The 15 Most Dangerous Beaches in the World

Great White Shark
© Howard Chen/iStock via Getty Images

Written by Jennifer Geer

Published: May 17, 2024

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A beach vacation is meant to be a tranquil break away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The sound of breaking waves, soft sand under your feet, and breathtaking views are what many would consider the ideal relaxing vacation. However, there are beaches in the world that are anything but relaxing. 

We’ve compiled a list of beaches where it’s best not to let your guard down. Although the locations vary from the United Kingdom to South America, they all have one thing in common. These are some of the most dangerous beaches in the world. One beach is located next to an active volcano that spews lava into the water. Another is known as the shark capital of the world. At some of these beaches, wildlife threatens, from snakes to jellyfish to dangerous animals that roam the shoreline. Other locales are dangerous due to high crime rates and pollution. Click the gallery above for the 15 most dangerous beaches in the world.

Venice Beach

Venice Beach sign, California

©Stefano Borsa/Shutterstock.com

  • Location: California, USA
  • Why it’s dangerous: Crime and pollution

Venice Beach is known for its vibrant boardwalk of funky shops and iconic skatepark. Unfortunately, it’s also known for high crime rates, especially at night.

Amazon River Beaches

Caiman with open mouth sunbathing on the river's sandbank in Pantanal, Brazil

©FotoRequest/Shutterstock.com

  • Location: South America
  • Why it’s dangerous: Wildlife

The Amazon River has several stretches of beautiful sandy beaches teeming with wildlife. However, dangerous creatures are lurking under the surface including electric eels, caimans, and piranhas.

New Smyrna Beach

New Smyrna Beach, Florida

©iStock.com/Javier_Art_Photography

  • Location: Florida, USA
  • Why it’s dangerous: Sharks

South of Daytona Beach is a beautiful white sand beach with aquamarine waters. Unfortunately, there are so many sharks swimming in the waters that it’s known as the “shark bite capital of the world.”

Hanakapiai Beach

A sign at Hanakapiai Beach warning not to go near the water because of unseen currents

©MNStudio/Shutterstock.com

  • Location: Hawaii, USA
  • Why it’s dangerous: Rip currents

One of the most beautiful and dangerous beaches in the world, Hanakapiai Beach is home to powerful rip currents.

Dumas Beach

Beautiful sunset at the seashore in Dumas Beach, Surat, Gujarat

©PixelSenses/Shutterstock.com

  • Location: India
  • Why it’s dangerous: Deadly king cobras and mysterious disappearances

This allegedly haunted beach has a population of venemous king cobras. But that’s not all, sometimes people mysteriously go missing while taking a stroll along the beach in the middle of the night.

Cape Tribulation

Daintree National Park

©iStock.com/Mackenzie Sweetnam

  • Location: Australia
  • Why it’s dangerous: Wildlife

At Cape Tribulation, you can step out of the rainforest and onto the stunningly gorgeous beach. However, the water is full of deadly jellyfish, venomous snakes, and crocodiles while the land is home to aggressive cassowaries.

Manaus Beaches

MANAUS written in big bright letters with colorful framing at Praia Ponta Negra, the Ponta Negra Beach, in the jungle metropolis Manaus in the heart of the Amazon rainforest of Brazil, South America

©Freedom_wanted/Shutterstock.com

  • Location: Brazil
  • Why it’s dangerous: Crime

The Manaus Beaches in Brazil are a high crime area and tourists must be wary of pickpockets, robberies, and violent crimes.

Bikini Atoll

©Guadalupe Polito/Shutterstock.com

  • Location: U.S. Marshall Islands
  • Why it’s dangerous: Radiation

This was the site of nuclear weapons testing done by the U.S. government during the Cold War era. You can visit for the day and go for a swim but don’t eat any fruit grown on the island.

Skeleton Coast

Ship Wreck along the Skeleton Coast in Western Namibia taken in January 2018

©Lukas Bischoff Photograph/Shutterstock.com

  • Location: Namibia
  • Why it’s dangerous: Rip currents and wildlife

Hundreds of wrecked boats from the dangerous tides dot the beaches on Skeleton Coast. It’s also home to leopards, hyenas, and cheetahs.

Black Sand Beaches of Kilauea

Kilauea Volcano

©Catmando/Shutterstock.com

  • Location: Hawaii, USA
  • Why it’s dangerous: Active volcano

This gorgeous Hawaiin beach is near Mount Kilauea, an active volcano that constantly spews lava into the ocean.

Gansbaai Beaches

Great White Shark breaching the sea surface after being lured to a cage diving boat by meat lures and wooden seal decoy, Gansbaai, South Africa

©Light and Vision/Shutterstock.com

  • Location: South Africa
  • Why it’s dangerous: Great White Sharks

The breathtaking stretch of beaches near the fishing village of Gansbaii has been called the “Great White Shark Capital of the World.”

Chowpatty Beach

The sprawling Chowpatty Beach in Bombay, India, with people and all their trash and buildings in the distance.

©Angel Cristi/Shutterstock.com

  • Location: Mumbai, India
  • Why it’s dangerous: Pollution

Chowpatty Beach makes the list because the pollution is so high here that it’s not safe for swimming.

Morecambe Bay

Stranded boat on the shore, with others at sea, at Morecambe Bay at Morecambe, Lancashire, UK

©Glen Berlin/Shutterstock.com

  • Location: Lancashire, UK
  • Why it’s dangerous: Quicksand

The picturesque bay is home to an ever-changing landscape of mudflats, quicksand, river channels, and dangerous riptides.

Fraser Islands

Dingo around the beach in Great Sandy National Park, Fraser Island Waddy Point, QLD, Australia

©oxime/ via Getty Images

  • Location: Australia
  • Why it’s dangerous: Venemous box jellyfish and packs of wild dingoes

If you don’t get stung by the highly venomous, yet tiny, Irukandji jellyfish, you may get attacked by a pack of aggressive dingoes patrolling the beach.

Playa Zipolite

Surfer carrying his board at Zipolite Beach,Oax.,Mexico.

©Lemonpink Images/Shutterstock.com

  • Location: Mexico
  • Why it’s dangerous: Rip currents

With a nickname like Playa de los Muertos, (translated to the Beach of the Dead,) it’s not surprising to hear these beautiful waters have deadly rip currents.


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About the Author

Jennifer Geer is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on animals, news topics, travel, and weather. Jennifer holds a Master's Degree from the University of Tulsa, and she has been researching and writing about news topics and animals for over four years. A resident of Illinois, Jennifer enjoys hiking, gardening, and caring for her three pugs.

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