18 Most Dangerous Beaches in the World

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By Darryl Henderson

When you think of beaches, your mind probably drifts toward imagery of serene white sand and blue sea. However, across the globe, there is a selection of beaches that aren’t exactly relaxing. Don’t believe us? Here are 18 of the most dangerous beaches in the world!

Gansbaai – South Africa

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Gansbaai in South Africa is often referred to as the ‘Great White Shark Capital of the World’ due to its large population of species. Tour companies promote shark-watching tours, which are attracted to the area due to its climate and the large number of seals that live there. There’s nothing relaxing about that!

New Smyrna Beach – Florida

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Located in Volusia County, Florida, New Smyrna Beach has managed to one-up Gansbaai by taking the mantle of Shark Bite Capital of the World. This reputation is well-deserved, too, as Business Insider states it boasts a terrifying 343 shark bites recorded in the area since 1883. 

Black Sand Beaches of Kilauea – Hawaii

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While the black sand beaches of Kilauea in Hawaii may look easy on the eye and a great location for the perfect Instagram post, they’re actually rather dangerous. There are no sharks, but these beaches are located underneath Mount Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes!

Cape Tribulation – Australia

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Australia is known for its varied, often dangerous species, many of which can be found at Cape Tribulation, Queensland, located in the northeast of the country. The cape is aptly named as the area is home to venomous snakes, crocodiles, and poisonous jellyfish, as well as aggressive emu-like birds known as cassowaries. No thanks!

Chowpatty Beach – India

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Take a trip to Chowpatty Beach in Mumbai, India, and there won’t be dangerous animals or strong currents that will be causing you harm. Instead, it will be the sheer amount of water pollution from the sewage and waste that gets pumped into the sea. That’s just sad.

Acapulco Beach – Mexico

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In the ‘50s and ‘60s, Acapulco in Mexico was the place to be, with megastars such as Elvis, Sinatra, and Brigitte Bardot often vacationing there. However, drug wars between various Mexican and South American cartels have earned the area the nickname ‘Murder Capital of Mexico.’ Maybe you should search elsewhere for a vacation.

Hanakapiai Beach – Hawaii

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The waters of Hanakapiai Beach in Hawaii are far from forgiving, as the powerful rip currents have been known to pull people out to sea. Rip currents run perpendicular to the shore and, according to the National Ocean Service, can move up to eight feet per second, which is faster than an Olympic-level swimmer.

Playa Zipolite – Mexico

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Playa Zipolite, one of Mexico’s only two nude beaches, is far less playful and carefree than you may think. Its dangerous reputation earned it the nickname Playa de Los Muertos (Beach of the Dead). Strong rip currents, waves, and undertows have rendered swimming in the area more than risky!

Mindanao Beach – The Philippines

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The Philippines is home to a variety of gorgeous beaches filled with tropical flora and fauna. Mindanao Beach should be avoided at all costs, though, as for many years, it has been a warzone, as fighting between Muslim militants and the government rages on. It’s a kidnapping hotspot, too.

Amazon River Beaches – South America

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The beaches along the Amazon River in South America are not swimmer-friendly, as they are home to a multitude of dangerous creatures. Under the surface of the water lie anacondas, piranhas, electric eels, and parasitic fish that can kill a human in the most horrific fashion. We’ll give that a miss!

Lamu Island Beach – Kenya

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Lamu Island Beach is unfortunately infested by Somalian pirates, who are often linked with crimes such as boat hijacking and narcotics smuggling. Lamu Island has been particularly rocked by tourist kidnappings that have taken place across the last fifteen years. Better take a rain check on that destination.

Utakleiv Beach – Norway

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It may be a prime area to catch the Aurora Borealis, but Utakleiv Beach is a terrible place to go for a dip. Found on Norway’s Lofoten Islands, this beach is extremely unsafe due to the freezing 45 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit water temperature.

Copacabana – Brazil

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Arguably the world’s most famous beach, Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is a bucket-list destination for many. However, visitors may not be greeted with the carnival atmosphere they expect, as crime is at an all-time high, with robberies in the area up by 25% in 2023, as reported by Voice of America.

Bikini Atoll – U.S. Virgin Islands

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Bikini Atoll of the U.S. Virgin Islands was formerly the site of multiple US Army nuclear tests, which have rendered all vegetation on the island unsafe to consume due to radiation contamination. That’s not ideal for a vacation! Fun fact: Spongebob Squarepants’ Bikini Bottom was based on this beach!

Reunion Island – Madagascar

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The local economy of Reunion Island off the coast of Madagascar has nosedived since a spate of shark attacks in 2011 caused visitors to decline. The once-bustling surfer’s paradise is no longer a popular attraction, and the area is suffering overall. Hopefully, they can get this problem under control in the future.

Dumas Beach – India 

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Aside from the extremely dangerous King Cobras that occupy the area, there are more sinister reasons not to visit Dumas Beach in India. The beach is reportedly home to ghostly spirits that roam the area, which is said to be the reason behind multiple disappearances. Hmm…

Weston-super-Mare – United Kingdom

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Formerly a bustling seaside resort popular with traveling Britons, the quality of Weston-super-Mare’s seawater and surrounding area has been in constant decline over the past couple of decades. A report by The Independent recently put Weston Main Beach in the 19 worst UK beaches to swim in due to sewage discharge. Gross!

North Sentinel Island Beach – India

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Last but certainly most dangerous, North Sentinel Island is not a place you’d want to find yourself if you ended up lost at sea. It’s home to the indigenous North Sentinelese tribe, one of the last uncontacted tribes in the world. They have been known to viciously kill anyone who steps foot into their territory!

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