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These Are Considered The Most Dangerous Beaches In Hawaii For Tourists

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Hawaii is one of the top destinations for American travelers and visitors from all over the world. This spectacular archipelago has it all, from fascinating volcanoes to great hikes to incredible beaches. 

However, there are gorgeous beaches that are also very dangerous and even deadly, especially for tourists who are not familiar with the place. According to recent news, tourists have died while swimming and snorkeling this past few days and it is not uncommon in Hawaii. 

The Drowning and Aquatic Injury Prevention Advisory Committee created a website,, to provide relevant information for travelers and locals to prevent drowning and spinal cord injuries statewide.

This could be another reason why travelers are saying that they will never return to Hawaii. However, prevention and information are the best tools to prevent accidents, and knowing which are the most dangerous beaches for tourists can help visitors avoid unsafe and scary experiences. 

Here’s a list of Hawaii’s most dangerous beaches:

Hanakapiai Beach – Kauai

This beach on the island of Kauai is part of a very popular hiking route from the Hāʻena State Park. Travelers might be tempted to enjoy the waters after a 2 miles workout, but shouldn’t trust this area. The ocean is very dangerous and unexpected waves might rise. 

A few surfers enjoy surfing on this beach when conditions are good, but local authorities recommend avoiding it. Travelers must also stay aware of signs placed before descending from the hike to the beach. 

Sandy Beach – Oahu

This beautiful beach is the perfect destination for bodyboarding in Hawaii. However, inexperienced swimmers are strongly advised to avoid this beach. This beach has earned a sad nickname, “break-neck beach”, for its strong currents and the number of people injured every year. 

Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach – Maui

Maui, the island with the most expensive hotels in the United States, is known for its amazing beaches but travelers must be careful, especially when visiting Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach. This beach has peculiar red sand and some travelers have described it as “the most beautiful beach in the world”. 

But don’t be fooled by its beauty, to get there travelers must hike through extremely dangerous trails and the beach has very strong currents, and it's usually unsupervised.

Makena Beach – Maui

Another beach in Maui that travelers should avoid is Makena Beach. It is one of the most popular and longest beaches on Maui, and its water looks amazing. However, tourists should know that it is one of the deadliest beaches for shark attacks in the world and its surf breaks are extremely dangerous for swimmers.

Lumahai Beach – Kauai

In the north of Kauai, another gorgeous beach has been considered awfully dangerous: Lumahai Beach. This popular and postcard-like beach is worth visiting but travelers should stay away from the water. During most of the year, its strong waves and undertow make it hazardous for tourists. 

Hanauma Bay – Oahu 

This beach with calm crystal clear waters is very famous and popular among tourists. It’s a marine known as a great spot for snorkeling. However, it has been considered one of the deadliest beaches in Hawaii. The state park has a page with warnings and recommendations for travelers. 

At the site, they explain more about the currents: “are swift-moving flows of water through channels in the reef against which it is difficult to swim. Strong currents accompany high surf and rapid tide changes. “

Waikiki Beach

Oahu’s most famous beach is also very unsafe for many reasons. Its own popularity has affected its reputation: crime has increased—mainly theft— and due to the number of people practicing different activities in the water there have been many accidents. 

The currents can be very strong too —it’s very close to another hazardous beach, Sandy Beach— and travelers can run into dangerous breaks, especially when they are not familiar with the beach.

Read More:
Hawaii Is Quickly Losing Popularity: Why Many Travelers Say They’ll Never Return

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Tuesday 11th of July 2023

I was just a baby when we moved to Hawaii, and I was raised in Ewa Beach. We moved to Makakilo (both West Oahu) when I was an adult. I only moved away because my grandfather needed to be cared for so he wouldn’t have to live in a home. I get annoyed when I see and hear things like “in Maui,” “in Oahu,” etc. When you’re there, no matter which island you’re on, you are, for example, “in Hawaii.” Perhaps, you’re “in Lahaina, on Maui.” Or “in Kapolei, on Oahu,” but you’re never IN one of the islands. Waikiki has different stretches of beach that have their own distinct names such as, Fort DeRussy and Queens Beach. If you said “meet me at Waikiki Beach” to any local or anyone who has lived there for a while, they’ll likely ask “where?” Someone commented that Hawaii is “unfriendly.” Hawaii was a Sovereign Nation, and as with many other places and/or countries, it was usurped by foreigners. The residents of Hawaii are aware that tourism brings in big money, but the people of Hawaii expect tourists to be respectful to the land (aina) and the people. All too often, warning signs for the likelihood of danger are ignored, as well as warnings about what you can not take or move. Just imagine if you welcomed someone into your nice, clean home and when they left, everything was out of place, broken, or filthy. You wouldn’t be very welcoming after that.


Sunday 17th of July 2022

With all the nice beaches in Mexico, there is no reason to risk ones life in unfriendly and overpriced Hawaii.


Sunday 17th of July 2022

Makena Big Beach is only dangerous during times of large south swells because of the massive shore break. As for shark attacks, that is total BS. I ought to know, I have lived there for 33 years.


Monday 10th of April 2023

@Dondonsurplage, Merci :)