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The Deadliest Beaches in the USA

You might think a report of the deadliest beaches in America would refer to water hazards. 

Sharks, jellyfish, and riptides are certainly dangerous, but those aren’t the only hazards to consider. 

With the weather warming up around the country, you may be contemplating your next vacation spot. Before making those reservations, you might want to check out this list first. 

Let’s jump in to see which beaches in the US pose the most danger!

The Most Dangerous Beaches in the USA

Florida is home to six more dangerous beaches. But it’s also the state with the second-most miles of shoreline. Alaska tops that list, but it’s also not known for its sun-bathing beaches! 

Surf zone fatalities play a big part in determining how dangerous a beach might be. And, riptides and sneaker waves kill numerous beachgoers every year. 

We’ve heard a word of caution from beach town locals, “Never turn your back to the water.” Keeping this thought in mind while splashing around in the waves could save your life. 

So let’s take a closer look at the most dangerous US beaches. While some of these beaches can still be enjoyable, knowing the dangers ahead of time will keep you and your family safer.

Woman holding dead roses on beach
Stay safe while swimming in some of the deadliest beaches in the USA.

#1 Venice Beach, California

About the Beach: Located within the city limits of Los Angeles, Venice Beach has a long history as a tourist destination. The amusement pier closed in the late 1940s, but the beach regained popularity in the 70s. 

Its flat, paved sidewalk and scenic ocean views, earned it the title of the “Roller Skating Capital of the World.” The famous Muscle Beach workout area, skate park, handball courts, murals, and restaurants still attract millions of visitors every year. 

What Makes It Dangerous: High crime, a sizeable homeless population, gang activity, and unhealthy air pollution puts Venice Beach top on this list. While the city continues to find ways to reduce homeless camps on the beach, the problem persists.

#2 Daytona Beach, Florida

About the Beach: Known for its compact sand, visitors have been flocking to this beach since 1902. There are over 23 miles of white sand beach to enjoy. You can even drive cars in some designated beach areas during the day. 
What Makes It Dangerous: Surf zone fatalities due to sneaker waves and riptides contribute to the high danger there. It’s also the beach with the highest number of shark attacks. Between May to September 2021, there were 39 reported attacks. Fortunately, most were minor incidents with no fatalities.

Pro Tip: If you’re going to camp on the beach, make sure not to do any of these Don’ts of Beach Camping.

#3 Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

About the Beach: This world-famous beach is one of six beaches in the Waikiki neighborhood of Honolulu, Hawaii. Over four million people visit Waikiki Beach every year. Surfing, bodyboarding, snorkeling, and even canoeing are popular activities.

What Makes It Dangerous: High crime, some being violent, and water pollution are the top dangers. Sewage spills of untreated wastewater contribute to water pollution, sometimes causing beach closures.

#4 Siesta Beach, Florida

About the Beach: Located along the western Florida shoreline near Sarasota, this beach is known for its soft powdery sand. Unlike many other beaches with sand made from pulverized coral, the sand here is 99% quartz crystal. It reflects the sun’s rays, making it cool under bare feet.

What Makes It Dangerous: Occasional lightning strikes, shark attacks, and high summer temperatures contribute to its ranking on this list of deadliest beaches.

#5 Carlsbad Beach, California

About the Beach: This state-run beach just north of San Diego boasts three miles of protected waterfront to enjoy. Swimming, bodyboarding, and surfing are popular activities at this beach. Scuba divers and anglers can take boats further from the shore to experience deep-sea fun. 

What Makes It Dangerous: High crime and water pollution put this beach on our list of deadliest beaches.

#6 Emerald Isle, North Carolina

About the Beach: Emerald Isle is an island off the coast of North Carolina. The beach stretches for 12 miles and is a popular vacation spot on the Eastern Seaboard. You can fish from the Boque Inlet Pier or learn paddleboarding in the calm waters off the shore. The isle is also a great place for bicycling, wildlife viewing, and birdwatching. 

What Makes It Dangerous: Surf zone fatalities make this one of the deadliest beaches in the US. A flag warning system indicates the level of danger posed on any given day.

Pro Tip: Want to camp on the beach? Make sure to pack one of these 5 Best Beach Tents For Camping.

#7 Deerfield Beach, Florida

About the Beach: This southern Florida beach is known for its excellent beach condition, habitat conservation, and overall safety. Deerfield Beach is home to the longest cable ski course in the US. What’s cable skiing, you may ask? It’s a hybrid of surfing, skiing, and wakeboarding. 

While not the most popular beach destination in Florida, it’s perfect for those not wanting an overcrowded beach experience. Building sandcastles, fishing, kayaking, and water skiing are popular activities at this beach. 

What Makes It Dangerous: Fatal lightning strikes make this one of the deadliest beaches. Shark attacks and water pollution also contribute to this beach’s dangers.

You Can Still Enjoy the Deadliest Beaches

While these beaches have redeeming qualities, it’s good to know their deadly hazards before planning your next trip there. Just be smart about keeping your belongings safe and keep your eyes open when you’re in the water.

Have you visited any of these deadliest beaches? If you have, you obviously survived! We’d love to hear about your experience, so please share in the comments below.

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