When you plan a family beach vacation, or even just a day at the beach, you don’t want to forget any of the most important beach essentials. And while it’s easy to remember the basics like kid-friendly sunscreens, beach towels, sunglasses, UPF clothing, and sturdy beach bags, often the most essential piece of sun-protective equipment isn’t top of mind: beach tents.
The Best Beach Tents for Sun Protection and Shade
The essential qualities of the best beach tents are deceptively simple. They need to be lightweight, easy to transport, quick to set up, and a snap to take down. But the best easy-to-use beach tents take it to the next level with parent-friendly features that go above and beyond the basics. Here are this summer’s top beach tents that come with all the extras.
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1. Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent Deluxe XL
Best overall beach tent
Weight: 6.5 lbs.
Dimensions: 95″ L x 52″ H x 52″ D
Not only is the Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent a cinch to assemble, it’s also easy to put away—which is half the battle when you’re trying to rally the troops after a day at the beach. Just fold it up and put it in the included carrying case. It’s that simple!
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This simple-to-use beach tent comes with four stakes and five side pockets for filling with sand to anchor it to the beach, and an interior pocket is useful for easy access to sunscreen or your cell phone. The Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent Deluxe XL can also be purchased with an extendable floor. All tents come with a one-year warranty.
2. Shibumi Shade Beach Shade
Best beach shade option
Weight: 4 lbs.
Dimensions: 27″ L x 48″ W x 48″ H
Made with recycled polyester from plastic bottles, the Shibumi Shade Beach Shade offers an alternative to the traditional beach tent. It provides 150 square feet of shade and UPF 50+ sun protection for the whole family, and stays put even on windy days since it’s designed to blow with the breeze.
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Weighing just four pounds, it’s easy to carry and can be set up by one person in a few minutes. It’s also available in a smaller-size that’s just right for two people.
3. Lightspeed Outdoors Quick Cabana Beach Tent Shelter
Best pop-up beach tent
Weight: 6 lbs.
Dimensions: 94″ L x 94″ W x 48″ H
Beach tents don’t get much easier than this, because the opens like a beach umbrella. Simply press the hub/base together and the tent opens. Other than stakes, sand bags, and a carrying case (all included), there are no additional poles or parts to put together, making it one of the easiest beach tents to set up.
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This beach tent features three mesh windows for air flow and offers UPF 50+ sun protection. It also has three interior storage pockets, and its extended floor means more space for kids and teens (and parents) to spread out.
4. CoolCabanas CoolCabana 5
Best cabana-style beach tent
Weight: 11 to 12.5 lbs.
Dimensions: 79″ L x 79” W x 60” H (medium size) or 96” L x 96” W x 66” H (large size)
Available in medium and large sizes, the CoolCabanas CoolCabana5 provides twice as much shade as a standard beach umbrella and a lot more stability. It’s got one center pole and four columns with pockets for holding sand to weigh the cabana down, and it’s easy to set up in a few minutes.
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Available in lots of fun prints, the cabana offers UPF 50+ sun protection. The medium size is good for couples or small families, while the large size can shade bigger groups. A carrying bag with a shoulder strap makes for easy toting to and from the beach.
5. WolfWise SplitWave R10 Beach Tent
Best ultra-lightweight pop-up beach tent
Weight: 4.2 lbs.
Dimensions: 86″ L x 57″ W x 47″ H
One of the lightest beach tents on the market, the WolfWise SplitWave R10 Beach Tent weighs just over four pounds and comes with a convenient carrying case. Its exterior fabric offers UPF 50+ sun protection and is water repellant. The interior has two storage pockets.
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The beach tent offers 360-degree ventilation via two windows and a full-size front and rear entrance. Of course, setting it up is a breeze, too. It pops open in seconds.
6. Neso Beach Tent
Best classic-style beach tent
Weight: 4 lbs.
Dimensions: 82″ L x 80″ W x 66″ H
While they don’t pop open like the other beach tents on our list, the classic and versatile Neso Beach Tents are still super easy to set up. Reinforced corners secure the tent in place, so it won’t blow away like other beach tents, and its UPF 50+ sun-protective canopy ensures everyone will be protected from the sun.
Like all the best beach tents, Neso Beach Tents come with a carrying case and are available in a range of colors and prints. And, at just four pounds, they’re lightweight and easy to transport.
Best tent for the beach and beyond
Weight: 8 lbs.
Dimensions: 84” L x 90” W x 65” H
The four-person Sun Ninja Pop-up Beach Tent sets up in just three easy steps: Lay the tent on the beach, fill the corner sandbags with sand, then set up the poles and you’re ready to go. The tent provides UPF 50+ protection and is made from water-resistant, machine washable, and durable elastic spandex.
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The rust-proof aluminum poles are lightweight and fold up to fit in the tent’s carrying bag. The tent also comes in both a bigger and smaller size depending on how many people you want to shade. The included anchors make it just as easy to set up on the grass for tailgating, camping, or watching your kids’ sports games.
8. Oileus X-Large 4-Person Beach Tent
Best extra-large pop-up beach tent
Weight: 4 lbs.
Dimensions: 92″ L x 45 W” x 45” H
Easy to pop open and close up, the Oileus X-Large 4-Person Beach Tent is super-lightweight and simple to pack up and store in the included carrying bag. Tent stakes and sandbags ensure the tent stays put even on breezy days.
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Available in multiple color combos, the tent also includes an awning for even more shade, two windows for ventilation, and an inside pocket for stashing sunscreen, sunglasses, or reading material. And if you’re headed to the beach with a big group, there’s even an XX-large size that can accommodate up to six people.
9. Sunba Youth Beach Tent
Best beach tent for little kids
Weight: 2.2 lbs
Dimensions: 65″ L x 59 W” x 43.5” H
It takes just seconds to pop open the Sunba Youth Beach Tent and it’s easy to secure it to the beach with included stakes and side sandbags. Made of breathable polyester, it offers UPF 50+ protection and is just the right size for keeping the kiddos out of the sun.
Weighing just a little over two pounds, it’s a great option for traveling and for taking on the go for camping trips, sporting events, and even visiting the grandparents. A mesh window provides ventilation, and an interior pocket holds must-have gear.
10. The California Beach Co. Pop N’ Go
Best beach tent for babies and toddlers
Weight: 7.2 lbs
Dimensions: 59″ L x 59 W” x 48″ H
Thanks to patented pop-and-release technology, this easy-set-up beach tent for little ones from the California Beach Co. does, quite literally, pop and go! And that’s not the only reason to love it, either. The California Beach Co. Pop N’ Go is also a playpen, perfect for both indoor and outdoor use (think picnics, backyard movie nights, and other outings).
You can take the included UV sun protection shade off when you don’t need it, and put it back on for a sunny day at the beach. This beach tent is ideal for babies and toddlers. Available in several colors, it also comes with a convenient carrying case. A self-inflating mat is sold separately.
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Beth Luberecki also contributed to this report.