Mishmar HaCarmel Campground was our 9th national park in Israel and our second time camping in the country. During our National Park Challenge, we set out with the goal of visiting and documenting every national park in Israel. We are sharing our adventures with travel guides and on our Instagram account – Hochdorf family adventures. Come along as we explore Israel’s beauty!
Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority was created to protect Israel’s natural, historical, and heritage treasures throughout the land. Spread across the country, there are 15 campsites located on national park lands. Camping at a national park provides safety and certain amenities that other sites don’t have.
Mishmar HaCarmel is located inside the Mount Carmel National Park, just outside of Haifa. From Tel Aviv, take either the 2 or 4 north – about 80km. It is about an hour and a half drive. It’s about a 20-minute drive from Haifa, following the 672.
Waze Location: משמר הכרמל/Mishmar HaCarmel Farm
Nestled inside Mount Carmel National Park, the Mishmar HaCarmel campsite is the perfect place to get that forestry feel with some incredible views. The campground is smaller than most sites, so if you’re camping during peak time, be prepared to have some neighbors.
This was our second camping trip in Israel and had a much different feel than our first camping experience at Achziv National Park. It honestly felt more like camping back home in the US than here in Israel – with that rustic feel that many campers long for.
Suited only for tent campers (sorry, RVers), like all campgrounds in Israel, it’s a first-come, first-serve basis. Now that we weren’t newbies to this system, we arrived early to make sure and snag a good spot under a large tree with a picnic table.
There are no real boundaries set up for campsites, which again is why you should arrive early. Because the sites are located deep inside the forest, pretty much all have lots of shade, which is so nice when that early morning sun comes shining in.
Campground Site Tip: There are 2 site sections at Mishmar HaCarmel – higher and lower – separated by the restrooms. If you want a little more privacy, opt for the lower section.
Thankfully, there are a few amenities that will help make your camping experience a little more comfortable. The site includes restrooms with showers – and HOT water. This is always a big plus for us while camping – I’m not a big cold water girl.
There is also a small field kitchen equipped with sinks, refrigerators, and a cooktop area. One thing we love about the national park campsites is the free on-site refrigerators. It makes keeping your food/drinks cool so much easier. An outdoor water trough area for washing dishes is also available.
Picnic tables are sprinkled throughout the campground – again, first-come, first-serve. There wasn’t an on-site air compressor hose like there was at Achziv, so we used our car to inflate our air mattress.
The staff was extremely nice and helpful, and they even let us charge our electric car at the visitors center. (A major plus for electric car owners!)
Even though this was our second time camping, and we already pretty much knew what to expect, we still made a list of everything we’d need for the trip. It always helps to be prepared! Camping at Mishmar HaCarmel is purely tent-camping, so let’s start with the tent.
We really love our tent. We use an i-camp tent, which is a popular outdoor brand in Israel. What I LOVE about this tent is the ease of putting it up. It comes completely assembled, so all you have to do is unroll the tent, pull it up, and click. Super simple. We can put our tent up in less than 2 minutes. It also fits our queen-sized mattress with room to spare. Plus, its high roof allows you to stand up inside the tent. We’ve come a long way from the tents I grew up with.
What I don’t love about this tent is the light material. Although it’s beautiful to look at, it doesn’t exactly keep the sunlight from blaring through in the morning. Camping under the shade and with eye masks is essential for us.
Setting up the Tent TIP: There are lots of small pinecones sprinkled throughout the campground. Before putting up your tent, ‘sweep’ the area of all the cones and small rocks to avoid any rips or tears in your tent.
This was another overnight camping trip, so we only needed to plan for one dinner and one breakfast along with snacks. When we tent camp, our key to survival is simplicity. We cook all our meals on a small 2-burner outdoor unit, which is perfect for camping.
My daughter loves soup, so I often make a large pot of hearty chicken soup and reheat it for dinner. We also bring hot dogs, veggies, humus, and pita. Humus is a staple for Israel camping. For breakfast, we often opt for eggs and coffee and cereal for Mia. Like I said, as easy as we can. And of course, smores! It’s not a camping trip without smores.
After our first camping trip, we realized what we needed to add for our next one. Our camping staples include:
Download our FREE Camping Checklist for your next camping trip!
Campsites at Mishmar HaCarmel run on a winter and summer schedule. Arrival time begins at 3pm, and I highly suggest arriving right at 3 to get a good site.
The arrival time at the campground is 3 pm to 10 pm.
Departure is by 11 am on departure day.
The arrival time at the campground is 3 pm to 9 pm.
Departure is by 11 am on departure day.
Saturdays and Holidays:
On Saturdays and Israeli holidays, departure is by 11 am on departure day.
We get asked this a lot of most sites in Israel. Most campsites are kid-friendly and catered towards families, and Mishmar HaCarmel is no different. Some are more and some are less – and you won’t find stroller-accessible areas at this campsite, but you are camping in the forest. Our 5-year old absolutely loved camping here, from collecting pinecones, walking through trails, playing around the campsite, and just being out in nature.
The price for overnight camping with a tent per adult is ₪55.00 (shekels), and children ages 5-17 is ₪40.00. Children under the age of 5 are free. With a National Pass, the price is discounted to ₪41.00 per adult and ₪30.00. Because we have the National Pass, it cost us ₪82.00 for one night of camping since Mia was under 5 – around $30.
To book a reservation, you can do it online here. (There is no reservation page in English online – only in Hebrew.)
Find more information about the National Pass here.
TIP: We often suggest getting the National Pass if you plan on camping or visiting more than one national park a year. It ends up being a great deal.
Spring and Fall are the best times to camp in Israel. We opted for Spring camping at Mishmar HaCarmel (early April), and the weather was fantastic. Warm, sunny days and cooler nights – perfect camping weather.
During the winter months, it can get quite chilly at night, so be prepared with colder temps, especially under the forest canopy.
The summers can also be extremely hot, and as we all know, there’s no AC in a tent! If you’re going to camp in the summer, just be prepared for the heat – lots of water, sunscreen, and hats.
There are quite a few great activities to do in the surrounding Carmel Forest area. Our favorite activity was crossing the Nesher Hanging Bridges. If you haven’t been yet, it should be on the TOP of your list! We also really enjoyed visiting the Carmel Hai-Bar Nature Reserve and seeing all the native animals of the region.
The Mount Carmel National Forest is fantastic for a plentitude of hikes. There are many different trails to choose from, from beginners to more experienced, including:
Dor HaBonim is also a great choice for beach lovers. It’s one of our favorite coastal beaches with great hikes and even has an old shipwreck on the shore – so cool!
Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed at Mishmar HaCarmel. It is a part of the national park system in Israel and therefore, dogs are forbidden on site.
We loved our camping experience at Mishmar HaCarmel. It was such a contrast to our first camping experience with the pine trees and foresty feel. Being up inside the forest really makes you feel like you are camping in the middle of nowhere, even though it’s only about 20 minutes from the city.
Overall, we give Mishmar HaCarmel Campground 4 out of 5 ibexes. (The Ibex is the symbol for the Israel National Parks.)