Skip to main content

Why you should avoid Florida beaches this summer (spoiler: you might die!)

If you plan on dipping your toes in the water, avoid these dangerous beaches - and yes, they are in Florida

Whenever we hear about something crazy happening in the U.S., the first thought is, “bet that happened in Florida.” For summer shenanigans, you better believe Florida has you covered. If you plan to spend summertime on the sand, we’re here to tell you to skip Florida beaches. The most dangerous ones in the country are in that southern state, so pay attention to which ones to stay far away from and why.

A picture of a beach with no people on it.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The most dangerous beaches in the U.S.

Travel Lens looked at a number of factors — like hurricanes, fatalities, and shark attacks — to determine the most dangerous beaches in the U.S. Wondering which beaches topped the list?

  1. New Smyrna Beach, Florida
  2. Cocoa Beach, Florida
  3. Ormond Beach, Florida
  4. Panama City Beach, Florida
  5. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  6. Melbourne Beach, Florida
  7. Jacksonville Beach, Florida
  8. Oak Island, North Carolina
  9. Gulf Shores, Alabama
  10. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Let’s dive into some of the factors that earned these beaches their spots on the list.

Hurricanes are never fun

First of all, Florida has the most hurricanes. Florida beats out rivals Texas and Louisiana for the top spot in that category. And not just a little — by almost double the number of the following highest states. Texas and Louisiana see 64 and 62 hurricanes, but Florida blows them out of the water with a total of 120 hurricanes, with 37 of those considered significantly dangerous.

So, in general, not a good look for Florida or anyone looking to go near the water. Florida clocked more hurricanes than the next three states combined (after Texas and Louisiana), and it takes the next four to beat the sunshine state.

Florida is the real-life equivalent of Sharknado

Sharks are everywhere, yet in Florida, they seem to be extra aggressive. Since 2010, the Top 10 spots for the most shark attacks are dominated by Florida.

On the low end, Jensen Beach and Jacksonville Beach have had three each, and Ormond Beach saw four, putting it in the top five most dangerous beaches for shark attacks. Melbourne Beach holds strong at number four with six attacks overall. The top three are majority Florida-bound, with third place going to good old Cocoa Beach with seven shark attacks.

But it’s number one that does it for us to avoid the state completely. New Smyrna Beach, which is located just south of Daytona Beach, has seen an impressive — or scary — 32 shark attacks since 2010. No, thank you.

The water itself will try to kill you

If you want to do a little surfing, Florida’s waters have other plans. The Top 10 most dangerous beaches for surfing have a Florida location in six spots. The top three are — again — mostly Florida beaches. 

In fourth place, though, is that lovely New Smyrna Beach with ten surf zone fatalities. That beach shouldn’t have people allowed to go near it between the sharks and surfing deaths. Second place goes to Daytona Beach, with 16 surf-related deaths, so maybe stay on the sand there. Top honors go to Panama City Beach with a staggering 24 deaths since 2010.

The most dangerous beaches, taking everything into account, have Florida on the map seven times. No surprise New Smyrna Beach takes that top spot. 

So, if you want to survive your vacation, pick any state other than Florida. Or stick to the usual Disney days if you do visit there. Just to be on the safe side, maybe check out the coast along Massachusetts instead.

Editors' Recommendations

Dannielle Beardsley
Dannielle has written for various websites, online magazines, and blogs. She loves everything celebrity and her favorite…
Plan your end-of-summer road trip: The 10 best beer cities to visit
Finish summer strong by visiting one of these 10 beer cities
A wheat beer and a pils are standing on a table in a beer garden

Sure, it’s great to spend time at home during the summer (and early fall) months. This is especially true if you have a nice back deck, patio, or pool (or all of the above) and a well-manicured lawn to play cornhole, ladder ball, or croquet. But, while it’s fun to be home on warm, sunny days, we believe summer deserves at least a few road trips. And while a day trip to a regional amusement park or to a state forest for a hike is great, we’d rather hop in our car and have the trip end with some liquid refreshment instead of nausea-inducing spinning teacups. Specifically, lagers, IPAs, and other thirst-quenching beers.

If you’re a beer fan and anything like us, you’ll want to take a day trip or vacation to a city that is chocked full of breweries, brewpubs, and other places to drink frosty brews. Luckily, since the U.S. is loaded with beer bars, brewpubs, and over 9,000 breweries, there are quite a few towns and cities well-worth hopping in your car and visiting.

Read more
Tired of touristy Cabo vacations? Why La Paz is the Mexican destination for you
Yes, there’s plenty more of Baja California Sur for you to explore beyond Los Cabos
The beach at Playa Los Cerritos, Baja California Sur, Mexico.

Typically, when we discuss Baja California Sur, Mexico, we usually talk about Tijuana, Rosarito, and Ensenada on the north end of the peninsula near the U.S. Border, or about Los Cabos on the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula. But for a good number of seasoned and savvy Baja travelers, they’ve enjoyed fewer crowds and more adventures in La Paz, Mexico. Far from (most of) the maddening crowds to the north and the south, La Paz offers everything from snorkeling and diving in the world-renowned Sea of Cortez to sandboarding the incredible dunes of El Mogote. You can surf the legendary waves of Baja’s own Pueblo Mágico of Todos Santos and swerve through the charming streets of Downtown La Paz.

Whether you’re eager to experience more of Baja that’s off the most beaten paths, or you simply want to extend your Mexican vacation and do a day or two somewhere other than Los Cabos, La Paz probably has everything you need and much more that you want for a great escape. These are all the reasons you should put La Paz on your bucket list.

Read more
There’s a really good reason not to drive to Las Vegas this summer (or maybe ever again)
Why you may never want to drive in Las Vegas again (and what to do instead)
A nighttime photo of the Las Vegas skyline

Are you thinking of taking a road trip to Las Vegas? You may want to think again. Though many, particularly from the Northeast, may touch down in Sin City via airplane, some may wish to arrive via car (especially given all the air travel woes this year). Once there, travelers may rent a vehicle to gain easier access to all the attractions Las Vegas offers.

However, you should reconsider how you get around on your Vegas vacation. More and more casino resorts are phasing out a policy that tourists and locals like: Free parking.

Read more