May 9, 2024 | Sammy Tran

17 Of The World's Most Dangerous Beaches


Dangerous Beaches

Beaches are some of the most popular tourist destinations for a reason. After all, it? there anything better than a day at the beach? 

Unfortunately, these beaches contain hidden dangers that could very well ruin your perfect vacation.

Dangerous Beaches

What makes a beach dangerous?

From poisonous, ancient creatures on sea and land, to modern evils, to the water itself, there's a lot to watch out for on a beach. Some of the world's most dangerous beaches contain multiple of these red flags.

beach and forestPok Rie, Pexels

Cape Tribulation, Australia

Cape Tribulation is situated in north Queensland in Australia. It has a rainforest ecosystem, and got its name from historical navigator Captain James Cook, after his ship ran aground near it. 

Cape Tribulation from the South BeachLuxure, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Cape Tribulation: Animal Dangers

Although Cook and his crew had a bad time at Cape Tribulation, in the modern day it presents even more problems, namely in its wildlife. The beach is home to poisonous snakes, crocodiles, and jellyfish. 

CrocodileFull Bottle, Shutterstock

Cape Tribulation: Enormous Birds

Probably the biggest danger on Cape Tribulation comes in the form of cassowaries. These emu-like birds, who are native to some tropical forests, can grow up to 160 pounds and are known to be very aggressive to humans. 

Wild Cassowary near Cape TribulationF.Rubino, Shutterstock

Hanakapiai Beach, Hawaii

Hawaii's Hanakapiai Beach is only accessible by the Kalalau Trail that snakes along the coast. This makes it a breathtaking and often secluded spot to sight-see.

Hanakapiai Beach, Na Pali Coast, Kauai, HawaiiJeff Kubina, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Hanakapiai Beach: Terrifying Tides

The rip currents on Hanakapiai Beach are massive, and have pulled people out to sea on more than one occasion. Besides that, the nearest shore that's safe to go on is six miles away.

Beautiful and dangerous Hanakapiai BeachA. Emson, Shutterstock

Hanakapiai Beach: The Toll Rises

The currents of Hanakapiai Beach are nothing to play around with, though people keep trying. Officially, more than 30 people have perished in the tides. However, a local sign that tracks mortalities puts that number in the 80s.

beautiful and dangerous Hanakapiai BeachA. Emson, Shutterstock

Gansbaai, South Africa 

Gansbaai is also called Gans Bay or Gangs Bay. It's located in Western Cape, South Africa, and was supposedly founded back in 1881. 

gansbaai, south africaRoger de la Harpe, Shutterstock

Gansbaai: Real-Life Jaws

Gansbaai is home to one of the largest and densest population of Great White Sharks in the world. It even has a waterway people call "Shark Alley."

Gansbaai, South AfricaAnna Phillips, Shutterstock

Gansbaai: Not For The Faint Of Heart

In recent years, Gansbaai has become a popular (and relatively safe) destination for cage-diving, where people dive down the water in a steel cage to view the sharks up close. Still, you wouldn't want to get in those waters without one. 

gansbaai, south africaNico Calandra, Shutterstock

Chowpatty Beach, India

Chowpatty Beach is a public beach in Mumbai, India, and is a popular destination during the Hindu festival Ganesh Visarjan. Thousands of people will come there to immerse idols of the god Ganesha in the Arabian Sea.

Girguam Chowpatty beachChris, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Chowpatty Beach: Don't Drink The Water

In part because of its high traffic, Chowpatty Beach struggles with pollution. Its water is some of the dirtiest in the world, thanks to waste dumped there from Mumbai. 

Chowpatty Beach, IndiaJorge Láscar, Flickr

Chowpatty Beach: Swimming Not Advised 

Because of the constant pollution on Chowpatty Beach, experts continually beg people not to swim there, lest they contract symptoms such as diarrhea and sore throats.

Chowpatty Beach, IndiaMcKay Savage, Flickr

Black Sand Beaches of Kilauea, Hawaii

The black sand beaches of Kilauea, Hawaii are simply breathtaking, and unlike almost anything else in the world. They sit on the south-east shore of Hawaii Island. 

black sand beaches of kilauea, hawaiiSunny Tan, Shutterstock

Black Sand Beaches of Kilauea: Fire and Brimstone 

Mount Kilauea is actually an active volcano—one of the most active in all of Hawaii. It has been erupting continuously since 1983, with the last eruption happening in September 2023 and lasting a week. 

black sand beaches of kilauea, hawaiiDiego Delso, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Black Sand Beaches of Kilauea: Too Hot To Handle

The temperatures of water around Mount Kilauea often hit 155 degrees Fahrenheit, and some parts even peak at 190 degrees. Safe to say it's not a swimming beach.

black sand beaches of kilauea, hawaiiGalyna Andrushko, Shutterstock

New Smyrna Beach, Florida 

Located on the east coast of Florida in Volusia County, New Smyrna Beach gets lovely breezes from the Atlantic Ocean. It's also a popular surfing destination.

New Smyrna BeachGary J. Wood, Flickr

New Smyrna Beach: Predators In The Water

Despite its many charms, New Smyrna Beach has also been called the "Shark Attack Capital of the World" thanks to a popular shark hunting ground nearby. Since 2010, there have been 32 shark attacks on swimmers. 

New Smyrna Beach, FLXianghong Garrison, Shutterstock

Fraser Island, Australia

Fraser Island is a sweeping expanse in Queensland, Australia. It's extremely popular with tourists, and half a million people visit the island each year.

Fraser Island's sandy beach, AustraliaBenedikt Juerges, Shutterstock

Fraser Island: Creature Discomforts

Fraser Island is beautiful, but Australia's scary creatures also like its beaches. Sharks and jellyfish are among the dangers in the locale. There are also crocodiles, painful spiders, and dingoes. If those don't get you, strong rip tides also present worries. 

Fraser Island beachJason Cassidy, Shutterstock

Playa Zipolite, Mexico

Playa Zipolite is in southern Mexico, in the state of Oaxaca. Like so many Mexican beaches, it's very popular with backpackers and has beautiful scenery.

playa zipolite, mexicoprilfish, Flickr

Playa Zipolite: The Beach Of The Dead

If you know your Spanish, you might remember that "Playa Zipolite" means "Beach of the Dead." It certainly has that reputation, thanks to its deceptively strong rip tides that prey on beachgoers. 

Beach Zipolite MexicoMarcel Hamonic, Shutterstock

Playa Zipolite: Turning It Around

In the 90s, lifeguard teams began volunteering at Playa Zipolite to prevent mortalities. In so doing, they have helped turn around the reputation of the beach. 

Playa ZipoliteIn2dodo, Shutterstock

Beaches of the Northern Territory, Australia 

The Northern Territory in Australia is a vast expanse of land, beaches, and not a whole lot of people. Even so, it still attracts adventurers...and you do have to be brave to go there.

beaches of the northern territory, australiaBoyloso, Shutterstock

Beaches of the Northern Territory: Beware The Jellyfish

The beaches that dot the Northern Territories have some of the most fearsome jellyfish around: Box jellyfish. These have 60 tentacles that can be six feet long. They are also often nearly invisible in the water.

beaches of the northern territory, australiaseeshooteatrepeat, Shutterstock

Beaches of the Northern Territory: Stingers

Box jellyfish also have incredibly painful stings. These hurt so much that victims have been known to have heart attacks before they can even stumble to shore. According to the records, almost 80 people have died from box jellyfish stings in Australia. 

A box jellyfishKatherine Wallis, Shutterstock

Amazon River Beaches, South America

The Amazon River is home to some of the most incredible scenery, flora, and fauna in the entire world, so it's no wonder that people flock to the beaches for everything from bird watching to vacations. 

Amazon River Beaches, South AmericaBernard Barroso, Shutterstock

Amazon River Beaches: Enemies In The Water

The Amazon River has such amazing biodiversity that it makes sense that some of its animals are truly scary. 

Among them are piranhas, anacondas, and electric eels. Basically, all the fish from your nightmares. 

Amazon RiverEli Duke, Flickr

Amazon River Beaches: The Unknown

Scientists have counted over 2,500 different species of fish alone in the Amazon's waters, though they think there are many more that we haven't even seen, much less catalogued. That's a lot of other dangerous critter possibilities.  

Amazon beachNowaczyk, Shutterstock

Utakleiv Beach, Norway

The biggest attraction for tourists on the jaw-dropping Utakleiv Beach in the Lofoten Islands in Norway is the picture perfect view of the Northern Lights.

Uttakleiv Beach, Norwaystein egil liland, Pexels

Utakleiv Beach: Inhospitable Waters

When people go on their trek to watch the Northern Lights at Utakleiv, they are warned to always remain on dry land while on the beach. That's because the islands' waters are so freezing cold, even going for quick dip can be life-threatening.

Utakleiv beachZhukova Valentyna, Shutterstock

Schitovaya Bukhta Beach, Russia

Schitovaya Bukhta Beach in Russia has some of the most incredible surfing conditions around. It also looks extremely calm and peaceful in good weather. 

Schitovaya BayMila Okie, Shutterstock

Schitovaya Bukhta Beach: Beware Below

In truth, very few surfers go to the beach anymore, except maybe the bravest. At the bottom of Schitovaya Bukhta's waters are old nuclear submarines, which are still leaking silent and deadly radiation. 

Destroyed submarine under waterRobalito, Shutterstock

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Virginia Beach is a popular destination spot for Americans and world-travelers alike, with flat sable sands and a great view of the waters.

Virginia BeachChansak Joe, Shutterstock

Virginia Beach: Sly Predators

Virginia Beach is considered quite dangerous because of its wild foxes. The foxes not only take picnickers' food; they also have attacked pets and human beachgoers in the past. 

Fox at a beachVirginia State Parks, Flickr

Praia Do Norte, Portugal

The waves in Praia do Norte, Portugal are so massive, they have won Guinness World Records. They've also consistently attracted some of the best surfers in the world to their shores.

Praia Do Norte, PortugalLuis Ascenso, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Praia Do Norte: Surf At Your Own Risk

Praia do Norte's main attractions, its waves, are also its main danger. It's very easy for an unsuspecting or distracted surfer to be overcome by the enormous white caps. Boats also often capsize. 

praia do norte, portugaltomasgehrhardt, Shutterstock

Bikini Atoll, US Marshall Islands

Bikini Atoll sounds like a fun, splashy place to enjoy a day at the beach. The area around it, on the US Marshall Islands, is certainly beautiful. So is the island's abundant coral.

Bikini Atoll Nuclear Test SiteRon Van Oers, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Bikini Atoll: A Lasting Legacy

The truth is, the US Army used Bikini Atoll for frequent nuclear testing in the 1940s and 1950s. There are still measurable levels of radiation on the island.

Bikini Atoll Nuclear Test SiteRon Van Oers, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Bikini Atoll: Some Hope Left

Bikini Atoll does prove that life always finds a way, however. Although experts warn against eating anything grown on the island (because of the chemicals), they do say it's OK to walk on the beach and even swim in the water. 

Bikini Atoll Nuclear Test SiteRon Van Oers, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Haina Beach, Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic has some of the most beautiful (and popular) beaches in the Caribbean and the world, and the Haina Beach used to be one of the jewels of its crown.

Haina ShorelineJason_Rollette, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Haina Beach: Greed And Danger

A battery recycling center took a horrible shortcut and ended up dumping battery waste on Haina beach. This ended up poisoning the beautiful beach with lead, not to mention the surrounding community. 

Bajos de HainaGobierno Danilo Medina, Flickr

Haina Beach: Recovery

Thankfully, since the late 2000s things have been getting better for Haina Beach. An environmental group did a massive, four-month cleanup of the area, and the recycling center relocated. Even so, be careful. 

Manresa Beach, in the Bajos de Haina municipality of the San Cristóbal provinceGobierno Danilo Medina, Flickr


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