Say the word “beach” and dozens of images come to mind. Warm sand, brightly colored umbrellas, waves lapping the shores…even though we know the dangers that might be present, we choose to overlook them. After all, it would be silly to visit a war zone for a vacation so instead we go to the beach and pretend everything is just fine.
We also have our favorite beaches that we return to year after year and some of them might just well be among the most dangerous beaches in the world. Have you ever wondered just how safe your beach is? Sure the funny-looking guy carrying a cooler full of beer could be trouble and the older fellow in the Speedo is definitely a hazard but Mother Nature might have a bigger problem for you on your next visit.
Take a look at our list of the most dangerous beaches in the world and see if your favorite vacation spot is on it.
10. Monument Beach, Florida
So what could have placed this sunny beach on the list? Well how about a little sludge in your waves? Monument Beach is one of the most polluted beaches in America according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Nearly 3/4th of the water samples taken there show pollutants that exceed the national standards.
9. Marina Beach, Chennai, India
There’s no need to take water samples to see that Marina Beach is polluted. The mountains of trash bags that litter the beach and water should be more than enough to cause the average person to say “no thanks” to this vacation spot.
8. Bikini – Atoll, Marshall Islands
The widely known spot of more than twenty nuclear detonations in the 40s and 50s is safe…for short visits that is. The picturesque beaches are technically safe to visit for short periods but it’s the waters around the beaches that are the hazard. Besides Godzilla, they are shark infested making this one of the most dangerous beaches in the world.
7. Zipolite Beach, Mexico
Playa Zipolite in Oaxaca, Southern Mexico means “The Beach of the Dead” so named for the number of lives lost there. The culprits are strong rip tides and currents that play havoc with bathers. Locals know to avoid swimming there. We wonder why the brochures don’t mention the whole “beach of the dead” thing?
6. Hanakapiai Beach Hawaii
Like Zipolite, the ocean is unforgiving at Hanakapiai. The strong currents, rip tides and shore breaks have claimed more than 82 lives since 2008. The waves are so strong that they have swept people out that were just wading in knee-high water. If you do get swept out, the closest safe shore is a paltry six miles away.
5. Praia de Boa Viagem, Recife Brazil
Holding the mid-point on our list of the most dangerous beaches in the world this short beach (only 12.5 miles) holds a body count of 50 or more due to the estuaries being breeding sites for bull sharks. Bull sharks are among the four shark species most likely to attack humans. Charming.
4. Fraser Island, Australia
Where to start in this no-man’s land of a beach. Fraser has it all…strong rip tides and currents, sharks, the highly toxic Box jellyfish…a bather’s paradise. But it doesn’t stop there. Let’s head inland a bit to discover delights such as some of the world’s deadliest spiders, saltwater crocodiles, as well as dingoes. Who could ask for more?
3. New Smyrna Beach, Florida
The International Shark Attack File says that in 2008 there were 118 shark/human encounters and 59 unprovoked attacks. Of that 59, 42 (71%) happened in the U.S. Of those 42, 32 happened in Florida with New Smyrna leading the tally. Is it any wonder locals have nicknamed the area as “Shark Beach”? Absolutely one of the most dangerous beaches in the world.
2. Makapuu Beach, Hawaii
Listed by travel guides as perfect for adventure seekers, this beach features a very nasty shore break. What that means to you and I is simply this; The waves at Makapuu roll in like thunder, scoop you up and unceremoniously deposit you on the beach. Makapuu is the #1 spot in the islands for broken necks, broken backs and head injuries. Sounds adventurous to me.
1. 2nd Beach, Port St. Johns, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Home to the nightmare known as the Great White shark. In the last five years there have been 6 deaths due to this predator. The average fatality rate in South Africa is one in five but every single attack at Port St. johns has been fatal making this one of the most dangerous beaches in the world.
So there you have it. From pollution to currents to sharks and jellyfish, proof that our most enjoyable vacation spots actually are war zones. But it’s not just the most dangerous beaches in the world we have to worry about. The mountains have bears, cougars and avalanches. Lakes have sharks, piranha and pollution. Even if you were staying home for vacation this year you would be in danger. Falls, electrocution, poisoning among dozens of other things could line you up for the long dirt nap.
It’s time to face the facts. If you try to avoid death it’s just not going to happen. Better your obituary reads that you died in a shark attack on one of the most dangerous beaches in the world than you accidentally stepped on your shark vacuum and slipped through a second floor window falling to your death. Your friends will be envious you had such an exotic vacation.