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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.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Otentik Beach SunShade Original
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).
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Mad Grit Portable Beach Shade
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.
Best Budget: Happy Summer Lightweight
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. Additionally, the tent is very easy to assemble using sandbags, sturdy poles and stakes.
Best Setup: CoolCabana
If you’re put off by the potential hassle of setting up a tent-style beach canopy, then the super-streamlined CoolCabana is for you. Designed with a single central stake, this canopy pops open as easily as a regular beach umbrella. No complicated construction, loose parts, or frustration — perfect for casual beach trips where a complicated set-up is impractical. Just anchor the patented sand spike, unfold the arms, and put some sand into the bottom of the hanging panels to weigh them down. In a matter of minutes, you'll have a sturdy, classic-looking cabana for two. And as easy to take down as it is to put up, the CoolCabana folds to 41 inches and weighs just nine pounds.
Best for Traveling: Neso Portable Canopy Sun Shelter
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.
Best Mid Priced: Ziggy Shade
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.
Best Oversized: Kelty Noah's Tarp Sun Shelter
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.
Best Windproof: Super-Brella Maximum Protection Shelter
For a sunshade that can withstand a breezy beach, consider the Super-Brella Maximum Protection Shelter — 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 Super-Brella 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.