These Are the Deadliest Beaches in the United States

Spoiler alert: the bulk of them are in Florida

Cocoa Beach, Florida shoreline
Cocoa Beach, Florida is among the top three most dangerous beaches in the country.

When researching locales for your next beach vacation, you’re likely Googling things like, “How warm does it get?” “Is the water swimmable?” “Is it fun for kids?” Alternatively, “How many people have died there?” is probably something you are not.

Some beaches are more dangerous than others, whether they have some of the largest waves, the most sharks or they’re notorious for rip currents. So maybe a beach’s safety factor is something you should consider in advance, if for no other reason than to avoid the buzzkill that is arriving to your final destination only to find out that it’s one of the deadliest beaches in the country.

That said, the good people of Travel Lens have gone ahead and done most of the legwork for you in that regard. Looking at several factors, such as fatalities, they were able to discover which beaches in the country present the biggest dangers to visitors. Lo and behold, the top four most dangerous beach in the continental United States are located in none other than the ol’ Sunshine State — one of the most visited states in the country.

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With a “Danger Score” of 8.14/10, New Smyrna Beach in Florida has been named the deadliest, with 32 shark attacks — twice as many as any other U.S. beach. (Although, it reportedly has an excellent food scene.) Second on the list was Cocoa Beach with an overall danger score of 7.57 out of 10, which has had seven shark attacks and as many surf zone fatalities. The third, Ormond Beach, has had eight surf zone fatalities and four shark attacks since 2010.

“Florida was the state most affected by hurricanes, which explains why seven out of the top 10 most dangerous beaches are found in this state,” Blake Walsh wrote for Travel Lens.

The full list is as follows:

  • New Smyrna Beach, Florida — 8.14 danger score
  • Cocoa Beach, Florida — 7.57 danger score
  • Ormond Beach, Florida — 7.48 danger score
  • Panama City Beach, Florida — 7.16 danger score
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina — 6.61 danger score
  • Melbourne Beach, Florida — 6.35 danger score
  • Jacksonville Beach, Florida — 6.02 danger score
  • Oak Island, North Carolina — 5.54 danger score
  • Gulf Shores, Alabama — 5.38 danger score
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida — 5.37 danger score

It does bear mentioning that the aforementioned are also among some of the most populous beaches in the country at any given time. There are obviously more deaths in a day in New York City than there are in Winterset, Iowa. In short: there are probably more dangerous beaches in the country that are just not as frequented as often as, say, Myrtle Beach. As it were, I didn’t need another reason to not go to Florida anyway.


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