A day at the beach is basically a day spent camping by the water, so if you’re not using a pop-up tent to set up base camp for a day of fun in the sun then, quite frankly, you’re doing it wrong. When you come back after a swim in the water or stroll down the shore you’ll appreciate having a dedicated, semi-sheltered place to take a break from the waves and the sun. Because few things ruin a beach day more quickly than a burning, peeling, crying kid.
They’re also great if you have a baby that needs to change, a kid who needs to take a nap, or even an impromptu shelter from any inclement weather that rolls your way.
A good shelter should be easy to set up and take down, sturdy enough to not fold over when a stiff wind blows in, and made of fabric with at least a 30 UPF, which means it only allows 1/30th of the sun’s UV rays to pass through. It should have stakes or sand pockets to anchor it to the ground and a bag that makes it easy to carry as you scope out the perfect spot. Here are sevene shelters that hit all of our criteria, and will make your next beach day a breeze.
Ideal for the family who likes to hit the beach often and does not want to have to deal with the headaches of not having enough room or no foundation underfoot to keep the sand out. Opt for the model with an extendable floor for to create an even bigger space for you and your family.
Pros: The internal frame in this tent is one of the sturdiest on the market. It’s more than capable of standing up to harsh winds. The three large windows offer ample ventilation and ocean views, and its spacious overhead roof offers ample shade. Plus, it’s waterproof.
Cons: As one of the taller tents out there, it can be tough for shorter people to set it up without help.
This tent comes complete with a floor and windows and sets up in less than a minute, allowing parents the ability to establish a home base quickly and efficiently.
Pros: The large front floor patio also acts as a wall when needed, letting you close off the front if it’s time for naps or changing. The wraparound windows mean you can always keep an eye on the kids. Plus, it’s airy and breezy.
Cons: It’s not waterproof, so probably not the best tent in areas prone to sudden rain showers.
This is an affordable option for parents that offers solid sun protection and also an internal floor to keep you above the sand.
Pros: This tent weighs less than three pounds, so carrying it to the beach from faraway parking lots is painless. Its internal frame sets up simply and also comes down easily when it’s time to go.
Cons: The fiberglass poles are not the best in high winds, so this is not a great option for breezier beaches. It also doesn’t come with a door, so families who want a little privacy should look elsewhere.
This hybrid umbrella-beach tent is the ideal item for families who are looking for a spot to escape the mid-days rays, but don’t want to set up a larger shelter. It’s super portable; just strap it to the side of a small pack and voila: instant shelter when needed.
Pros: It’s made from durable polyester fabric and its large roll-down side panels can drop for extra protection. Plus, it has zippered windows to increase airflow.
Cons: It only offers shelter for two, or three if you don’t mind squeezing together, and does not have a floor.
The silver-coated fabric of this tent has the robust sun protection rated UPF 50+ you want in a waterfront shelter. It also pops up easily, at just 2.2 pounds, it's not hard for even kids to carry with them.
Pros: The mesh window in the rear keeps your tent open to a nice breeze, while the sand pockets on each corner and four included metal stakes work together to make sure that breeze doesn’t blow your tent away.
Cons: It can be a bit of a pain to fold down this tent, as the process involves folding the spacious tent together and wrapping an elastic band around, actions that require a bit of strength and a generous enough wingspan.
This hybrid shelter from an industry leader has extended front floor zips for privacy, plus storage pockets for sand toys, sunscreen and other essentials. It also offers 50+ UPF sun protection, great news for families with burn-prone kids.
Pros: It has a large front door that acts as an extended floor when open and easily closes when you need privacy. The back entrance will allow extra ventilation when open. Plus, there is a dry line inside to hang wet bathing suits and/or towels.
Cons: There aren’t any mesh windows on this tent, so ventilation can leave something to be desired.
High-quality materials — Nylon/Lycra blend, rust-proof aluminum poles — add up to a beach tent that's built to last.
Pros: You secure this tent using bags that you can fill with rocks or sand, so they’re easy to take with you after you break down this tent. It’s also water-resistant and has reinforced corners so it won’t go flying away.
Cons: You’ll need to use this thing a lot to make its price, much higher than other beach tent options we like, worth it. There’s also no side protection, this thing is a solar tent and a solar tent only.
Going to the beach for the first time is a magical experience for a baby, but the risks of sunburn and drowning make it harrowing from the parent. This tent, specially designed for infants, addresses both issues.
Pros: This compact tent has a mini pool that lets babies play in the water without going into the big bad ocean. Its roof is made of silver-coated fabric that ensures strong protection from UV rays.
Cons: Babies grow up eventually, and once yours does you won’t have much use for this tent.
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