Planning Your Time
The Dead Sea can be a great day trip from Jerusalem, but you have a richer experience if you spend a few nights in Ein Bokek or other hotels in the area. An ideal itinerary might be: On the first morning, climb Masada and marvel at the views, then head to your Ein Bokek hotel for an afternoon at the Dead Sea; watch the hills of Jordan redden as the sun sets. On the second day, drive to Ein Gedi (a half hour north of Ein Bokek) for the waterfalls and a dip in the pools. On the third day, stop in Jericho on the way back to Jerusalem.
When traveling to Bethlehem, Jericho, and other areas under Palestinian control, you need to present your passport at the checkpoint. This usually just takes a minute if you're traveling by car. There can be traffic crossing back from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, so allow extra time. Be aware that some of the Dead Sea beaches and the Ahava factory store mentioned in this section are actually in the West Bank, though under Israeli control.