Spacious, lightweight, and fairly easy to set up. Inside hooks and pockets for organizing. Convenient carrying case. Attentive customer service and 1-year warranty.
Mesh windows allow limited airflow into the tent. Feels a bit shaky in windy conditions.
Surprisingly low price for the space. Easy to set up with two wide openings for ample airflow. Holds up in windy conditions better than most models in its class.
Not as easy to take down as it is to set up. The downside of the large openings is limited privacy.
Sturdy and spacious; ideal for larger groups. Steel frame, wide canopy, and carrying case with wheels.
Heavy. Setup is easier with a helper. Though build is sturdy, stability in windy conditions is iffy.
This pop up beach canopy has enough room for two adults and two children. The front ground flap can be closed with velcro to give you and your family a private place to change your clothes.
This canopy is not rain or waterproof. The interior height doesn’t seem to be high enough to allow you to sit in a chair.
Unique design with a 360-degree ventilation, wide opening, mid-level space, mid-range price. Galvanized steel frame keeps it in place in most conditions. Lightweight and easy setup.
Extremely difficult to take down, fold, and put back into its carrying case. Comes with inadequate instructions.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Going to the beach? Get ready to splash around in the water, have fun with floaties, and enjoy yourself all day. Maybe you’ll windsurf. Maybe you’ll play on jet skis. In between your aquatic activities, you’ll want to kick back on the beach and relax. You’re going to need some protection from the sun.
Sunscreen washes off in the water (though you should still wear it), but a beach canopy will provide you with the shade you need to enjoy the beach without getting burned. If you’re going to the beach this summer, you need a beach canopy, but which one? Beach canopies are simple items, but there are still a handful of factors to consider before you buy one.
In this guide, we discuss the types of beach canopies you’ll encounter and the price ranges you can expect to see. We answer your frequently asked questions and point you in the direction of some of our favorite beach canopies.
Is the canopy you’re considering easy to set up, or does it require two people and the precision of a military field maneuver? If it takes more than five or ten minutes for one person to set it up, you are probably not going to want it. After all, you’re going to the beach to have fun, not spend all your time messing around with a canopy. Some larger canopies require a two-person team to set them up. That’s not necessarily a drawback, but it is something you need to be aware of if you’re going by yourself.
Equally important to ease of setup is how easy the canopy is to take it down. At the end of the day, it’ll probably have sand in it, and you’ll be tired and worn out. A canopy that is difficult to take down and pack isn’t going to be any fun. Again, a general rule of thumb is that it shouldn’t take more than five or ten minutes for one person to take it down. Of course, if you’re shopping for a larger canopy, you may have to forgo this rule and involve two or more people in the take-down.
Smaller beach canopies shouldn’t weigh more than ten pounds. Ideally, they should weigh less than five pounds. Larger canopies may weigh up to 40 pounds, which can become a significant weight at the end of a long day at the beach when you’re tired and/or the car is parked far away.
Wheels don’t work in the sand, but some larger and heavier canopies have wheeled bags anyway. The wheels are great once you reach the boardwalk or sidewalk but getting the canopy there might be an issue. Keep this in mind as you shop.
Due to their light weight, beach canopies need to be secured so the breeze doesn’t blow them over. Wind coming off the water, whether the lake or the ocean, can be pretty stiff at times. Read the description closely to see how the canopy should be secured. Are the stakes and lines included, or do you have to purchase them separately? Some canopies come with built-in sandbags that you must fill with sand. Those sandbags have to be emptied at the end of the day, too. Don’t get caught off guard by this one; make sure you know how it is secured before you buy it.
Blue is far and away the predominant color for beach canopies. Green and orange are somewhat less popular, along with a smattering of other colors. Blue canopies are available in various shades of blue, from light sky blue to deep royal blue. If you don’t want blue, you may have to look a little longer, but you can find other color choices.
Mesh windows offer the ventilation you need on a hot day at the beach. The sunlight heats up the thin material very quickly, and you want the breeze to be able to get through. The best canopies have zip-up covers so you can close the windows for privacy.
A few canopies have a front ground flap that can be lifted and closed with a zipper or Velcro to give you complete privacy. Under this type of canopy, you can change clothes or your swimsuit without having to traipse around the beach looking for a public changing room. This is very handy, especially at the end of the day when everyone is exhausted and ready to go home.
Polyester is the fabric of choice for most beach canopies. The materials for the frame are a bit more varied. Cathedral-style, open-sided tents have steel legs that are powered-coated to prevent rust. Smaller tents often use fiberglass in their frames. Galvanized steel is sometimes used as well.
Water resistance isn’t guaranteed on beach canopies. Some offer it, but since the main purpose of a canopy is to protect you from the sun, don’t count on it. A waterproof canopy is rare, but there are some available if you really want it.
Some beach canopies have an inner lining or silver coating for extra protection against harmful UV sunlight. Granted, the lining adds weight to the canopy, and less carrying weight is desirable. However, the extra layer of protection might be worth it to you — especially if you tend to burn easily.
Organization is important when you’re at the beach. Most canopies offer some pockets for storing your sunscreen lotion, towels, magazines, books, and water bottles. The number of the pockets varies from one to four, and they are usually not very large.
The price of a beach canopy relates more to its size than its features.
A low-priced canopy in the $35 to $50 range will be large enough for one or two people to sit in, although beach chairs may not fit inside.
From $50 to about $90, you’ll find canopies with room for a family of four. If only two people sit inside one of these canopies, you would probably have room for beach chairs as well.
Anything above $90 is on the high end. These beach canopies are generally open-sided, cathedral-style tents with four metal legs and 10’ x 10’ size. These canopies tend to weigh over 30 pounds and are tall enough for you to easily walk beneath them.
A. Use a mild detergent in warm water. Set it up, wash it gently by hand, and let it air dry.
A. The looser the canopy is stretched, the more it will flap in the breeze. Stretch it tight for best results.
A. Every beach has different regulations, but 10’ x 10’ is probably the limit in most places.