Our own experience of swimming in the Dead Sea was mostly positive but with some negatives.
Because of this, we wanted to give some tips about swimming in the Dead Sea so that you can have a completely positive Dead Sea swimming experience.
Should you swim in the Dead Sea? Absolutely yes! Stopping by the Dead Sea should definitely be on your Jordan itinerary but there are some things you need to know about visiting the Dead Sea before you go.
These Dead Sea swimming tips will help save some frustrations and make for an all-round better Dead Sea swimming experience.
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Looking for accommodation by the Dead Sea?
Here are our top picks. More information on each hotel can be found in Section 5.
Now, a few quick facts about the Dead Sea..
Where is the Dead Sea?
The Dead Sea is a hypersaline lake which lies on the border with Israel (to the west) and Jordan (to the east).
It sits nearly 430 metres below sea level, making it the lowest point on Earth. You can read more about the Dead Sea here.
We visited the Dead Sea in Jordan so this guide is from that point of view – but the tips for swimming in the Dead Sea apply whether you are in Jordan or Israel.
Why is the Dead Sea called the Dead Sea?
Well, first of all, the Dead Sea is not a sea – it’s a lake. It is called the Dead Sea because no life forms (other than microbial fungi) can survive in its water due to the high salinity.
Why is the Dead Sea a popular place to visit?
The Dead Sea mud is proven to have great health benefits. The mud is full of minerals such as magnesium, potassium and sodium and there are claims that the Dead Sea waters can help relieve pain and inflammation.
It is also said to improve certain skin conditions. We can’t vouch for any of this but at the very least, your skin will feel soft after swimming in the Dead Sea.
Want to try Dead Sea salt at home? WestLab has a highly rated Dead Sea salt.
Dead Sea tours
If you are not self-driving in Jordan, you may want to look into tours. There are some tours that will incorporate the main sights in Jordan, including the Dead Sea and some day trips.
- 3 day tour from Amman including Petra, Wadi Rum and Dead Sea.
- Private day trip from Amman.
- 1 day Dead Sea and Madaba tour.
- Private half day tour to Dead Sea from Amman.
- Amman, Petra and Dead Sea 2-day tour.
Essential tips for swimming in the Dead Sea
1. Do not try to swim in the Dead Sea
Many people ask ‘can you swim in the Dead Sea?
‘The first rule of swimming in the Dead Sea is not to swim in the Dead Sea!
People also ask ‘Is swimming in the Dead Sea dangerous?’ Well, yes it can be.
OK, by swimming we mean any stroke that does not involve you being on your back. No front crawl, no breaststroke. First of all, it is very hard to get yourself into this position anyway, but getting back out of this position and onto your back is even harder.
Which leads on to the next tip about swimming in the Dead Sea.
2. Go swimming in designated areas only
People may wonder how it is possible to drown in water that is so easy to float in, but many people have drowned.
The reason you should swim in a designated area is so that there are life guards on duty.
On the plus side, there are no sharks or other nasties to worry about. Nothing lives in the Dead Sea except for small micro organisms.
So – is it safe to swim in the Dead Sea? That’s up to you.
Another reason for swimming in the Dead Sea in designated swimming areas is so that you can take a shower after you get out.
You will want to rinse off the excess mud but you may also need to get the mineral rich water off you quickly, especially if your skin has reacted badly to it.
See point 5 below on the best Dead Sea beaches to visit.
2. Do not put your head underwater
You also don’t want to put your face in the water. Getting the mineral rich water in your eyes will sting..a lot!
4. Limit your time in the water
You may find you enjoy the floating sensation but you don’t want to stay in the water too long. You should limit your time in the Dead Sea to around 10 – 15 minutes.
It is a strange sensation to get used to and some people may just not like it (like our youngest)! He came right back out again. Our eldest son thought it was one of the best things to do in Jordan.
5. Visit a hotel beach
If you aren’t staying in a hotel with direct beach access to the Dead Sea, all is not lost.
There are a couple of public beaches that you can visit, although a fee still applies. They don’t have the same amenities as the hotel beaches though.
The best public beaches are:
Amman Beach – a day pass costs 8 JOD (£9 / $11) for Dead Sea access only or 12 JOD (£13.50 / $16.50) which includes access to a public pool.
O Beach / Oh Beach – this is more of a luxurious beach with beautiful white sand and infinity pools. Entrance fee is 25 JOD (£30 / $35). This price includes a beach towel.
Some of the Dead Sea hotels offer day passes. For a certain amount, you can use their facilities. You do need to look into their pricing and determine which is the best value.
It sometimes is more economical just to stay the night.
Crowne Plaza Jordan Dead Sea Resort & Spa
We liked the Crowne Plaza Jordan Dead Sea Resort & Spa because it had a great pool area for the kids. You can make a whole day of it and eat in one of their restaurants.
Other hotels on the Dead Sea that offer day passes are:
Movenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea
The Movenpick is one of the most luxurious hotels by the Dead Sea and used to do day passes for around JOD 125 (£140 / $170) – but it is unclear whether they currently do. It is best to check with them direct.
You can book a room at the Movenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea here.
Dead Sea Spa Hotel
You can check their Day Pass prices here. At the time of writing, they were JOD 20 per person (JOD 10 for children 6 – 12) for entrance to the pool area and beach. For an additional JOD 15 (JOD 10 for children 6 – 12) you can have a buffet lunch.
Or you can book a room at the Dead Sea Spa Hotel here.
Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa
The Hilton Dead Sea day pass costs around JOD 35 (£40 / $50) and you can pay extra for the buffet.
Or you can book a room at the Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa here.
Holiday Inn Resort Dead Sea
The Holiday Inn Dead Sea day pass costs around JOD 25 (£30 / $35) and JOD 12.50 (£15 / $18) for children 6 – 12.
Or you can book a room at the Holiday Inn Resort here.
Ramada Resort Dead Sea
The Ramada Dead Sea day pass costs around JOD 25 (£30 / $35) and includes a buffet lunch.
Or you can book a room at the Ramada Resort here.
Dead Sea Marriott Resort & Spa
The Dead Sea Marriott day pass costs around JOD 40 (£46 / $56) and JOD 18 (£15 / $18) for children 6 – 12.
Or you can book a room at the Dead Sea Marriott Resort & Spa here.
Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea
There are currently no day passes available at the Kempinski. You would need to book a room here to access the beach.
You can book a room at the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea here.
6. Wear beach shoes
After being in the water a little while, your skin will be softer and easier to cut. You may find that some of the dried salt around the water’s edge is rough and sharp.
The beach is also stony and rocky which warrants beach shoes in itself. What people don’t always realize that they also heat up and can be unbearably hot. Watch out in particular for little kids who can easily burn the soles of their feet.
7. Cover yourself in mud
Where’s the fun in visiting the Dead Sea and not covering yourself in mud? Don’t be afraid of getting dirty!
The mud contains all the minerals and you will feel better for it.
Having said that, if you have sensitive skin, go easy. Take it slow and figure out whether your skin can take being completely covered.
8. Wear an old swimsuit
If you are going to cover yourself in mud, the chances are you will get some of it on your swimwear.
That mud is tough to get out. You may be able to eventually get it out at home but you certainly won’t be using that swimsuit again during your trip.
As much as we love packing light (see our holiday packing tips) make sure to pack an old swimsuit.
9. Do not shave before swimming in the Dead Sea
You might want to get bikini ready or get rid of that travel beard but think twice before doing so. The salt water will sting.
10. Take fun photos
You can use props (like a newspaper) if you prepare in advance. A photo of you reading a newpaper or something similar just makes for a more fun photo.
We hadn’t read any tips for swimming in the Dead Sea in advance so we weren’t so prepared (plus it’s not really our thing to stage photos)!
Final tip for visiting the Dead Sea
Our final tip for visiting the Dead Sea would be to stay an catch a beautiful sunset. Better yet, choose a hotel right on the shores of the Dead Sea.
If you can think of any more tips for swimming in the Dead Sea, please let us know!