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Updated June 2022
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Buying guide for Best beach tents

Spending time at the beach is a blast, but it is possible to get too much sun. If you find yourself getting hot and bothered, a beach tent can provide all the shade you need.

Perhaps you’ve already decided to buy a beach tent, but you still need to choose the best one for you out of the hundreds of available options. It can get confusing, especially if you're not sure what makes a good beach tent or what you want from one.

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Despite the name, you don't have to use your beach tent at the beach. You can use it for picnics at the park or shelter in your yard.

Beach tent benefits

First thing's first. Why would you want a beach tent? Here are some of the benefits of owning one.

  • Cool off on hot days: The beach might be fun, but it can get hot when you're not in the water. Sitting in the shade of a beach tent will cool you down.

  • Protect against sunburn: If you're worried about sunburn or skin damage, a beach tent can be the answer. You might like the sun, but it's no secret by now that it's bad for your skin. Too much sun exposure will damage your skin and could ultimately lead to skin cancer. Beach tents that provide UV protection can help you avoid this danger.

  • Change your clothes: You can use your beach tent as a changing room. Some beach tents can be zipped up at the front, providing you with your own personal space – perfect for a day at the beach.

  • Stay dry in the rain: Some beach tents provide protection from rain. If you like visiting the beach in wetter seasons, or you simply experience some unseasonal weather while on holiday, a waterproof beach tent can keep you dry.

  • Provides place for kids: Ideally, children should have some shade at the beach. Young skin is more delicate, and sun damage early on in life could cause problems down the line, not to mention the immediate discomfort of sunburn. A beach tent provides a shady spot for your little ones to play or rest when they're not in the water.

Beach tent features to consider

UV protection

Some beach tents provide shade without any special UV protection, while others use materials specially designed to help block out UV rays. To determine the UV protection capabilities of the materials, check the beach tent’s ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating.

UPF refers to how much of the sun's UV rays a material lets through. A UPF 50 fabric lets through just 1/50, or 2%, of UV rays, meaning it blocks out 98%. We'd recommend looking for a beach tent with a UPF of at least 40 – your skin will thank you for it.

  • Beach tents without any additional UV protection have a UPF of around 15 simply due to the protection offered by the fabric.

  • Beach tents with extra UV protection generally have a UPF of 40 to 50+.


Just because you're at the beach, it doesn't mean you want to be packed in like sardines. That's why you need to make sure your beach tent is large enough to fit your needs. Look at the length, depth, and height of any models you're considering because all three are important.

  • Length: Your beach tent needs to be long enough to fit everybody inside comfortably.

  • Depth: Your beach tent should be deep enough so that you'll be in full shade when sitting inside it (even when the sun is directly overhead).

  • Height: Your beach tent should be tall enough for you to sit up in. Some extra-large beach tents may even be tall enough for you to stand up in, which is a bonus if you want to get changed inside.

Ease of assembly

Some beach tents are easier to assemble than others.

  • Some beach tents are pitched much like a standard camping tent, which means you have to assemble the poles separately and thread them through the fabric of the tent, which can be awkward and time consuming.

  • Many newer beach tents are quick to set up, thanks to "pop-up" or similar mechanisms.

The last thing you want is to get stressed out trying to assemble your beach tent when you're supposed to be having a relaxing day by the ocean. We'd definitely recommend selecting a model that's easy to assemble, so you can get busy having fun!


Beach tents provide shade, but it can get extremely hot – even dangerously hot – inside one that doesn’t have proper ventilation. Look for a model with mesh windows and pop-out vents to helps the air flow through the tent. It will feel cooler inside and prevent any buildup of condensation.

Beach tent prices

You don't have to spend a lot on a beach tent, but those with a greater number of features and easy setup tend to cost more. You can expect to pay between $20 and $150 for a beach tent.


Budget beach tents cost around $20 to $40. Most of the tents in this price range don't offer extra UV protection or instant setup, and some may be fairly compact.


At $40 to $70, beach tents have more features, with most offering 50+ UV protection, and many having pop-up or other easy setup options.


The beach tents that cost between roughly $70 and $150 tend to be very large, extra durable, or have other notable features that make them worth the extra cash.


  • Check whether your chosen beach tent has a groundsheet. Most do, but some don't. If your preferred model doesn't offer a groundsheet, you'll need to make sure you bring something to sit on.

  • Consider the weight of any beach tent you're considering. Lightweight options are much easier to carry from your home or car to your spot on the beach.

  • Think about how many people will use your beach tent. If you have a large family or tend to visit the beach with lots of friends, opt for the biggest beach tent you can afford.

  • Select a beach tent that's durable enough to fit your needs. If you know you’ll be using your beach tent often, choose a more durable model than if you only plan to use it once or twice a year.
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A beach tent with a bright color or interesting pattern is much easier to spot on a crowded beach, so you're less likely to have trouble finding your party after a dip in the sea.


Q. What are beach tents made from?

A. Most beach tents have lightweight poles made of fiberglass and canopies made from a durable, weatherproof material like polyester. Those that offer extra UV protection have a closer weave to stop more UV rays from getting through.

Q. How do you stop a beach tent from blowing away?

A.  Pretty much any unsecured beach tent will blow away at the slightest breeze if nobody’s sitting in it. Beach tents generally come with either stakes, guyline and pegs, or sandbags to keep them in place. That said, some tents are better than others at withstanding a strong wind.

Q. Are beach tents waterproof?

A. Some, but not all, beach tents are waterproof. If you think you might be using yours in adverse weather conditions, carefully check the manufacturer's specifications to make sure it will keep the rain off you and your gear.

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