by Yael Adar
Israel has 189 kilometers of coastline and 70% of the population lives near the coast. Going to the beach is a favorite pastime, for both natives and tourists. Many tourists’ frequent Tel Aviv’s beaches (since so many hotels are located so close to the beach), but these tend to be terribly crowded.
If you want a slightly different experience, try Nitzanim Beach, which is only a 30-40 minute drive from Tel Aviv and can be combined with an outing to one of the other points of interest featured in this issue. The beach is located about mid-way between Ashdod and Ashkelon and has showers, a place to change, restrooms, and a restaurant that offers light refreshments.
Nitzanim Beach also offers an added attraction few beaches can offer. Right before you reach the beach there is a small pond (on the right), outfitted with pedal boats for rent, and will surely please those traveling with young children. You can even go for a ‘hike’ in the pond – strolling right in the water (in which case you should have waterproof sandals). Off-season the paddleboats at the pond will most likely not operate (even on a recent September visit, the place was deserted).
Nitzanim is a kibbutz (located nearby). During the War of Independence 37 of Nitzanim’s 141 members were killed, the settlement was captured by Egyptian forces and some of its members were captured as POWs. In 1951, a new settlement was established 1.8 miles/3 kilometers to the south. In 1983, a Field School (belonging to the Society for Protection of Nature in Israel) was established in a building known as the ‘castle’, where Nitzanim’s fighters and wounded congregated during the 1948 battle. Near the Field School, is a memorial commemorating women who fell in the various conflicts. The memorial is called Andarta La’lochemet Ha’Ivria.
Whether you plan your visit for winter or summer, a visit to Nitzanim Beach should prove to be quite enjoyable.
Directions: From Tel Aviv, take Route # 4 south until you reach Nitzanim junction. Make a right onto Route # 3631. To go directly to the beach, go straight; the beach is at the end of the road (note the road veers slightly to the left). To get to the memorial (and the Shikmim Field School), turn right after the turn-off to route # 3631.
Entry fees apply.