The 10 Best Beach Canopies of 2021

Keep yourself comfortable and your gear shaded during a day on the sand

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Best Beach Canopies

Tripsavvy / Chloe Jeong

The Rundown

Best Overall: Kelty Noah's Tarp Sun Shelter at Backcountry

"The versatile, minimalist canopy can comfortably provide shade for four to eight people."

Best Budget: G4Free Large Beach Tent at Amazon

"It's priced considerably less than other models and comes in three bright colors."

Best Splurge: Otentik Original Beach Sunshade at Amazon

"A high quality, durable sunshade canopy that's worth the investment and is simple to set up."

Best Windproof: Sport-Brella Canopy Shelter Umbrella at Amazon

"Secures to the ground via the center spike and a series of stakes, so it stays in the sand even when things get windy."

Best Water-Resistant: Pacific Breeze Easy Set Up Beach Tent at Amazon

"Features a lightweight polyester shell that repels water and a water-resistant floor."

Best Portable: Neso Beach Tent at Amazon

"Weighs just 4 pounds and easily fits within the specifications for most carry-on luggage."

Best Coverage: EzyFast Elegant Pop Up Beach Shelter at Amazon

"Has a back wall that rolls up for even more sun protection and blocks 99 percent of UV rays."

Best Pop-Up: Coleman Instant Canopy at Amazon

"Offers a quick, three-step set-up in just three minutes and folds down for easy storage."

Best for Families: Lightspeed Outdoors Instant Pop-Up Shade Tent at Amazon

"Fits four people, four chairs, and has four side pockets to hold all of your family's essentials."

Best Value: Alvantor Beach Tent at Amazon

"Even though it offers a lot of sun cover, it doesn't get too hot in the structure, thanks to mesh on three sides. "

For frequent beach goers, a shade structure is a worthy investment. Depending on your needs, you might choose a small and light beach canopy, which is a highly practical and portable option for a solo or couple’s day at the beach. From there, options range to include extra-large canopies and tents that can provide shade for a whole family in addition to any gear and coolers. You can find beach canopies in all colors and styles, ranging from umbrellas to staked sunshades to tents. To help narrow down your search, we researched top options for different needs, taking into account the weight, usability, and fabric.

Here are the best beach canopies available.

Best Overall: Kelty Noah's Tarp Sun Shelter

Kelty Noah's Tarp Sun Shelter

Courtesy of Backcountry

5
What We Like
  • Versatile

  • Water-resistant

  • Has storage pouches

What We Don't Like
  • Poles not included

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

Capacity: 4-8 people | Dimensions: 108 x 108 in. | Sun Protection: UPF 50+

Tested by TripSavvy

The Kelty Noah’s Tarp kept us well-shaded and cool in the approximately 90-degree summer heat in our Los Angeles backyard, and we imagine this would work just as well in a beach environment. We wouldn’t recommend leaving it up for more than an entire day, as prolonged exposure to the sun and its UV rays will damage the material. The polyester tarp may feel thin, but it’s coated and durable enough to withstand your average bumps and pokes, as our clumsy toddlers can attest. It’s not ideal for extreme elements, but we can imagine it holding up well in the rain as the seams are taped to prevent leakage. We sprayed the tarp lightly with our backyard hose and found that the inside stayed dry with no leaks at all.

If you’re a frequent outdoor enthusiast looking for a sun canopy, the Noah’s Tarp in the 9-foot option is an ideal choice. Just note that you’ll need to shell out some extra cash for the staff poles (which aren’t included) if you plan on setting it up as a free-standing shade. — Danielle Directo-Meston, Product Tester

Kelty Noah's Tarp Sun Shelter

TripSavvy / Danielle Directo-Meston

Best Budget: G4Free Large Beach Tent

What We Like
  • Openings for ventilation

  • Easy to assemble

What We Don't Like
  • Hard to break down

  • Not meant for strong wind

If you just need a simple, functional, and affordable canopy, the G4Free Beach Tent is a solid choice. Although it's priced considerably less than some of the other options on this list, this beach canopy is spacious measuring in at 86.6 x 74.8 x 51.1 inches, which is ideal for three to four people. It's available in three bright colors and features two doors and windows. This tent provides UPF 50+ protection, and comes with four sandbags and eight tent pegs for extra stability during windy days. Made with a pop-up design, this tent easily assembles in seconds. Reviewers appreciated that the manufacturer includes a how-to video for dissembling it, so you can end your beach day hassle-free.

Capacity: 3-4 people | Dimensions: 86.6 x 74.8 x 51.1 in. |
Sun Protection: UPF 50+

Best Splurge: Otentik Original Beach Sunshade

Otentik Original Beach Sunshade

Courtesy of Amazon

3.7
What We Like
  • Tons of color options

  • Lightweight

  • Easy to set up solo

What We Don't Like
  • Requires frequent adjustments

  • Inconsistent in the wind

For a high quality, durable sunshade canopy that is simple to set up, the Otentik is worth the investment. Manufactured in Israel and constructed from high-quality Italian Eurojersey fabric, the canopy 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's easy to assemble and provides UPF 50 protection from the sun, and sand doesn't stick to the Otentik when putting it away. Our product tester found that the sloped design allowed for two people to sit in beach chairs comfortably with room to spare. On windy days, be sure to load the sand anchors with a lot of sand (they stretch). The beach shade comes in 18 different color varieties and also includes a carry bag (plus a separate pole bag). 

Capacity: 2-3 people | Dimensions: 88 x 72 in. | Sun Protection: UPF 50

Tested by TripSavvy

We took the Otentik down to Rockaway Beach on a gorgeous, gusty summer Saturday to see how it measured up to our old faithful beach canopy. Portability is where the Otentik Original Sunshade immediately stood out. The shade and poles roll up to fit into a soft, self-fabric carrying case that’s only about 19 inches long and the width of a rolled beach towel. The aluminum poles fit into their own sleeves and polyester bag to prevent damage to the shade during transport. The whole thing weighs about 4 pounds and is incredibly easy to ignore once it’s slung across your shoulder. 

While we like the high portability, soft fabric, and smart, simple design, we think the Otentik Original Beach Sunshade might take a while to grow on us. Even with the hacks Otentik recommended, it lacked stability in higher winds, and we were never quite sure it wasn’t going to fall down on our heads. Again. Joy Merrifield, Product Tester

Otentik Original Beach Sunshade

TripSavvy / Joy Merrifield

Best Windproof: Sport-Brella Canopy Shelter Umbrella

Sport-Brella Canopy Shelter Umbrella

Courtesy of Amazon

4.5
What We Like
  • Vented zip-up windows

  • Water-repellant

  • Includes all stakes and accessories

What We Don't Like
  • Can be hard to set up when windy

  • No threaded sand anchor

For a sunshade that can withstand a breezy beach, consider the Sport-Brella Super-Brella—this umbrella-canopy hybrid combines the ease of opening an umbrella with the added anchoring ability of a beach tent. Measuring 8 feet across, the portable canopy blocks 99.5 percent of UV rays for full sun protection. We were able to set this canopy up in less than five minutes so you'll be able to get settled on the sand quickly.

It can keep you sheltered from the other elements, too: built-in vents promote airflow (so it won’t catch the wind like a sail) and the whole thing secures to the ground via the center spike and a series of stakes so your sunshade stays in the sand, even when things get windy. It’s also water repellant, which makes it useful in unpredictable beach weather and for a variety of other outdoor events. 

Capacity: 2-3 people | Dimensions: 54 x 4 x 4 in. | Sun Protection: UPF 50+

Tested by TripSavvy

Overall, we found the Sport-Brella canopy to be a comfortable and cool haven from the sun for two seated adults and two kids—so long as it’s properly staked to the ground. The pole struggled to stay put in the sand when loosely anchored during one particularly windy day, though this was more due to user error. The side flaps also ended up blowing in the wind when the metal anchors weren’t installed properly. We can see it being much easier to use in dirt and lawn settings where the ground has more texture for the metal anchors. There was a learning curve to set up but once the umbrella was properly secured, we had no trouble with it blowing away.

As a result of the umbrella’s unfortunately faulty pole design, we aren’t likely to use this as a traditional upright beach umbrella—it works best as more of a canopy. Still, if you’re heading to the beach and don’t mind spending some extra time to ensure that the umbrella is firmly secured to the ground, the Sport-Brella is great to have on hand. It’s big enough to accommodate at least two people, and it’ll serve you well during camping and other outdoor activities.Danielle Directo-Meston, Product Tester

Sport-Brella Portable All-Weather and Sun Umbrella

TripSavvy / Danielle Directo-Meston

Best Water-Resistant: Pacific Breeze Easy Set Up Beach Tent

4
What We Like
  • A breeze to set up and take down

  • Portable

  • Has internal pockets

What We Don't Like
  • Shallow depth

  • Floor can get hot in the sun

The Pacific Breeze Beach Tent can survive your beach day, no matter what the weather conditions are. It has a lightweight polyester shell that repels water, wind, and sun. It also features a durable fiberglass frame and a water-resistant floor. This tent comes with five sand pockets and four stacks for added stability. Measuring 87 x 47 x 49 inches, we found that this tent can fit two adults comfortably.

Capacity: 2-3 people | Dimensions: 87 x 47 x 49 in. | Sun Protection: UPF 50+

Tested by TripSavvy

The designers of the Easy Setup Beach Tent clearly put a lot of effort into considering what a family might need. For example, the two mesh windows on either side can be secured in place with hook-and-loop fastener strips in the event of strong winds or even a light shower. If you want to enjoy the breeze, you can roll the windows up and secure them with elastic ties. At the top of the center section, there are two mesh pockets for storing cell phones or anything you want to keep out of the way of sand and water. The tent comfortably fits two adults, even with low-sitting beach chairs. Without chairs, you have room for two adults and a small child or two.

The Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent is the truly easy setup solution for trips to the beach, lake, or even outdoor concerts and festivals. You don’t have to keep track of frame pieces or anchors; everything is easily carried inside the drawstring bag. Just keep in mind that it’s not very deep, so it only provides protection for a couple of people.Kimberly Holland, Product Tester

Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent

TripSavvy / Kimberly Holland 

Best Portable: Neso Beach Tent

Neso Beach Tent

Amazon

3.5
What We Like
  • Comes in a variety of fun colors and patterns

  • Lightweight

  • Water-resistant

What We Don't Like
  • Hard to set up in windy conditions

  • Needs constant readjustments

  • Doesn't protect from blowing sand

If your beach vacation isn't close to home, you’ll need a sunshade canopy that can fit into your suitcase or car. The Neso Beach Tent is lightweight (just 4 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 7 x 7-foot portable canopy blocks 98 percent of the sun’s rays and is available in a range of different colors and patterns, including a stand-out flamingo pattern. It’s also water-resistant if a quick shower passes by. Nothing gets staked into the ground, our product tester notes, "so the tent can be set up in a variety of terrains, as long as there are rocks or sand available to weigh down the anchor bags." Be sure to visit the company’s website for detailed instructions on how to assemble the canopy prior to attempting it on the beach. 

Capacity: 2-3 people | Dimensions: 84 x 84 in. | Sun Protection: UPF 50+

Tested by TripSavvy

Composed of tech fabric and sandbags, the Neso 1 is lightweight yet runs no flight risk, and the smooth, elevated angles provide shade without blocking everyone’s view of the water. Very populist. We took the beach canopy to Rockaway Beach for a long, windy day in the sand as part of our testing.

Right away we noticed how portable the Neso 1 is. Portability is the Neso 1’s primary design motivation, so not surprisingly, the tent construction and transport bag are minimal. Rolled up in its bag, the tent and poles are about the size of a yoga mat, and the entire thing weighs a slight 4 pounds. It was easy to throw over a shoulder and go and compact enough to fit inside a small suitcase like the Away Bigger Carry-On.

We like the Neso beach tent for its portability, simple setup, and easy-care fabric, but it takes a hit for durability and was wobbly in high winds. We feel like we could learn to overlook its faults in the name of 4 pounds of haul weight, though. Joy Merrifield, Product Tester

Neso Beach Tent

TripSavvy / Joy Merrifield 

Best Coverage: EzyFast Elegant Pop Up Beach Shelter

What We Like
  • Big enough to sit, stand, or lay under

  • Sturdy

What We Don't Like
  • No side protection

  • Very tall people would need to duck

While most beach canopies provide sufficient sun protection, the EzyFast Beach Shelter takes things up a notch with a back wall that rolls up for even more protection—along with other uses like privacy and blocking wind. In addition, the beach canopy is made of durable fabric that blocks 99 percent of the sun's UV rays. The 27.5 x 7 x 7-inch canopy is also quick to set up, is ideal for two to four people, comes with a carrying bag, and keeps things cool with its mesh fabric. Better still, its gravity corner curtain with ties and weight-down pockets helps hold the canopy down.

Capacity: 2-4 people | Dimensions: 27.5 x 7 x 7 in. | Sun Protection: UPF 50+

Best Pop-Up: Coleman Instant Canopy

What We Like
  • Includes wheeled carrying case

  • Has two-way roof vents for increased air circulation

  • Good for groups

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • No protection from wind

  • Bulky

A trusted name in outdoor gear, Coleman's Instant Canopy delivers exactly what its name implies: a quick, three-step set-up in just three minutes. Even more, it folds down to just one frame for easy storage. The beach canopy also wins in other areas, with a UVGuard material construction for UPF 50+ sun protection, roof vents for air circulation, and rugged, Polyguard double-thick fabric that can withstand the elements. Ground stakes and pre-attached guy lines offer extra security. Available in two sizes (10 x 10 feet and 12 x 12 feet), the canopy also comes with a wheeled carry bag.

Capacity: 5-8 people | Dimensions: 100 x 100 in. or 144 x 144 in. |
Sun Protection: UPF 50

Best for Families: Lightspeed Outdoors Instant Pop-Up Shade Tent

What We Like
  • Includes all accessories for staking

  • Pockets for stashing small objects

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Adults can't stand comfortably under it

  • Can be challenging to set up alone in windy conditions

  • Black floor tarp gets hot on sunny days

Making sure everyone in your family is protected by the sun can be difficult. Luckily, the shade tent from Lightspeed Outdoors can help. This tent fits four people, four chairs, and has four side pockets to hold all of your essentials. It features a sidewall that gives UPF 50+ protection from the sun, while its three open walls allow the breeze to come in. The large floor measures 96 x 96 inches when fully expanded, and the tent collapses down to just 50 x 60 inches. Set up requires minimal effort—all you need to do is pull the drawstring to pop open the roof, connect the tarp to their poles, and secure the floor with stakes. This tent comes with an oversized carrying bag and only weighs 7 pounds, so you can take it on all your adventures easily. A one-year warranty is included.

Capacity: 4-5 people | Dimensions: 94.8 x 59 x 94.8 in. |
Sun Protection: UPF 50+

Best Value: Alvantor Beach Tent

What We Like
  • Good coverage

  • Water-resistant

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Cheap materials

  • Can be challenging to set up solo

For a lightweight, sturdy, and reasonably-priced beach canopy that provides UPF 50 protection, the Alvantor Beach Tent is a top pick. The canopy includes three sand pockets, four extra sandbags, and four stakes to secure it in more solid or rocky terrain. It's easy to set up or break down, lightweight, and comes with a easy to carry storage bag. Measuring 79 x 53 x 47 inches, it can comfortably fit three or four adults. Even though it offers a lot of sun cover, it doesn't get too hot in the structure, thanks to mesh on three sides.

Capacity: 3-4 people | Dimensions: 79 x 53 x 47 in. | Sun Protection: UPF 50+

Final Verdict

Kelty Noah's Tarp Sun Shelter (view at Backcountry) hits all of our top priorities for features: it’s durable and portable, can be used in a variety of conditions, and covers a large enough footprint to make it comfortable and practical. But if you're looking for something more budget-friendly, choose the G4Free Large Beach Tent (view at Amazon). It can hold three to four people and offers UPF 50+ protection.

What to Look for in a Beach Canopy

Size

Take into account your group size when selecting the right canopy, and be sure to factor in the space you’ll need when you’ve got your chairs, cooler, and towels arranged. When in doubt, opt for more space rather than less. Also, consider the “pack” size—the space the canopy takes up when compressed.

Weight

If your typical jaunt to the beach doesn’t involve lots of walking or if you plan to use a beach wagon, a more rugged (read: heavier) canopy might be worth considering as it will prove more durable and is often easier to set up. But for air travelers or for long walks to the beach, lighter models can make things a lot easier without sacrificing too much performance. How you can transport the pack—with backpack straps, for example—should also be considered.

Fabric

Canopy materials can vary from stretchy fabrics that give you a lot of shade for little weight to weather-proof protection to those treated with UV or UPF protection. Some also keep sand at bay or are machine washable, which can extend the life of the canopy.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do you anchor a canopy on the beach?

    It's easy to not think too much about how to anchor a beach canopy if conditions are extremely mild. But any amount of wind can turn a canopy into a sail—even sending it tumbling down the beach if it’s not secured.

    There are a number of ways to anchor a canopy, depending on the style or structure. The canopy might come with stakes; these might look like corkscrews, pins with a bent or looped top, or horseshoes. Push or hammer them into the sand at the anchor points. If the canopy didn’t come with any (or they've been lost), purchasing tent stakes separately is an option.

  • What if you don't have stakes to anchor your canopy?

    There are other anchoring options for if the canopy doesn't have or accommodate stakes. Use tent weights designed for this purpose—or sandbags. Fortunately, sand is plentiful at the beach! Some canopies come with pockets for this purpose. If not, bring bags to fill with sand to make some. It's also possible to use heavy rocks found nearby to weigh down a canopy to keep it securely on the beach. Another way to mitigate the risk of a beach canopy flying away in high wind is by removing sidewalls if the style of structure allows it.

  • What's the difference between a beach tent and a beach canopy?

    Though these terms are often used interchangeably, a beach canopy generally has a shade cover or perimeter and it typically requires stakes so it cannot be used on hard surfaces. Whereas a beach tent typically has more substantial cover with sidewalls, and can usually be staked or assembled on hard surfaces and weighted down to stay in place.

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