The 11 Best Beach Towels of 2021

Pack smartly for your next beach day

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The Rundown

Best Overall: WETCAT Turkish Beach Towel at Amazon

"Super convenient and easy to pack, this towel comes in a variety of beautiful colors."

Best Budget: Kaufman Velour Two Color Stripe Beach Towel at Amazon

"This simple and affordable beach towel variety pack comes with four towels."

Best Large: All Around Giant Circle Towel at Amazon

"Measuring 60 by 60 inches, the towel is big enough for the whole family to sit on comfortably."

Best Round: Coral Sunset Round Beach Towel at Laguna Beach Textile Co.

"A soft, fluffy towel that you can snuggle up in."

Best for Travel: Rainleaf Microfiber Towel at Amazon

"A lightweight, compact option perfect for traveling."

Best Sand-Free: Bora Bora Sand-Free Beach Towel at Teselate

"Dries in half the time of a regular towel."

Best Print: Seaside Beach Towel at L.L. Bean

"Made from thick, plush cotton, you'll want to rest on this towel all day."

Best Microfiber: BEARZ Outdoor Beach Towel at Amazon

"This waterproof towel is a great go-to for all your outdoor needs."

Best for Kids: Franco Kids Bath and Beach Soft Cotton Terry Hooded Towel Wrap at Amazon

"The towel is practically a small blanket."

Best Personalized: Printed Velour Beach Blanket at Lands’ End

"This towel is made from absorbent 100 percent cotton."

Best Eco-Conscious: Navy Acid Wash Towel at Sand Cloud

“The eco-conscious brand makes 100 percent Turkish cotton towels that are super-lightweight.”

Not only are beach towels great for drying off with after a dip in the waves, they also act as a barrier between you and the hot sand. To help you plan for the next sunny day, we’ve rounded up some of the best options around, from quick-drying microfiber towels to huge circular ones that can fit the whole crew. 

Here, our favorite beach towels.

Best Overall: WETCAT Turkish Beach Towel

With proportions a little more generous than your standard towel, this Turkish-style beach towel shakes off the sand and dries incredibly quickly (say "goodbye" to wrapping a cold, wet towel around yourself on the way back to the car). It folds super easily so you can travel with it in a checked bag or carry-on, and you can even use it as a hair wrap, cover-up, or yoga blanket.

Best Budget: Kaufman Velour Two Color Stripe Beach Towel

Kaufman Beach Towels

Courtesy of Walmart

Buying in bulk for summer? We hear ya. Beach towels can be pricey, and after a couple of years of intense use, the colors tend to fade and holes start to appear. If it's time to replace yours, these beach towels come in a bright, striped four-pack. It works out to about $10 a towel, so when it comes to per-towel value, you can’t beat it.

Best Large: All Around Giant Circle Towel - One With the Sun

All Around Giant Circle Towel

Courtesy of ban.do

This absolutely massive (read: 60 inches by 60 inches) towel is bright and funky—and sized to be perfect for hanging out on the beach with friends. We love the stylized graphics, cool color combo, and pink fringe bordering the edges. Customers rave about how soft and plush the blanket is, and will take it on picnics for a little double-duty use, too.

Best Round: Coral Sunset Round Beach Towel

Coral Sunset Round Beach Towel

Courtesy of  Laguna Beach Textile Co.

Forget screen printing—this towel is designed to last with Jacquard-woven fibers that keep the colors stable wash after wash. It’s 60 inches in diameter, so it’ll fit a couple of people on it, and the white fringe along the edges gives it a fun vintage SoCal vibe. These towels are also super-thick—almost twice as thick as a standard beach towel—with one side in velour for extra softness. The colors are perfectly summery, whether you opt for this coral and blue one or go for the sandier tones in the Sea Glass Sunrise version.

Best for Travel: Rainleaf Microfiber Towel

You don’t have to stress about a plush terrycloth towel taking up half the room in your suitcase—or count on an Airbnb to provide beach towels—with this super compact towel. The Rainleaf Microfiber towel is fast-drying, incredibly absorbent, and comes in its own pouch for packing and toting. Plus, you can get it in a variety of colors and sizes so you can pick one up for everyone in your family.

Best Sand-Free: Bora Bora Sand-Free Beach Towel

Bora Bora Beach Towel

 Courtesy of Teselate 

“These towels from Australia—where they definitely know what makes for a good beach towel—are sand-free, which makes them super easy to shake off and pack up,” says travel writer Adam Hurly. Though it's about 30 by 60 inches (standard sizing for a beach towel), it dries off in half the time of a regular towel—so you don't have to run the risk of wet towels in the car or suitcase.  

Best Print: L.L. Bean Seaside Beach Towel

Seaside Beach Towel

Courtesy of L.L. Bean

Made from thick, plush cotton, this absorbent beach towel has 450 grams per square meter of fabric weight, meaning it’ll soak up the water after a last-call ocean dip. It’s yarn-dyed, too, so the color will stay on wash after wash after wash. At 36 inches by 68 inches, this towel runs a little bigger than your standard-sized beach towels as well.

Best Microfiber: BEARZ Outdoor Beach Towel

“Bearz Outdoor beach towel is a lightweight microfiber towel that takes easy to the next level,” says travel blogger Kay Kingsman. “With a carrying pouch that fits in your pocket, the towel can be stored conveniently in a car or camp gear container in the closet. Microfiber is more absorbent than traditional beach towels, taking only minutes instead of hours to dry, allowing you to pack up after your adventures and preventing any potential bacteria build-up. Since microfiber is also low-pile and stain-resistant, they are great towels for both picnics and lounging on the beach as the fabric won't drag sand or dirt into your car on the way home.”

Best for Kids: Franco Kids Bath and Beach Soft Cotton Terry Hooded Towel Wrap

Baby Shark might always haunt you, but there’s no getting around the fact that this super-soft terry towel is a hit for kids heading to the beach. It has a little hood on it, and is designed to fit toddlers and kids up to 7 years old. The towel can be worn as a poncho or bathrobe, so you can repurpose it for bath nights when you’re back at home.

Best Personalized: Lands' End Printed Velour Beach Blanket

Printed Velour Beach Blanket

Courtesy of Land's End

So huge it’s not just a towel but a blanket, this Lands’ End towel is made from absorbent 100 percent cotton and measures a whopping 78 by 70 inches. “This towel is soft, with a cheerful, colorful print—and it’s enormous, so it’s big enough for my whole family,” says travel and lifestyle writer Alesandra Dubin. “I’m also a sucker for a monogram, and this one is customizable.”

Best Eco-Conscious: Sand Cloud Navy Acid Wash Towel

Navy Acid Wash Towel

Courtesy of Sand Cloud

“I never go to the beach without my Sand Cloud acid wash towel,” says travel journalist Lola Méndez. “The eco-conscious brand makes 100 percent Turkish cotton towels that are super lightweight, and they can be used as sarongs or scarves as they're very soft.” Plus, you can feel good about your purchase: “I love that the company donates 10 percent of profits to marine conservation projects—they've given over $100,000 to date,” she adds. 

Final Verdict

WETCAT’s Turkish-style beach towels (view at Amazon) are quick-drying, super-easy to pack, and highly absorbent—basically everything you need in the perfect beach towel. Plus, your money goes a lot further with one of these: You can use it for a variety of purposes outside of beach season, including as a wrap or yoga blanket.

What to Look for in a Beach Towel

Size and shape

Most towels are square or rectangular, but one circular model on our list bucks tradition (and also doubles as a beach blanket). Beyond shape, you want a towel that has decent space to stretch out. Bigger towels can also double as sun protection if you drape yours over your shoulders or across your legs.

Fabric

Cotton still rules the world of beach towels, and with good reason—it’s absorbent, soft, and machine washable. Judge the plushness of these cotton options by looking at the number of grams of cotton per square inch (the more grams, the cozier it’ll be). On the other hand, microfiber towels tend to dry faster and are also typically more durable and sand resistant. Like most synthetic fabrics, however, microfiber towels can start to stink after multiple uses, even after washing.

Portability

If your typical trip to the beach is from your car to the coast, a thicker towel is a sensible option. But if you plan on traveling greater distances and limited space is a consideration, look for a thinner towel that won’t take up as much space in your suitcase.

FAQs

What is a Turkish towel?

Turkish towels have a long history of being used in hammams, or bath houses, and date back to the 18th century. They tend to be made of flat-woven cotton, don’t trap sand, are extremely quick to dry, and can also serve as a wrap or impromptu picnic blanket. In contrast, the thick, looped cotton towels many people use at the beach are plush and soft, providing sunbathers more of a barrier between them and the sand or uneven ground. However, they tend to catch soil and sand in their fibers and can take a long time to dry out. 


How do I wash beach towels?

Your best bet is to always follow the instructions on the manufacturer’s label, but if you don’t have a tag or the writing’s worn off, no worries: Just shake out any last grains of sand, and then put it on a normal or hot wash. If the towel is a bright color, it might be good to wash it with similar colors so that the colors don’t bleed onto other clothing. Drying a looped cotton beach towel in the machine will make it extra-fluffy, but air drying it is a more eco-friendly option.


What is the best size for a beach towel? 

The standard size seems to be around 30 inches by 60 inches—or about 2.5 feet by 5 feet. If you’re taller or want a bit more room horizontally, there are tons of options for beach towels that come in extra-long or extra-large sizes. Families with small kids might also consider a large circular towel, which can fit a few people on one big blanket (and provide a space for little ones to crawl).

Why Trust TripSavvy?

TripSavvy authors are experts in their subject areas and spend hours researching their topic and gathering expertise from experience in the real world. Writers also speak with experts in the field for their recommendations—for this article, Krystin Arneson interviewed travel writers and bloggers to get their top picks. 

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