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If you’re planning on spending long, lazy days at the beach, then a tent is a worthwhile investment. They provide protection from the wind and sun (so that you don’t end up with sunburn or sand in your picnic), and afford a welcome element of privacy. Nowadays, most beach tents include clever pop-up mechanisms that allow for almost instant set up. Other factors to consider range from the size and price-tag, to bonus features such as storage pockets or windows. In this article, we look at the best options.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Pacific Breeze Easy Up Beach Tent
The Pacific Breeze Easy Up Beach Tent is the perfect all-arounder. Made from durable sky blue fabric, it features a fiberglass frame and weighs just 4.4 pounds. At 87” x 47” x 49”, it offers ample space for up to three people, then packs away into a compact carry case measuring 40” x 5” x 5”. The EasyUp Hub System is particularly useful, which uses an ingenious drawstring mechanism to allow single-person set up in under one minute. The tent is equally easy to dismantle.
It also offers UPF 50+ sun protection, making it ideal for those with fair skin. On hot days, seek shade inside while admiring the view from the large windows and enjoying the cooling through-breeze. Sand pockets and stakes are included for added wind-proofing. The tent’s interior features handy pockets for storing your sunglasses and sunscreen (or for keeping your electronics sand-free). The polyethylene floor is waterproof so that you can set up on damp sand and still stay dry.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Alvantor UPF 50+ Beach Tent
For a mid-sized beach tent at a very reasonable price, the Alvantor is a popular option that fits two or three people. The hassle-free, water-resistant canopy is quick to set assemble with a self-pop-up fiberglass frame. All you have to do is throw the tent into the air — yes, throw it — and it’ll unfold. Four included sandbags and stakes to keep it in place, even in winds up to 25 mph while breathable mesh side windows help you stay cool in the sun and 50+ UPF UV fabric keeps you protected from harsh rays. The lightweight beach tent measures 70" x 53" x 48" and weighs just 2.5 pounds when packed down. Dismantling the tent is just as easy as setting it up as the figure 8 design twists down into a circular carry bag.
Best Extra Large: Easthills Outdoors Deluxe XL Sun Shelter
If you don’t feel like splashing out on the Kau Kohu tent but still need a little extra space, consider the Easthills Outdoors Deluxe XL Sun Shelter. Made from UPF 50+ polyester, it measures 99” x 53” x 57” — affording plenty of headroom and space for up to four people. The extended zippered porch offers additional storage for your belongings, and can also be used to close the front of the tent for increased privacy.
The tent features three windows with roll-up blinds and four mesh pockets for extra organization as well as 10 plastic stakes which ensure it won't be picked up by any stray gusts of wind. The tent takes only a minute to set up (step-by-step instructions are sewn into the carry bag) and when you're finished, it packs down into an eight-pound 41" x 8.5" x 8.5" bundle that easily fits in the trunk of your car. Although it's easy to set up and durable, the tent does come with a one-year warranty should you have any issues.
Best for Portability: Wilwolfer Pop Up Tent
Made of waterproof 190T silver-coated nylon, the Wilwolfer Pop Up Tent offers UPF 50+ protection and an amazingly portable design. When folded into its circular carry bag, the tent measures no more than 18" in diameter, making it easy to pack at the bottom of your suitcase or store in the trunk of your car. When open, its 65" x 59" x 43.5" interior accommodates two people comfortably.
Set up couldn’t be easier — simply remove the tent from the bag and let it erect itself. Both the front and back of the tent can be opened to increase air-flow, while an integrated curtain increases your privacy. Additional features include an extended groundsheet, stakes and a handy over-the-shoulder carry case.
Best Alternative: Sport-Brella Portable All-Weather Sun Umbrella
Not a fan of conventional beach tents? Consider investing in the Sport-Brella Portable Sun Umbrella instead. Made from 210-denier polyester, the umbrella has a telescoping pole and eight steel ribs. Its eight-foot canopy is water-repellent, offers UPF 50+ protection and features clever vents to increase wind-proofing. The umbrella’s side panels can be staked to the ground using the included steel pegs, providing excellent shelter from the wind and sun. On especially hot days, roll up the interior windows for extra ventilation. Your purchase includes a portable carry bag, while color options range from blue to red or turquoise.
Best Splurge: Kau Kohu Plus Shade Shelter
The Kau Kohu Plus Shade Shelter is a luxurious option for those with the cash to spare. Its cavernous internal space (98” x 63” x 59”) can accommodate up to four adults — making this the perfect choice for large family outings or grown-up beach parties. An extended groundsheet provides a total floor space of 61 square feet. When you need a little extra privacy, simply hook the ground sheet up to cover the doorway.
Despite its large size, set up and takedown takes just 30 seconds, thanks to the patented pop-up mechanism. The tent features UPF 50+ protection, shielding you from 98 percent of UV rays. On the inside, you’ll find roomy pockets and a series of large mesh windows, which together provide maximum ventilation and a 360-degree view. Other highlights include external sand pockets and an oversized carry bag. Choose from two colors: blue or sand.
Best Budget: SEMOO Lightweight Beach Shade Tent
The SEMOO Lightweight Beach Shade Tent is a simple yet effective no-frills choice. It measures 78.7” x 47.2” x 47.2”, making it ideal for one to two people. The tent is made of durable polyester, with a waterproof polyethylene floor and twin fiberglass poles. The latter help to make the product incredibly lightweight, while also increasing its strength.
The tent's four steel pegs offer added stability, while the interior features an integrated floor and two convenient storage pockets. A lack of windows limits airflow, although the front of the tent is open. Available in a sunny shade of yellow, the tent also includes a carry bag for easy transport and storage.
Best for Babies: Sunba Youth Pop-Up Sun Shelter with Pool
Designed for children aged three and under, the Sunba Youth Pop-Up Sun Shelter with Pool keeps your little one safe in the sun. Made from 50+ UPF silver-coated fabric that blocks 98 percent of UV rays, this tent can be used at the beach, in the park, or even in your backyard — anywhere where you want to give your baby some extra shade. The Sunba also includes a built-in mesh pocket that's handy for storing formula bottles, wet wipes, and other baby essentials.
The floor of the tent features a miniature paddling pool. Fill it with seawater to let your child splash around and keep cool (while remaining a safe distance from the ocean). A roll-up mesh window provides ample ventilation, while the 47.5” x 31.5” x 27.5” interior is perfectly sized for miniature beachgoers. The tent pops up on its own and folds down into its circular carry bag for easy transport.
Products We Tested
How We Tested
Our reviewers spent 23 hours testing one of the top-rated beach tents on the market. To really get the full picture, our testers took this tent to the shore on a few hot and sunny days and lounged for hours on end. We asked our reviewers to consider the most important features when using this beach tent, including its size, sturdiness, and portability. We've outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in a Beach Tent
Desired use Much of what you want out of a beach tent will be dictated by how you’ll use it. If you plan on using the shelter for a quick change of clothes or a brief respite from the sun, then you likely don’t need a tent with 1,001 features. However, if you want to provide shelter for the whole family, you’ll want a larger tent with features that regulate air flow (like windows, mesh panels, or vents).
Size Consider both the overall footprint of the tent as well as the height. Larger tents allow more space to maneuver, but smaller tents may be sufficient as a kid-friendly refuge if that’s what you’re after.
Setup and portability Although most beach tents are a breeze to set up, some can be assembled quickly by one person while others take more time (and coordination) to get it right. Most also collapse into a tight package for easy portability, but if you’re facing longer walks, some models may prove easier to carry than others — just think about what’s right for you.
Test Results: Pacific Breeze Easy Up Beach Tent (Best Overall)
What We Like
Useful mini-pockets for storage
What We Don't Like
Small interior size
This tent won over our testers for being lightweight, easy to set up, and designed well. “I could store my phone, wallet, and a few more small items in the storage pockets along the top of the inside of the tent,” noted one reviewer. “This is a handy feature since I could easily misplace my items on the beach — it’s nice to know they’re always in the tent secured.” In terms of improvements, our testers mentioned fabric quality: “Although the tent could block out most of the sunlight,” one reviewer explained, “I think the fabric could be thicker. Inside of the tent was a little warm because some sunlight could still get through, which could be a problem for people who are sensitive to UV rays.” Our testers also cautioned that since the interior size of the tent is small, it might not be ideal for larger families.