America’s Deadliest Beaches
There are multiple beaches across the US to choose from, and they can be a great day out.
With the golden sandy beaches, the hot weather, and the view of the ocean, it can create the perfect spontaneous day to spend quality time with your loved ones.
However, amongst those beautiful views, there are beaches which present some dangers.
Whether that’s hurricanes, surfing fatalities, or shark attacks.
We wanted to find out which beaches are more deadly than others, so we looked into several factors, such as fatalities, to discover which beaches in the US present the biggest dangers to visitors.
With a Danger Score of 8.14/10, New Smyrna Beach Has Been Named The Deadliest in The US
We’ve looked at the number of surf zone fatalities, the number of shark attacks, and the number of hurricanes to find out which beach is the most dangerous to visit.
1. New Smyrna Beach, Florida - 8.14 danger score
The deadliest beach in the US is Florida’s New Smyrna Beach, with an overall danger score of 8.14. New Smyrna Beach had more shark attacks than any other beach at 32. This was more than twice as many as any other US beach. However, this beach isn’t all bad. The food scene is excellent, where you can visit some of the best restaurants in New Smyrna Beach.
2. Cocoa Beach, Florida - 7.57 danger score
In second place is Cocoa beach, with an overall danger score of 7.57 out of 10. Cocoa beach is another beach based in Florida. This beach has had as many surf zone fatalities as shark attacks, with a total of seven.
3. Ormond Beach, Florida - 7.48 danger score
Ormond Beach completes our top three with a danger score of 7.48. This also completes the top three beaches based in Florida. 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. Ormond Beach has had eight surf zone fatalities and four shark attacks since 2010.
Florida’s Panama City Beach Has Been Named The Most Dangerous Beach For Surfing, With 24 Surf Zone Fatalities Since 2010
A popular activity for beach-goers is surfing. That’s why we wanted to find out which beaches had the highest number of surf zone fatalities since 2010.
1. Panama City Beach, Florida - 24 surf zone fatalities
The most dangerous beach to surf in is Panama City Beach, with a total of 24 surf zone deaths since 2010 - eight more than any other beach. Although surfing is one of the best things to do in North Florida, where Panama City Beach is located, the best conditions for surfing often occur during hurricane season, making it incredibly dangerous.
2. Daytona Beach, Florida - 16 surf zone fatalities
Daytona Beach, located on Florida's Atlantic coast, has taken second place with 16 surf zone fatalities since 2010. Daytona is known for its NASCAR circuit, Daytona International Speedway, which is just over three miles from the coast.
3. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina - 15 surf zone fatalities
Completing our top three is Myrtle Beach, with 15 surf zone fatalities since 2010. This South Carolina beach sits on the Atlantic coast and is another popular surfing destination. Most of South Carolina’s Atlantic coast comprises a beach break, where the waves break on a sandy beach. This makes it an ideal place for beginner surfers.
There Have Been 32 Shark Attacks at New Smyrna Beach, Florida, Since 2010 - More Than Any Other US Beach
When going to the beach, we often like to get in and enjoy the water. Whether you are surfing, swimming, or paddleboarding, the risk of encountering a shark may be larger than you think. We’ve looked at the beaches where shark attacks occur the most.
1. New Smyrna Beach, Florida - 32 shark attacks
In the top spot again is New Smyrna Beach, with a total of 32 shark attacks since 2010, averaging close to three a year. This Florida beach has suffered 23 more shark attacks than any other beach, and it’s estimated that your chances of getting bitten by a shark in New Smyrna Beach are ten times higher than anywhere else across the US.
2. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina - 9 shark attacks
In second place is Myrtle Beach, with a total of nine shark attacks since 2010. The most recent of these attacks came on the 15th of August, 2022, when two attacks happened within the space of an hour. If you are not taking the proper precautions, swimming in the water may not be the best thing to do in Myrtle Beach.
3. Cocoa Beach, Florida - 7 shark attacks
Completing our top three is Cocoa Beach, with seven shark attacks happening in the last 12 years. Just one of these attacks occurred in 2022, on the 11th of February when an unprovoked attack occurred on a man surfing.
Florida Has Experienced The Most Hurricanes Out Of All The US States
Hurricanes are horrible natural disasters and can pose a significant threat to our lives and infrastructure. We’ve looked at the states that have been affected by the most hurricanes.
1. Florida - 120 hurricanes
In the top spot is Florida, with a total of 120 hurricanes. Florida’s capacity is almost twice as many as any other state. Of the 120 hurricanes, 37 of them were considered significant, which is the equivalent of rank three and above.
2. Texas - 64 hurricanes
In second place is Texas, with a total of 64 hurricanes. Nineteen of Texas’ total were considered major hurricanes. Florida’s and Texas’ total for significant hurricane strikes makes up 80% of the total.
3. Louisiana - 62 hurricanes
Narrowly completing our top three is Louisiana, with a total of 62 hurricanes. Of these 62 hurricanes, 18 have been classified as major. Louisiana also had one category-five hurricane, more than Texas, which didn’t have any.
The Experts at Travel Lens Have Shared Four Tips On How to Stay Safe When Visiting The Beach
1. Always swim in a lifeguarded area
Regardless of your swimming capabilities, you should only swim if there is a lifeguard on duty. Open waters present many dangers, such as sharks and other sea life, as well as rip currents, and having a lifeguard can help you in case you are affected by one of these dangers. Open waters can often be extremely cold too, which can make swimming more difficult
2. Never swim alone
You should never swim alone in open water. Having a friend or family member close to you means they can help you if anything goes wrong. Having someone close by to assist you could save your life. It also gives you and the person swimming with you an extra set of eyes to spot any potential dangers
3. Keep within your fitness and swimming capabilities
If you struggle to swim or have low stamina, then it’s best to stay as close to the beach as possible. It’s very easy to get carried away when enjoying the open water, but make sure you do so within your capabilities. This is particularly important when swimming with another person, especially if they are a better swimmer than you. Make sure you communicate your swimming capabilities with each other before getting in.
4. Check weather warnings and water conditions
Before you head to the beach, make sure you check the water conditions as well as any potential weather warnings. If there are hurricane warnings, it’s best to avoid going to the beach in the first place. However, if you are already at the beach, it gives you a chance to prepare. You should also be on the lookout for rip current warnings. If the risk of a rip current is high, you should stay out of the water or stay incredibly close to the beach.
We looked at the number of surf zone fatalities and the number of shark attacks since 2010 per beach. We then took the beaches where both a surf zone fatality and a shark attack had occurred to get a condensed seeding list.
We then looked at the AOML’s data on the number of hurricanes per state and matched the beaches up to the state. This data shows hurricanes on the US coastline from Texas to Maine. Where some states have 0 for hurricanes, this shows missing data.
We then put this data into a weighted table to give each score a normalized score out of 10. We then took an average of these scores to get an overall danger score out of 10.
Data is accurate as of the 13th of January, 2023.
Data for surf zone fatalities and shark attacks show figures from 2010 onwards. Hurricane data shows figures between 1851 and 2020.
The experts at Travel Lens have shared tips on how to stay safe when visiting the beach.