Some of us prefer vacations spent lying on the beach. But others don't consider travel a treat unless adventure is involved. For this latter group, we've come up with plenty of lists of destinations and activities that will get your heart racing. But we haven't yet covered ones that will make your heart stop -- at least, not until now. Of course, this new list of six of the deadliest tourists attractions in the world includes feats that many a traveler has successfully conquered, and lived to tell the tale. But each of these sites is known to be particularly dangerous; inexperienced and experienced adrenaline junkies alike have died at these six locales, so -- while we encourage you to follow your adventuring dreams -- be sure to do so with the upmost caution.
Take a look at six of the world's deadliest tourist attractions, then let us know in the comments -- have you been to any of them?
Hotels in this story
According to the International Shark Attack File (yes, that is a real thing), Florida’s New Smyrna Beach is the “shark capital of the world.” And yet, plenty of tourists flock to its budget-friendly shores annually, despite the fact that the beach has reported about 250 shark attacks in its recorded history — making it the beach with the highest number of attacks per square mile in the world. We guess some ocean-lovers are comforted by the fact that most attacks did not result in death; the waters are known for young bull sharks, who are simply confusing humans for marine-life food. Still, we’ll just enjoy a spot safely placed on the sand, thank you.
If you’re brave enough to stay, consider the Islander Beach Resort, with apartment-style rooms and a beachfront pool.
One of the longest — and certainly most dangerous — hikes in Yosemite National Park, the Half Dome requires a full day’s trek to reach its peak, and at the summit climbers must rely on metal cables to reach the top. This is where some have met their death — either slipping from the cables, or falling from “Death Slabs,” massive, slick rocks that are particularly treacherous during inclement weather. Over 60 have died on the Half Dome, or on the hike towards it; other means of death include lightning strikes, heart attacks, and failed base jumps.
If you’re brave enough to stay,The Ahwahnee has a prime location in the heart of Yosemite Valley; many rooms have views of the Half Dome.
The stunning, and staggering, Cliffs of Moher attract about a million visitors annually. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, these cliffs of shale and sandstone rise nearly 400 feet above the oftentimes rough waters, making for gorgeous views — albeit dangerous ones. Though the exact number of deaths here is unknown, several reports of deadly falls have been recorded. These were oftentimes caused by steep, uneven ground, a lack of safety rails, rain (causing slick terrain), and strong winds; in fact, sometimes the attraction is closed when winds are considered too strong. Unfortunately, the Cliffs of Moher are also known for suicides, the most recent confirmed one being in March this year.
If you’re brave enough to stay, we fell in love with the family-run Ballinalacken Castle Country House. This 15th-century castle, where tours are held, overlooks the Cliffs of Moher.
There are three active volcanoes in Hawaii, the most dangerous being Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island. This shield volcano’s most recent major eruption was back in 1983, but as recently as 2014, lava flow from Kilauea came frightening close to reaching the town of Pahoa. A couple of centuries ago, over 400 people perished in the volcano’s eruption, and the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park system reports about 40 volcano-related deaths per decade. Causes include a deadly mix of gases, known as lava haze, which can be particularly deadly for visitors who already suffer from asthma and/or heart conditions.
If you’re brave enough to stay, The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows is a luxury beachfront property a two-hour drive from Kilauea.
The 1,450-mile-long Colorado River snakes through Colorado, California, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona — even making its way through the Grand Canyon, so it’s no surprise that locals and vacationers in many destinations in the country’s southwest head to its banks for recreation (activities include white-water rafting, tubing, and swimming). However, oftentimes people don’t consider how dangerous the waters can be, especially after heavy rains and an increase in melted snow. In fact, 2014 had a record high of 15 deaths in the first seven months due to such conditions, and four died this past summer. Drowning deaths are often the result of rough waters, sometimes paired with a lack of proper safety education and/or equipment.
If you’re brave enough to stay, Sorrel River Ranch Resort is located on the Colorado River with a backdrop of red-rock mesas.
Part of the stunning Alps mountain range, Mont Blanc (“White Mountain”) is the highest mountain in the range, and — rising nearly 16,000 feet above sea level — the tallest peak in Europe. It also holds the record as the deadliest, with about 100 deaths reported annually. This high number, however, isn’t as staggering when considering how many people (30,000) attempt the climb each year. Compare these stats to those of Mount Everest: Only about 200 total have ever died at Mount Everest, but only about 4,000 have made the attempt in the past 60 years. Still, Mont Blanc is a deadly climb, and factors such as weather, avalanches, and inexperience have all contributed to the deathly toll.
If you’re brave enough to stay, you’ll be swept away by the majesty of the mountains at Hôtel l’Héliopic, an upscale Chamonix property that eschews the rustic aesthetic found in so many neighboring hotels for an impeccable combination of Swedish minimalism, retro, and contemporary comforts.