What You Should Know Before Swimming in the Dead Sea

During our 4-day getaway to Israel, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit the desert and the Dead Sea. Only a day’s visit from Tel Aviv (our home base), there’s a blog post on that here, we made a day of visiting the Jordan desert and the Dead Sea region. My goal for visiting this particular area, float in the Dead Sea, a huge bucket list check-off! Before you visit, here are some helpful tips you should know before swimming, or rather floating, in the Dead Sea.

Small Tidbits about the Dead Sea

Before we dive into ways to enjoy the Dead Sea, here are some interesting information about the Dead Sea.

↠ First and foremost, the Dead Sea is a landlocked body of water, bordered by the countries of Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank.

↠ The Dead Sea isn’t actually a sea, it’s a salt lake and is one of Earth’s saltiest natural bodies of water.

↠ The Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth, documented at 430.5 meters below sea level (1,412 ft).

↠ You won’t find any fishes in the Dead Sea, the salt content is too high for any living marine life and organisms to live or survive in the water. However, tiny, microscopic organisms have been discovered in the past.

↠ The river that runs through the lake is the Jordan River.

↠ Sadly, the Dead Sea is dying, but efforts have been made to conserve the lake.

A view of the Dead Sea from above…

Tips for enjoying the Dead Sea

↠ Find a designated area to swim into; not all beaches are open to the public for swimming. I looked into the three beaches in Israel: Ein Bokek, Neve Midbar, and Kalia. We visited Ein Bokek, which was a free public beach and had a lifeguard on duty.

↠ Ok, so swimming in the Dead Sea is technically not possible (when I mean swimming, I mean doing strokes in the water, dunking in the water, etc). It isn’t possible to be in a position to do any of these, you’d find yourself having difficulty just trying. The best thing to do is just float on your back, no effort is needed. I found it easy to just sit on my behind and lay down, et voila, I was floating!

↠ Don’t shave at least two days before your trip; it will burn!

↠ Don’t get water in your eyes, and don’t dive, dunk, or splash water around. The high salt content will burn if it gets into the eyes.

↠ Don’t drink the water.

↠ Wear an old bathing suit; the water content will cause your swimsuit to fade in color.

↠ The recommended amount of time to swim in the Dead Sea is 20 minutes or less; staying too long can cause dehydration.

↠ Stay hydrated, and drink plenty of clean, drinking water to replenish your skin and body from the saltiness of the lake.

↠ Make sure you rinse off after your swim; the salt can be irritating to the skin. Ein Bokek had free showers and dressing rooms on-site at the beach.

↠ I recommend water shoes in the water; we were mainly walking on salt rocks both in and out of the water, which was uncomfortable on my feet.

↠ I don’t recommend wearing any jewelry in the water since it may tarnish.

↠ Don’t forget to rub some Dead Sea mud on your body, I’ve heard there are benefits to the Dead Sea mud. However, at Ein Bokek, the sand isn’t ideal for mud. You’ll have to venture further up North to Kalia beach for dark mud. You can, however, purchase Dead Sea mud from the gift shops on the beach. They sell tons of skin healing products from the Dead Sea at the stores on site.

↠ Finally, don’t forget to just float, laugh, and have fun! With the high salt content, it’s so easy to float effortlessly in the water! Believe me; I didn’t have to try to float on my own! It was so much fun!

Practical Information

Ein Bokek Beach

Address: Google Maps location

Free Beach with Public Showers and Changing Rooms; Lifeguard on duty

Open Daily from 0700-5:00 pm; see more information here.

Other beaches at the Dead Sea in Israel: Neve Midbar, and Kalia. (click on names for website information)

Final Thoughts

When in Israel, why not float in the Dead Sea? As a day trip from Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea in Israel is worth the stop! We didn’t stay long due to other excursions we had in mind, also, it’s not advisable to stay in the water for no more than at least 15-20 minutes as stated above. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the benefits of the salt and mud on our skin, had fun floating without effort, and surprisingly, the weather and water temperature in mid-January were perfect! Until next time friends! עד הפעם הבאה חברים!

Also, if you’re interested in our Day trip Itinerary of the Dead Sea, you can find that blog post, here.

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