other crafts. Some of the ancient sites come with their own built-in surprises for kids, such as mysterious tunnels and caves to crawl through and secret stone staircases to imposing towers that aspiring young wizards will love.
Fun with furry, four-footed friends is a big hit, too, not only at world-class zoos like the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem, but also at the petting zoos of many kibbutzim and moshavim, some of which also offer country-style accommodations. And kids never forget their first view of the world from high on top of a camel when they visit a Bedouin tent. In Eilat kids can swim with the dolphins at a beautiful private beach where the family can spend the day. Some kibbutzim and moshavim also have special activities based on their produce or special history – one has a honey museum for example; another shows off its pioneer past with dress-up dramatizations and other activities that kids enjoy.
Israeli hotels, especially those in resort towns like Eilat and Tiberias, usually have a “kid’s club,” hosting arts and crafts and other activities. A great option for family touring is Israel’s network of bed-and-breakfast lodgings where the homey atmosphere means that at the end a day’s touring kids can let off steam by running around on the grass or the playground, while at least a basic kitchenette can make relaxed “home-cooked” meals an option.
When you’re getting ready for your Israel experience, make planning part of the fun as you all gather around the computer screen and start by searching “Israel + Kids” to build a wish-list with your kids of sites the whole family will enjoy. If you’re planning a trip with your community or congregation, a committee can help plan sightseeing with kids in mind, as well as activities like a tour newspaper to which youngsters can use computer skills to contribute. Look into the possibility of having your travel planner include a youth counselor on your tour who will work with the children. Another option is a private tour, where you can communicate with your guide ahead of time and plan all the sites and experiences you and your family will love best.