Jerusalemites, don your swimsuits, because the beach has come to the holy city… in a sense.
Grab a towel and walk over to the First Station, where the refurbished train station complex has built its own beach, a 2,000-square-meter (21,500 square feet) space with its own surfing simulator, beach volleyball court and open beach showers.
Or, for those looking to get out of town, consider the BeachBus, a direct bus service offering introductory NIS 50 roundtrip tickets to Tel Aviv’s Banana Beach from two Jerusalem stops in Katamon and Rehavia.
Both beach experiences open this weekend, June 12 and 13. The Train Station beach opens Thursday, and includes a children’s area with paid arts and crafts activities as well as wading pools for the younguns. The surfing simulator will open on June 22, for ages 3 and up, priced at NIS 50 per hour to NIS 100 for the day, or a NIS 400 open summer membership.
The BeachBus offers the chance to head to the beach in the Big Orange for the day, starting Friday. It’s what founder Tamara Shamam used to do back in New York, when she would take the Rockabus from the lower East Side to Rockaway Beach.
“It’s such a pain to get to the beach when it really shouldn’t be,” said Shamam, who moved to Israel more than three years ago. “It’s always like a two-hour odyssey to get to the beach, with two buses and a sherut [taxi service].”
Shamam, who works as a graphic designer, now lives in Kerem Hateimanim in Tel Aviv, within walking distance of the beach. Working with two friends, she made contact with a local bus company in order to offer more convenient transportation to the sand and sea. Banana Beach is the stretch of sand located next to the former Dolphinarium club, at the southern end of the city’s beachside boardwalk.
For now, the round trip ticket for the direct bus will cost NIS 50, and will go up to NIS 60 once the BeachBus is more established, said Shamam. At present, it can cost up to NIS 72 to get to the beach from Jerusalem by public transportation.
Shamam said they’re also gathering various discounts from businesses located near Banana Beach, including surfing lessons, cafe meals and ice cream.
If there’s enough interest in the BeachBus to Tel Aviv, they’ll also consider organizing a bus to the Palmahim or Herzliya beaches.