Tel Aviv is one of the best city hubs to base yourself and your family for day trips in Israel. It has Israel’s main international airport, train stations connecting it with cities throughout the country, and quick access to highways for road trippers.
There are also plenty of operators in town who can organize one-day guided tours of Israel for those who prefer a hassle-free option.
One of the great things about Israel is its compact size, which makes the country easily accessible for day trips. Whether you want to explore Jerusalem, float in the Dead Sea, take in spectacular views over the Mediterranean, or simply enjoy beautiful beaches without the Tel Aviv crowds, there’s something for everyone.
Tel Aviv itself is a vibrant, youthful city with an incredible food scene, fascinating history, and sandy beaches. It’s the perfect base for Israel day trips. Also, Tel Aviv, and Israel as a whole, are very kid-friendly, from restaurants to parks to museums.
Know before you go – Important Israel Travel Tip
When visiting Israel, be aware of the Sabbath (the Jewish day of rest) from Friday 3:00 PM to Saturday 9:00 PM. And also, research your dates before you book your trip to check for Jewish holidays.
Shops, restaurants and public transport will close down early on the Sabbath and on the eve of the holiday and re-open the next evening or the day after.
For Tel Aviv day trips, a pre-booked packaged tour is always a great hassle-free way to travel with kids. No need to worry about driving or bus and train schedules. Simply relax and be driven from one attraction to the next with a guide to tell you about the history and culture.
Israel also has a great bus and train network and great roads if you would like to do a self-guided tour or choose to self-drive. Even though there is an intercity bus and train system, some of the more remote areas will require a car. Again, just be aware that public transport does not operate during the Sabbath.
For more details on transport options in Israel, see our post Planning Your Family Trip to Israel.
Under an hour away from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem is one of the must-visit places in Israel. Without a doubt, one of the most fascinating destinations in the country, Jerusalem, is the cultural capital of Israel and the official one.
A day trip from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem can be conveniently done by train or bus as parking in the city is very expensive. Start with exploring the Old City and visit a holy site in each of the four quarters.
Enter via the Jaffa Gate and head to the Tower of David museum. In the Christian quarter, walk along the Via Dolorosa and see the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. In the Muslim quarter, stroll along the Arab shuk (market) and visit Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock. In the Jewish quarter, see the Western Wall.
Have lunch at one of the many cafes in the Old City and then head to one of the best markets in the country, the famous Machane Yehuda Market, which transforms into a nightlife hotspot in the evenings.
About a 20-minute drive south of Tel Aviv, Jaffa is a nice place to visit if you’re looking for a smaller, more intimate version of Tel Aviv with a very mixed population of Jews, Muslims and Christians.
Jaffa dates back to beyond biblical times as one of the world’s oldest ports. It is known for its bustling markets and its old-world charm mixed with modern-day restaurants and nightlife.
For beach lovers looking for a quieter, more exclusive vibe, then Herzliya is the perfect place for you.
Only a 30-minute drive north of Tel Aviv, the beaches of Herzliya have gorgeous white sandy beaches and significantly fewer crowds. The city is also known for surfing, shopping and nightlife.
Float in the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the Earth, experience the weightlessness of its salty water and coat yourself in the warm thick mud (make sure to choose a beach with sea mud!). The Dead Sea minerals like sodium, potassium and magnesium are renowned for their healing properties.
The Dead Sea is about a two-hour drive southwest of Tel Aviv. Due to their proximity to each other, the Dead Sea and the next two sights of Masada National Park and Ein Gedi Nature Reserve can all be done in a single day trip.
At Masada National Park, take a cable car (with older kids, you can also hike, which takes about 40 minutes) that will take you to explore the ruins of King Herod’s Palace, where you can explore the remains of the site and enjoy the panoramic views of the desert and the Dead Sea.
Thanks to the site’s UNESCO World Heritage List designation, many of the ruins remain intact to this day.
After Masada, head over to Ein Gedi Reserve, a 15-minute drive away. Ein Gedi Reserve is a lush oasis with cascading waterfalls and shaded cave pools. It is also one of the best spots for hiking in Israel; it has beautiful and serene nature walks.
This day trip covering Nazareth and Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee, is about a two-hour drive north of Tel Aviv and you’ll see holy sites, experience scrumptious street food and experience amazing views.
Nazareth is believed to be the childhood home of Jesus Christ. While here, visit the Church of the Annunciation, the Church of St Joseph, and explore the Old City.
After Nazareth, head west towards the Sea of Galilee. Along the way, you can stop at Cana where Jesus is believed to have turned water into wine.
The Sea of Galilee is where Jesus is said to have calmed the sea and walked on the water. Located on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee is Tiberias, named after the Roman emperor Tiberius and settled more than 2,000 years ago.
Tiberias is recognised as one of Judaism’s four holy cities and is popular amongst tourists and devoted locals. It is a resort town with beautiful natural scenery and architecture that is best described as aesthetically challenged.
A mile south of the town are the hot springs of Hammat Tiberias, famous for their curative powers for more than 3,000 years. Be sure to bring your bathing suit if you want to try some of the hot spring treatments.
You might want to combine Haifa, Caesarea, Akko and Rosh HaNikra into a full day-trip depending on how much you’d like to pack in. You can book an Israel day tour from Tel Aviv or self-drive. These sights are all located north of Tel Aviv along the Mediterranean coast and are wonderful options for things to do in northern Israel.
Haifa is Israel’s third-largest city and is best known for the Bahá’í Gardens. The city is nestled on the slopes of Mount Carmel and overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. Haifa also has gorgeous sandy beaches and a happening nightlife. Located an hour’s drive north of Tel Aviv you can easily reach Haifa by car, bus or train.
The Bahá’í Gardens is a UNESCO site and attracts more than half a million people every year. They are a series of lush, terraced gardens that slope along the northern side of Mount Carmel all the way up to the golden-domed Shrine of Báb, which was the final resting place of the Prophet-Herald of the Bahá’í Faith.
Also worth visiting in Haifa is the Cave of Elijah, a Jewish pilgrimage site where the prophet Elijah was said to have taken shelter; Mount Carmel National Park, which is the largest national park in Israel and a protected UNESCO biosphere reserve; and the Stella Maris Monastery, one of the oldest abbeys in the world, dating back to 1291 A.D.
Caesarea was a port city erected by Herod the Great in 21 B.C. and is one of Israel’s most impressive archaeological sites. It is located halfway between Tel Aviv and Haifa.
Here, you’ll find one of the largest Roman amphitheatres ever built. The huge archaeological park contains baths, a hippodrome by the sea, and a great port. A little north of the archaeological park, you will also find ruins of a Roman aqueduct perched at the edge of a gorgeous beach.
Akko (also known as Acre) is a 4000-year-old city located on the coast of the Mediterranean about 113 km north of Tel Aviv. By car, it takes about two and a half hours to drive. It has pretty cobbled-stone streets, colourful open-air markets, and a fishing port. The hummus served here is supposedly one of the best in the country.
The Old City of Akko has changed hands many times from Crusader to Byzantine rulers. You can still see remains of the Crusader town, as well as walls, mosques, and baths, from the Ottoman period. You can also go underground to the 350-metre-long (1,150-foot-long) Templar’s Tunnel, built by the Templars who settled in Akko in 1187.
After visiting Akko, a short 30-minute drive further north will take you to the amazing grottos of Rosh HaNikra. One of the most famous sites in Israel for its absolutely stunning naturally formed sandstone gorges, cave pools, and picture-perfect waterfalls. You can ride a cable car to the top and take in the gorgeous views of the sparkling Mediterranean waters below.
Zichron Ya’akov is a wine valley about an hour’s drive north of Tel Aviv. Located in the picturesque countryside of Mount Carmel, Zichron Ya’akov has a main street lined with cafes, restaurants and artsy stores.
Zichron Ya’akov is home to about 12 wineries where you can take tours and taste the wines. It’s a brilliant place to unwind and relax while enjoying amazing views.
More on Visiting Israel With Kids
We have a great selection of articles to help you plan your dream trip to Israel with your family.
We’d recommend starting with our guide, “Planning a Family Trip to Israel“, then for diving into more of the detail, things to do, and how to plan your days, we also recommend you check out:
- The Best Time to Visit Israel
- What to Wear: Packing For Your Trip to Israel
- Exploring Tel Aviv With Kids
- Hiking Adventures in Israel With Kids
- Best Things to Do in Jerusalem With Kids
- Fun Family Things to Do in Eilat on the Red Sea Coast
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