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Our Top Picks
"A soft, fluffy towel that you can snuggle up in."
Best Oversized: Cotton Craft - Luxury Beach Towel for Two at Amazon
"Measuring 58 by 68 inches, the towel is practically a small blanket and fits two people comfortably."
Best Quick-Drying: Dock and Bay Microfiber Beach Towel at Amazon
"Will dry fast and keep the rest of your belongings from getting damp or acquiring mildew odors."
Best Design: Ricdecor Mandala Microfiber Towel at Amazon
"These colorful towels come in a variety of designs like beautiful Indian and Bohemian-style patterns."
Best Budget: Utopia Large Cabana Stripe Beach Towel at Amazon
"For a simple and affordable - yet durable - beach towel."
Best Artisan: Dandelion Textile Turkish Towels at Amazon
"Made from naturally-dyed cotton, the Peshtemal towels have signature tassels along the top and bottom."
Best Multi-Purpose: Danich Microfiber Multi-Purpose Towel at Amazon
"Easy to transport and can be used at the gym, beach, spa, pool or for travel."
Our Top Picks
Best Luxury: Round Beach Towel by Laguna Beach Textile Co.
If you’re looking for a soft, fluffy towel that you can snuggle up in, the Plush Cabana Beach Towel by Laguna Beach Textile Co. is a luxurious splurge. Measuring 5 feet in diameter, the large towel is 100 percent cotton and has 600 grams per square meter (GSM) of cotton compared to most towels that have less than 400 GSM. This means you have a large, thick, and comfortable towel that’s both absorbent and perfect for lounging. The beach towel is available in three two different color options: Sea Glass Sunrise and Coral Sunset. The towels have premium stitching and are made of quality materials, so it will stand up to the test of time.
Best Oversized: Cotton Craft - Luxury Beach Towel for Two
For a sprawling, oversized towel at a great price, the Cotton Craft Luxury Beach Towel for Two is an excellent choice. Measuring 58 by 68 inches, the towel is practically a small blanket and fits two people comfortably. With a beautiful array of colors on both sides of the towel, it is easy to spot when returning to the sand after a refreshing dip in the ocean. The towel has heavy-duty woven construction, is made from cotton and velour, and is soft yet fluffy.
Best Quick-Drying: Dock and Bay Microfiber Beach Towel
Travelers on the go know how important it is to have a fast-drying towel after a day at the ocean. The Dock and Bay Microfiber Beach Towel will dry fast and keep the rest of your belongings from getting damp or acquiring mildew odors. The striped towel comes in an array of color options ranging from bold blue, yellow, purple and orange, as well as a cheerful rainbow pattern. The towel is specially designed so that sand won’t stick to it. Made of microfiber, the towel absorbs water but drys three times faster than most towels. Two sizes are available measuring 63 by 31 inches or 78 by 35 inches.
Best Design: Ricdecor Mandala Microfiber Towel
The circular, Ricdecor Mandala Microfiber Towel is both stylish and unique and is a hybrid between a towel and a beach blanket. These colorful towels come in a variety of designs like beautiful Indian and Bohemian-style patterns, dream catchers, hibiscus flowers, spiral shapes, as well as peacock feathers. The towels measure 60 inches in diameter and have elegant tassels along the edges. The microfiber can absorb seven times the towels’ weight, but are quick to dry. The thick towels can also be used as yoga mats, for camping and picnics or even decorative rugs.
Best Budget: Utopia Large Cabana Stripe Beach Towel
For a simple and affordable - yet durable - beach towel, the Utopia Large Cabana Stripe Beach Towel is an excellent option. Machine washable, the 100 percent ring-spun cotton towel is very absorbent and larger than a typical beach towel at 35 x 70 inches, which makes it perfect for lounging in the sand. This towel has a classic blue-and-white cabana stripe design that gives it a nautical vibe, and it holds its color after several cycles in the wash.
Best Artisan: Dandelion Textile Turkish Towels
For an artistic beach towel that’s functional and unique, the Turkish Towel from Dandelion Textile is a fantastic option. Made from naturally-dyed cotton, the Peshtemal towels have signature tassels along the top and bottom and are commonly used in Turkish hammams (steam baths). Its compact, lightweight form makes for a quick drying towel, so they are ideal for traveling and don’t take up much space in the suitcase. The towels measure 71 by 39 inches and are cream-shaded with a variety of different color options ranging from shades of green, blue, and pink to more traditional gray and black. These can also be used at the pool or yoga, and become softer with frequent washes.
Best Multi-Purpose: Danich Microfiber Multi-Purpose Towel
For a towel that is easy to transport and can be used at the gym, beach, spa, pool or for travel, the “Microfiber Ultra-Light, Multi Purpose Set” by Danich is a solid selection. The set includes two towels: one small measuring 27.5 by 15.7 inches and one extra-large towel measuring 27.5 by 59 inches. The larger of the two makes a great, fast-drying beach towel that can absorb six times its weight. The towels are machine washable, hypoallergenic and wear-resistant. Choose from red, blue or gray options with vibrant colors that maintain their shades despite washing.
Products We Tested
How We Tested
Our reviewers spent 25 hours testing three of the top-rated beach towels on the market. To really get the full picture, our testers took these towels to the shore, used them to dry off after taking a dip, and laid on them for hours at a time. We asked our reviewers to consider the most important features when using these beach towels, from their size to their material. We've outlined the key points here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
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, thinner towels won’t take up as much space in your suitcase
Test Results: Round Beach Towel by Laguna Beach Textile Co (Best Luxury)
Stylish design and colors
Large enough to double as a picnic blanket
High-quality material is soft and durable
Hard to pack
5-foot diameter may not suit taller sunbathers
Pricier than other oversized towels
This round towel earned winning marks from our tester for its style, comfort, and durability. However, our reviewer noted, "It is a thick, fairly heavy towel so it does not pack easily, and is less portable than some other towels." She added, "Also at only 5-feet in diameter, most sunbathers will not find sufficient length for keeping their legs and feet on the towel when stretched out." Still, she recommended it overall: "It is a versatile and very high-quality towel that will last, and the colors and design are California fresh making the towel a worthy indulgence," our tester explained.
Test Results: Cotton Craft Luxury Beach Towel for Two (Best Oversized)
Wide enough to double as a picnic blanket
Lightweight and packable
Super-soft cotton velour
Prone to snags
Average to low durability
Our tester loved this towel for its large, lightweight design that made it perfect for the beach or a picnic. “The cotton velour makes it soft, but slightly less absorbent than a less refined all terry towel,” our reviewer reported. She added, “It snags easily, and does not seem like it will be very durable over time with regular use.” However, our tester said it’s a great buy “if you are looking for a colorful, reasonably priced, multi-purpose beach towel, and you aren't concerned about long-term durability.”
Test Results: Dock and Bay Microfiber Beach Towel (Best Quick-Drying)
Larger yet less bulky than other towels
Easy to wash and dry
Soft and smooth texture
Thin fabric isn’t as comfy as traditional towels
This towel came highly recommended by our tester for its quick-drying ability. The highlights? “The large size is great for lounging on the sand, the texture is really smooth and enjoyable to use, and I love how quickly it dries so I can pack it up without getting everything else wet,” our reviewer raved. The downsides? “Though it's soft, it's thin and therefore not very cozy,” she noted. “I felt like I noticed more sand on this towel than I do on other towels because of how thin it is, too.” Overall, though, our tester said it’s great for travel because of how compact and packable it is.