The 8 Best Beach Canopies to Buy in 2018

Lounging on the beach can be a relaxing way to spend the day, but the strong rays of the sun can also be harmful to your skin. Sun canopies allow you to bring your own shade to the beach and can help protect against the sun’s harmful effects. Unlike beach tents, canopies provide more airflow to keep you cooler than an enclosed area, and also offer more shade than a typical umbrella. Here are the best sun canopies to keep you cool.

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    For a high quality, durable sunshade that is simple to set up, the Otentik is worth the investment. Manufactured in Israel and constructed from high-quality Italian Eurojersey fabric, the Otentik can be set up on the beach using sand to fill the drawstring anchors, or in the backyard using dirt or rocks, and even in the snow. It is easy to assemble and provides 50UPF protection from the sun, and sand does not stick to the canopy when putting it away. On windy days, be sure to load the sand anchors with a lot of sand (they stretch). The Otentik comes in 18 different color varieties and also includes a carry bag (plus a separate pole bag). 

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    The Mad Grit Portable Beach Shade is made from stretchy Lycra fabric that repels water, measures 6.5 x 6.5 feet and also includes sand anchors, stakes (for backyard or park use) and steel poles. Bright neon green, red, blue or teal make it easy to spot after a walk on the beach or a dip in the ocean. Mad Grit also donates part of its profits to charitable organizations. The canopy comes with a carry case that can be worn like a backpack. Amazon buyers were impressed with how much shade it provided and were pleased with the quality of the product. 

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    If your beach vacation involves catching a flight, you’ll need a sun canopy that can fit easily into your carry-on bag or checked luggage. The Neso Portable canopy is lightweight (just four pounds), and can pack up into a 19.5-inch carry case, easily fitting within the specifications for most carry-on luggage (21 inches in length). The seven-by-seven-foot canopy blocks 98 percent of the sun’s rays and is available in six different colors and patterns, including a stand-out flamingo pattern. It’s also water-resistant if a quick shower passes by. Be sure to visit the company’s website for detailed instructions on how to assemble the canopy prior to attempting it on the beach. 

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    For a lightweight, sturdy and reasonably-priced sun canopy that provides 50UPF, the Ziggy Shade is a top pick. Made from an Australian company, the canopy includes sandbag weights (that can hold a lot of sand), as well as stakes to secure it in more solid or rocky terrain. Be sure to determine the direction of the light winds before attempting to set it up, and note that it is not ideal on very windy days. The elastic Lycra fabric stretches with the sand and has two sizes: standard (5.25 x 6.55 feet) or family-sized (7.2 x 7.9 feet). The canopy comes in five bright colors and includes a carry case. 

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    If you just need a simple, functional and affordable canopy, the Happy Summer Lightweight Sun Shade is a solid choice. Priced considerably less than some of the other options, the Happy Summer is also smaller, measuring 6.5 x 6.5 feet (ideal for two people but other sizes are available) and comes in five bright colors. Made of Lycra fabric that provides 50UPF protection, the canopy is machine washable, durable in winds and sand resistant. The tent is very easy to assemble using sandbags, sturdy poles and stakes. Some Amazon buyers stated that although the canopy performed well (even in winds), but the included carry-bag could be improved on. 

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    If you’re visiting the beach with a larger group or if you have a need to keep coolers and other items under the shade, the Kelty Noah’s Tarp Sun Shelter is a great oversized option. Measuring 12 feet by 12 feet (other larger sizes are available), the versatile, minimalist canopy can comfortably provide shade (50UPF) for four to eight people. The canopy can be used for shade or light to heavy rain protection on the beach, as well as on camping trips and comes with a roll-top carry bag. The tarp includes several storage pouches, guy lines for easy assembly, sturdy seams, and is made from 68D polyester. 

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    For a sunshade that can withstand high winds, consider the Funs Portable Stakeless Windproof Beach Sunshade. Measuring 10 by 10 feet, the roomy canopy is made from polyester and offers 30UPF protection from the sun. The canopy has a different design than other sunshades with fabric support “ropes” and poles that are attached to the canopy, thus giving it more stability and allowing it to withstand strong winds with ease. The FUNS sunshade comes in orange or gray, and it's one of the more affordable canopies on the market. Amazon buyers stated that the canopy was easy to set up, held up to the winds and was a great value overall. 

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    Those who prefer a more classic design for their shade canopy should consider the FreeLand Pop-Up Canopy Tent, a heavy-duty option with an eight-by-eight-foot top that provides 64 square feet of shade. Made from CPAI-84 fire-resistant fabric that blocks 99 percent of UV rays, the canopy has a dome-shaped design and a high-grade steel frame with anti-rust coating. The canopy sets up in just a few minutes with a quick lock-and-release button. Stakes, wind ropes and a carry bag are included. Be aware that the canopy is not lightweight like many of the other options, but packs up easily and can be stowed in the trunk of a car. 

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