Some Israelis give Netanya a bad rap but Anglos have known for years that Netanya is – as its Hebrew name suggests – a gift from above for family days out! Here are some of the highlights of this coastal delight:
The obvious attraction of Netanya is the beach – Netanya has great beach facilities and this is the obvious plus for this area; the beach on Nitza has a lot of stairs and sometimes the beach disappears a bit with the tide but there is a place to get ice creams and drinks, shades if you are lucky to get one, and a lifeguard. Further into town, just down that part of the beach is another lifeguard station (which I believe is open for swimming all year) with cafes, including a kosher one; you can drive down to it(Sironit Beach) or if by foot, there is a elevator too.
Netanya has many playgrounds and parks – along Nitza there is a cute playground, and on the tayelet towards town there is another nice ‘ship’ playground. A bit further down the tayelet there is a rollerblading area and the jumping castle (which you have to pay for). There is also a bigger adventure playground at the Winter Pond.
Kanyon Ir Yamim is the new mall in south Netanya has kosher eateries, bowling and a Gymboree and the tayelet (promenade) in south Netanya is a fun place for cycling, you can try para-sailing or just watch other people take off! A great tiyul (hike) nearby is at the Alexander River – not far away, this is a sweet, stroller-friendly route where you may be able to spot turtles. There is also a playground for kids to play on. The Parrot Farm, Kfar Hess is nearby and great for younger kids. Not the cleanest place perhaps, but a fun local activity that includes holding parrots, feeding animals and sometimes other activities like pony riding, making pittot depending on the season. Also seasonal is Flower picking at HaOgen – at the appropriate time of year, this is an enjoyable activity for families and worth taking your proper camera! While you are in the area, HaOgen is a beach worth visitng for a change from Netanya’s shores. An advantage is the quaint kosher restaurant in what was once Henkins house.
The Electricity Power station, Hadera is a worthwhile activity. Book free tours for all ages (under three won’t quite get it all but will enjoy the bus drive to the edge of the sea to watch cranes bring in the coal).
A must for families with children under 10 years is Shvil Hatapuzim . Pick oranges if in season, or just play in the shade of the orange groves – includes water play, boating, cars, zip lines…you can read reviews online. Dov Halavan, in Emek Hefer, is great for all ages and especially good if parents get involved too – wall climbing, bungee, circus tricks, tight ropes, bimba driving, soft play for babies, giant slide…great fun!
Sahek Ota also in Emek Hefer is a fun place for kids (they will come home filthy but they will have a great time).Indoor and outdoor areas.
There is no need to go a kibbutz to have the refet (cow shed) tour, and milk cows – Erez Chavat Halav is a friendly farm close to Netanya and they will give you a tour – you need to book a group visit in advance and they will show you how to milk a cow, make shoko, cheese, and other activities depending on the time of year!
Just a bit further down the road is Caesarea – great to give your children a chance to explore and climb among the ruins. There is also a nice milky kosher restaurant, films about the ruins, and plenty more to enjoy in the National Park.
What is your favorite joy of Netanya?