UPDATED 2021: Eilat is the ultimate vacation travel destination in Israel for families. From fun-in-the-sun attractions to unique desert activities, Eilat has it all for families of all ages! Incredible hotels, delicious eateries and entertaining day trips – what more could you ask for on a family holiday? So let’s dive right in to the Ultimate Eilat Travel Guide for Families with a few questions I’ve received about traveling to Eilat….
Eilat is Israel’s southernmost city, bordering with both Jordan and Egypt and lies on the gorgeous Red Sea. It is located in the Negev Desert as surrounding mountains contrasting with the blue sea make for picturesque moments and unforgettable memories.
One of the many questions I receive is, “Is it safe to travel with my family to Israel?” And my answer is, “Yes!”. Eilat is an extremely safe city to vacation in, despite all the rumors about Israel. Yes, there are tensions around the world at any given time, and travelers should be aware of any current issues wherever they visit.
What makes Eilat such a great family vacation choice is all the activities for kids. Whether it’s indoors or outdoors, water or desert, Eilat has a bit of everything for kids of all ages. The warm weather gives way for day and night activities, year round.
The absolute best time to travel to Eilat is from September to November or April to May, when the weather is fantastic, sunny and warm. Temperatures range from high 20’s to mid 30’s Celcius. The summer high months (June to August) can be extremely hot, ranging in the high 30’s to 40’s Celcius. If you’re not into the heat, visiting during December – March might be the ideal time when temperatures lower down to the low 20’s Celsius.
If you’re arriving to Eilat from abroad, there are two options. You can either fly into Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv and then take a short, 30-minute flight down to Eilat or if you’re flying from Europe, there are now direct flights to Eilat’s new airport, the Ramon International Airport Eilat. You can even find some cheap flights directly to the new airport on Wizz and RyanAir.
If you’re arriving from inside Israel, there are many options available for you. You can take a short flight from Ben Gurion airport just outside Tel Aviv and arrive in about 30 minutes or you can opt for the scenic route.
From Tel Aviv, it’s around a 4 hour drive with incredible desert views on the way. You’ll pass the Dead Sea and Mitspe Rimon, depending on the route you take. You can either rent a car, or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can take a bus down. It’s a longer trip, and not as comfortable, but it’s the cheapest mode of transportation at around 75 shekels.
There are so many options when it comes to lodging in Eilat for families. Hotels, resorts, bungalows, Airbnb’s, RV/camping lots and beduin tents make up the unique experience of staying in Eilat. Depending on your family budget, there’s a great option for you.
Royal Beach is one of the TOP hotels in Eilat and reasonably so. The hotel pretty much offers everything you could ever want on a family vacation, including the perfect location. But that luxury also comes with a price – and it’s not cheap! We actually stayed at the Royal Beach as my birthday celebration, but we usually wouldn’t pay that much for a hotel.
The best features of the hotel for a family are definitely the pools – all 4 of them! We spent an entire day lounging poolside, which is unheard of for us! They also have a fantastic kids club with daily activities and a teen space with tons of video and arcade games. Mia could have stayed in the kids club all day if we let her.
The breakfast is another amazing feature. There’s really nothing they don’t have – the selection is incredible. And the service is top-notch. We actually requested to switch rooms after being placed in a beautiful “business suite,” which was amazing but not exactly child-friendly. They immediately gave us a different room, spacious with a large balcony overlooking the pool.
The Dan Eilat hotel provides the ultimate luxury family experience. The hotel offers everything your family needs on a family vacation. Located directly on the beach and the boardwalk, the location is perfect. You can walk to most restaurants and attractions or eat at one of the restaurants inside the hotel.
The 5-star hotel offers nothing short of a 5-star experience. The rooms are spacious and luxurious, providing 24/7 personal service, top of the line toiletries and many extras to make your stay extra special. The views from the rooms are spectacular, adding to the overall ambiance of your vacation.
The hotel’s pool is fantastic, and includes a waterslide, pool bar, kiddie pool and great service. Perfect for kids of all ages! What’s awesome about the Dan Eilat is the kids club options for all ages (toddlers – teens). Our toddler absolutely LOVED the kids club area, which included daily activities and supervision as well. For older kids, there provide rooms with Playstations, Band Hero, Wii and Xbox as well as ping pong, pool and more.
View this post on Instagram
The Royal Shangri-la, Eilat is definitely a luxury hotel with the best views of the Red Sea. That being said, it was also probably the least “kid-friendly”, as far as amenities for children. If you’re looking for a hotel with kids activities and playrooms, this might not be your first choice. But, honestly, our 3-year old absolutely LOVED it!
There are 2 pools to choose from, one infinity pool overlooking the Sea and one deeper inside the resort. Both are very nice. The accommodations were fantastic – luxurious villas with a rustic feel. They have family villas with a loft for the kids, which are perfect for small sized-families. They also have larger family villas for larger-sized families.
One of the benefits of the Royal Shangri-la is the all day buffet, which is included in the price of the stay. You can literally come in anytime you want for drinks, snacks or a meal – and the selections were incredible!
We stayed at the Royal Shangri-la when hotels in Eilat started opening up after the COVID-19 shutdown, and their safety and hygiene measures were top notch. We never once felt worried during our time there.
The Queen Sheba oozes luxury, from her lantern-styled elevators to her insanely luxurious rooms. Sometimes people equate luxury to “non-kids” vacation, but it couldn’t be farther from the truth. We stayed at the Queen when Mia had just turned one, and we all had a fabulous time!
The 5-star hotel is located at the very center of the action – right on the harbor and sea. The pools and amenities are tip top, providing your family hours of fun. The kids playroom is great for kids of all ages, with activities and supervision throughout the day. Mia particularly loved the ball pit – what toddler doesn’t love a ball pit!
The food at the Queen is definitely something to write home about. The morning breakfast selection was so fast, fit for the Queen, herself. We were in heaven with the insane amount of choices available. And in addition, they offer a number of culinary options for guests to enjoy.
The time at the Orchid was one of our favorite stays in Eilat. Nestled in the desert mountains and facing the Red Sea, the unique location makes for a relaxing getaway. The Tai-styled resort has the feel of Asian bungalows with modern amenities.
What makes it special is the tuk-tuk transportation throughout the resort for door-to-door service wherever you go. This was the one feature that Mia talked about the most and she would even sit outside our bungalow, waiting for tuk-tuks to drive by.
It’s a fantastic location for kids, with incredible pools, kids club, kids activities throughout the day and an incredible breakfast buffet selection. It’s conveniently located close to the Dolphin Reef and the Underwater Observatory Marine Park.
The best part of the Agamim hotel is definitely the pools! Stepping out the door to a private pool cabana on the lower level is absolute heaven. And kids love the “lazy river” pool that circles the entire hotel. We loved the pool so much that we spent most of our vacation at our own hotel!
The rooms are nice and spacious and the included breakfast was delicious with lots of choices. Although it’s not located directly on the boardwalk, it’s close enough with just a 5 minute walk and near the Ice Mall and other fun, outdoor activities. And while the kids are splashing around in the pool, parents can enjoy the spa or gym.
Placed directly on the harbor, the views from the Crowne Plaza hotel are superb! The rooms are large, great for families and the balconies are awesome. Mia even had a blast riding her little bike around the room. The hotel recently went through renovation (as we know personally since it was going on when we stayed there), which added a modern touch to the rooms.
The location is great, close to just about everything. For us this was such a plus as we were out and about all the time during our stay – perfect for coming back and forth for nap time. Breakfast offers a plethora of choices, suitable for the whole family. The pool is large and especially nice during a hot month stay.
The Americana is a nice hotel to stay at for a family on a budget. It still offers great amenities, but at a lower price than the luxury hotels. We really enjoyed our stay at the Americana – it was a pleasant getaway with only a short skip and a jump to the main boardwalk.
What’s nice about the Americana is they offer small ‘bungalows’ with a garden on the property. Kids can get out and play in the grassy areas, and in the summer months they offer kids activities. The morning Israeli breakfast was delightful, with plenty of options for everyone.
If you’re an adventurous family, looking for the unique Eilat for families adventure of camping on the Red Sea, there are a few options for you. From RV’s on the Sea to camping in a tent in the desert, you can find something for your family. The Yotveta Hi Bar Nature Reserve offers the chance to sleep under the stars while seeing desert animals in the area. There’s also options close to the water, like the Eilat Field School, located right across from the Coral Reef Nature Reserve.
Eilat lies directly on the gorgeous Red Sea, making it the ultimate location for fun water activities. If you visit during high season, participating in water activities is a must for your family vacation.
I’ve been to Eilat numerous times and one of my TOP experiences has been diving with dolphins. The Dolphin Reef offers various packages from diving, snorkeling, supportive experience for kids and just soaking up the sun in the presence of these majestic creatures. It’s an opportunity that you and your family will never forget!
Dolphin Reef Tip: If you plan on diving with the dolphins, get the full day pass at the Dolphin Reef. It will save you money and you’ll have access to everything for the entire day.
Another awesome experience in Eilat for families is taking a boat cruise that explores the Red Sea. There are many cruises to choose from, but our favorite – by far – was the Galaxy. It has a special underwater viewing area that gives a glimpse into the underwater sea life. It’s great for kids (and adults) of all ages. Our daughter still talks about it!
Boat Cruise Tips: Check out Groupon deals in Eilat for a discount before you book directly from them. They are frequently offering deals there.
Renting jet skis or taking out a boat for tubing is a popular choice for many families in Eilat. It’s a great way to have some fun in the sun and a chance to spend time on the water. During the day, the Sea is filled with boats, jet skis, tubes and waterslides – all for a pretty good price.
Jet Skis Tip: If you are staying in a hotel, ask them about deals for jet skis/tubing. Most hotels offer special prices for these types of activities.
View this post on Instagram
The Red Sea has been known for some of the best snorkeling and diving in the area. If underwater life is something your family is interested in, this is a great place to dive right in! There are many locations to rent scuba or snorkeling gear, including the Dolphin Reef, Coral Beach Nature Reserve, Shulamit’s Diving Adventures, Red Sea Lucky Divers and Manta Diving Center.
Diving Tip: If you’re a beginner diver, many places offer one-time dive sessions before getting in the water. Ask if this is available before choosing a site.
The Underwater Observatory Marine Park is a unique experience where you can see sharks, exotic fish, sea turtles and more sea life up close and personal. You can also spot tremendous views of the Red Sea and the coast as well as Jordan. It’s an educational and learning opportunity to learn all about marine life and the conservation of it. It’s an Eilat for families activity that I highly recommend.
Marine Park Tip: Make sure you block off at least a half day to spend at the park. There are many special educational activities that you don’t want to miss.
What’s a trip to the Negev Desert without a camel ride? Although camels do roam freely throughout the desert, there are places where you can take an organized ride with your family. The Camel Ranch is a great place for families to enjoy a day with these desert dwellers. They also offer other family activities, such as Donkey cart rides, ropes course, bungee and a bedouin dinner experience. We took a two-hour sunset camel ride with the bedouin experience and it was so awesome! Your family will love it!
Camel Riding Tips: I highly recommend taking a camel ride later in the day, closer to evening. This gives you the opportunity to see a sunset and ride when it’s not so hot.
Ice skating in the middle of the desert? Yep! It’s probably one of the most randomly cool things about Eilat. Not only can you ice skate at a full sized rink, it happens to be located in the middle of a mall! Lace up your skates and enjoy a day of skating and shopping – all in one! It’s one of the most unique experiences you’ll ever have!
Ice Skating Tips: Bring a pair of heavy socks with you. You can rent them, but it’s nicer to be wearing your own. 🙂
If you’re an adventurous family, an afternoon of dune buggying in the desert is right up your alley. Explore the Isreali desert while riding around and biting up dust. We had such a blast with our dune buggy fun! Our tour took us on a trip to the Jordan border where we explored bunkers from past wars and lots of sand traps.
Dune Buggie Tip: Wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty and a hat. You will be filled with dust when you return and you might end up looking 20 years older with dusty hair. LOL
If you’re looking for the real, Israeli Eilat experience then head over to Yusef’s tent for his famous humus and Beduin tea. Take a seat and relax on the couches while you take in the incredible view and munch on what the Mediterranean is best known for – yummy, yummy humus. It’s next to Coral Beach Resort, across from the Coral Beach and you’re not likely to miss it.
If you’re feeling a little bit nostalgic and just want some good ol’ American food, beer and a game of pool head on over to Mike’s Place. They usually have a live band at night and a good theme night throughout the week. They also celebrate holidays, so if you find yourself missing out on American holidays, you can get your fix here.
Three Monkeys is the place to be for nighttime entertainment in Eilat. Live music, dancing and lots of drinks! What else could you ask for? 3 Monkeys is always packed and ready for a night of crazy music. So put on your pair of dancing shoes and get ready for some fun, Mediterranean music – even if most of it is in English!
If it’s a beach atmosphere you’re looking for, there’s lots of restaurant right on the beach to choose from. There is pretty much everything from Mediterranean, Asian, American and of course, coffee shops. Pull up a chair and enjoy some Vitamin Sea!
Nights in Eilat are really something special as the prominade comes alive. From amusement rides to yummy food, there’s something for everyone. We love walking around, taking it all in and enjoying the vacation vibe. Plus, it’s nice to be able to walk around Eilat outside of the sweltering heat.
Timna Park is the ultimate desert hikers dream, and it’s literally right around the corner of Eilat. Nesteled inside the desert you will find incredible views, amazing desert mountains and lots of trails to follow. For those who still want to see the awesomeness without hiking, you can also drive your car through the main roads.
Timna Tip: Timna is another place where sunsets are to die for! Plan on staying for the sunset and you won’t be disappointed.
Seeing that Petra, one of the 7 Wonders of the World, is just a hop, skip and jump away from Eilat, doing a day trip to Petra is on many’s lists. There are lots of options, including day tour guides, arriving at the border and taking a taxi across or pairing it with other Jordan destinations. You’ll have to cross into Jordan, but you don’t need an extra visa to do so.
Petra Tip: Avoid falling into the tourist traps inside Petra. There will be many kids trying to sell you donkey trips. It’s really not worth it and they mistreat those donkeys horribly.
Aqaba, Jordan has some of the best diving in the region and many serious divers who dive in Eilat also cross the border to dive in Aqaba as well. Diving companies such as Dive Aqaba, Aqaba Adventure Divers and the Red Sea Dive Center all offer all types of dives in the Red Sea as well as lodging for overnight stays.
Aquaba Tip: If you’re just heading to Aqaba for a day trip, leave as early as possible. Sometimes the border can take a bit of time, so avoid the rush.
Wadi Rum in another incredible desert experience, located just across the border. Famous for its red rocks and insane desert views, Wadi Rum was also the setting for Lawrence of Arabia. There are a variety of experiences you can pick from – day trips, overnight stays at a bedouin camp, jeep and walking tours. Anyone you choose will be fantastic! We stayed at a bedouin camp overnight, which was incredible.
Wadi Rum Tip: If you’re traveling with young kids, the day/overnight stay at a bedouin camp is your best option. Hiking is the desert all day long will probably be way too much for them.
There are many options for bedouin camps in the Negev. In case you’re wondering, “What is a bedouin?” – a bedouin is a group of nomadic tribes that continue to live in the desert with their own traditions. They’ve been living in the desert for thousands of years.
Spending the night and experiencing the true bedouin lifestyle is an Eilat for families travel experience your family will never forget. Sleep under the stars in open tents and eat over the open fire with authentic bedouin food. Sites range from simple to luxury, depending on your family’s style. Companies like the Desert Eco Tours offer many tours in the Sinai as well as in Jordan and all around Israel.
Bedouin Camp Tip: Before you book, make sure you’ve chosen a camp that is recommended by others. It can be from your hotel, tour group or online – just to be safe
As you can see, there’s TONS to see and do in Eilat for families. Whether you stay for a week or just a couple days, there’s plenty to keep you busy and entertained. I’ve personally been to Eilat many, many times – by myself, with my husband and again, multiple times with our family. Mia, who is now almost 3, has been going to Eilat since she was a baby. And she always loves it! It’s a great family getaway!