10 Cool Things to Do With Teens in Israel

by Stuart Katz on August 6, 2010

(1) Attend a performance of the internationally acclaimed Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company

You can also visit the company’s Dance Village, which is located at Gibbutz Gaaton in Western Galilee. Here you can participate in a number of festivals, activities, and events. For more information, visit the website at http://www.kcdc.co.il/IndexEng.aspx

(2) Shop til you drop

Immerse yourselves in the markets in Tel Aviv. The Carmel Market is a wonderful place to seek out treasures such as exotic spices, beautiful gold jewelry, fresh cut flowers, and trinket souvenirs galore.

(3) Get spooked in Hezekiah’s Tunnel

Don’t forget some comfy shoes and a flashlight when you go to walk through Hekekiah’s Tunnel in Jerusalem. It is a 1,649-foot long tunnel that looks like something out of an Indiana Jones movie.

(4) Ride a camel through the Negev Desert

Or, if you’d prefer, you can explore the desert by foot or even off-road through it in a Jeep. Depending on how adventurous you are feeling, you can book a ½ day, 1 day, or 2 day tour. Take a look at the Negev tours with Desert Eco Tours for more information: http://www.desertecotours.com/English/negev_1&2.asp

(5) Gaze at the sharks, turtles, stingrays and fish of the Red Sea

You can see these things up-close-and-personal by snorkeling or scuba diving in the amazing coral reefs off the coast of Eilat. Or, if you prefer to keep a safe distance, you will love the Underwater Observatory, which is located at the southern tip of Coral Beach.

(6) Witness vultures nesting at Gamla Nature Reserve

Some of the trails here are a bit difficult for children, but just right for the adventurous teen. Dozens of Griffon vultures nest in the cliffs of Gamla and can be observed from a cliff-edge observation station. Here you can also see Israel’s highest waterfall, as well as the dolmans — stone burial monuments that were built by nomads over 4,000 years ago.

(7) Step back in time at the Wohl Archeological Museum

This museum contains remains of Jewish dwellings from the era of Herod the Great (37-4 BC). The first part of the museum, called the Western House, features several private mikveh, or Jewish ritual baths.

You can also tour the Western House and the Palatial Mansion, which both contain artifacts as well as fire damage from the Roman attack on Jerusalem. Perhaps the most fascinating part is the Burnt House, which is an underground excavated basement (a bonus therefore being that it is very nice and cool).

(8) Sift for treasures at Emek Tzurim

When Temple Mount was built in Jerusalem, 400 truckloads of dirt were removed and relocated to the area of Emek Tzurim on the Mt. of Olives. Visitors can actually help sift through buckets of dirt. Who knows what amazing things you may find!

(9) Launch yourselves off of a cliff

Yes, that’s right. I did say “off of a cliff!” With its amazingly beautiful landscape, Israel is a terrific place to go hang-gliding or paragliding. Of course, gliding off of a cliff or mountainside is not for the faint of heart. This is a cool, daring activity for adventurous teens and parents.

Visit the Sitvanit website for more information: http://www.sitvanit.com/english/Index.htm

(10) Hit the beach

Israel has plenty of free, clean beaches to visit. A favorite beach in Haifa is Dado Beach, while the Sea of Galilee features the wonderful thermal baths that people have been enjoying for more than 2,000 years.

The Dead Sea is not the best choice for swimming (you shouldn’t put your head under water), but it is a great place to relax, float on your back, and slather yourself in mineral-rich mud. If you want to try your hand at underwater photography, hit up Eilat and the Red Sea.

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