We made a huge splash at our third national park visit at Coral Reef Nature Reserve in our National Park Challenge. Our goal is to visit every national park (NP) in Israel. We are also photo documenting all of our adventures via our Instagram account – Hochdorf family adventures. Join us as we dive into one of the most incredible nature reserves in Israel: Coral Reef Nature Reserve.
Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority was put in place to protect Israel’s natural, historical and heritage treasures throughout the land. Spread across the country, there are currently 81 national parks and reserves to be explored.
The Coral Reef Nature Reserve contains the ONLY coral reefs in Israel and with it some unique seal life that can only be found here. The nature reserve makes great strides to protect the reefs, sea grass carpets and the waters of young sea creatures that populate the coral reef.
The Coral Reef is located in the Red Sea, Eilat, the southern-most city in Israel. It is opposite of the Eilat Field School on the sea road from Eilat to the Taba border-crossing. If you’re coming from the main hotel area, simply follow the 90 south. It’s in between the Dolphin Reef and the Underwater Observatory.
Waze Location: Coral Reef Nature Reserve
The reserve’s entrance hours are divided into two different schedules: winter and summer.
Sunday – Thursday and Saturday: 9:00 – 18:00; Friday: 09:00 – 17:00
Sunday – Thursday and Saturday: 09:00 – 17:00; Friday: 09:00 – 16:00
Reserve Hours Tip: During the summer, arrive either early in the morning or closer toward the end of the day to avoid the intense summer heat.
The price of an adult to enter is ₪35.00 (shekels), and children ages 5-17 is ₪21.00. Children under the age of 5 are free. But with our yearly National Park Pass, we entered for free with our access to all national parks for a year.
Price Tip: We highly suggest purchasing the yearly pass, especially for a family visiting multiple parks a year. The pass will pay for itself after just a couple of parks.
The great thing about Eilat is the year-round warm weather. Summer temps can be sweltering and reach up to 40C, so if you’re looking to visit in the summer, plan on arriving early.
Winter temps can dip down to 10-15C, but the water is still doable by wearing a wetsuit (or being a brave swimmer!)
We take trips to Eilat all year round, and for us, the best time to get in the water is from April-October, although during the summer months of June-August, we only go to the beach in the early morning or late evening hours to avoid the peak sun.
If your kids love the water and sea life, the Coral Reef is fantastic for children. The swimming area off of the dock is deep, so only experienced swimmers should enter there. But there are many shallow areas and wading pools that are perfect for younger children. Our daughter is still hesitant to enter wavey water, so the swimming area wasn’t an option for her. But she could wade in the wading pools, which was just as beautiful.
I also created some fun educational worksheets for our Coral Reef trip, which helped get her excited about what she would see there. If you’re heading to the Coral Reef with kids, these free activity pages will be a huge hit – before and after your trip!
Kids Tips: Floating devices such as noodles and floaties are allowed in the deep area, so bring them for your little swimmers – and don’t forget your snorkels and fins!
There are a variety of sea life that can be experienced in the Coral Reef, so grab your snorkel and dive in!
Eilat’s Coral Reef is unique because of it’s young age of around 2,500 years old and contains about 100 species of coral that make up an essential part of the Read Sea reef’s ecosystem.
We saw so many varieties of fish swimming around the reef during our visit. And if we had been snorkeling or diving we would have seen even more. Many types of herbivorous reef fish, who feed on seaweed as well as predatory fish can be found swimming in and out of the reef.
Inside the sea grass carpets you can find seahorses, cuttlefish, octopuses, sea sponges,sea turtles, crustaceans, sea urchins, snake stars, slugs and snails, conger eels and more.
There are also many sea creatures that pass through the Coral Reef area during their migration patterns. Creatures such as sharks – specifically the whale shark – has been spotted swimming around. Sea turtles, seahorses, dolphins and sting rays are also regular visitors. There’s even been sightings of octopuses near the reef.
Spotting Sea Life Tips: The best way to spot sea life is to jump right in and swim around. Snorkels will help you see surface creatures, and diving will get you down deeper to see those exclusive sea creatures. If you have a GoPro, this is the best place for it!
The big attraction at the Coral Reef is hands-down the snorkeling! It’s the reason to choose the Coral Reef Nature Reserve over any other beach in Eilat. Our biggest regret was not bringing snorkels with us during our visit – but it’s a great reason to return!
Renting snorkels is available at the reserve for a price, but be aware of Corona regulations. Here are the prices to rent equipment with a ₪100 (shekel) deposit:
Snorkeling Tip: While you can rent a snorkel at the Reserve, we highly suggest bringing your own with you. During the Corona pandemic snorkels weren’t being rented out, so come prepared.
Diving at the Coral Reef is the top place to dive in Eilat. There are some spectacular locations to explore, including the two rocks called Joshua and Moses as well as the Japanese and Eel Gardens. Because the Coral Reef Reserve is a protected area, only a certain number of divers are allowed to enter each day.
Diving Tips: You’ll definitely want to make reservations in advance. Diving numbers are limited and spots can fill up fast!
Overall, we give the Coral Reef 5 out of 5 ibexes. How could a Coral Reef but anything but spectacular? Gorgeous water, colorful fish, stunning coral and much more! Opportunities to snorkel and dive as well as small wading pools for younger kids. If you’re a water-loving family then the Coral Reef is the perfect National Park to spend the day!