Shark Week 2018 is officially upon us, and what better time to explore shark-themed vacations from sea to shining sea? For the adventurous traveler who likes their vacation with a serious side of danger, shark diving is an impossible-to-resist temptation. When I swam with sharks in the Bahamas, it was one of the most life-changing experiences of my life. I’d never been more terrified, and I lived to tell the (shark) tale.

For the more cautious (or rational) among us, we’ve also included options for *observing* these majestic species from the safety of land (or a boat, at the very least). From Australia to South Africa, Bali to the Bahamas, here are six shark-tastic getaways for travelers looking to get up close and personal with the most feared (and arguably the most misunderstood) creatures of the sea.

Great white shark in Australian waters

1. The East Coast of Australia: When I visited Surfers Paradise, a famous hub of culture, nightlife and, of course, beach life, on Australia’s Gold Coast, the local surfers referred to great white sharks as “guys in gray suits.” But thankfully, on Topdeck Travel’s Tropical Adventure tour, you’re swimming with reef sharks (a less terrifying variety of the species).

Great hammerhead shark in Bimini, Bahamas

2. Bimini, Bahamas: Go on the Great Hammerhead Safari with Bimini Scuba Center off the coast of Bimini island in the Bahamas. You can also opt to swim with Caribbean reef sharks (Australia’s Bahamian cousins) in the open ocean.

Sharks circling in ocean

3. San Francisco, California: If you prefer to observe sharks from the safety of land (we get it), the Golden Gate Bridge is a perfect vista for whale- (especially humpbacks) and shark-watching. Topdeck Travel’s Short Break tour is the ideal four-day excursion to this City by the Bay. There is also a population of great white sharks at the Farallon Islands, just 29 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Whale shark in Similan islands,Thailand

4. The Similan Islands, Thailand: The Similan Islands are home to a large population of whale sharks (yes, this hybrid-sounding name is an actual species in and of itself — and it’s the largest fish in the sea BTW, at lengths of 40 feet or more!). If you want to see these local giants up close, you’re in luck because Sunrise Divers offers the opportunity to dive and swim alongside them. These sharks are harmless, if enormous, and best spotted in the months of February to April. So plan for your next spring break trip now.

Great white shark in South Africa

5. The South African Coast: Feel free to call yourself the Ishmael of sharks after embarking on Topdeck Travel’s Coast, Lesotho, and Cape Town tour; you’ll encounter great whites along the fishing town of Gansbaai and the Algoa Bay coast. You can cage drive, or observe from the boat – we won’t shame you for not diving in with a hungry, tormented shark desperate for a meal. Sixteen hundred miles of coastline provide ample opportunity for Moby Dick-style adventures (though the tropical climate is far preferable to the freezing New England waters).

Whitetip reef shark in Bali

6. Bali and the Gili Islands: Dive with sharks on Topdeck Travel’s Bali Island Hopper tour and know that your travels are helping the environment. The tour works with many local organizations that support these shark populations, so you will be swimming with friends.

Have you ever swam with sharks before? Let us know @BritandCo or tag us in your pics on Instagram!

(Photos via Getty)