Visitors Can’t Relax At The World’s Most Dangerous Beaches

Many people visit the beach to relax and enjoy themselves. But on some beaches, it’s impossible to relax. Shorelines across the world are so treacherous that governments warn tourists to stay away.

Some beaches have tall cliffs that can collapse at any moment. Others are infested with snakes or crocodiles. On one beach in the Bahamas, planes fly dangerously close to the people lounging on the sand. Keep reading to learn about the world’s most dangerous beaches.

Airplanes Fly Dangerously Close To Maho Beach

A French airliner flies directly above Maho Beach in the Caribbean.
aviation-images.com/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
aviation-images.com/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Maho is a tiny beach in the Caribbean that is surrounded by coral. But the coral does not contribute to the danger factor; the real risk is airplanes that frequently flow low to the ground. Oftentimes, tourists get blown into the water from a jet blast.

The airplanes are aiming to land on the runway of Princess Juliana International Maho Airport, which is only a few miles from the beach. If you’re afraid of planes, steer clear of Maho Beach.

Uttakleiv Beach In Norway Has Surprisingly Fickle Weather

Fog covers the shoreline of Utakleiv Beach.
Lee Pengelly/Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Lee Pengelly/Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Uttakleiv Beach sits on the Lofoten Islands off of Norway. It is one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, but also one of the most dangerous. Uttakleiv has notoriously fickle weather that will often change within a few minutes.

Although tourism thrives on Uttakleiv, visitors might not prepare for the freezing temperatures and vicious snow. For most of the year, temperatures fluctuate between eight and 14 degrees Fahrenheit. If you go there, wear warm, waterproof clothing.

Poisonous Snakes Inhabit This Island

A black cobra appears on a beach.
YouTube/Tamil One
YouTube/Tamil One

Ilha da Queimada Grande is a small island that sits outside of São Paulo, Brazil. But most people recognize it as “Snake Island.” Ilha da Queimada houses over 4,000 snakes, including some of the world’s most venomous.

The snakes are golden lanceheads, a type of pit viper that is incredibly poisonous. The species became trapped on the island and quickly overwhelmed the local wildlife. Ilha da Queimada is responsible for 90% of Brazil’s snake bites. As such, the island is off-limits to visitors.

Gansbaai Beach Is Filled With Great White Sharks

A diver takes photos of great white sharks in Shark Alley, South Africa.
Daniel Botelho/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Daniel Botelho/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Gansbaai Beach in South Africa looks peaceful until you jump into the water. A few miles off the coast, there is an area called Shark Alley. This area is filled with great white sharks and orcas that eat the sharks.

If you swim near Gansbaai, stay away from the boats. The beach is a popular cage diving and cage fishing location. You don’t want to run into a cage or net in the middle of the water.

Visitors Might Fall Into Quicksand In Morecambe Bay

Quicksand is seen on the long shore of Morecambe Beach, England.
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

England’s most dangerous beach is in Morecambe Bay, Lancashire. The beach is the meeting place of four busy rivers: the Keer, the Wyre, the Lune, and the Leven. These rivers quickly flood and drain, changing the shore under peoples’ feet.

Morecambe became notorious for quicksand. Beach guide Alan Sledmore told the BBC that the sands will transform into quicksand within minutes. He calls it “a tragedy waiting to happen.” Unless you have a guide, don’t wander near Morecambe Bay.

The Cliffs Could Collapse At This UNESCO World Heritage Site

Sandstone cliffs collapse along Jurassic Coast, England.
Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images
Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images

Along Devon and Dorset in southern England, Jurassic Coast is covered in warning signs. Tall red sandstone cliffs line this beach. Often, these cliffs will fall apart and cause landslides, possibly harming tourists.

Several signs warn visitors to stay away from the cliffs. Despite its danger, Jurassic Coast is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many scientists focus on the coast’s 185 million years of geological history. Many of the fallen cliffs expose fossils of ancient plants and animals.

Over 500,000 People Crowd Dameisha Beach In China

Swimmers crowd the shore and waters of  Dameisha Beach, China.
China Photos/Getty Images
China Photos/Getty Images

Dameisha Beach in Shenzhen is one of China’s most popular beaches. Sounds great, right? Wrong. Around 500,000 beachgoers sunbathe on Dameisha during the Dragon Boat Festival Holiday, which is far too many for comfort.

People can easily get lost or trampled from the crowded beach of Dameisha. On top of that, the beach is often covered with hundreds of tons of garbage. It’s the last place for people who want a relaxing, family-friendly beach day.

Beware Of Crocodiles At Cable Beach

A crocodile opens its mouth while lounging on a beach shore.
David Tipling/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP via Getty Images

Australia is a popular tourism site for its beautiful beaches, and Cable Beach is no exception. But many tourists stay away because of its numerous crocodiles. While crocodiles cross the sand, several breeds of sharks swim through the water.

Visitors are still allowed on Cable Beach, but they must practice caution. If anyone wants to walk along the stunning cliffs of Gantheamume Point, then they must watch their step. These cliffs are slippery, jagged, and subject to massive waves.

Nuclear Bombs Made This Beach A Radiation Hazard

Bikini Atoll is seen from an aerial view.
Copernicus Sentinel Data 2017/Orbital Horizon/Gallo Images/Getty Images
Copernicus Sentinel Data 2017/Orbital Horizon/Gallo Images/Getty Images

The Marshall Islands have many beaches, but Atoll is the most notorious. Bikini Atoll was subject to nuclear weapons testing for decades. Between 1946 and 1958, the United States government dropped several atomic bombs on the island.

When the testing started, Bikini Atoll residents were told that they could return home after the tests. But the bombs contaminated the soil and water so much that Atoll is now uninhabitable. Because of the pollution, marine life no longer swims near Atoll.

Skeleton Coast Is Aptly Named

A shipwrecked ship appears on the coast of Skeleton Bay, Namibia.
VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Along the northern part of Namibia, one beach contains hundreds of washed-up animal corpses and ships. Whales and seals often rot on the shore after being chased by deadly sharks. It is fittingly called Skeleton Coast.

Skeleton Coast is an exploration ground for people who want to find skeletons and shipwrecks. But if go there, don’t swim in the water. Not only are there several sharks, but the crashed ships also littered the shore with jagged wooden planks.

Cape Tribulation Is Filled With Dangerous Animals

A sign warns tourists of jellyfish-infested waters in Cape Tribulation, Australia.
Tim Graham/Getty Images
Tim Graham/Getty Images

Cape Tribulation is the end of the Daintree rainforest in Queensland, Australia. It is a natural, humid beach with exotic fruits and vegetables, but it also has many dangerous animals. The most notorious are the crocodiles who hang in the nearby Copper River.

Nearly half of the year is box jellyfish season in Cape Tribulation. These poisonous jellyfish can send people to the hospital, and they are difficult to spot in the water. They have become a plague along Queensland beaches.

Swimmers Will Likely Catch A Virus At Copacabana Beach

An aerial shot shows beachgoers at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Buda Mendes/Getty Images
Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Copacabana Beach is a famous beach in the south part of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. People who swim in Copacabana have a high chance of catching a virus. In 2016, a study found that people only need to drink a teaspoon of water there to get sick.

The beach has been polluted from sewage drains and litter. On top of that, many thefts occur in Rio de Janeiro, especially along the coast. Copacabana is just an all-around disaster.

Toxic Sea Creatures Thrive In Alappuzha Beach, India

A puffer fish swims among a reef.
Alexis Rosenfeld/Getty Images
Alexis Rosenfeld/Getty Images

If you are scared of toxic sea creatures, avoid Alappuzha Beach in Kerala, India. Some of the most dangerous sea creatures in the world swim along the shore there. In 2017, many of these species–including Balanus amphitrite jellyfish and pufferfish–washed up on the coast.

Unfortunately, Alappuzha Beach has few regulations to protect beachgoers. Residents have complained that authorities are not doing enough to protect swimmers and sunbathers. Unless you want to study these fish, don’t go to Alappuzha.

New Smyrna Beach, The “Shark Capital Of The World”

A baby blacktip reef shark is seen swimming through shallow water.
Marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Experts call New Smyrna Beach the “shark capital of the world.” The beach in Volusia County, Florida, is infested with blacktip sharks. According to the International Shark Attack File, people who have swum at New Smyrna have been within ten feet of a shark.

The good news is that blacktip sharks do not pose a severe threat to humans. They will bite people; New Smyrna sees 13 shark bites a year, but you are unlikely to be seriously injured from a blacktip. Still, that hasn’t stopped tourists from getting scared.

You Need A Permit To Enter Schitovaya Bukhta Beach, Russia

People survey a Russian beach filled with trash and a washed-up boat.
Yuri SmityukTASS via Getty Images
Yuri SmityukTASS via Getty Images

Schitovaya Bukhta Beach in Russia is one of the few beaches that requires people to get a permit before entering. Old military submarines sit at the bottom of the shore, and they leak radiation into the water.

Because few people visit Schitovaya Bukhta, it has become decrepit. Trash, such as old tires, can be found along the shore. A secret military base is nearby, but few government officials are seen along the beach. Unless you are searching for old nuclear submarines, avoid this beach.

A Volcano Could Erupt Near Kilauea Beach

Kilauea Lava Fountains
Don Smith/Getty Images
Don Smith/Getty Images

The U.S. state of Hawaii has several active volcanoes. Of the five volcanoes that form the Hawaiian Islands, Kilauea is the most active. Kilauea Beach, which sits at the foot of the volcano, is considered to be highly dangerous.

In 2020, the volcano experienced some seismic activity and erupted in December after a series of earthquakes. Residents were warned to stay indoors for their safety, and onlookers were told to avoid the area because of hazardous gases. Bottom line: there are other beaches to visit in Hawaii!

Surfers Can Get Hurt On Tamarama Beach

A sign warning about dangerous conditions is seen at Tamarama Beach.
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Tamarama Beach is one of the most treacherous surf spots in Sydney, Australia. The sea has an exposed reef that creates inconsistent tides. When the tide rises, surfers might run into rocks without seeing them.

More rescues occur at Tamarama than any other beach in New South Wales. A single swell can create a wave that travels at 50 meters per hour and towers at 15 feet tall. Even pro surfers struggle to navigate the waves of Tamarama Beach.

Sharks Often Attack In Boa Viagem Beach, Brazil

Beachgoers enjoy the weather underneath the bridge at Boa Viagem Beach, Brazil.
Luis Alvarenga/Getty Images
Luis Alvarenga/Getty Images

If you fear sharks, avoid Boa Viagem Beach in Northeastern Brazil. The beach makes for beautiful photographs, but the waters are filled with sharks. Boa Viagem has one of the highest rates of shark attacks in the world.

According to the BBC, the beach has had at least 56 shark attacks within the past 20 years. The attacks have a fatality rate of 37%. Despite the risk, over two million beachgoers visit Boa Viagem every year.

Avoid The North And East Coasts Of Barbados

A woman walks on the beach next to tall crashing waves.
John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Caribbean island Barbados is famous for its beaches. According to Terra Caribbean, the South and West shores are the best swimming spots. But the North and East shores have intense waves and strong tides that are not ideal for tourists.

Totally Caribbean adds that, on many North and East beaches, no lifeguards are on duty. So if you get swept away by the underwater current, you won’t have much luck. Stay near the South and West shores.

Watch Out For The Dingoes On Fraser Island

A dingo sits on the beach of Fraser Island.
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Off the coast of Queensland, Australia, Fraser Island has attracted thrill-seekers from across the world. Although the water is shallow, the rip tides are incredibly strong. The beach is also covered in shallow lakes and sand dunes that tourists will jump off of. Visitors have also complained about the intrusive dingo population there.

In 2019, Fraser Islands saw so many accidents that the Queensland government had to step it. They increased the number of lifeguards and ranger patrols. They also enacted a fine for disturbing the wild dingo population.

Even Locals Don’t Like Staithes Beach

A sign on Staithes beach warns people about dangerous cliffs.
Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images
Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

North York Moors National Park in Yorkshire, England, eventually ends in beaches. Staithes Beach has towering, jagged cliffs. These cliffs are incredibly unstable and can fall at sudden moments.

Because rocks frequently fall into the sea, residents report that the water quality near Staithes Beach is particularly bad. Some people have suggested that they remove Staithes from the UK’s list of bathing beaches. If the terrible water doesn’t dissuade you, avoid the dangerous cliffs at Staithes Beach.

Juhu Beach Contains 430 Tons Of Garbage

People walk across the trash-covered Juhu Beach in Mumbai, India.
Ragul Krishnan/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Ragul Krishnan/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Juhu is one of India’s most notorious beaches. If you go there, you’ll see more trash than sand. The beach has turned into a dumping ground, and efforts to clean it have been fruitless.

As of 2019, 430 tons of garbage sit on Juhu Beach. The Mumbai government is working to pick up the trash and make Juhu livable again. But it may take a long time for the pollution to clear from the land and water.

Swimmers Get Swept Away In Hanakāpīʻai Beach

Treacherous waves crash on the beach of Hanakapiai, Kauai.
Mike FANOUS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Mike FANOUS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

In Kauai, the Nā Pali Coast has famously beautiful beaches. But keep the Hanakāpīʻai Beach off your list. The beach has strong rip currents and high waves that make it extremely treacherous.

Unlike other Hawaiian beaches, Hanakāpīʻai has no reef barrier to slow down waves. The closest safe seashore is about six miles away. If you visit the beach, you’ll notice warning signs posted almost everywhere. Pay attention to them; there are plenty of safer shores in Hawaii.

Wild Foxes Harass The Visitors Of Virginia Beach

A red fox stands on the shoreline.
Ingolf König-Jablonski/picture alliance via Getty Images
Ingolf König-Jablonski/picture alliance via Getty Images

In the American state of Virginia, there is a shoreside city called Virginia Beach. It is a popular spring break destination, but in 2014, the European travel site Zoomer called it one of the world’s most dangerous beaches. Why? Because of the wild foxes.

Wild foxes roam around the north end of the beach, stealing peoples’ food and digging holes. According to Virginia Beach Animal Control, their shed fur could also spread mites to people. Don’t fall asleep on Virginia Beach’s shoreline!

Réunion Island Has Sharp Reefs, Sharks, And Jellyfish

A sign dissuades visitors from swimming in the waters of Réunion Island, France.
RICHARD BOUHET/AFP via Getty Images
RICHARD BOUHET/AFP via Getty Images

Although Réunion Island sits between Madagascar and Mauritius, it is a French territory with over 800,000 residents. But the beaches at Réunion have dangerous waters. Reefs line the shores, so you’ll have to keep an eye out for sea urchins, stonefish, coral, and jellyfish.

Réunion Island is also known for its shark attacks. Its reputation as the “Shark Island” has scared off tourists, leaving the citizens deeply divided over what to do. As yet, the French government hasn’t decided how to handle the sharks.

Chowpatty Beach: The Most Polluted Beach In The World

Volunteers clean trash from Chowpatty beach, Mumbai.
Bhushan Koyande/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Bhushan Koyande/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Chowpatty Beach in Mumbai, India, is one of the most polluted beaches in the world. Litter and debris from crashed ships litter the sand. According to Pradip Patade, the co-founder of Marine Life of Mumbai, most of the garbage comes from the sea.

Both the water and land are filthy. Although the beach is hardly relaxing, thousands of people still flock there for the Hindu festival of Ganesha Chaturthi. Unless you are joining the festivities, avoid Chowpatty.

The Jellyfish-Crowded Waters Of Costa Del Sol

Jellyfish crowd the surface of the ocean.
Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

In 2012, the Spanish government began warning tourists about the treacherous waters of Costa Del Sol along the Malaga coastline. Stinging jellyfish crowd the waters here. There are so many jellyfish that some people can’t even see the sand.

According to Spain’s tourism ministry, the jellyfish population has risen because of overfishing and rising tides that push the jellyfish towards the shore. By 2018, authorities had to dispose of 11 tons of jellyfish that washed up on the shore.

The Risks Of Swimming In The Amazon River

Two men stand at the shore of the Amazon river.
DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP via Getty Images
DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP via Getty Images

Tourists to Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, and Colombia can swim in some areas of the Amazon River. But there is a reason why the Amazon is called the world’s most dangerous river. Over 2,500 species of fish live in the river, and many of them are dangerous.

From sharp-toothed piranhas to anacondas to electric eels, the Amazon has no shortage of treacherous animals. On top of that, the river can flood rapidly, and the waves reach further than a regular beach. Many people are not used to swimming there.

The Filipino Island That Is Plagued By Terrorism

Houses and boats are seen on the edge of Mindanao Island in the Philippines.
Kaan Bozdogan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Kaan Bozdogan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The entirety of Mindanao Island in the Philippines is considered a no-go zone. It’s not because of sharks or pollution, but terrorism. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) frequently clashes with the Filipino security forces, and they often arrive by boat.

Terrorism is such a significant problem in Mindanao that tourists are encouraged to stay away. MILF has encouraged spinoff terrorist groups to act on the island, which only increases the violence. Until the fighting subsides, Mindanao will continue to have dangerous beaches.

Playa Zipolite, Mexico’s “Beach Of The Dead”

Large waves crash on the Mexican shore.
Alfredo Martinez/Getty Images
Alfredo Martinez/Getty Images

Playa Zipolite is known as the most dangerous beach in Mexico. Locals call it Playa de los Muertos, or “The Beach of the Dead.” The tiny shore is strong currents and dangerous rip currents, which can harm inexperienced swimmers.

In 1995, the Mexican government established a volunteer lifeguard force at Playa Zipolite. The lifeguards have saved many people from drowning. Although the beach is well-guarded, you might want to think twice before bringing your family there.