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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 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 Portable: Neso Beach Tent at Amazon
"Weighs just 4 pounds and easily fits within the specifications for most carry-on luggage."
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: ZiggyShade Family Beach Sunshade at Amazon
"A lightweight, sturdy, and reasonably-priced sun canopy that includes stakes to secure it in rocky terrain."
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.
Here are the best beach canopies available.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Kelty Noah's Tarp Sun Shelter
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, 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.
Best Budget: G4Free Large Beach Tent
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.
Best Splurge: Otentik Original Beach Sunshade
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. 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).
Best Windproof: Sport-Brella Canopy Shelter Umbrella
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. But 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.
Best Water-Resistant: Pacific Breeze Easy Set Up Beach Tent
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, the Pacific Breeze tent can hold two adults and one child.
Best Coverage: EzyFast Elegant Pop Up Beach Shelter
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.
Best Portable: Neso Beach Tent
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. Be sure to visit the company’s website for detailed instructions on how to assemble the canopy prior to attempting it on the beach.
Best Pop-Up: Coleman Instant Canopy
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.
Best for Families: Lightspeed Outdoors Instant Pop-Up Shade Tent
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 84 x 10 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.
Best Value: ZiggyShade Family Beach Sunshade
For a lightweight, sturdy, and reasonably-priced beach canopy that provides UPF 50 protection, 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 large-sized (7.2 x 7.9 feet). The canopy comes in five bright colors and includes a carry case.
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.
How should I anchor my canopy on the beach?
You might not need to think too much about how to anchor your beach canopy if conditions are extremely mild. But any amount of wind can turn your canopy into a sail—even sending it tumbling down the beach if it’s not secured.
You can anchor your canopy in a number of different ways, depending on the style or structure. Your 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 your canopy didn’t come with any (or you’ve lost them), you can purchase tent stakes separately.
What if I don’t have stakes to anchor my canopy?
If you don’t have stakes or your canopy doesn’t accommodate them, you have other anchoring options. 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 your own. You can also use heavy rocks found nearby to weigh down your canopy to keep it securely on the beach. Another way to mitigate the risk of your beach canopy flying away in high wind is by removing sidewalls if your style of structure allows it.
What's the difference between a beach tent and a beach canopy?
While you might hear these terms 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.