|| northern israel
Banias Nature Reserve Banias is two parks in one Banias Springs Park and Banias Falls Park. The lush natural spring was used by ancient tourists for medicinal purposes, and shrines were carved out of the cliff walls.
|Banias Falls It's an easy hike to the waterfalls on a wooden walkway (little kids can easily do it).
|Banias Springs After visiting the waterfall, drive to Banias Springs for a picnic lunch. Walk to the springs and and Cave of Pan with niches for the Greek gods. There are on-site picnic tables, and the path to the springs is stroller-friendly.
|Tip: The two entrances to the park are only about 5 minutes driving distance from one another, so it's easy to see both.
|Rafting on the Dan A number of kibbutzim and companies offer rafting down the Dan River. This is an unforgettable experience, and a must for families. The Dan River is shallow, but has a swift current and promises a fun, yet gentle trek. You can take canoes or rafts, depending on how many people in your group. The trip is generally around half an hour, and easy enough for a toddler, but still fun for teenagers. Don’t be afraid to jump out and swim (when the water is deep enough) or board another boat.
|Tel Dan Tel Dan is the site of the Iron Age Israelite city, surrounded by an impressive circuit of walls, and preserving a large altar at its center. This was the northern most Israelite settlement, and often changed hands between the Israelites and the Arameans in modern day Syria. It is an excellently preserved example of a large and prosperous border city, well fortified and well preserved.
|Beit Ussishkin, Kibbutz Dan – If you're a real nature lover (or just need a break from archaeology and history) check out this nature center. There are exhibits on Upper Galilee flora, fauna, scenery, and rock formations. An multimedia exhibit covers both the natural features of the region and the settlement of the area.
|Nimrod Fortress National Park This is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Israel, located high on a mountain that guards the approach to Damascus. Originally built by Saladin's nephew in 1229, most of the visible fortifications date from the Egyptian Baibars, who captured the fortress in 1230. This fort is still surprisingly intact, and offers an incredible view of the Golan, as well as a medieval adventure for anyone who explores its halls. Open daily.
|Ein Qiniyye A Druze village where you'll enjoy their famous pita breads, baklava and rich coffee. Have a picnic at the tomb of Nebi Hazuri and don't miss the exhibits of Druze life.
|Neve Ativ A great town for art galleries and artisan workshops, especially for glass crafts (tea glasses, glass bowls). The kids will enjoy watching the local artisans at work in many spots.
|Mount Hermon The highest point in Israel, a ski resort in winter and a hiker's paradise the rest of the year. Drive across the flat land and, in the distance, Mount Hermon rises up unexpectedly. The chair lifts run all year long but even in summer you'll need a sweater in the evenings a rarity in Israel. The mountain offers beautiful views of Lebanon, the Galilee, and the Golan.
|Skiing Skiing in Israel? If your family loves to ski and you're in Israel in winter, imagine the looks you get when you show the pictures to the folks back home. The skiing (and snowboarding) has been compared to New England: you might find powder or ice check out Nahal Sion, one of the better areas and go on a weekday. It's the only ski resort in Israel, so on Saturdays the slopes here are crowded. Ski equipment rentals and lessons are available for kids and adults.
|Hula Valley Nature Reserve The Hula Valley was once a large swamp, home to an incredible diversity of animals and migratory birds. The swamp was drained during the early 20th century but restored due to its critical importance for bird migration, and became Israel’s first nature reserve. During the seasonal migration, expect to see an incredible amount of "traveling" birds, alongside water buffalo, turtles, and fish.
Dag on the Dan – One of the best and most well known restaurants in the Golan, Dag on the Dan offers incredible seafood, and an incredible location to match. Not too pricy, but high quality dining and great service is offered literally alongside the Dan River (small enough to be a creek in this location), so you can watch the fish that they catch and serve to you!