Sometimes you see a beautiful image of a watering hole on social media and think I’ve got to go there, it looks so nice. Other times, you stumble upon a lake or river while on a hike and dive in to cool off. There are definitely bodies of water that you don’t want to dive into, however. Some attractive-looking lakes have dangerous caves and tunnels that you could get trapped in. Others have toxic water that can’t be seen by the naked eye. If any of these destinations are on your bucket list or nearby where you live, swimmers beware.
In Florida, Eagle’s Nest Sinkhole Drops 300 Feet
Despite the risks, locals and tourists love to explore Eagle’s Nest Sinkhole in Florida. From 1999 until 2003, there was a ban in place, making it illegal to scuba dive at the hole that drops down 300 feet. However, the ban has been lifted and people are once again dying at the dangerous location.
There have been 11 deaths reported since 1981, with even local experts falling victim to the Eagle’s Nest Sinkhole after 30 years experience diving at the spot. It’s been nicknamed the “Venus Fly Trap” for divers.
Are Ancient Hawaiian Gods Threatening Kipu Falls?
It’s a bit of a mystery as to why so many deaths occur at Kipu Falls. Located in Hawaii, there’s nothing that particularly stands out in the way of danger at this beautiful location. It’s a tourist attraction in east Kaua’i for people looking to explore a watering hole and waterfall.
Some believe that ancient gods or hidden whirlpools are responsible for the deaths of five people in a five-year span. Others point to possible alcohol use and inexperienced swimmers. The road has been blocked off by the landowners, but some daring tourists still visit Kipu Falls.
Don’t Dive Into Red Rio Tinto
Located in Spain, Rio Tinto is basically a big red flag for polluted water. There are large amounts of pollution in this river due to the mining that has taken place in the area for over 5,000 years. The mines were developed by the Iberians and the Tartessans in 3000 b.c. and rediscovered by Spain in 1556.
Some say the levels of its natural organisms, iron-oxidizing bacteria, and sulfur-oxidizing bacteria are to blame. Either way, stay far away from the Rio Tinto.
The Nile River Is Croc Country
Certainly, you wouldn’t get in any body of water where a crocodile was on the shore to greet you, would you? Well, in case you don’t see one on the beach of the Nile River, we’re here to warn you about it.
On average, there are a reported 100 crocodile attacks at the north African Nile River each year, due to people swimming, boating and hanging around the water. No matter how hot of a day it is, nothing is worth the risk of getting in this water!
5,000 People Die Each Year At Lake Victoria, Africa
Lake Victoria is one of the African Great Lakes and is the third-largest lake in the entire world. It’s a beautiful sight to behold, and when visiting at the right time of day, you may never realize that this is a dangerous place to get in the water.
The insane weather patterns in the area are what makes Lake Victoria responsible for around 5,000 reported deaths each year. One minute the weather will be pristine, with the inviting-looking lake summoning tourists and locals to go for a swim. The next minute, a raging sea storm approaches and swimmers and boats are doomed.
The Blue Lagoon Smells Like Bleach For A Reason
These days everyone is looking for the perfect scenic setting to snap a photo to post on Instagram. This has led to people getting too close to polluted bodies of water they should really stay away from. This is one of those places.
Located in the United Kingdom, the Blue Lagoon appears to be gorgeous, aqua clear water. But there’s a hidden reason that water is so blue. The high pH level in the water (11.3 pH) is what causes the water to turn bright blue. The level is so high, it’s like stepping into a lake of bleach.
Hanakapiai Beach Has Dangerously Strong Rip Currents
Located on the island of Kaua’i is Hanakapiai Beach. The gorgeous natural setting attracts tourists who are in the area to hike Kauai‘s famous Nā Pali Coast. While the water might look tame, it’s far from it.
There are extremely powerful rip currents that catch people by surprise. The surf can also pick up at a rapid rate, greatly increasing the level of danger at Hanakapiai Beach. From 1970 to 2010 a reported 30 people have drowned at the location. There’s a warning sign, but many people still attempt it.
The Boiling Lake Reaches Temperatures of 197 °F
Located in Morne Trois Pitons National Park in Dominica, the Boiling Lake should only be experienced from afar. The lake is approximately 200-250 feet across and is the second-largest hot lake on earth, with temperatures ranging 180 to 197 °F.
Boiling Lake is located at the bottom of a basin that resembles a large sinkhole, which is actually a flooded fumarole. If you must visit the lake, do some from the cliff that sits 100 feet above it.
Please Don’t Swim in the Hoover Dam
Located on the Colorado River, on the state line of Nevada and Arizona is the great Hoover Dam. It’s illegal to swim in the Hoover Dam and there’s a good reason for it.
When water intake is performed at the dam, the water moves from the top section of the dam to the bottom. If you were to be in either of these spots at the Hoover Dam during this intake, it would be very dangerous.
The Gulf Coast is Rattlesnake Country. Yes, They Swim.
This might possibly be one of the most terrifying places to get in the water on this list. The Gulf Coast of the United States has a snake population that is not deterred by the water. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see a rattlesnake slithering on the water’s surface in this region.
Can you imagine how terrifying it would be to be swimming in the water, and see a snake approaching you?! While there’s no guarantee you’ll see one in the water, why would you even risk it?
Horseshoe Lake is a Hazardous Area After Earthquakes
To varying degrees, earthquakes occur in California every day. A series of earthquakes around Horseshoe Lake in California is the reason that the lake is dangerous. The earthquakes broke the ground open, which caused carbon dioxide to seep through the ground and lake.
The levels of carbon dioxide that were released were so bad, all of the trees and vegetation surrounding the lake have died. There are signs posted around the lake warning visitors not to take a dip, but people still visit the area.
Bubbly Creek Isn’t A Cute Name
Located in Chicago, Illinois, Bubbly Creek is the nickname given to the South Fork of the South Branch of the Chicago River. While it might sound cute, it’s definitely not. Any creek that produces bubbles should be a warning sign not to go in.
The runoff from the city streets pours into the creek, creating a massive pollution problem. Bubbly Creek is filled with disgusting things like sewage, garbage, and meat scraps. While all this garbage is decaying at the bottom of the creek the gasses that are released cause bubbles to rise to the surface. Gross!
Scuba Divers Take The Risk At Jacob’s Lake
Scuba divers seem to be fearless enthusiasts who will take all of the risks for the reward. Located in south-central Texas, Jacob’s Lake is another dangerous water destination that scuba divers can’t seem to stay away from.
Located beneath the water’s surface is a tricky layout of natural caves and tunnels that divers love to explore. However, if you don’t have the right equipment, oxygen, and skills, this can be a death trap.
The Ganges River Is Sacred, Yet Polluted
Flowing through India and Bangladesh is the Ganges River. This was once a beautiful body of water, but today it’s massively polluted and a danger to swimmers and passengers of boats.
Industrialization in the area took its toll on the river. Pollution, carbon emissions, and other side effects have dropped the water quality to an all-time low. However, it’s still a sacred river to Hindus, named after the goddess Ganga. More than 140 fish species and 90 amphibian species are struggling to survive in the Ganges.
Gansbaai Has One of the Biggest Great White Shark Populations
The waters off South Africa are some of the most dangerous in the world due to the intense population of great white sharks. Ironically, the sharks are what make Gansbaai a popular destination for tourists wanting to cage dive with the deadly creatures.
Gansbaai is the fishing village along the coast, nearby a channel nicknamed “Shark Alley” where around 60,000 Cape fur seals attract the great whites to feast. If you want to cage dive with the sharks, so be it. But definitely don’t jump off a boat into these waters.
The Wildlife Makes the Amazon Basin Treacherous
It isn’t steep cliffs or currents that make the Amazon Basin a dangerous place to get in the water. It’s the animals that live in it! Those who aren’t familiar with the dangerous critters native to South America should take caution before getting into any body of water while traveling there.
The Amazon Basin is home to piranhas, barracudas, and other toothy fish that you don’t want to mess with. You also really wouldn’t want to urinate in the water since they can swim up your urinary tract and cause you major health issues.
Lake Karachay Is A Toxic Mess
Located in central Russia, Lake Karachay appears to be a beautiful hiking destination. Just look at those peaks with the glacier snaking down into the water. But whatever you do, don’t go in that water!
Even swimming in Lake Karachay for just one hour is enough to kill you. Before there were environmental regulations against dumping toxic waste in the area, the Russian government used this lake as its dumping grounds. Instead of trying to clean up the area, the government has decided to fill it with concrete.
The Citarum River Is Another Polluted Location
Sadly, the Citarum River in Indonesia makes this list, not because of dangerous currents or obstructions, but because it has been polluted by the human population. People from all around the world travel to the region to experience the natural beauty of the longest and largest river in West Java.
But it’s not properly being taken care of. The river is an integral part of the region’s agriculture, water supply, fishery and more, so it’s very concerning that it also makes the list as one of the most polluted rivers in the world.
Réunion Island Has Great Surf and Lots of Sharks
Réunionn Island is a desirable place for surfers, but it’s also one of the most dangerous bodies of water in the world for shark attacks. The island is a region of France, and the Indian Ocean surrounding it is home to beautiful marine life, but with it, plenty of bull sharks and tiger sharks.
Between 2010 and 2017, there were 23 shark attacks in the water around Réunion Island, leading to nine fatalities. A 13-year-old was killed by a shark in 2015 while he was out surfing. Locals know the dangers, but the waves are too good to pass up.
The Strid Has Hidden Currents That Can Kill You
Located in the middle of Yorkshire, England is a brook known as The Strid. Looking at the photo, this looks like a peaceful stream of water that you could take your shoes off and soak in during a break from hiking. But you’d be wrong.
Many visitors won’t be able to identify the strong currents that are flowing through the rocks. They’re small yet very powerful. Within a matter of seconds, visitors can be pulled down the quick-flowing stream.
Queensland, Australia is Full of Deadly Creatures
The gorgeous ocean surrounding Australia is just too good to pass up. Visitors travel from all around the world to swim in its seas and ocean. Queensland is the third-most populous state in Australia and generates $8.8 billion in tourism every year.
Swimming and snorkeling are hugely popular in Queensland, but the coast is also something to be wary of. The water is home to loads of sharks, saltwater crocodiles, stonefish, and the exceptionally deadly blue-ringed octopi and box jellyfish. If you dare get in the water here, you better be on the lookout.
There’s a Solid Shark Population Around Bolinas Beach
Located in Marin County, north of San Francisco is Bolinas Beach. Many locals and people driving up from the city enjoy the beach for its mild waves and scenic views. While the water doesn’t look dangerous, there is a high shark population in the area that tells otherwise.
The beach is also dog-friendly, and owners enjoy throwing balls into the water for their dogs to retrieve. That might not be the best idea, considering the sharks in the area. There are plenty of shark warning signs, but visitors still go in.
New Smyrna Beach Has More Shark Bites Than Anywhere
Another shark invested body of water that makes the list is New Smyrna Beach in Florida. Shark attacks are nothing out of the ordinary in Florida, as sharks cruise along the coastline every day. But would you really want to go to the beach that’s known for attacks?
The University of Florida keeps track of the International Shark Attack File that reports the area having more confirmed shark bites than any other region in the world. In 2008 alone there were 24 shark bites reported.
Samaesan Hole Is One Of the Deepest in Thailand
Samaesan is one of the deepest holes in Thailand, which is a country high on the bucket list of places for scuba divers to explore. Once again, you can’t tell divers to stay away just because it’s dangerous!
The Samesan Hole is deep and progressively dark, the lower you go. It’s a risky situation even for divers who are highly-skilled and prepped, so those who don’t know what to expect are putting themselves in harm’s way.
Look, Don’t Swim at Victoria Falls
Located on the Zambezi River, between Zambia and Zimbabwe are the breathtaking views of Victoria Falls. The waterfall is 355 feet high and has two major drops. The little pools below are known as “The Devil’s Pools”.
While they may be tempting to go for a dip and take in the views, the falling water is known to sweep unsuspecting visitors out of the pools and drag them down the dangerous river. People have also died from slipping over the rock barrier.
The Potomac River Will Rip You Away
The Potomac River runs through Maryland and West Virginia at a pretty good pace. The currents in this river can unexpectantly get ahold of you and rip you away before you know it.
It’s a popular place for fishing and is home to plenty of wildlife. The Potomac River may be a great place for recreation, just not anything that involves getting into the river at the more dangerous sections for currents.
The West End, Grand Bahama Islands Has Loads of Fish (And Sharks)
The West End of the Grand Bahama Islands is known for its excellent fishing. Just a short distance offshore is incredible deep-water fishing most fisherman could only dream of, located 55 nautical miles off the Florida coast.
But with fish, come sharks. The West End has been ranked int he top 10 most shark-infested beaches in the world. The shark population includes tiger sharks, hammerheads, blacktips, and bull sharks. So it’s best to fish off the boat and not get in the water.
Lake Kivu is Alongside An Active Volcano
Any lake that has a nickname like “exploding lake” is probably not one that you should be swimming in. That’s the nickname given to Lake Kivu in Rwanda, due to its close proximity to a volcano.
In the event that the volcano erupts, a high amount of carbon dioxide will be released from the lake, making it deadly. Even when the volcano isn’t erupting, it’s still considered active and contains plenty of carbon dioxide.
Watch Out For Jellyfish and Riptides at Myrtle Beach
Part of “The Grand Strand” region of beaches in South Carolina, Myrtle Beach is among the favorite for visitors, attracting an estimated 14 million visitors each year. What many beachgoers may fail to realize, however, is that there are powerful riptides that can catch swimmers off guard.
Swimmers should be extra cautious when there’s swell due to hurricanes in the region when riptides and currents are the most dangerous. Also, be on the lookout for jellyfish!
The Gulf Of Thailand Has a High Population of Box Jellyfish
The Gulf of Thailand is an incredible place to visit, filled with natural beauty. In 2019, 38.2 million tourists visited the country. If you’re planning on going in the water while visiting the Gulf, however, you should be aware of the box jellyfish in the area.
Many visitors don’t realize that box jellyfish can, in fact, kill humans, and dismiss the dangers of getting in the water and being around them. The majority of the stings have taken place during the months of August and September.
Blue Lake Has High Levels of Hydrogen Sulfide
Located in Russia is the gorgeous Blue Lake that you won’t want to dive into. This is another one of those tricky bodies of water that the dangers aren’t entirely clear. The reason why this lake gets its gorgeous blue color is because of the high levels of hydrogen sulfide. The locals call it “stinky lake”.
Located 30 miles south of Nalchik, the lake is believed to be one of the deepest in the world, dropping down 846 feet. However, across, it’s only 770 feet. Although some divers have explored the water, just breathing in the fumes of the lake can make you very sick and even kill you.
Los Angeles Turned Mono Lake Into A Saline Soda Lake
Many tourists traveling up highway 395 to Lake Tahoe or Mammoth Lakes pass by Mono Lake. Although far from Los Angeles, the city redirected the freshwater streams from the lake to use for its water supply.
When this happened, it lowered the water level and left high levels of salts behind, making this body of water a saline soda lake. With high pH levels and salt concentration, this is a lake you don’t want to get in.
Here’s another boiling body of water that you shouldn’t be tempted to stick even a toe in. Located in Costa Rica, Laguna Caliente is an incredible sight of boiling hot water, located in the center of a stratovolcano called Poás Volcano.
The volcano has erupted 40 times since 1828, with the last eruption occurring in April 2017, when visitors and residents had to be evacuated from the area. The volcano is within a national park, which tourists visit and hike the trails around the volcano and Laguna Caliente. It’d probably be better if they didn’t!
Lake Chagan, Kazakhstan Was Created By A Nuclear Bomb
Nicknamed “Nuclear Lake”, Lake Chagan in Kazakhstan was formed when a nuclear bomb was detonated underground in Russia on January 15, 1965. The operation was part of the Soviet Union’s Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy program. This poisonous crater was left behind, dropping 300 feet deep and 1,300 feet across.
The Lake Chagan area, although impressive, is extremely radioactive and dangerous. While curious travelers might want to go see it, you’re better off looking up photos online and saving your health.
Lake Nyos, Cameroon Is Another “Exploding Lake”
Lake Nyos is one of the most incredible examples on this list. Located in Cameroon, Africa, the lake was formed after lava flow interacted with groundwater, and created an explosion crater on the Cameroon Volcanic Line.
Now inactive, Lake Nyos sits high on the flank of the Oku volcanic plain. A volcanic dam is in place to impound the lake waters. The magma below the water’s surface leaks carbon dioxide into the water, which then changes it to carbonic acid. Nyos is one of three exploding lakes known to be caused by carbon dioxide.
The Lava Lake at Nyiragongo is a No Go
The Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the largest lava pit in the world. It’s an active stratovolcano with an elevation of 11,380 feet. The main crater contains a lava lake, north of the town of Goma and Lake Kivu, which was also mentioned on this list.
Prior to the January 1977 eruption, the lake had an estimated depth of 2,000 feet. The Nyiragongo and nearby Nyamuragira volcanos together, are responsible for 40% of Africa’s historical volcanic eruptions. If you’ve learned anything from this list, it’s that you don’t want to go swimming near volcanos.
The Berkeley Pitt Is A Toxic Mess From a Copper Mine
Back to the U.S., the Berkeley Pitt is an artificial lake located in Butte, Montana. It was formed after the copper mine shut down, when pipes that were pumping out groundwater were turned off.
Full of toxic chemicals, the lake is around a half-mile wide and 1,780 feet deep. Surprisingly enough, it’s both a tourist attraction and a biohazard. Tourists view it from an observation deck erected above. Knowing the risk of the lake over-filling, EPA project manager, Nikia Greene, said, “The pit is a giant bathtub. There’s a hydraulic gradient into the pit. We will never let the water reach the critical level.
Beqa Lagoon is Shark Country
Beqa Lagoon is another gorgeous body of water that makes this list. Beqa Island, located in Fiji, is a region known for its shark population. Only the boldest divers care to take a chance and see what there is to explore in the waters of Beqa Lagoon.
Locals have been swimming with the sharks here for thousands of years, but if you don’t have that type of calm, cool, and collected attitude about the predators, maybe you should stay onshore.
Barbados Has Strong Ocean Currents
Islands are more prone to strong ocean currents, and Barbados is no different. The island is on an active plate that is subducting and forming an accretionary prism. What this means is that the area experiences occasional earthquakes, landslips, and hurricanes.
Weather conditions can also change quickly, so if you enter the water, make sure that you’re aware of any sign that rip currents and strong winds could be on their way, potentially sweeping you out to the ocean.
Mumbai, India Has a Pollution Problem For Both Air and Water
Mumbai is the biggest city in India, which is one of the most densely populated places on the planet. Just like problems with air quality in the region, it’s no surprise that Mumbai has a hard time keeping their water quality up to par, as Mumbai is located at the mouth of the Ulhas River on the western coast of India.
A large population means there’s a lot of waste to manage. The good news is that some environmentally conscious citizens of India are fighting back, wanting to make Mumbai beautiful again.