A beach tent should fill three requirements: it should be easy to set up, it should be lightweight, and it should provide ample shade. Outdoor gear like traditional tents or daypacks or hiking boots may come with more bells and whistles, but in my mind, the defining adage of a beach tent is "less is more."
Best OverallPacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent Read More
Easiest Set UpNeso Gigante Read More
Best Budget-Friendly Beach TentColeman Canopy Tent Read More
Most Innovative Beach TentShibumi Shade Read More
Best Multi-Purpose ShadeHelinox Royal Box Read More
What should you look for in a beach tent?
Most beach tents are made with fade-resistant, synthetic materials imbued with UPF protection. The more traditional tent structures will incorporate mesh for window openings, helping to maintain airflow on warmer days. Tarp-like structures will be constructed of one continuous piece of fabric, designed to stretch and flex with the breeze.
Beach tents come in a variety of sizes, and can accommodate pairs of two all the way to groups of 8-10; the number of people in your crew will dictate what you purchase. If you've got young kids and a dog or two, I recommend sizing up a little bit, so you can fit diaper bags, toys and any other accessories you might need under the protection of the shade, without having to constantly shuffle items around.
As mentioned above, the set up should be dictated by need: if you've got time on your side, a more involved beach tent isn't an issue, and the extra structure and protection from the sun can be worth it. Conversely, if you're short on set-up time and have a large group coming to join you, an option like the Neso or Shibumi sunshade will be more appealing. If you can, practice set-up a few times before you get to the beach. Being familiar with your gear can cut down on frustration caused by high winds, misplaced parts or sunburnt kids, and get you in the comfort of the shade faster.
Whatever your beach needs might be, our top eight picks have you covered. Just don't forget the cooler.