What are the top things to see and do in and around the Dead Sea? Well, there are plenty trust me! But here is the shortlist where you should start. I guess at the very top of the list would be Masada National Park. Masada is probably one of the more popular national parks in Israel. Herod the Great installed his winter palace. In adiition, during the First Jewish Roman War Masada was the last Jewish fortress to fall.
Qumran National Park – Dead Sea Scrolls
Another awesome national park is Qumran. The site is best known as the settlement nearest to the Qumran Caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were hidden, caves in the sheer desert cliffs, and beneath, in the marl terrace. Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947–1956, extensive excavations have taken place in Qumran. In addition, nearly 900 scrolls were discovered. Most were written on parchment and some on papyrus. Cisterns, Jewish ritual baths, and cemeteries have been found, along with a dining or assembly room and debris from an upper story alleged by some to have been a scriptorium as well as pottery kilns and a tower. Many scholars believe the location was home to a Hebrew sect, probably the Essenes.
Top Things to See & Do in and Around the Dead Sea: Ein Gedi
Next on our shortlist is Ein Gedi Nature Reserve! So imagine touring the Judean Desert, right there perched this beautiful oasis. Each time I am touring with my guests the region I take them to Ein Gedi. So can you find it there? Ein Gedi offers a wide range of things to do. You can hike along the famous Wadi David with little waterfalls and freshwater pools you can dip in. Fleeing from King Saul, the Bible narrates that David hides in the strongholds at Ein Gedi. And Saul seeks him “even upon the most craggy rocks, which are accessible only to wild goats” (1 Samuel 24:2).
On the premises, you can find interesting archaeology. For example, the indigenous Jewish town of Ein Gedi was an important source of balsam for the Greco-Roman world until its destruction by Byzantine emperor Justinian as part of his persecution of the Jews in his realm. A synagogue mosaic remains from Ein Gedi’s heyday, including a Judeo-Aramaic inscription mosaic now on display in a local museum.
Time to Float in the Dead Sea
So after walked the Ein Gedi Oasis and climbed Masada or took the Cable Car (much better) time for some relaxation time in the Dead Sea. In Ein Bokek Beach where all the hotels are you can find a nice sandy beach and some shade (which is a must). At one of the near by hotels you can get a nice massage and get some of the famous Dead Sea Mud!