Get the ultimate protection with a beach tent
Beach umbrellas don’t always cut it! For the ultimate in protection against sun, wind, and sand, you need a beach tent. Grab your beach towel and hit the sand and surf with a protective beach tent. The tent I carry is the highly regarded Coleman Beach Shade. It’s perfect for storing my gear and sheltering my family, and it’s light enough to take anywhere. Want to get the most for your money? Check out my list of the best beach tents of the year.
Best Overall: Coleman Beach Shade
Coleman’s Beach Shade is an appealing all-around choice if you want to save a few bucks while claiming your personal space in the sand. Most beach tents today are blue. The Coleman comes in five colors. That may seem like a small detail, but having a tent that stands out makes it easier for you and the kids to find your home away from home on a crowded beach. Internal storage pockets give you a safe place for electronic devices and other toys, and there’s even a dry line included to hang wet towels, clothes, and beach blankets.
The center height on the Coleman Beach Shade is 4 feet, 9 inches, so it’s a little taller than other models. It’s nice only to have to bend at the waist to enter and exit as opposed to crawling on your hands and knees. Another plus is the extended shelter canopy. Regular beach visitors know that you sometimes need to move your tent a few degrees as the sun shifts. With the Coleman, you can set it up, then forget it and play the day away.
One gripe to report: there are no side windows. The back does unzip, leaving you with a large, mesh window. That helps with airflow, but this model could use side windows to get cross-ventilation going. That out of the way, this is my top pick for windy days. You’ll be watching your fellow beach lovers battle with their flimsy umbrellas while the Coleman stands strong in even the biggest of gusts. The extended floor also zips back up into the tent for added privacy — a nice touch to an already exceptional beach tent.
- Pop-up installation is a breeze
- Integrated storage pockets
- Great shade coverage
- Could use side ventilation
Set it up and forget it
When the wind blows, the Coleman stands strong! It also has a zippered privacy window and an extended shade cover.
Best Premium Features: Arcshell Premium XL
Take your beach bum cred to a higher level with the Archshell Premium XL. Included in this package is a 51-by-94-inch polyester tent, a carrying bag, six stakes, and a stake bag. This shelter is big enough to fit two regular beach chairs inside yet folds down small enough to fit inside a suitcase, overhead storage bin on an airplane, and the trunk of your car.
The floor of this tent is 210D oxford cloth, a flexible canvas material that’s waterproof and resistant to scratches and pressure marks from beach chairs, shoes, and coolers. The floor’s surface has just the right amount of texture to keep you from slipping on wet feet. One of the features I like best is the storage pockets. There are four bags located in the interior corners that are big enough for phones, keys, and suntan lotions. There’s also a more substantial bag sewn into the back that accommodates tablets, games, and bigger items. Handy!
My only gripe is that high winds are a challenge for this beach cover. Like most tents, this one comes with plastic stakes. Those stakes rip out of loose beach sand when the wind kicks up. I rectified this by upgrading to metal stakes. This tiny grumble aside, this is the tent I take with me wherever I go. It fits on an airplane or in the trunk of a car and takes very little time to put up and tear down.
- Easy to put up
- Exceptionally durable
- Lots of interior storage bags
- Heavy-duty ground cloth
- High winds could be an issue
Best Premium Features
A portable shelter that goes anywhere
If you travel, grab this one. It’s big enough for two chairs and three adults, has pockets, and packs down small.
Best for Families: Pacific Breeze Deluxe XL
Source: Pacific Breeze
When the whole family is ready to jump in the waves, the Pacific Breeze Deluxe XL will give you a respite from the sun and wind. This is a large, fiberglass dome-shaped unit that’s rated to fit up to four adults comfortably. We’ve managed three adults and three children inside with a bit of room to spare.
This one is steady-eddy in the wind. The included sandbags and stakes keep the Pacific Breeze upright and secure in all sorts of conditions. The tent fabric is thin nylon. That’s what keeps this shelter around six pounds. It’s excellent for weight-saving purposes, but it also traps heat. The material is so thin that even with the three large mesh windows, it gets stuffy inside, especially when you’re sharing the space with a few other people.
The Pacific Breeze takes no more than five minutes to erect. It pops up and into place with no trouble and is a piece of cake to tear apart. I love the water-resistant floor! It has a smooth finish that’s both grippy on wet feet and easy to clean. This is a superb shelter for families who spend a lot of time at the beach or outdoor concerts. It’s a take-anywhere tent that does an excellent job of keeping you out of the elements.
- Big enough for the whole family
- Storage compartments
- Sturdy in high winds
- Sets up in five minutes
- Thin nylon fabric not great for super hot days
Best for Families
Lots of room for everyone
This is one of the best beach tents for families. It’s easy to put up, pack up, and store.
Best for Kids: TRENDY Shark Tent
Beach days are extra exciting for kids when they take cover inside the TRENDY shark tent. Complete with teeth and fins, this is a cool-looking shelter that houses up to four people. There’s a spacious entrance at the front, mesh side and rear windows, and the whole thing is UPF 50+ treated to keep kids safe from the sun’s harmful rays.
Thanks to a fiberglass frame, the TRENDY never rusts or corrodes. The design also makes this so lightweight that kids can carry it on their own. Score one for the parents! Setting this tent up is as simple as tossing it in the air and letting it pop open. When it comes time to pack the tent away, you need only fold it down and slide it inside the included carry bag.
I adore the high breathability of this tent. Even on the hottest of days, it never gets warm inside. This model could use a few storage pockets for toys and electronics, but most kids won’t notice that they’re missing. This is a fun, well-constructed tent, and your kids will love its unique design.
- UPF 50+ protection
- Pops up in seconds
- 360-degree ventilation
- Fits up to four people
- Fun design
- Lacks internal storage pockets
Best for Kids
Shark Week all summer long
With excellent ventilation and a robust build, your kids will love this fun beach tent.
Best Multipurpose: ZOMAKE Tent
When you need a tent that can go from beach to campground to backyard, the ZOMAKE pop-up is a first-class choice. Big enough for four, the ZOMAKE basically sets itself up. You unstrap the tent, toss it in the air, and watch it open as it lands on the ground. It can’t get any easier!
This multifunction shelter has two doors, so you never need to crawl over anyone to enter or exit. Both are mesh-covered, as are its two windows. The exterior is 210T polyester coated with UPF 50+ to protect against the sun’s harsh rays. The floor of this tent has the same material as the sides. A design like this keeps the weight light but makes it a difficult sell as a camping tent. If you plan to use this at a campground, purchasing a tarp to protect the floor against rocks and sticks is a must.
Speaking of camping, this model is big enough to fit a queen size air mattress inside. It lacks side pockets, which are needed for camping and useful on the beach. It’s water-resistant, not waterproof, so it’s suited more to backyard camping than roughing it. Overall, this is a solidly constructed beach tent that stands up to wind and the harsh sun.
- Big enough for four people
- Stays steady in high winds
- Two doors
- Fits a queen size mattress
- Floor not suitable for camping without a tarp
- No storage pockets
From the backyard to the beach
This is an all-purpose tent for backyard camping or lazy days on the beach. It stands up to wind and it’s lightweight.
Best Ventilation: Lightspeed Outdoors Quick Cabana
Source: Lightspeed Outdoors
On sweltering summer days, there are few things worse than being stuck in a stuffy tent. Weather is not a challenge for the Lightspeed Outdoors Quick Cabana. Three mesh windows allow for superb cross-ventilation, and they each come with shades for privacy and temperature control. This model also has an extended front awning, so you don’t have to keep moving your tent around as the sun shifts during your beach outing.
Perhaps the best feature of this beach tent is the 4-foot porch which gives added room for beach chairs, coolers, or kids who want to keep their feet in the sand. It also prevents tracking sand inside the tent. A winning idea! I also can’t talk enough about the internal storage compartments. There are three interior pockets for keeping wallets and electronics safe, and they’re all perfectly sized.
This beach tent has some trouble with rain. Its flaps are not zippered but use Velcro. When it rains, they don’t stick as they should, and you’re guaranteed to get wet. Not a big deal since you’re at the beach anyway, but disappointing, nonetheless. If you need a tent with excellent airflow and room to stretch out on sunny days at the beach or ballpark, this is a great buy.
- Sets up quickly
- Three mesh windows with shades
- 4-foot porch
- Storage compartments
- Extended front awning
- Not good in the rain
Feel the breeze
It’s not made for rain, but it does excel at keeping fresh air circulating. This tent has lots of room to spread out.
Beach tents aren’t hard to find these days. If you want one of the best beach tents, skip the high boardwalk prices and the cheap offerings from big box stores. My favorite model, the Coleman Beach Shade, is inexpensive but well made, and it stands up to the abuse of kids, beach chairs, and sandy feet.
I love the internal storage pockets. There’s just enough room for keeping phones, wallets, and electronics safe and out of the sun. The included dry line is genius. You hang wet towels and beach blankets and let Mother Nature do the work of drying things off for you.
The Coleman Beach Shade is tall enough for most to stand upright in, and there’s room for the whole family. Add in the extended shelter canopy, and you can have yourself a party.
This model stands up to high winds like no other. It doesn’t have side windows, but the back unzips to reveal a large mesh window. For most, the best beach tent this year is the Coleman Beach Shade.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
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