From Sharks to Crimes: 12 of the Most Unsafe Beaches in the U.S. You Need To Be Aware Of

Heading off to the beach for a dip and some sunbathing is a great way to spend your holidays. But despite the lure of golden sand and crystal clear waters, a few of the country’s beaches can be incredibly dangerous. Here’s a list of the most dangerous beaches in the US from Outforia based on the overall reported crimes from May to September 2021 and data on shark attacks from the 19th century.

1. Venice Beach, California

Muscle Beach, Venice Beach, California
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Regarded as one of Los Angeles’ most iconic beaches, Venice Beach, CA, has the unfortunate distinction of being the most dangerous beach in the USA. Its notoriety stems from historical ties to gang activity and a substantial homeless population, contributing to a significantly high rate of crimes in the local area.

2. Daytona Beach, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida, USA beachfront skyline.
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Daytona Beach, unfortunately, claims the unenviable spot as the second most dangerous beach due to its high crime rate. A staggering tally of nearly 600 crimes were reported, with thefts and robberies accounting for 150 incidents. This beach leads all others with 39 recorded shark attacks, adding to its dangerous reputation. Tragically, Daytona Beach has also witnessed thirteen “surf zone fatalities” since 2014, emphasizing the inherent risks accompanying a visit to this coastal destination.

3. Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

Couple walking on Waikiki beach Hawaii vacation. Happy couple in love relaxing at sunset on tourist famous travel destination in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii.
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Surprisingly, this beach has earned one of the best marks for water pollution, reflecting efforts to maintain its pristine environmental condition. However, beneath its clear waters lies a troubling reality – one of the worst crime rates among beach destinations. A staggering 440 crimes were reported, with nearly 200 of them involving thefts and robberies.

4. Siesta Beach, Florida 

Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota Florida shot by aerial drone. #1 Beach in the USA.
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Off the coast of Sarasota lies a beach known for its relatively low crime rate, providing a sense of security to its visitors. However, there have been at least five shark attacks and one tragic lightning-related death in the otherwise tranquil waters. Despite its allure, beachgoers should remain vigilant of these natural perils. Moreover, the average summer temperature soars to fairly high levels, serving as a reminder of the need for precaution and proper sun protection while enjoying the warm coastal breezes.

5. Carlsbad Beach, California

Carlsbad Beach, California
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This beach is located north of San Diego and has experienced 517 reported crimes. Additionally, the beach received a poor rating for water pollution, raising concerns about this once-idyllic coastal spot’s environmental health and safety. As a popular destination for locals and tourists, these concerning statistics serve as a stark reminder of the importance of vigilance and conservation efforts to protect both visitors and the natural beauty of this coastal gem.

6. Emerald Isle, North Carolina

Emerald Isle, North Carolina
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Emerald Isle, nestled in Jacksonville, North Carolina, presents a stark reality of the dangers that can befall unsuspecting beachgoers. Since 2014, 12 “surf zone fatalities” have been reported on this beach, ranking it second-highest on the list of dangerous coastal destinations. Also, Emerald Isle and Palm Beach have had ten shark attacks, putting them at the second spot on this list.

7. Deerfield Beach, Florida

Deerfield Beach
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South of Palm Beach, along the shoreline, lies a stretch of coast that has experienced its share of natural perils. Two shark attacks and one fatal lightning strike have left their mark, reminding visitors of the unpredictable dangers lurking in these waters. Moreover, the area garnered a water pollution score of 47.4 out of 100, raising concerns about the environmental health of this picturesque beach destination.

8. Belleair Beach, Florida

Belleair Beach
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Belleair Beach boasts a relatively low crime rate, providing a sense of security for visitors and residents alike. However, its water pollution metric presents a cause for concern, with a score of 45.93 out of 100, reflecting potential environmental challenges. Additionally, the beach experienced one reported incident of a lightning strike, reminding beachgoers of the unpredictable forces of nature that can occasionally emerge in this tranquil setting.

9. Malibu Beach, California

Malibu Beach
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Famed for its celebrity homes, the Southern California beach has garnered attention for all the wrong reasons, with alarmingly poor air and water pollution scores. The beach has been the site of at least five documented shark attacks. A concerning 61.30 out of 100 water pollution score has raised significant environmental and safety concerns for both beachgoers and the marine life that calls this area home.

10. Hollywood Beach, Florida

Hollywood Beach
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Located in Broward County, this beach has had its fair share of problems, including four documented shark attacks and a string of disturbing criminal activity. Its water pollution score of 47.37 out of 100 isn’t great.

11. Capistrano Beach, Carlifonia

Capistrano Beach, Carlifonia
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Capistrano Beach is great for water enthusiasts with its idyllic setting and gentle waves, perfect for surfing and bodyboarding. However, visitors should also be mindful of its crime rate, surpassing 100 incidents, with theft being a notable concern. Additionally, the water pollution score of 61.30 raises environmental considerations for beachgoers and marine life. Although shark incidents are relatively low, with only one recorded.

12. Miami Beach, Florida

South Beach, Miami, Florida
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This beach boasts a very low crime rate, offering visitors security as they enjoy its sandy shores. However, the beach has seen its share of shark incidents, with nine recorded encounters, reminding swimmers to remain vigilant in the waters. The water pollution score of 47.37 raises concerns about the environmental health of this popular beach destination. With a summer temperature reaching 90 degrees, beachgoers can revel in the warm coastal climate while appreciating the need for adequate sun protection and hydration during their stay.

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