One of the most expensive aspects of a trip to Israel is the accommodation. In this guide I’m going to focus on camping in Israel, which is one of the affordable ways to stay in Israel. Where can you camp, how much should you expect to pay and some basic guidelines- all in this ultimate guide to camping in Israel.
Most of the camping sites are located in the Israeli wild areas, so camping could be perfect for those of you who are interested in hiking through Israel. In the major cities, you might be able to find a few camping sites within or near the city, but most of those sites would require payment. Though, in Eilat, for example, there are areas where you can camp for free. More on camping in Eilat in my post – Camping Sites In and Around Eilat.
Camping Tips for Israel:
- Always keep an eye on your valuables.
- Don’t camp under an eucalyptus tree. Their branches are huge and there were some tragic incidents of eucalyptus branches falling on people and killing them. If you’re not sure how an eucalyptus looks like, just don’t camp under any tree,
- Bring a trash bag with you and clean after yourselves. There aren’t trash cans in all of the camping sites and it’s important not to leave anything after us.
In the desert area – If you are camping on a wide open space, try to mark your tent with something that shines in the dark, so that jeeps won’t drive over you at night. Also, if there are flood hazards, do not camp near wadi openings. You can check about floods by phoning *3639 through an Israeli phone or +972-2-5006261 through a non-Israeli phone. And if you’re camping in the desert in the winter, pack a lot of layers so you won’t get cold!
In the Carmel area – Keep in mind that the Carmel is full of warthogs, which means you might stumble into some while camping, especially after dark. Keep calm and don’t attemp to approach them.
Free Camping Sites in Israel:
There are dozens of free camping sites in Israel, most of them in the Negev region, the Israeli desert. The free camping sites are managed by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) and the Jewish National Fund (KKL).
Most of those camping sites are referred to as “sign sites”, because the only thing that seperates them from any other empty piece of land in Israel is the sign that stands there and tells you that you’ve arrived at a camping site (if there’s no English, then it will be written in Hebrew – “חניון לילה”). In most of the free camping sites there are no facilities at all – no water, no toilets, no lights at night. This means it’s just you and the nature. Keep that in mind when getting ready to your trip. Bring enough water and a flashlight.
Here is a map I made of most of the free camping sites in Israel, managed by INPA or KKL. If you see something missing, please let me know:
If you’re hiking on the Israel National Trail, there are also camping options and free accommodation options for you in several settlements along the way. Check out “Israel National Trail Angels“.
Basic guidelines for camping in free camping sites:
- It is important to camp only in the designated area. If you will not camp in the boundaries of the camping site, you might frighten the animals that live in the area and disrupt their lifestyle.
- Bring a trash bag with you. Clean after yourselves and if you see that someone has left trash behind, it would be nice if you could clean their mess as well. We don’t want to harm the wildlife by leaving trash.
- If you’re travelling with a dog, make sure that it is on a leash and a muzzle. It might seem that a dog cannot harm the eco-system, but the truth is that it does.
- Light a fire only if you see a designated place for a fireplace, and always make sure to turn off the fire before going to sleep or leaving the camping site.
- You are the only ones responsible for your safety in the camping sites, so make sure to not get off the marked trails, keep an eye on your valuables and of course be conscious. The camping sites are quite safe, but you should always be alert!
Camping Sites with a Camping Fee in Israel:
Alongside the free camping sites, there are also dozens of campings sites in Israel, which require a camping fee. Here are the main types of camping places that require a camping fee:
INPA camping sites with entrance fees:
The INPA has free camping sites, but also has some sites which require a camping fee. Those sites are usually situated in the INPA reserves and offer much more facilities, including toilets, showers, water, a field kitchen and even electrical outlets.
It is not allowed to enter with a dog and you must reserve your camping space before coming. When reserving a place, you can either choose the option of bringing your own tent (which should cost you around 55 ILS) or using a tent that is on the site (which should cost you around 80 ILS). Those prices include entrance to the national park or nature park that the camping site is located inside or adjacent to, which means it’s quite worth the money. Not all campsites are open all year round, so make sure to check the details before you get too excited.
For the full list of those camping sites, check out INPA’s website. For some reason, I couldn’t find the Hai Bar Yotvata Camping Site there, but it exists as far as I know. To read about the Hai Bar Yotvata Camping Site – visit it’s official webpage.
To reserve a camping place, you can contact the INPA through the email firstname.lastname@example.org or through their FB page.
Here is a video made by the INPA, which shows a bit of their camping sites that require entrance fee:
There are about 10 field schools throughout Israel, managed by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel. Most of their field schools are located in the northern part of Israel, but you can still find some in the southern part, including Eilat and Mitzpe Ramon. Those field schools have regular rooms for accommodation, but some of them also offer a camping area for those of you coming with their own tents. It costs around 50 ILS per night, but it lets you camp in a protected area.
To get more info about the field schools and contact information for asking about camping options – check out this website.
Private camping sites:
Aside from the main organizations, there are also private entities, who have opened a camping site in Israel. For example, Timna Park has a private camping site. They charge 104 ILS for a night with your own tent, including entrance to the park.
There are also many khans and private farms, which offer a place for camping with your own tents or their tents. For example, I’ve stayed in the Hadkalim Farm during my visit in the Western Negev.
If you would like to find more private camping sites, chat with me on my Facebook page – Backpack Israel – or send me an email to email@example.com and I’ll try to help.
Wishing you a great camping trip!
Did I forget anything important? Do you have any camping tips to add? Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and update me.
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