Equipment

Beach Tents You Need for Staying Cool and Shaded

If you tend to spend your summers by the shore, you probably know that a fun day at the beach can be easily ruined when you’re not equipped with the right gear. It’s important to have SPF at the ready to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, beach chairs for lounging comfortably, toys for your little ones, and umbrellas for shade. But the bad thing about umbrellas is that no matter how far you might twist them into the sand, they always feel wobbly, unstable, and ready to be uprooted by the first gust of wind.

Instead, consider investing in a good beach tent, which offers protection and shelter from the sun (and won’t topple over), keeps you cool on blazing hot days, and allows you to stake out your spot on the beach for longer than you normally would be able to. Also nice: They’re a lot more lightweight and portable than you might think, thanks to instant pop-up options and versions that can be carried in storage bags with convenient handles.

When shopping for a beach shade tent, look for those that feature built-in UPF in the fabrics, which offer ultraviolet protection from both UVA and UVB rays. The UPF rating indicates just how much UV radiation a fabric allows to reach your skin, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Many of beach tents boast ratings of UPF 50, which means they block 98 percent of the sun’s rays, allowing two percent (1/50th) to penetrate. That said, investing in a beach tent with UPF doesn’t mean you can skip wearing protective clothing, a hat, and sunscreen; you’ll be at risk anytime you’re not blocked by the tent, and sun can come in through the tent windows and doors.

Other things to consider when making your decision? Look for a beach tent that comes with sturdy stakes and sand bags that you can fill up on your own, which can come in handy for windy conditions. And, to determine the size you’ll need, you obviously want to think about if you plan to use the tent for solo adventures, family affairs, or for outings with your pets.

Whether you’re finding a quiet moment to read in your backyard, picnicking in the park with a friend, or hitting the beach with your family, there’s a canopy that’s right for you. Keep scrolling for the best beach tents, based on size.

Best Solo Shader: AirGoods Pop Up Portable Adjustable Beach Sun Shade Canopy

best beach tent allgood

This individual shade effectively blocks sunshine and shields your eyes from the sun. It’s portable, easy to set up, has an inflatable pillow that you can even inject water into to make it more cushy, and features a small hanging phone bag to store your device while you read or nap.

Reviewers love that it’s «compact and lightweight» enough to take to the beach or park, and one shopper raved about how it’s allowed her to comfortably read outside in her backyard since it helps to protect her eyes from direct sunlight.

Buy It: AirGoods Pop Up Portable Adjustable Beach Sun Shade Canopy, $40, amazon.com

Best 2-Person Option: Coleman Beach Shade Shelter

best beach tents coleman

With nearly 1,500 five-star reviews, this is Amazon’s Choice for «sun shade pop up tent,» which must mean something. The two-person tent features UPF 50+ to protect you from the sun, screened walls to keep out bugs, a water-resistant canopy to keep you dry even if it rains, and durable stakes and sandbags to ensure the wind won’t carry it away. Bonus: The zippered doors offer privacy, so that you can quickly change into something casual for dinner after a day at the beach.

Customers seemed to be in unison, claiming that it’s easy to set up (one buyer confirmed, saying she and her sister got it up in five minutes), will keep you dry and protected during unexpected summer showers, and while it fits two adults comfortably, one shopper said it was a perfect fit for her family of six!

Buy It: Coleman Beach Shade Shelter, from $51, amazon.com

Best for 3-4 People: Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent

They say three’s a crowd, but not in this baby. Not only does the fabric boast built-in UPF 50+, but it’s also breathable, water-repellent, and has large windows for better airflow. It’s incredibly lightweight (not a hassle to schlep), easy to put together, and has a spacious interior for accommodating up to three or four people. Being Amazon’s Choice for «beach wind blocker,» it comes with stakes and sandbags to keep it in place, no matter how hard the wind is blowing across the sand.

Reviewers note that it’s travel- and plane-friendly, stands up to windy days at the beach (one buyer said that theirs is always «standing firm while others lose umbrellas and tents left and right»), perfect for those taking their fur babies on outings, and can comfortably accommodate a family of four. Not to mention, numerous customers say it’s worth every penny.

Buy It: Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent, from $73, amazon.com

Best for Families: Neso Tents Grande Beach Tent

best beach tent neso

Perfect for families or larger groups, this well-designed beach tent is light (only 6.5lbs!), portable, water-repellent, and has UPF 50+ built into the fabric to offer coverage from the sun—whether you’re in your backyard, at the beach, or enjoying vistas in the mountains.

Shoppers raved that it has an elegant design, is lightweight, easy to set up and take down, and stays put even in super windy conditions. One reviewer even noted that it fits her family of six—plus a few more adults crammed under it on a sunny day.

Buy It: Neso Tents Grande Beach Tent, $125, amazon.com