If you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation, one where you can spend your time sunbathing, swimming, and surfing without a care in the world, be sure to avoid the beaches listed on this page.
What Makes A Beach Dangerous?
The title of the “most dangerous beach” is a pretty subjective one. After all, while sharks and jellyfish are dangerous to swimmers and surfers, it’s not something you need to worry about when you’re just sunbathing, sipping cocktails, and making the odd sandcastle.
Everything from dangerous animals to toxic waste, strong currents, and nearby rebel factions can make a beach dangerous. To avoid over-complicating things, we’ve focused on the beaches that are most dangerous for swimmers and surfers, which means emphasizing weather conditions/quality and animal encounters.
Most Dangerous Beaches In California
California has some of the best surf spots and the most serene beaches in the United States. It also has very few shark attacks when compared to the east coast and all of Australia. However, there are some dangerous beaches that you should be aware of.
Monastery Beach is a beautiful but dangerous area known for its strong currents and freak waves.
Known locally as “Mortuary Beach”, there have been a number of drowning deaths and it’s considered to be one of the deadliest beaches in the state.
Ocean Beach spans 3.5 miles and has claimed a number of lives in the last 10 years. The shore break is very strong here and the waters are cold, so if you’re caught in the break and dragged out, you won’t have long before the water claims you.
There have been numerous instances of surfers being caught in the waves and then dragged out to sea, with resulting search parties unable to find their bodies.
The Sonoma Coastline
The beaches that span the Sonoma coastline are famous for their natural beauty, but they can also be hazardous.
At Goat Rock Beach, you’ll find a sign that declares “this is one of the most deadly beaches in California”, and it’s not wrong. The surf is strong and unpredictable and there are also strong rip currents that could drag you out to sea.
Venice Beach doesn’t make it onto our list because of its rip currents or waves. In fact, it’s a pretty calm location in that sense. However, the areas surrounding the beach have very high crime rates and terrible air quality, making it a troublesome location for tourists seeking peace, calm, and clean air.
Most Dangerous Beaches In Hawaii
Hawaii is a surfer’s paradise and while there are sharks here, there are very few shark attacks. That doesn’t mean you’re in the clear though, as there are some other problems to be aware of.
Located on the island of Kauai, Hanakapiai Beach is home to incredibly strong rip currents that have claimed numerous lives. There is a nearby sign that keeps track of all the lives lost here, warning swimmers and surfers away.
The water temperature at this beach can reach over 100 degrees due to the active volcano nearby, making it a hot and dangerous beach.
Most Dangerous Beaches In Florida
Florida is vacation-central, and a great destination for all ages and all tastes. But it’s not all theme parks and sandy beaches, as there are a number of shark attacks and other hazards along the Sunshine State’s coastlines.
New Smyrna Beach
While rip currents are the reason that most US beaches have made it onto this list, shark attacks are the biggest issue for New Smyrna beach goers.
It’s one of the shark attack capitals of the world, which means that this beach is definitely not for the faint of heart.
Between 2014 and 2021, there were 13 surf zone fatalities in Daytona Beach, with many of those being caught in rip currents or crushed under dangerous waves.
It is consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous beaches in the Sunshine State.
Most Dangerous Beaches In The World
The United States has more shark attacks than any other country. As the above list shows, it’s also home to a number of beaches known for their deadly currents. But there are many more dangerous beaches out there, some of which would even give New Smyrna Beach, Florida a run for its money.
Northern Territory, Australia
This deceptively beautiful beach is a veritable deathtrap. The water is teeming with crocodiles, stinging jellyfish, stonefish, and more.
Chowpatty Beach, India
Chowpatty Beach is located in Mumbai, India, and is one of the most polluted beaches in the world. In place of sandcastles, pebbles, and excited beach goers, you’ll find untreated sewage and filthy water. Surprisingly, there are still plenty of tourists, but you won’t find them running barefoot across the filthy sand.
Fraser Island, Australia
Fraser Island poses a threat on land and in the water. It’s home to one of the deadliest jellyfish in the world, as well as packs of dingoes, a type of wild dog that can be aggressive to humans.
At the same time, the beautiful landscape of sweeping sand dunes and forests makes this one of the most popular tourist destinations in Queensland.
Amazon River Beaches, South America
You’ll find a host of dangerous creatures around the Amazon River Beaches, including parasitic creatures that can enter your body through a range of openings (we’ll let your imagination do the work) and cause all kinds of problems. There are also piranha fish and electric eels, as well as venomous snakes.
Gansbaai, South Africa
From April through to September, Gansbaai Beach welcomes tens of thousands of sea lions, and where you have sea lions, you usually have sharks.
It’s a popular tourist destination for people who want to get up-close and personal with these creatures via the use of shark cages. For regular beach goers, however, it’s one of the most dangerous beaches in the world.
Morecambe Bay, United Kingdom
Morecambe Bay is the home of Tyson Fury, the boxing heavyweight champion of the world and one of the toughest men on the planet, but even he would have a hard time on the local beach.
Morecambe Bay is notorious for its freaky obstacles, including river drainages and quicksand, making it a potential deathtrap for beach goers and swimmers.
Skeleton Coast, Namibia
There are 11 species of sharks in the waters around the Skeleton Coast. You’ll also find numerous big cats patrolling the beaches, as well as a current that has caused numerous shipwrecks.
This is not a beach for enjoying a laidback vacation!
Cape Tribulation, Australia
The waters around Cape Tribulation are filled with deadly jellyfish, and the local government recommends wearing a stinger suit to protect against them. There are also saltwater crocodiles in the area, as well as a few more of Australia’s deadliest creatures.
Where Are The Most Shark-Infested Waters in the World?
Bondi Beach, Australia is one of the world’s most dangerous beaches, as well as one of the most popular. There have been over 100 shark attacks in the last decade or so, and it accounts for many of the fatal shark attacks that occur in Australia.
What Is The Most Shark-Infested Beach In The US?
Smyrna Beach, Florida is often referred to as the shark attack capital of the United States. The state of Florida in general has the highest number of shark attacks in the US.