Ashkelon National Park
Ashkelon National Park boasts a surprising variety of places to explore, and leisure options - that range from two relaxed hours to a full day’s recreation. The park is situated on a high range of sandstone cliffs with a beach on one side and golden sand dunes on the other. And in between, an abundance of manicured lawns, playgrounds and ancient sites that stir up the imagination.
Here, the 5,000 years of the city’s history are evident to the eye and capture the soul. Among other things, the ancient Tel Ashkelon lies in this large area, within the remains of the wall, you will find one of the country’s unique gems: The Canaanite city gate - the oldest arched gate of its kind in the world, built in approximately 1800 BC (the middle Canaanite Period). As such, it provides one with a sense of time travel - definitely a memorable sight.
What else will you find in the park?
Remains of the Byzantine Church of Santa Maria Viridis, a system of dozens of various types of wells that testify to the advance agriculture practiced by the city’s ancient residents. A vast Roman basilica and an abundance of marble columns with decorative capitals, which is currently being reconstructed in order to present it in accordance with the original period and more.
There is nothing more for you to do but devote yourselves to the green lung that enshrouds this exciting rich history.
There is, of course, also a wonderful, well equipped campsite situated at the top of a sandstone cliff - where you can enjoy the beautiful sunset and fall asleep to the sound of the waves. In the morning one can tour the park or simply enjoy a refreshing dip at the declared beach.
Recommended Tour Route in the National Park
Park in the parking lot adjacent to the Canaanite gate and start walking towards it. The ancient gate has been reconstructed and it impressively demonstrates how it served as a gateway to the ancient city, for export and import of goods and protection of the city. The reconstruction allows one to clearly see the original mud and the part of the gate that has been restored. From the gate continue southward on the high sandstone cliff that overlooks the sea and provides dazzling panoramic views. If you look down you will see sundry shards of ancient pottery and small marble stones. Here, history really wants you to reach out and touch it.
Walk toward the declared beach and you will come to an impressive Basilica and a saqiye well. From here the trail continues eastward to the wall trail and you will sample parts of it. Finally, you may want to end the tour enjoying the breeze at the exquisite beachfront or with a luxurious picnic on the lawn next to a magnificent, old sycamore tree. For nature lovers, we recommend spending the night in the campsite and hiking around the nature reserve, enjoy the unique blooming of the area’s flowers and the animals that live here.
- The Ashkelon Municipality in collaboration with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority carries out many cultural and leisure events in the National Park for all age groups, throughout the entire year.
Family tours take place on Shabbat in the winter, weather permitting; and lamplight tours and evening events take place in the summer months.
You can find out about the variety of activities in the National Park website: www.parks.org.il
- “Young Inspectors” - an experiential activity booklet for children that combines fun missions around the national park and real quality family time. Highly recommended!
- From the northern entrance to Ashkelon drive along Menachem Begin Blvd., via Jerusalem Blvd., Bar Kokhba St. and left to Hatayasim St. Opening hours - summer: 8:00 - 20:00 (exit 22:00), winter 8:00 - 16:00 (exit 18:00). Tel: 08-6736444, 08-6739660, www.parks.org.il.
Ashkelon Sea Park –
an entertainment and recreation complex with stunning views of Ashkelon's beaches
Ashkelon’s Sea Park, a unique ecological complex, is situated alongside Ashkelon's spectacular beach, offering visitors of all ages a complete entertainment and leisure experience. If you love the beach, enjoy sports and challenging activities, or if you just want to relax and soak up the sun and enjoy the waves in a lush green setting, the Sea Park is the idyllic place for you. Here you will find restaurants, sports activities for adults and children and a lots of activities for the whole family.
- Expansive lawns
- An abundance of shaded areas
- Picnic spots
- Observation points
- Climbing walls (13 meters tall)
- Climbing walls for children
- A rope park
- A spiral zip-line
- Pump tracks for adults
- Bicycle area for children
- Cycling trails throughout the park
The park is open to visitors, admission is free except for the extreme sports facilities. Team-building activities for companies and organizations can also be conducted in the park.