State of Israel – the country of juxtapositions. It’s overflowing with historical sites of important religious significance, yet it plays host to one of the most well-known gay pride celebrations in the world. The Red Sea, the Dead Sea, the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea all touch its land, but deserts blanket well over half its surface. It’s home to the lowest point on Earth, The Dead Sea, that can be viewed from atop a mountainside fortress. Contemporary and ancient exist cohesively, each respecting the other. It’s small, roughly the size of the United States’ 5th smallest state, New Jersey, but within its borders, you can sunbathe, take a salty float, ski, hike, immerse yourself in history and well, just read on for more. We’ll tell you why this destination that may never have been on your family travel radar should actually top the list.

Take the adventures off road: Negev Desert Jeep Tour

Every once in a while you meet a person who so epitomizes the work they do, you can't imagine them doing anything else. That would describe Arthur du Mosch, the Crocodile Dundee of the desert, to a t. Originally from the Netherlands, he arrived in Israel in 1985 as an Ecology student and never left. He's somewhat of an expert on the Negev Desert and the animals you'll find, having studied them for many years. He now leads 4x4 tours and hiking and horseback riding excursions with an option to take survival courses or sleep under the stars in the desert. His tours are completely customizable in terms of focus, he can touch on everything from religious history to ecology, time spent, which can range from a couple hours to a couple weeks and location, with options to visit Jerusalem, Galilee and the Dead Sea.

Oh, and, no need to be worried about safety while sleeping in the desert, he once caught a leopard with his bare hands when it showed up in his bedroom.


photo: backseat driving in the Range Rover via Maria Chambers

Have you had the opportunity to visit Israel? We’d love to hear about your experience in the Comments below.

— Maria Chambers

This trip, including hotel stays, food and activities, was paid for by Israel’s Ministry of Travel.