Hi, this is my first time posting here. Having browsed this forum it looks like the best place to get excellent advice.
I have lots of questions. Here goes. We are coming to Israel for the last 2 weeks of Feb. I have been plenty of times but this will be the first time for my kids. They are 12 and 8. We will also be traveling with grandma. She fortunately is in super health and has no restrictions.
Unfortunately, my kids have multiple food allergies and dog and cat allergies. Also, one child has eczema. So for our trip, having a kitchen facility is important. Also, the place needs to be pet free.
We are planning on staying in Jerusalem apt for six days. Then, we want to stay in the Dead Sea area around feb 24. I don't want to be rushed. We want to take our time to hike in Ein Gedi, and climb Masada, and float in Dead Sea. So I am thinking staying in the area for two or three days. We will have a rental car.
In terms of planning our time, given the weather in the end of Feb., what is there to do in Ein Gedi? Just hike? I imagine we can not take a dip in the waterfalls and pools. Also, will Dead Sea be too cold for us to enjoy?
Where to stay? I am inclined to stay in a comfortable suite sort of place with kitchenette in Arad. I know it is a lengthier drive to Dead sea, Ein gedi. And the cable car side of Masada. But the Ein Bokek hotels don't offer cooking facilities. However, some Ein Bokek hotels offer the heated pools which the kids would enjoy. I am just in a quandary where to stay. I mean we could stay one night in Ein Bokek and make do with preparing sandwiches for breakfast lunch and dinner. But that will get tired after a day or two of that.
So what I am asking is staying in an Ein Bokek hotel with heated pool and immediate proximity worth it? Or stay in arad at either the "desert view Cohen" house Or "zimmer mantur". They seem nice, family friendly and pet free, and have cooking facilities. I also assume supermarkets will be in Arad. Downside, no pool, and the drive to and from the sites.
If we stay in arad, should we hike up and down the Roman Path or drive the long way to the snake path? Also, if we stay in Arad, could our family buy a pass to use one of the hotel's heated pool?
I also see there are a couple of possible places with cooking facilites just south of the Dead Sea. They are Belfer's Dead sea cabins and Kibbutz Kalmia. Which is better? Staying there or Arad? I think Arad may offer more shops, right?
Lastly, we may want to go to Mitzpe Ramon. I have been there (20 years ago)and thought it was amazing. Could we tack on a day and travel and hike the crater as a day trip from Arad?
Thanks in advance!