You can swim at Einot Zuqim (Ein Feshcha; tel. 02/994-2355), a large park with trees, picnic tables, freshwater pools, and a beach on The Dead Sea just 3km (2 miles) south of Qumran. Saturdays are packed, but fewer visitors come on the weekdays. The freshwater pools, fed by local springs, can get murky and sometimes have a fish or two swimming around. You can also take a dip in the lifeless Dead Sea, cover yourself with mineral-rich Dead Sea mud, or walk on the beach. Admission fees includes use of the shower facilities. Open March to November daily from 8am to 5pm; winter hours are variable.
A Sinking Feeling -- Because of the lowering level of The Dead Sea and of the underground water table, sinkholes have been appearing spontaneously in this area and throughout The Dead Sea shoreline. Areas of danger have been fenced off and posted with warning signs. Do not enter these areas! If you sense the ground underfoot is unstable, get to the main road as quickly as possible and report the situation to the authorities.
Eyes Wide Shut -- The waters of The Dead Sea, though purportedly health giving, will burn open cuts and scrapes on your skin. It is most important not to let the water touch your eyes. Don't even think about plunging underwater. Backstroke is the way to go -- the buoyancy of The Dead Sea is amazing, and most of your body will stay above the water level. If you get water in your eyes, shower with fresh water immediately.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.