7 Most Dangerous Tourist Destinations in the US
Traveling is an excellent way to explore new places, learn about different cultures, and create unforgettable memories. However, not all tourist destinations are safe and can pose a significant risk to visitors. The United States, with its diverse landscape and attractions, has several destinations that are notorious for their dangers. In this article, we will discuss the seven most dangerous tourist destinations in the US and what travelers should be aware of before visiting them.
Death Valley National Park – California
This destination attracts a large number of tourists with its romantic scenery of sand dunes, rock formations, and salt flats. It is also one of the best places to stargaze and watch the sunrise and sunset in the US. However, the area is full of dangers, from extreme heat and flash floods to rattlesnakes, scorpions, and black widow spiders. Tourists may even accidentally stumble upon illegal marijuana cultivation sites.
In the hottest and driest place in the US, many cases of death from heat stroke have been reported. The National Park Service advises visitors to bring extra water and detailed maps into the park and avoid long walks in the hot sun.
Read more: 10 Interesting Facts about Death Valley
Huntington Beach – California
Huntington Beach in Orange County is a popular destination for beachgoers and surfers. It is known as the “Surf City USA”, with miles of sandy coastline and one of the longest piers on the Pacific coast, measuring 564m. Huntington Beach also hosts the world’s largest surfing competition, the Vans US Open of Surfing, every summer.
However, in October 2019, 176 people were stung by stingrays in one day at the beach, setting a record for the number of people attacked by this species. Stingrays live in shallow water and will attack anyone who steps on their tail.
Mount St. Helens – Washington
With over 322 km of trails, wildflower meadows, and beautiful lakes, Mount St. Helens is a famous hiking destination, known as the Mount Fuji of the US. Most visitors come here to experience the climb to the summit and explore the miles-wide volcanic crater.
However, this natural tourist spot has erupted twice in the past few decades. Particularly, the worst event caused 57 deaths in 1980. Visitors are advised to follow safety instructions and avoid areas with warning signs.
Grand Canyon National Park – Arizona
As a must-see destination when traveling to the US, the Grand Canyon is one of the most famous natural wonders in the world. The park recorded 4.5 million visitors in 2021. However, there are still hidden dangers in this place.
From 2018 to 2020, the Grand Canyon was the national park with the most search and rescue cases in the US. There were 785 cases out of a total of 3,926. Recent incidents include a long-distance hiker falling 60 meters off Bright Angel Point Trail in August 2022. There was also another person having to be airlifted to the hospital in January.
Dalton Highway – Alaska
In addition to being known as one of the most isolated roads in the world, the James Dalton Highway is also a very dangerous route. The gravel road with two lanes starts from north of Fairbanks and ends at the Prudhoe Bay oil field (and the Arctic Ocean), stretching 666 km.
When traveling on this highway, drivers can only stop to refuel at three locations. In addition, there are obstacles such as the freezing weather in the Arctic, large potholes, and sometimes very limited visibility. In September 2021, a man died after a head-on collision with another vehicle.
Yellowstone National Park – Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana
Yellowstone is the first national park in the US and still attracts a large number of visitors. With a large area, the park has more than 10,000 geothermal features and a series of natural wonders such as Grand Prismatic Spring, Old Faithful Geyser, Mammoth Hot Springs, and wild animals such as bears, wolves, elk, and bald eagles.
However, that doesn’t mean Yellowstone is entirely friendly to visitors. You can be burned, even killed, if you get too close to the geysers. There have been more than 20 deaths related to this since 2000. In addition, visitors may also encounter danger and become targets of bear and elk attacks. The national park advises visitors to keep a distance of 23 meters from these animals. There are also many signs in the park warning to stay away from wild animals and not to enter geothermal areas.
Volusia County Beaches – Florida
Despite being blessed with year-round warm sunshine and comfortable temperatures, New Smyrna and Daytona beaches in Volusia County are also among the most dangerous beaches in Florida.
Dubbed the “shark capital” of the world, Volusia County recorded 16 shark attacks in 2021. In 2022, Florida accounted for 28% of unprovoked shark attacks worldwide and New Smyrna Beach saw more shark attacks than anywhere else in the US.
Be Careful at the Most Dangerous Destinations in the US!
Traveling to new places can be a thrilling experience, but it’s crucial to prioritize safety while planning your trip. The United States has a wide range of attractions that draw millions of visitors every year. Still, it’s essential to understand that some of these destinations come with inherent risks that could lead to injury or worse. Whether you’re visiting the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, or any of the other dangerous tourist destinations in the US, make sure to research and plan your trip carefully, follow safety guidelines, and take necessary precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
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