Dreaming of a beachy getaway this summer or fall? You may want to travel to an isolated or remote beach, or one that might test your surfing skills, and while many of these beaches can definitely deliver on both fronts, they also deliver some pretty heavy danger (and you’d do best to stay away, or at least out of the water).
Jellyfish, sharks, riptides, pollution and more have granted these beaches their spots on our list of the 13 most dangerous beaches throughout the world.
1. Hanakapiai Beach, Hawaii
Hanakapiai Beach is accessible via some strenuous hiking, but once you reach this golden-sand beach, you unfortunately won’t have the luxury of a refreshing swim — if you want to stay safe, that is. The natural surrounding geography creates a hazardous swimming area, where rip currents are notorious for drowning swimmers. In fact, there’s even signage posted along the beach that lists how many people have drowned there each year.
Jennifer Willy, Editor of Etia also adds, “ You are welcomed on this beautiful and secluded beach with a warning sign that more than 80 people have died here. Reasons? There are many factors into this like no lifeguard, strong riptides, dangerous waves that have caused several drowning mishaps.”
2. Reunion Island, France
You may not have heard of Reunion Island, but the small, French territory in the Indian Ocean is certainly popular with sharks, if not with travelers. While the island is only 40 miles long, the waters off the shores are teeming with hungry sharks, forcing the island to come up with new ways to avoid attacks.
For a brief previous time, the island was responsible for 16 percent of all shark attacks in the world.
3. Skeleton Coast, Namibia
Namibia’s Skeleton Coast along the country’s northern Atlantic coast is hauntingly beautiful but very deadly at the same time. Underwater currents make the area treacherous to both ships and swimmers — as well as some unlucky sea life.
Joe Flanagan, Founder of 90s Fashion World also adds, “The current regularly causes shipwrecks and there are lots of dangerous wild animals patrolling the coasts like hyenas and lions. And as if that wasn't enough 11 species of sharks live in the waters.”
You can see skeletons of stranded whales, wrecked ships and more along the beaches.
4. New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Stateside, New Smyrna Beach in Florida is considered to be the shark attack capital of the world. While you might not see many shark-related deaths occurring at the beach, bites are certainly not rare, with nearly a hundred bites over the last decade.
5. Fraser Island, Australia
It’s not uncommon for rescue helicopters to have to go out to Fraser Island off Australia to rescue stranded travelers. While you think you might be safe there if you just stay out of the water, think again. Fraser Island is home to packs of wild dogs and attacks aren’t uncommon. Otherwise, dangers include sharks, jellyfish and riptides. Oh, and the island has no medical service facilities.
6. Cape Tribulation, Australia
With a name like Cape Tribulation, you might assume this Australian locale comes with its own dangers.
Named by Captain Cook, who nearly sank on the Cape in 1770, Cape Tribulation is remote, bordered by a rainforest filled with exotic fauna and flora (and crocodiles). Beachside, dangers include box jellyfish, which can tangle you in their long appendages if you’re unlucky to come across one while swimming.
Jellyfish stings are so likely that the beach is outfitted with vinegar for pouring on your sting before you seek medical attention.
Will Hatton, Founder of The Broke Backpacker also shares, “nature hasn’t finished with you yet, you’ll also need to beware of the stinging trees, as infamous as they are inconspicuous, they feature jagged leaves that sting you causing intense pain for 30 hellish minutes or more.”
“The worse thing? They can stay in your skin for up to 6 months! You won’t be forgetting this beach in a hurry that’s for sure,” Hatton continues.
7. Gansbaai Beach, South Africa
Gansbaai itself is a popular tourist destination in South Africa and one of the most popular tourist activities is shark cage diving. However, going into the waters on your own can be deadly, as the stretch of coast is also referred to as the Great White Shark Capital.
8. Playa Zipolite, Mexico
Dozens of drownings occur at Playa Zipolite each year, with many more rescues required. The riptides off this Mexican beach are fierce and not something to mess around with. However, the only way for many travelers to even know this is by talking to a local. There aren’t many signs posted along the beach warning travelers of the riptide and so many swimmers go to their deaths unwittingly.
9. Recife, Brazil
The beaches in Recife, Brazil, are home to several aggressive shark breeds and attacks are not at all uncommon. In fact, locals don’t get into the water here and the beach lifeguards train in swimming pools to avoid the sharks waiting in the oceans.
10. Morecambe Bay, United Kingdom
With no sharks, no jellyfish and no wild dogs to contend with, what exactly could make Morecambe Bay in England so dangerous? Turns out, it’s the water and the sands themselves. The bay is known for its extremely fast, incoming tides that strand and kill unwary beachgoers. Additionally, thanks to these tides, sand can turn into a quicksand-like consistency in mere seconds.
11. Girgaum Chowpatty Beach, India
Girgaum Chowpatty Beach in Mumbai, India, is also dangerous for an out-of-the-ordinary reason — pollution. One of the world’s most highly polluted beaches, the beach’s waters are incredibly unsafe and the sand has started turning black due to the pollution. Some of the pollution is credited to fecal matter from storm drains, sewer pipes and open defecation.
12. Kilauea Beach, Hawaii
You’ll find yourself in hot water at Kilauea Beach in Hawaii. The water temperatures can get up to 110 degrees, due to the beach’s location next to Mount Kilauea. The volcano deposits fresh lava into the ocean, warming the waters right off the beach.
13. The Red Triangle, California
California’s Red Triangle is made up of about 50 miles of beach, from Bodega Bay to San Francisco. The triangle juts out into the ocean and, within this triangle, more than a third of all great white shark attacks in the world occur, many in heavily visited locales. The sharks flock to the area due to the heavy food sources — seals, sea lions and otters — that live there, and many of the attacks on humans are blamed on shark curiosity or a shark mistaking a human for one of these other mammals.
Would You Swim at One of the Most Dangerous Beaches in the World?
These beaches are treacherous, but that doesn’t mean that travelers don’t still visit them and swimmers don’t take to their waters on occasion. Visiting any of these beaches? Talk to the locals first, before you do anything.
They’ll know the safest way to see and experience the potential danger without putting your life at risk.
You might also be interested in: The 18 Best Snorkeling Spots Around the World