Color us surprised that a beach near an active volcano might be a dangerous place to be. The gorgeous and unusual black sand of Kilauea beaches make it an obviously popular spot, but the volcanic fumes can be dangerous to your health--especially for the young or elderly. It goes without saying that you should probably also avoid swimming when molten lava is pouring into the ocean nearby.
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Boa Viagem Beach, Brazil
Hanakapiai Beach, Hawaii
Gansbaai, South Africa
Gansbaai Beach in South Africa has a well-deserved reputation problem. It's known as the "great white shark capital of the world." That's all we need to hear to stay away. If you're feeling adventurous, though, you can arrange an underwater exploration to see these majestic creatures face to face--within the safety of a metal cage, of course.
Playa Zipolite, Mexico
Skeleton Coast, Namibia
Virginia Beach, USA
Virginia Beach is a beautiful vacation spot nearby our nation's capital, but things aren't all fun in the sun here. While sharks won't be a huge problem, you will have to deal with an increased population of foxes and feral hogs, meaning you'll probably be running toward the ocean in terror instead of away from it.
Copacabana Beach, Brazil
Fraser Island, Australia
Poor Australia, it just can't catch a break when it comes to dangerous beaches. At Fraser Island, you're likely to find irukandji--one of the most venomous species of jellyfish known to man. At best, their sting will cause symptoms like pain, vomiting, and sweating. At worst they can lead to cardiac arrest. Oh, and there are also large packs of dingoes roaming the beach. Did we forget to mention them?
Utakleiv Beach, Norway
Cape Tribulation, Australia
If the name is any indicator, Cape Tribulation is a trying place. While the stereotype about Australia being home to all sorts of terrifying and dangerous creatures isn't always true, it most definitely is at this beach. This spot is the stomping ground for cassowaries--an aggressive species of flightless bird that can weigh up to 160 pounds! It's best to leave them to their own devices and take your chances with the jellyfish and venomous snakes that also call Cape Tribulation home.
North Sentinel Island Beach, India
Chances are you'll never actually be on North Sentinel Island, but if, for whatever reason, you find yourself there, it's best to make a quick exit. It's home to a remote tribe who wants no contact with the outside world--and they've been known to kill people who don't respect their wishes.
Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands
While the island of Bikini Atoll looks stunning, we also know that looks can be deceiving. In the 1940s and '50s, the US government used this spot as a place to test nuclear weapons, which has meant radiation problems ever since. Visiting Bikini Atoll is considered generally safe, but eating food that is grown on the island is discouraged, as it could still be contaminated.
Staithes Beach, UK
You won't find any dangerous sea creatures waiting to take off your leg at Staithes Beach. But you might still lose one from a gnarly bacterial infection! Thanks to the sewage that runs into the ocean here, it's known as one of the most polluted beaches in Europe. The microscopic nasties lurking in the water here include meningitis and E. coli!
Chowpatty Beach, India
Dumas Beach, India
The main threat at Dumas Beach in India is the king cobras. But if venomous snakes aren't enough to keep you away from the water, you should also know that it's considered one of the most haunted beaches in the world. Apparently even ghosts like to have a little fun in the sun.
Red Triangle, California
The Red Triangle isn't a beach per se, but rather, it's a stretch of coastline in northern California. And you know that they don't call it "Red Triangle" for nothing--11% of all great white shark attacks take place in this stretch of ocean.
Cable Beach, Australia
Tamarama Beach, Australia
On the island of Darwin in Australia, it's survival of the fittest--and let me assure you that you are definitely not the fittest when you visit here. Home to crocodiles and sharks year round and box jellyfish for several months annually, there's nary a creature here who doesn't want to do you harm.
Mindanao Island, Philippines
Amazon Beaches, South America
Reunion Island, Indian Ocean
Schitovaya Bukhta, Russia
While you might not think of Russia as a surfing hotspot, there's a surprising bit that goes on at Schitovaya Bukhta. Know what else is surprising about the place? The Soviet-era submarines leaking radiation under the water.
Lamu Island Beach, Kenya
West End Beach, Bahamas
Costa del Sol, Spain
Shenzhen Beach is one of the most popular beaches in China--so much so that it becomes dangerously overcrowded. This has led to numerous deaths of small children who have drowned while swimming here.
Heard Island Beach, Australia
Heard Island is a part of Australia, but unlike other Australian beaches, you won't find many poisonous or otherwise dangerous animals here. Instead, it's the temperature that will get you. While it's technically a portion of the land down under, it's actually closer to Antarctica, meaning that water temperatures are deadly pretty much all year round.