When we think about beaches, relaxation, fun, and beautiful scenery usually come to mind. But that’s not always the case — whether due to pollution or dangerous animals, several of the world’s beaches are not the vacation destinations they seem like. Click through to check out some of the worst.
1. Monument Beach, Florida.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Florida’s Monument Beach is one of the most polluted in the United States. Nearly three-fourths of water samples showed pollutants that exceeded national standards. Located in Florida’s Gulf County, the beach is only monitored twice a month.
2. Volusia & Brevard County Beaches, Florida
How’s this for a not-so-great claim to fame: Brevard County and Volusia County, both on Florida’s central coast, are home to more unprovoked shark attacks than any stretch of beaches in the world. Out of the 80 shark attacks that took place worldwide in 2012, for instance, nearly one-fifth were in one of these counties.
4. Northern Territory and Queensland, Australia.
Shark attacks are the most famous beach predators, but on many Australian beaches, the worst perpetrators are jellyfish and their relatives, bluebottles (pictured). These toxic critters virtually take over beaches in Northern Australia, leading to thousands of stings, some fatal.
5. Hanakapiai Beach, Hawaii.
Located on the remote Napali coast of Kauai, this beach is unsafe even for the most casual swimming — rip currents and strong waves have claimed the lives of several dozen visitors. If you do get swept out to sea, there’s little hope of ever getting back on land, because the closest stretch of safe shoreline is over six miles away. Despite the hazardous conditions, the beach itself remains a popular tourist destination.
6. Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands.
It may look picturesque, but this South Pacific island was famously the site of over 20 nuclear weapons tests in the 1940s and 1950s. Though technically safe to visit for short periods, the island has not been permanently resettled because food grown on the island would be hazardous. And it’s not just radiation that makes this beach dangerous — the water is also teeming with sharks. No thanks!