5 Beaches Near Tampa Bay with the Most Shark Attacks

Ocean shark bottom view from below. Open toothy dangerous mouth with many teeth. Underwater blue sea waves clear water shark swims forward
© LuckyStep/Shutterstock.com

Written by Patrick MacFarland

Published: April 28, 2024

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Red alert! This is not a drill. this is also not the movie Jaws. Ever since Jaws came out, we’ve all been a bit afraid of shark attacks happening on our beaches. After all, sharks roam around the world and sometimes they like to veer dangerously close to land. Of course, there have been shark attacks reported throughout the entire world. When it comes to the United States, according to the International Shark Attack File, 41 out of 57 shark attacks worldwide were reported in the US alone. And from those 41, 16 happened in Florida. Florida has become the shark attack capital of the world. And many of those shark attacks are concentrated near Tampa Bay. Let’s take a look at the five beaches near Tampa Bay with the most shark attacks.

Tampa Bay

Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay, Florida

Scientists have determined a lack of food for the increase in shark sightings and shark attacks in the past few years.

©Robert Miller Online/Shutterstock.com

Tampa Bay has been rampant with sharks in recent years. Captains who have charter vessels have stated that there are more sharks now than in the Years before. This, of course, has an impact on business. Scientists from the University of Florida have stated that sharks are moving closer to the coastal areas to feed because of the lack of food and their natural habitats. This has caused some concern to Tampa Bay officials because they are moving closer to the beach. There have been more shark sightings in recent years than before. Furthermore, scientists have stated that Tampa Bay is a perfect nursery for sharks. A whopping seven species of sharks frequent Tampa Bay.

Caladesi Island

Family on summer vacation trip in Florida. People walking on pathway to the beach. Friends exploring island along the Gulf Coast. Caladesi Island State Park, USA, Florida.

The island is located at the mouth of Tampa Bay and is known for its crystal-clear waters and sandy beaches.


Caladesi Island isn’t known for many shark sightings or attacks, but the recent years have proved different. More sharks are frequenting Tampa Bay and the coastal Gulf areas. On Caladesi Island, there were a huge amount of sharks roaming around the waters near the coast in Caladesi Island. There were people on jet skis who had to roam out of the water to avoid these creatures.

Dunedin Causeway

Dunedin Causeway Honeymoon Island State Park In Florida

The causeway is a bridge that connects Honeymoon Island and Dunedin.

©Robert Miller Online/Shutterstock.com

The counties of Pinellas and Manatee have seen a total of 19 shark attacks since 1882. Although that seems like a low number, there has been an increasing amount of shark sightings in recent years. There was a large number of sharks swimming near Dunedin Causeway, which was a cause for concern. Seven species of sharks swim the waters in and near Tampa Bay including bull sharks, blacktip sharks, bonnethead sharks, lemon sharks, tiger sharks, nurse sharks, and hammerhead sharks.

St. Pete Beach

st. pete beach

The coastal areas around the Gulf of Mexico are especially prone to shark sightings and sometimes even shark attacks.

©Artiom Photo/Shutterstock.com

Located near St. Petersburg, FL, which is part of the metropolitan area of Tampa Bay, St. Pete Beach is a resort city that is popular during spring break and the warmer seasons. St Pete Beach sits on the Gulf Coast, where there have been more shark sightings than usual. In fact, a sperm whale’s carcass was seen off St Pete Beach and great white sharks were feeding near the beach, as well.

St. Petersburg’s Pier

Florida - US State, St. Petersburg - Florida, Tampa, Urban Skyline, Aerial View

Sightings of sharks have increased in the past few years near St Petersburg Pier.


In the summer of 2023, a woman got bitten by a shark near the St. Petersburg Pier, also colloquially called St Pete Pier. The woman and some friends were having fun in the water when a shark bit one of them. The other had already gotten out of the water and into the boat floating around for a while a few miles off the coast of St. Petersburg. The bite extended from the stomach to the woman’s bottom. She was rushed to the hospital and made a full recovery.

How To Avoid Shark Attacks

There are ways to avoid shark attacks if sharks are known to roam in the area.

The best way to avoid shark attacks is to wear more subtle clothing. When you’re in the water, you should swim with a group of people because sharks are less likely to attack a group. Make sure you go into the water during the day, because the most common time is that sharks are in the water usually around dawn or dusk. Sharks love swimming around murky waters, which means that if you see that the water is murky, the safest thing to do is to avoid swimming there. Many surfers have been putting shiny objects underneath their wetsuits because that attracts sharks. Therefore, if you have any shiny jewelry on your body, take it off. Surfers have also opted for blue or black surfboards so they can blend in with the water. Lastly, avoid splashing or excessive movements because that can attract sharks.

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About the Author

Patrick Macfarland is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering travel, geography, and history. Patrick has been writing for more than 10 years. In the past, he has been a teacher and a political candidate. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from SDSU and a Master's Degree in European Union Studies from CIFE. From San Diego, California, Patrick loves to travel and try new recipes to cook.

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