Tour Israel: Summer is awesome at the Kinneret

For years, Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) has served as a great attraction for young Israelis, especially during the summer months. But there are plenty of attractions for families, too.

THE DARIA Resort vacation village is situated on Haon Beach. (photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
THE DARIA Resort vacation village is situated on Haon Beach.
(photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
I’ve been so excited about last winter’s copious rainfall, which caused the Kinneret to rise to levels it hasn’t reached in years. And so we decided the time has come to go check out Israel’s most beautiful lake ourselves.
For years, Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) has served as a great attraction for young Israelis, especially during the summer months. But there are plenty of attractions for families, too.
The Kinneret is a national gem, and the entire surrounding area is full of intriguing historical and natural sites worth visiting.
Summertime can be a tricky time to find exciting activities to do with the kids that don’t break the bank and are enjoyable for parents, too. One place that fits the bill is Daria Resort, a vacation village situated right on Haon Beach. Formerly called Kinneret Village, it just reopened under the new management of the Olive Hotel chain.
Located right on the shore of the Kinneret, Daria offers four different types of rooms, all of which are surrounded by luscious green lawns and have an incredible view and, of course, direct access to the water. The modest rooms are beautifully done. They include a couch that opens up into a bed for the kids to sleep on at night and a separate bedroom for parents. The kitchen is fully equipped, and each room also has its own balcony with an awning. Outside, you’ll find a large barbecue station that’s all ready for you to grill a nice dinner for the whole family. There are tables and chairs set up for meals outside and plenty of space so families don’t feel like they’re all on top of each other.
The barbecue station is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and some evenings there are activities and workshops with well-known chefs, who are happy to offer tips and trade secrets with people staying at the vacation village. Rooms come with a complimentary breakfast, and guests are welcome to upgrade their stay with lunches and dinners, which are also available on-site.
One of the best parts of Daria Resort is all the fun activities for kids. There are moonbounces, an arts and crafts corner, live performances, beach games, movies for kids – and movies for their parents, too! There’s even a bonfire with roasted potatoes and folktales with musical accompaniment. And after the kids go to sleep, parents are invited to come down to the beach and taste a variety of local boutique beers and wines. Please note, though, that bonfires are not allowed on Friday night and all day Shabbat.
Don’t forget that the Kinneret is only a two-minute walk from the village, and there are plenty of beach chairs, umbrellas and, of course, a lifeguard on duty. The section of water in front of the village is enclosed just for Daria guests, and so it feels like you are swimming in your own private lagoon. This is wonderful if you have kids, since it’s much easier to keep track of all the little ones.
The streets, roundabouts and meeting halls in the village were all named for Israeli artists, and there are signs that explain who each artist is and which artworks they created. There are even spots where you can hear famous Israeli songs playing in the background.
If you’re in the mood for a romantic evening stroll, you can always put the kids to bed, grab some snacks and go for a walk along the promenade, where you can enjoy the cool night air and soothing sound of the waves. There are benches scattered along the promenade where you can sit and enjoy the quiet pastoral vacation atmosphere.
If you have older kids or you’re looking for a little more adventure, I recommend renting an all-terrain vehicle and traveling up into the hills of the Golan Heights or driving around the Kinneret near the waterline. These are guided tours, but you drive your own off-road vehicle. The 75-minute tours will provide you with an unforgettable experience. The price is NIS 550 for a four-person car.
If you’re into maritime sports, you’re in luck. There’s water yoga, SUP surfing (NIS 120 per hour), and kayaking (NIS 60 per person in a double kayak), which is fun and safe for the young, as well as for the young at heart. Kids just love being pulled behind a boat on an inner tube or a towable banana boat. If you’re looking for some nonaquatic adventures, you can take a jeep ride or rent a club car or Segway.
OTHER GREAT places to visit with kids is LOL-ART in Ramot (on the eastern shore of the Kinneret), Saba Yossi’s Wood Workshop in Kibbutz Ein Gev, the Time 2 Escape Room, or the Eli Cohen Path, which links eight different stations with audio explanations of how the famous Israeli spy met with “friends” who were high-ranking Syrian officers. The first station is located in the Hamat Gader parking area and the last station is near Kibbutz Merom Golan.
Another option is to drive around to the other side of the Kinneret and visit the city of Tiberias. I recommend taking a private guide so that you can enjoy and learn from the endless stories about this fascinating historic town.
If you like visiting places with lots of hands-on activity, I recommend making a stop at Eretz Gshur, where you can see how its olive press produces such quality award-winning olive oil. Perhaps it’s due to the fertile Golan Heights soil?
Alternatively, you can taste some amazing Golan Heights wines, learn how shofars are made and how many things can be made from lemons in Givat Yoav, or be treated to some sweet fruit preserves in Kidmat Zvi.
Location: Daria Resort, Haon Beach.
Prices: Midweek, double occupancy, including breakfast, NIS 600. Weekends, NIS 750. Each child, additional NIS 150.

Translated by Hannah Hochner.