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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.
Best Overall: Pacific Breeze Easy Up Beach Tent
Endorsed by Amazon and thousands of positive customer reviews, 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”. Amazon reviewers particularly love the EasyUp Hub System, 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. Amazon users remark that the tent is extremely easy to set up and that it's durable, but should you have any issues, it does come with a one-year warranty.
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. Amazon reviewers report that it’s easy to pack away, too. 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
One of the best-rated options on Amazon, 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.
Amazon reviewers love the tent’s simple set up, although some mention that it doesn’t fare well in strong winds. However, 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: Hippo Creation UV Protection Baby Beach Tent
Designed for children aged three and under, the Hippo Creation UV Protection Baby Beach Tent keeps your little one safe in the sun. Made from non-toxic, silver-coated fabric that blocks 98 percent of UV rays, the sunshade is fully detachable from the base. It also includes two built-in mesh pockets - 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 and let your child play without any fear of drowning or burning. 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, folds easily into its circular carry bag and includes a set of stakes.