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Beaches of Israel's insider take:

With its long swath of Mediterranean coastline (plus the Red Sea), Israel is a beach-lover's paradise. Here are some of the country's best beach bets.

Eilat: The beaches of Eilat are all strung along a seafront promenade but attract distinct crowds and scenes. Migdalor Beach is a quiet slice of sand close to the Egyptian border with crystalline waters and a low-key, hippie crowd. Papaya Beach, in the city center, lures young adults and teenagers who flop on oversized daybeds and groove to techno music. Nikki Beach—inspired by, but not part of, the chain of beach clubs—in front of the Neptune Hotel, is a South Beach–styled affair, complete with a VIP club and bar filled with 20- and 30-somethings swilling cocktails.

Herziliya: Upscale Tel Aviv suburb Herziliya has two quality beaches. Arcadia Beach has a wide slice of sand and a relaxed mix of teenagers and young adults. About 200 yards away, on Nine Beach, surfers and surfer wannabes mix and mingle with the city's PYTs.

Netanya: Located about 35 minutes north of Tel Aviv, Netanya is best known for Sironit Beach, which is favored by surfers. But proceed with caution: Choppy waters and six-foot swells make this area unsuitable for swimmers.

Tel Aviv: Of Tel Aviv's eight major beaches, Gordon Beach is among the best-located (opposite the Sheraton Hotel) and busiest strips of sand. It's packed most summer weekends; go in the morning during the week instead. Conversely, the Hilton Beach just in front of the Hilton Hotel is favored by Tel Aviv's gay community, while farther south, on Aviv Beach, a young crowd forms a welcoming drumming circle each Friday afternoon.

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