Spending a day at the beach can leave you feeling baked, not to mention sunburned. While beach umbrellas provide some shade and relief from the heat, a beach tent offers a total respite from the sun. These partial enclosures allow you to cool down in their shade while still enjoying a waterfront view. Many beach tents protect your skin against UV rays, a feature especially important for your little ones. To learn more about what beach tents have to offer, here's our quick shopping guide with our recommendations for beach tents, including our top pick, the extra-spacious Easy Up Beach Tent Deluxe XL, which is sure to glamp up your beach visit.
Considerations when choosing beach tents
When choosing a beach tent, you'll want to consider what else you need it for besides providing shade. Here's a list of other uses for beach tents:
Changing space: Beach tents that have a zip-front allow for privacy to change in and out of swimwear.
UV protection: Tents rated with an ultraviolet protection factor will shield your skin from the damaging UV rays.
Rain protection: Squalls can roll in without much notice. Protect yourself from rainy weather with a beach tent that's waterproof.
Kids area: Little ones have skin more sensitive to sunburn and require more shade. Beach tents offer a partial enclosure for them to play and stay protected.
Non-beach use: Anywhere outdoors where you could use a little shade, such as on a picnic or in your backyard, is a great place to bring along a beach tent.
UV protection: Beach tents without additional ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating will nonetheless have an inherent UPF of 15 due to their fabric. For higher protection from UV rays, select a tent made from special material that provides high UPF protection: 40 to 50+. A UPF of 50, for instance, will block out 98% of skin-damaging rays.
Size: On a hot day, the whole fam may crowd into your tent. Be sure to pick a beach tent with dimensions big enough to pack everyone in, without feeling like sardines. Also choose one with a height tall enough so you can comfortably sit up (or stand, if you want to use if for changing) and deep enough to fully shade your body.
Ventilation: It defeats the purpose to have a beach tent that feels hotter inside than outside. Choose a well-ventilated model with mesh windows and pop-out vents that encourage airflow.
Ease of assembly: Pop-up beach tents are easier to assemble than beach tents that require time-consuming assembly of poles.
Beach tents range in price from $20 to $150. Budget-priced models, from $20 to $40, generally don't offer UV protection or pop-up assembly. Beach tents in the $50 to $70 range offer UPF 50+ as do larger sized tents, running between $70 and $150.
Q. Are there any other considerations I need to know about purchasing a beach tent?
A. Yes, a few. While most beach tents come with ground sheets to sit on, not all do. If the model you want doesn't provide one, be sure to bring beach towels or blankets to sit on. Also consider how compact and lightweight the model is for carrying and how far and often you'll be carrying it. If you need a waterproof tent, carefully check the specs to make sure the fabric is waterproof and not just "weatherproof."
Q. Will beach tents stay in place if it gets windy?
A. Most beach tents come with stakes, guylines and pegs or sandbags to keep them from blowing away in the wind. An unoccupied tent will blow away with a moderate to strong gust of wind if not properly secured.
Beach tents we recommend
Best of the best: Pacific Breeze Products/Easy Up Beach Tent Deluxe XL
Our take: A lightweight, easy-setup beach tent that'll fit the whole fam.
What we like: Roomy dimensions. Three large mesh windows. Compact and comes with carrying case. UPF 50+. Interior pockets.
What we dislike: Pricey but a lasting investment.
Best bang for your buck: Coleman/Daytripper Beach Shade
Our take: Affordable pop-up tent with zippered front door.
What we like: Trusted brand for camping equipment. UPF 50+. Line inside to hang wet clothes to dry. Interior pockets. Colors to choose from.
What we dislike: Takes a while to assemble.
Our take: Lives up to its name with lightning-fast assembly.
What we like: Quick and easy to put up and take down. Lightweight design is quite sturdy. UPF 50+.
What we dislike: Not the best for windy conditions.
Ana Sanchez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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