Last Updated on April 19, 2017

There’s nothing better on a hot summer day then jumping into a refreshing pool. Swimming inspires the carefree feelings of summer vacation and swim lessons in pools, in lakes, at camps and YMCA’s are a right of passage for a lot of people. You probably have memories of standing in chilly early morning hours with a swim coach barking at you to jump in and get paddling that still haunt your love of swimming. No matter how cold that pool, murky that lake, and mean that swim instructor was when you were a kid, none were as bad as these 10 places you definitely don’t want to go swimming.


  • Shark Alley, Capetown, South Africa. A great place to get into a shark cage and look down the terrifying maw of huge great white sharks, but you wouldn’t want to get caught paddling around on the surface of these feeding grounds.

sharks no swimming

  • Nakoso Beach, Fukushima Japan. After the tsunami and nuclear power plant triple melt down, all 17 of the beaches in the Fukushima prefecture in Japan shut down due to radiation and debris. Nakoso is the only beach to reopen, with no plans to reopen the remaining beaches.
  • Devil’s Pool, Victoria Falls, Zambia. With a tiny rock lip at the top of Victoria Falls, swimmers can get to the teetering edge of the 355 foot falls, surrounded by 500 million liters of water rushing past every minute.
  • Maicuru River, Monte Alegre, Brazil. As long as you keep swimming, this South American river may not be so bad. But don’t stop for too long, shoals of piranhas commonly attack kids and weak swimmers, like the six year old girl who was found dead and mostly consumed in this river in early 2015.
  • San Juan River, Colorado, United States. An alarming toxic-waste yellow from spilled mine water, the EPA warns residents not to have any contact with the river, prevent pets and farm animals from ingesting the water and to boil any water before drinking, cooking or bathing.
  • New Smyrna Beach, Florida, United States. This Florida beach consistently boasts the most shark attacks in the world, but take comfort that few are fatalities. Most attacks are curious young bull sharks, and with the high volume of people in the water, help is sure to be nearby if you’re bit.

lifeguard at the beach

  • Agia Marina, Aegina, Greece. Part of the important industrial hub in the Saronic Gulf, the waters here are picture perfect as long as you’re not close enough to see the piles of garbage, industrial waste, and pollution lurking beneath the surface.

dont go to swim

  • Blue Lagoon, Buxton, Derbyshire. A former quarry, this lagoon has posted signage and public awareness campaigns about the sky high pH levels making the water almost bleach, but families still risk fungal infections, rashes, blindness and kidney problems by spending all day splashing in the water.
  • Watamu Beach, Mombasa, Kenya. This gorgeous beach attracts tourists from around the world but keep your eyes open, Belcher’s Sea Snake has been spotted slithering through the sand. They’re touted as the world’s most venomous snake and can grow up to 40 inches long.
  • Laguna Caliente, Poas Volcano, Costa Rica. The world’s most acidic lake, with a pH level of nearly zero. It supports no aquatic life and the bottom of the lake is covered in a pool of liquid sulfur. Just standing next to it can damage the eyes and lungs.

Between dangerous animals, radiation, pollution and extreme conditions your best bet for a relaxing swim is to just stick to the pool.