You’d be hard-pressed to find many people who don’t like the beach, but even avid swimmers, snorkelers, and sun-worshipers understand the need to take breaks from time to time. For that, a good beach tent is a must: Your beach tent lets you make a little “campsite” of sorts right on the shore, giving you some respite from the heat (which is especially important if you’ve got kids with you) and a place where you can kick back with a drink or take a midday nap away from the sun and sand.
Since they’re designed more for short-term use than for camping, beach tents are usually smaller, simpler, lighter, and cheaper. You’ll typically be carrying yours to and from the beach, setting it up, and taking it down all within the same day, so you’ll want a good beach tent that’s easy to carry and deploy while still being sturdy enough to stay stable in a sea breeze and provide adequate shade for a sunny summer day.
Thankfully, most beach tents aren’t terribly expensive and you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good one. There’s an ocean of them on Amazon, though, but we’ve sorted through the riff-raff to smoke out a handful of the best picks. These cover all the bases from a kid-friendly pop-up tent to a large canopy-style beach tent so you can find the perfect one for your next waterfront outing:
For anyone after a beach tent that’s durable, easy to set up, roomy, and affordable, this one from Pacific Breeze ticks all the boxes. It provides cover on three sides with a sun protection rating of UPF 50, but two mesh windows allow for ventilation (although you can cover these if needed). The Pacific Breeze beach tent utilizes poles for support like a camping tent and its four “legs” quickly deploy much like a camera tripod, so setup is a simple one-person job.
With both stakes and sand pockets, the Pacific Breeze tent is stable on the ground and in moderate winds. The whole thing weighs just 4.5 pounds, and at 86 inches across the front and 49 inches deep, you’ve got room for a few people to sit comfortably. The standard Pacific Breeze beach tent rings in at $70. The largerversion is also available for $100.
Coleman makes a lot of great camping tents, so it’s to be expected that you’d find at least one beach tent bearing this brand’s name. The Beach Shade is a light-duty tent that’s very travel-friendly, breaking down into a package that’s just 24 inches long and weighs only a few pounds. It has a similar overall design to the Pacific Breeze tent (right down to its overall shape and built-in sand pockets), but the Beach Shade also has a zip-up front that gives you a place to change clothes or put the kids down for a shaded nap.
The Coleman Beach Shade is only available in one size – roughly 90 by 53 inches – but it comes in five colors, with prices ranging from around $42 to $60, making this beach tent one of the better values on our list.
The Sport-Brella is easily the most unique beach tent of all of our picks, and it’s also the most versatile. It’s basically a large beach umbrella with dual side flaps that form walls when the Sport-Brella is placed down at an angle and staked to the ground, but you could even use this “tent” as a regular beach umbrella if you want to. It’s taller than most beach tents as well, so you can comfortably sit in chairs underneath the canopy.
There’s also no reason that you can’t use the Sport-Brella at other places outside the beach, such as at parks, concerts, and sporting events where you might not normally take a beach tent. Just note that the Sport-Brella lacks a floor panel – you’ll be sitting directly on the ground. If that’s not a deal-breaker, then this unique beach tent/umbrella hybrid can be yours for $50 to $56 depending on color.
For larger beach get-togethers, a wide canopy-style beach tent like this one from Neso offers a lot of flexibility and versatility. It’s made of a stretchy, durable UPF 50+ nylon/lycra blend that’s held up with two collapsible seven-foot poles and four anchor bags you can fill with sand or rocks. Despite its impressive size, the Neso canopy beach tent breaks down into a package that’s small and light enough at just four pounds that anybody can carry it around.
The Neso canopy tent is a more “premium” design than our other picks, but it’s worth it: The seven by seven-foot model is available in a ton of colors and patterns for $95 to $105, or you can size up to the nine by nine-footfor $125 to $135.
If you want something just for the kids that’s durable and super easy to set up, then it doesn’t get much easier than the Multifun pop-up beach tent. This shaded yet airy design features a flexible fiberglass frame that deploys and breaks down in seconds and stays in place with included ground stakes if you need some extra stability.
Another benefit of a pop-up tent like this is that you can take it pretty much anywhere (when folded up, the Multifun tent fits into a flat 25-inch carrying bag), and there’s no reason the kids can’t play with it right at home. It’s cheap, too, at just over $40 from Amazon, making it a good “kids-only” option if your regular beach tent is getting a little crowded.
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