The beaches of Nahariya, the town's raison d'être from a visitor's point of view, suffer, like other places on the northern Israeli coast, from the region's lack of a sewage treatment plant and the proximity of Lebanon, where decades of chaos have led to garbage dumping into the sea. The junk often swirls into Nahariya's waters, and at times in recent years, coliform bacteria counts per 100 milliliters of seawater at Nahariya were four times the Israeli Health Ministry's acceptable level (although within the more lenient standards of other Mediterranean countries).
The main beach, Galei-Galil, just to the north of Ha-Ga'aton Boulevard, has won prizes in the past for cleanliness and safety. Today, the fenced Galei-Galil area also offers an Olympic-size outdoor pool; a heated, glass-enclosed indoor pool that's open year-round; a children's pool; dressing rooms; playgrounds for children; and restaurants. It is open June through September daily from 8am to 5:30pm and October through May daily from 8am to 5pm. Admission is NIS 16 ($4/£2); discounts are available for children.
At the marina breakwater you'll see people fishing off the rocks, and you can rent a sailboat or go snorkeling. Tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts are other attractions, as is the big water slide just on the north side of the beach.
If you just want to take a dip in the Mediterranean, the free Municipal Beach is 2 blocks south. The view from both beaches is lovely. On a clear day -- and most of them are -- you can see all the way from Rosh Ha-Niqra at the Lebanese border to the north to Haifa in the south.
For a hike with the Friends of Nature (Hovevei Hateva), check with the Tourist Information Office desk (tel. 04/987-9800). Hikes are often scheduled for Saturday.