When you’re vacationing in a hot climate, there’s nothing better than taking a walk down to the beach, kicking your shoes off, getting your toes in the sand, and jumping into the water. That’s all well and good at most popular beaches, but there are some locations where the water just isn’t hospitable.
Make sure you do your research when you’re planning your next trip because you don’t want to end up dipping your delicate toes into these dangerous waters.
This is a photo of Jacob’s Lake which is located in south-central Texas. The water in this lake is super cool and clear, so you can pretty much see all the way down to the bottom. This lake has an intricate system of tunnels and caves in its depths, which can be fun to explore with proper diving gear.
The problem is, if you go in with too little oxygen or you don’t have the right equipment, you can easily get lost in that system of tunnels and not be able to make your way back to the surface in time.
The Nile River
The Nile River is full of all kinds of life forms, and not all of those life forms are friendly. The Nile River is home to Nile crocodiles which have been known to attack humans.
There are approximately 100 crocodile attacks per year in the north African Nile. That’s way more than the number of shark attacks that occur each year. Basically, don’t go for a swim in the Nile unless you’re okay with losing a limb or two.
Hawaii is a super popular tourist destination because of its gorgeous landscapes and warm beaches, but not all Hawaiian beaches are safe for swimming. Powerful riptides can be deadly, especially on Hanakapiai Beach. There have been around 80 deaths at this location due to strong currents pulling people out to sea.
Recently, two children were pulled out into the ocean here. Luckily, a team of people was able to jump into the water and save them.
Bubbly Creek sounds like a fun name for a cool, effervescent body of water, but the reason behind the bubbles in Bubbly Creek is pretty gross.
Disgusting runoff makes its way into this river and this whole creek is full of sewage, discarded meat, and garbage of all sorts. All of this stuff is now decaying, and that process releases gases which are the source of the bubbles in Bubbly Creek. This is one creepy creek!
The Gulf Coast
If you’re afraid of snakes, you probably think you’re safe in the water. Snakes can’t swim, right? Wrong. Snakes can swim, and there are even breeds of snakes that spend most of their lives underwater. The Gulf Coast off of the Southern United States is home to rattlesnakes. And yes, rattlesnakes can swim.
Now you may be realizing that you’re not safe from snakes on land or at sea. Maybe it’s best just stay away from The Gulf Coast altogether.
Thailand is very popular with divers, especially because of the Samaesan Hole, a feature off the coast that’s one of the deepest areas to dive in the whole country. The further down the hole you go, the darker it gets.
At certain levels, there’s zero visibility, which makes it very easy to get lost in the depths of the Samaesan Hole. Losing your path to the surface can be fatal, so novice divers should stay away.
Lake Karachay in central Russia is one of the most toxic lakes on the planet. That’s because the Russian government dumped toxic waste into it before environmental regulations prevented them from doing so. This lake is so toxic, that swimming in it for an hour could literally kill you.
The Russian government is now taking steps to fill the lake with concrete so that nobody accidentally goes for a swim in it. What a shame to have a place like this so polluted.
Eagle’s Nest Sinkhole
It’s fine to swim above Eagle’s Nest Sinkhole in Florida, but it’s super dangerous to dive into the hole. The hole is 300 feet deep and at least 10 people have died attempting to navigate its depths.
Only super experienced divers should attempt diving in Eagle’s Nest Sinkhole. The sign in the photo above is located underwater. Heed this warning if you want to survive. This sign is pretty scary, and it’s definitely enough to deter the average person from going any further.
Kipu Falls is another dangerous Hawaiian tourist attraction. Several tourists have drowned here, although nobody is exactly sure why this location, in particular, has caused so many deaths. maybe it’s because of how popular these falls are or because of the rocky cliffs. Some people think it’s because of the wrath of ancient gods or hidden whirlpools.
The most likely explanation is that people are drinking and swimming in this spot. Be careful with alcohol, tourists!
The Amazon Basin
The Amazon Basin in South America is home to many dangerous critters. Don’t go for a swim in these waters unless you want to encounter piranhas, barracudas, and other toothy fish.
The Amazon Basin is also home to the candiru, tiny little catfish that can swim up your urinary tract and cause major problems. Need I say more? Don’t swim here. You don’t need a catfish in your urethra.
Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the third largest lake in the world. This lake even has its own weather system that’s known to be pretty fickle. One minute everything can look bright and sunny, and then in a split second, there can be a raging sea storm.
So far, around 5,000 people that we know have died in Lake Victoria. People wander into the waters when the weather is warm and sunny, but very quickly, waves suddenly become huge, and it’s too late.
Rio Tinto is a body of water that’s located in Spain. Unfortunately, the water in Rio Tinto is now red due to large amounts of pollution. The area was used as a mine which eventually polluted the lake and turned it very acidic.
The water in this lake is so harmful, it could dissolve a human body. So it’s definitely not a lake you want to swim around in. There are other bodies of water in Spain that are much less gross.
The Ganges River
Industrialization means that areas of the world are becoming more developed and more financially successful, but it also takes a huge toll on the environment. The Ganges River was once clean and pure, but pollution, carbon emissions, and other side effects of industrialization have turned it into one of the most dangerous rivers to swim in the world.
Flowing through India and Bangladesh, you definitely don’t want to take a dip in this body of water.
Gansbaai is an area off the coast of South Africa. The place is home to a variety of wildlife, including the sea birds pictured above and some pretty dangerous sharks. The sea birds aren’t going to cause you much harm. Sharks, on the other hand, have been known to cause deadly injuries.
While sharks don’t attack humans very regularly, they sometimes mistake humans for a tasty seal, and try for a bite.
The Boiling Lake
Does this lake look like it’s steaming to you? That’s because it is. The Boiling Lake in Dominica is situated directly over a pocket of scalding hot magma.
The magma causes the water above it to boil, and you definitely don’t want to go swimming in water that is literally boiling. We all love a good hot spring, but this is next level. If you’re ever in Dominica, avoid The Boiling Lake and only observe from afar.
First of all, you couldn’t swim at the Hoover Dam even if you wanted to. I mean, I guess you could if you were really determined, but it’s illegal to do so, and you don’t want to face the consequences if you get caught.
Intakes are performed regularly at the dam which allows water at the top to move down to the bottom. If you are in the water near the dam during an intake, you’re going to get pulled right under the water.
People from all over the world travel to Indonesia to witness the country’s natural beauty. Unfortunately, a lot of that natural beauty is being contaminated by human beings. The Citrum River in Indonesia has now been polluted to the point that it’s unsafe for swimming.
The river is full of so much garbage and chemicals that no fish swim in these waters. Hopefully, we can all learn from our mistakes and take better care of our planet.
The Blue Lagoon
In the UK, there’s a body of water known as the Blue Lagoon. While this water looks blue and clear, the lake has such a high pH level that it’s actually dangerous if the water touches your skin.
For those of you who know a thing or two about the pH scale, this lake has a pH of 11.3. The Blue Lagoon has alkalinity that’s comparable to ammonia or bleach. The stench is the first warning sign of this dangerous body of water.
After a series of earthquakes destroyed the area around Horseshoe Lake in California, the ground around the lake released large amounts of carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide killed all of the plants in the area, which is why there are now a lot of dead trees around the lake.
There are signs all around the area warning people not to swim in the lake. If you see a sign like this, just turn around and walk the other way.
Reunion Island is a little island off the coast of Madagascar. It sits located in the Indian Ocean. Unfortunately, this area of the Indian Ocean is known for the increasing number of shark attacks that happen there each year, especially with surfers who enjoy the waves breaking off the island.
There’s been a record number of 39 shark attacks off the coast of this little piece of land. People sill swim here, but it’s not recommended. Swim or surf at your own risk, and beware of sharks.
This body of water known as The Strid in the middle of Yorkshire, England is a lot more dangerous than it seems. This looks like an innocent brook in photos, but in real life, it’s full of small, hidden currents that can quickly suck whole humans into its depths.
Often, people get trapped under the rocks on either side of this quick-flowing stream. If you’re planning a trip to Yorkshire, stay away from The Strid.
Australia is home to some of the most venomous animals in the world, and these dangerous creatures aren’t just on land. Queensland, Australia is one of the most dangerous places to swim because the waters off the coast of Queensland are home to some deadly creatures.
There are sharks, saltwater crocodiles, stonefish, and the exceptionally deadly blue-ringed octopi and box jellyfish. Although they may be hard to spot, one sting from a box jellyfish can cause immediate cardiac arrest.
California is home to many safe and serene beaches. Bolinas Beach is not one of those beaches. This area is full of wildlife, which is great if you’re into zoology, but also, that wildlife is food for a deadly predator.
Located in Marin County, just north of San Francisco, Bolinas is part of the infamous Red Triangle, which is an area that great white sharks flock to, to breed, carry their pups and for hunting food. You don’t want a great white shark to confuse you for a seal.
New Smyrna Beach
Like Reunion Island, New Smyrna Beach in Florida is known as the shark capital of the world. Can there be more than one shark capital? Well, there are at least two. If you’re afraid of sharks, stay away from both of these locations.
This beach is very close to the open ocean and sharks know that if they hang around near the shore, they might be able to find a tasty snack. Even with the known threat of sharks, many beachgoers decide to get in the water anyway!
At the edge of the Victoria Falls in Zambia, there are little pools called “The Devil’s Pools.” They are literally on the lip of the falls and if you swim in them, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll be swept over the falls, never to be seen again. Never to be seen again alive, at least.
Even though it’s tempting to take a dip, it’s better to observe these gorgeous falls from the safety of dry land, like the tourists in this photo.
Rivers are known for being calming, relaxing sites for summer fun. Surprisingly, the Potomac River that runs through Maryland and West Virginia moves pretty quickly. The rapids in this river can easily pull you under the water where I guarantee you will find it very difficult to breathe.
Be very careful when hiking around the Potomac River, and maybe invest in a lifejacket. You know, just to be safe when hiking alongside the water. Better safe than sorry.
West End, Grand Bahama Islands
I highly recommend going snorkeling in The Bahamas. You’ll get to see some of the coolest and most beautiful fish on earth. Be careful though, all of those fish attract hungry sharks. Tiger sharks swim in the waters surrounding The Bahamas.
Thankfully, the risk of a shark attack in these parts are very low, and tourists can still spend time in the blue waters. Just don’t flop around too much or resemble their food and you’ll probably be okay.
Rwanda has a pretty complex history. This land has seen some unstable political situations, to say the least. The land itself is also quite unstable. Lake Kivu in Rwanda is literally considered an “exploding lake” because it’s dangerously close to a volcano.
When the volcano erupts, the lake releases a bunch of carbon dioxide into the air. That carbon dioxide is deadly, so no matter how tempting the water is, you’re going to want to stay far away from Lake Kivu.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach is a popular tourist destination, but it can also be a dangerous day trip for those visiting. Located in South Carolina, Myrtle Beach is known for its riptides and dangerous jellyfish.
Also, these waters are home to warm-water cannonball jellyfish that can deliver a deadly and paralyzing sting to unsuspecting swimmers. If you get stung by a jellyfish while caught in a riptide, you could become paralyzed and not be able to swim to safety.
Gulf Of Thailand
We’ve already talked about box jellyfish, but let’s just reiterate that these little creatures definitely pack a punch. Just one sting can land you in the hospital with toxic shock- a syndrome that can be fatal.
The Gulf of Thailand is full of these box jellies. If you get shocked while you’re in the water, you’ll become paralyzed and most likely drown unless you’re with someone who can pull you to the shore. Tourists, beware!
Blue Lake is obviously blue in color, but the reason why it’s so blue has been a topic of interest for both scientists and the rest of us. Apparently, the water is blue because of high levels of hydrogen sulfide.
We’re not sure exactly how much hydrogen sulfide is safe for swimming, or what exactly is at the bottom of this lake, so maybe it’s better to stay away until scientists can do some more research.
Mono Lake, California
Mono Lake is a body of water just outside of Lake Tahoe in California. Due to tributaries in nearby towns, this lake has been drained of its vital resources.
Because of this drainage, the lake’s ecosystem is now unbalanced. It has a very high concentration of carbonates among other toxins. Don’t go wandering too far from Lake Tahoe (which is safe, for all we know). You don’t want to end up at Mono Lake.
All you need to know about Laguna Caliente is right there in its name. It literally means hot lagoon, but this lagoon is more than hot. It’s actually boiling. The water is at such a high temperature because it’s located in the center of a stratovolcano in Costa Rica. This lake will burn your flesh off in seconds.
If that doesn’t kill you, an erupting volcano or the toxic gases coming out of it definitely will.
Lake Chagan, Kazakhstan
Lake Chagan in Kazakhstan is also known as the “Nuclear Lake.” It was given that name for a very specific reason. This lake was formed when a nuclear bomb was detonated underground in Russia on January 15, 1965.
The explosion left behind a huge, poisonous crater. It’s about 300 feet deep and 1,300 feet wide. This area is extremely radioactive and dangerous. This is not a lake that you want to dip your feet into.
Lake Nyos, Cameroon
Lake Nyos was formed in Cameroon, Africa when an asteroid hit the earth. This asteroid happened to hit right long the Cameroon Volcanic Line. For a long time, there were only mild eruptions in the region, but on August 21, 1986, one eruption released a toxic C02 cloud from the bottom of Lake Nyos.
When the cloud hit the air, it killed 1,000 people and 3,000 livestock animals. It was one of the deadliest natural C02 clouds in history.
The Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa is not exactly an ideal tourist destination. That’s because it’s a volcano. It’s actually the largest lava pit in the world. Right near that lava pit, there’s a little swimming hole, but we’re using that term loosely. You definitely shouldn’t go swimming near an active volcano.
Really, you shouldn’t even go close to this “lake.” If it looks like lava, it probably is. Don’t touch it!
Berkeley Pitt is located in Butte Montana. This lake used to be a copper mine, but after it was abandoned, it filled up with water. That water has now been contaminated by all of the chemicals in the mine.
This lake is around a half-mile wide and 1,780 feet deep. It’s full of toxic chemicals and you shouldn’t go anywhere near it. The whole thing is a biohazard. It’s hard to imagine that any form of life could survive in that pit.
Lagoons (if not boiling hot or full of deadly chemicals) are some of the coolest places in the world to visit. The Beqa Lagoon in Fiji is no exception. Except, however, it’s full of sharks. Now, the whole ocean is full of sharks, so you always take that risk when you go into open waters.
Whether or not you want to take that risk is completely up to you. It might be slightly safer than some of the polluted bodies of waters on this list.
Barbados is a prime tourist destination. The clear water that surrounds the island is definitely part of the attraction. If you stay on the east or west coasts, you should be safe, but be careful around the north and south coasts. Here, huge ocean currents can quickly whisk you out to sea.
Barbados has earned a bad rap because of these currents, but if you’re very careful, you should be safe. Just take note of the currents in the water before you jump in.
India is home to some gorgeous beaches. It is also home to some very toxic beaches. Pollution and industrialization have ravaged the shores of Mumbai. It’s the biggest city in India, and with all of those people comes a lot of pollution. People end up dumping anything they don’t want into the water.
Surrounding lakes have turned into literal cesspools. But some environmentally conscious citizens of India are fighting back. They want to make Mumbai beautiful again.