The Dead Sea in Israel is about an hour and a half away from central Jerusalem by car. There are at least two free beaches at the Dead Sea in Israel, so read this post to find out where they are. I left Jerusalem early in the morning and drove to the Dead Sea looking for free beaches. Unfortunately, most beaches are fenced off by private firms but there are plenty of spots where you can bath for free.
The post is part of a series – check out the full Israel Road Trip Itinerary
I marked these up on the map below for you – directions and description, plus a video are underneath the map:
I found the first off-the-beaten-path bathing spot on the Dead Sea after the military checkpoint as you are driving south towards Eilat. If you are coming from the direction of Jerusalem, the military checkpoint will be about half an hour after the petrol station where you turned right onto Highway 90.
Drive another 500 meters after the checkpoint and park up your car on the road side. Cross the road and walk down to the sea where you will most likely find other people enjoy this free Dead Sea Beach.
The Military Checkpoint
Once you crossed the checkpoint coming from Jerusalem just pull over by the road, park your car up and then go down to have a free bath. I did the same as I did not want to pay for the other beaches because they start at around 60 shekels per person for an adult. I thought that was a complete rip off so I went looking for a free beach and this is what I have found. It is right after the check point and it is about five minutes walk from the road.
This free Dead Sea beach is completely unofficial but the Dead Sea looks exactly the same here as in the official photographs from the public beaches. So I went down to see what it was like.
The Danger of Sink Holes
There is a danger of sink holes here because of natural degradation of the soil and excessive water use elsewhere, but the same danger applies in other parts of the Dead Sea, be it a free beach or a paid-for.
I will be honest – I was a bit scared of the sink holes but I suppose the other beaches where you pay are also in danger of sinkholes – but the owners tell you that you should not be worried because you have paid for your ticket! Well, I am not like that and the earth did not open underneath me so it is pretty much all safe. The same accidents could also happen at an official beach where you have paid for a ticket so just go on and save some money!
Wear A Pair of Goggles And A Hat
I was always wearing my big cap to give me a bit of shade – I also bought a pair of goggles at the nearby petrol station to stop the water going in my eyes. I also had a pair of beach shoes to protect my sole because the soil here is a bit rough.
It was quite a fascinating experience floating on the water although it was a bit itchy because I had some blisters on my feet from all the walking but other than that it was great.
The problem is, because it is a free beach there are no fresh water taps or showers (or toilets) to clean your eyes out in case the sale water goes in – so always be on the safe side and keep the water away from your eyes!
Overall, I had a great time here but it got too hot to stay around so I hopped back in the car and drove down to Ein Bokek.
Ein Bokek – Best Free Beach by the Dead Sea
Ein Bokek is by far the best free beach at the Dead Sea in Israel! Ein Bokek is about half an hour away from the military checkpoint with ample parking, food and shops to enjoy a long weekend.
I stayed at nearby Camp Lodge Ein Gedi, a simple camp site with air conditioned shared tents, a bar and a restaurant selling pizza. I got up early, walked up to Masada and then spent the afternoon at Ein Bokek beach.
There were various showers, a sandy beach and also a couple of shaded artificial islands in the water to protect against the sun.
Ein Bokek is actually free, all you need to pay for is the car park if you are driving. But if you take the bus there is absolutely nothing to pay for. I spent a couple of hours here and then drove straight down to Eilat.
What fascinated me most was the amount of salt everywhere! All I needed to do was reach down to the bottom of the sea and there it was everywhere! The salt comes out like crystals in all shapes and forms like cubes, hexagons and so on.