Summer is here, which means family time at the beach! We love the beach as much as you do, but the beach gets hot and the sun can be brutal. Having some sort of shelter from the hot sun, especially for little ones, is important. That’s why we rounded up a list of our favorite 10 best beach tents that are great for families of all sizes.
But you don’t want to set up just any type of tent at the beach! The tents on our list are specifically made for the beach. We also know time and convenience are of the essence, so we made sure to choose tents that you can set up and taken down in a jiffy.
But before we get to our top picks, let’s check out a few things about beach tents, including safety, the criteria that make up a great beach tent and more!
In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Picks…
Beach Tents vs Umbrellas
A beach tent will not only be a great place to cool down, but also the perfect way to protect you and your family from the brutal UV rays. Sure, you could use an umbrella for some shady relief, but a beach tent can offer you and your family so much more.
For one, a good beach tent has less of a chance of being blown away… if set up properly, of course. On those windy beach days, no one wants to go chasing an umbrella around!
Beach tents also tend to be lighter and easier to carry than a heavy metal umbrella. Most beach tents can be packed away in a compact storage bag and some are even small enough to store in luggage for travel.
Beach tents can also offer you privacy in case you or your little ones want to change into dry clothes.
However, if you aren’t sold on a beach tent, check out our #8 pick. Part umbrella, part tent, it will give you the best of both worlds.
Beach Tent vs Camping Tent
Perhaps you already have a camping tent and you’re asking yourself, “Why can’t I just use that?”. There are a few differences between a camping tent and a beach tent… Let’s take a look at what they are.
A camping tent will protect you just as any temporary shelter would, providing 4 “walls” with a zipper entrance and perhaps a few windows. Many beach tents, on the other hand, do not have 4 walls, but rather a large opening so the whole family can sit inside the tent but still have a spacious view of the ocean.
Most beach tents are lighter in weight compared to their camping tent counterparts. No one wants to be lugging a heavy tent around the beach along with all of their other must-have beach items.
In general, beach tents tend to be less expensive than camping tents. Since beach tents aren’t used to protect you against elements such as rain, snow or high winds, they have a more simple design, keeping the price low.
Choosing a Beach Tent
There are a few things you need to think about before choosing the right beach tent for you. Let’s take a look at what they are:
The size of the tent will depend on the size of your family. Many half-dome beach tents work for smaller families (4 people or less) while sunshades, which are more open and do not offer side enclosures, are great for larger groups.
Like we mentioned above, beach tents tend to be lighter than a beach umbrella, but be sure to take a look at the weight of the tent and consider how much you will be carrying along with it. Beach tents that are made with lightweight aluminum poles are lighter than those made with steel poles.
Most of the tents on this list will provide the option of at least some – if not complete – privacy. However, if you are looking for something that provides shade only, we’ve included options that are bit airier. While you’ll sacrifice some privacy with airy beach tents, you won’t sacrifice the shady protection.
We get it. You need to set up shade as quick as possible. And that’s exactly why we chose beach tents that are both quick and easy to set up.
Pop-up beach tents tend to be smaller but the set up is generally quick and requires little assembly. Other types of beach tents may require some effort to set up but overall, they are still relatively easy to assemble.
Luckily, there are plenty of beach tents on the market that are very affordable and suitable for every budget. It’s important to determine your personal budget before you begin searching around for a beach tent.
SPF vs UPF
Sunblock and clothing protect you and your family from harmful UV (ultraviolet) rays no matter if you’re on the beach or out on the water. But did you know that tents can provide the same sort of sun protection? Most beach tents will provide a UPF rating to signify how much sun protection it will provide. But what is UPF? And how is it different than SPF?
UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor and rates how well a particular material will protect against the sun. For example, if a beach tent has a UPF rating of 50 that means it will only let in 1/50th of the suns UV rays. Choosing a tent with a UPF rating of 50 or 50+ will ensure your family is getting the best sun protection possible.
SPF, which you are probably more familiar with, stands for Sun Protection Factor and is a rating system used to signify the effectiveness of sunscreen.
Using a combination of sunscreen, appropriate clothes and a great beach tent will protect your skin and your family’s skin from harmful UV rays.
10 Best Beach Tents for Families
We’ve finally made it to our list!
Whether you’re looking for something small to shade your tots or something a little larger that the whole family can climb into, we have a beach tent for you.
1. Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent
It’s hard not to start out with a pun, but yes, the Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent is, in fact, a breeze to set up. This lightweight beach tent sets up fast and provides UPF 50+ sun protection for you and your family.
This beach tent is made of water-repellent polyester, with a water-resistant polyurethane floor. The fiberglass frame keeps this tent super lightweight, at about 4.5 pounds.
There are two large windows on both sides of the tent and the sand pockets are convenient for storing towels, sunblock, toys and more. This beach tent comes with 4 stakes and a carrying case.
- Fast set up and breakdown
- Large windows provide ventilation
- UPF 50+ provides excellent sun protection
- Water-resistant materials
- Sand pockets for storage
- Smaller in size
2. ZOMAKE Pop Up Tent
If you need to get a beach tent up ASAP, and we mean lightning fast, then the ZOMAKE popup tent is for you. This tent quite literally pops up so you have a beach shelter in under a minute. No poles are necessary.
The ZOMAKE pop up tent is great for up to 4 people. It has four zipper panels that come with inner zipper screens so you can determine the level of privacy and airflow the tent gets.
The ANTI-UV polyester fabric provides UPF 50+ protection and is super durable and moisture-proof. This super lightweight tent weighs less than 4 pounds and packs up into a carrying case for easy transporting.
- Fast set up
- 4 zip-up panels plus zip-up screens
- Fits up to 3 adults
- Lightweight construction
- Somewhat tricky to pack away
3. Arcshell Extra Large Pop Up Tent
This popup tent by Arcshell will comfortably fit a family of 4. Like the other tents, this tent will provide UPF 50+ protection. But unlike some of the other tents on this list, the material of this tent is 100% waterproof.
For those extra windy days, the Arcshell Extra Large Pop Up Tent isn’t going anywhere. It has 5 large sandbags and comes with 12 heavy-duty stakes to make sure this tent stays stable. Putting this large tent together is no problem, either, and can be assembled in about a minute.
The extendable floor fabric also acts as a door to fully zip up the tent for privacy. And the two mesh windows on the back of the tent provides plenty of airflow while keeping bugs out.
- Extra-large size fits a family comfortably
- Waterproof material
- Heavy-duty stakes and 5 sandbags provide stability
- Despite the size, this tent is easy to set up
- Affordable price
- The floor fabric flaps around in the wind. No way to secure it down
4. Coleman Beach Shade
All it takes is 5 minutes to set up this pop-up beach tent. We love that the extended floor in the Coleman Beach Shade fully zips up to completely enclose the tent for privacy.
After you’ve changed out of your wet bathing suit in the private beach shade, you’ll conveniently be able to hang it up to dry on the included dry line. There are also storage pockets inside the shade to store your beach goodies. The beach tent itself has 50+ UPF protection and the back window unzips for some extra ventilation.
Great for smaller groups, this affordable beach shade from Coleman weighs a little over 6 pounds and comes with ground stakes and pre-attached guy lines.
- Affordable price
- Easy and quick to set up
- The built-in dry line for drying bathing suits or towels
- Fully zips up for privacy
- Lightweight and durable construction
- Doesn’t work well for windy days
5. Sunbayouth Beach Tent
If you’re just looking for something to shade the kiddies, check out this beach tent by Sunbayouth. It’s perfect for 2-3 people and provides UPF 50+ for the kids.
Coming in at a mere 2.2 pounds, this lightweight portable beach tent is great for a day at the beach or for travel. It pops up in seconds for easy setup. It is on the smaller side, but for families with one or more babies or toddlers, this is a great option to keep your little ones protected.
The Sunbayouth Beach Tent comes with 8 metal stakes and 2 sandbags to ensure this tent won’t blow away. Need a little privacy? No worries. It fully zips up. And the price is great for any budget.
- Instant set up
- Very lightweight but durable
- Comes with 8 metal stakes
- Great for babies and toddlers
- A little tricky to fold back up
6. Lightspeed Outdoors Quick Canopy
The Lightspeed Outdoors Quick Canopy sets up, as the name suggests, super fast and provides the shade you and your family need at the beach. If you are looking for something just for the shade without the side protection, this is a great choice.
This tent is a little taller (5 feet tall in the center) which means you can comfortably fit a couple of chairs in this tent. There are four pockets for storing your things and the entire tent packs away quickly in a bag with a shoulder strap.
Not only will this provide shade, but the polyester material of this tent includes the flooring (which some may or may not like depending on if you want to dip your toes in the sand). This tent is heavier than the other tents we’ve mentioned on our list so far, coming in at 7 pounds, but the available space is hard to beat.
- Open design. Very spacious
- Shoulder strap to make carrying it easier
- Simple to set up
- Stands 5 foot in the center
- On the heavy side
7. Easthills Outdoors Instant Shader Deluxe XL
This extra-large beach tent is a perfect way to provide shade for the whole family. This is another taller option that stands 57” high in the center. But don’t be daunted by its large size – once you get the hang of it, set up is surprisingly quick.
The zipper front panel allows for privacy and unzips to act as a “front porch” area for kids to sit on. And unlike some of the other beach tents, the front porch can be staked down.
This tent comes with 10 stakes, 4 guylines, and a carrying case. It weighs a little more than other beach tents, coming in at about 8 pounds. But for its large size, it’s lightweight to carry and the shoulder strap on the bag helps make it easy to transport.
- Tall and wide to accommodate the whole family
- Sand pockets make it easy to empty tent of sand
- 10 stakes included
- Zipper front panel for privacy
- Lightweight construction
- Takes some practice to learn how to set up
8. Sport-Brella Canopy Umbrella
Not sure if you’re ready to give up the classic beach umbrella? Well, you’re in luck, because this is an umbrella tent! It gives you the appeal and set up of a regular umbrella, but the side protection of a tent.
Perfect for more than just the beach, the Sport-Brella, consists of a water-repellent canopy that has side flaps for extra protection, wind vents for airflow, and features that keep the umbrella from flying away on windy days.
Included with the Sport-Brella are 8 ground stakes plus tie-down cords and a carrying bag. The frame of the umbrella is made of steel which does make it somewhat heavy, albeit durable.
- Great beach umbrella alternative
- Easy to set up
- Plenty of stakes and tie-downs for windy days
- Windows for windy days and extra ventilation
9. Alvantor Blue Coast Beach Tent
This beach tent conveniently folds up flat and weighs a mere 2.5 pounds. The Alvantor Blue Coast Beach Tent has the same UPF 50+ sun protection as the other tents but its lightweight and compact size make it easy to take anywhere.
We love pop up tents because they make set up for moms and dads super simple and this one does exactly that. It comes with 4 stakes as well as sandbags to make sure it doesn’t blow away, along with sand pockets, to empty out the tent of all the sand when you are done for the day.
The Alvantor is windproof up to 25 mph and the material is water-resistant. Packing away isn’t as easy as setting it up, but a little practice will have you packing away like a pro in no time.
- Super lightweight. Weighs only 2.5 pounds!
- Windproof up to 25 MPH
- Affordable price
- Sand pockets help empty sand out of the tent
- Quick to set up
- Difficult to pack away
10. Neso Tents 7’ x 7’ Beach Tent
If you’re looking for something simple that will provide shade for the whole family on those hot beach days, then the Neso Tents Beach Tent is it. Instead of using stakes, this tent uses sand or rocks to anchor it down, making set up quick and simple.
This lightweight beach tent is constructed with aluminum poles and Nylon/Lycra blend and weighs about 4 pounds. It provides UPF 50+ protection and is water-resistant.
This beach tent is the only one on the list that actually gives you the options of choosing a color. The Neso Tent is available in a variety of colors and patterns such as USA Waves, flamingos, hot pink, Lehua red, pineapples and more.
- Lightweight construction means easy to carry
- Comes in a variety of colors and patterns
- Great for large groups
- Uses sands or rocks as anchors
- Packs up small enough to fit into a suitcase
- Not great on windy days
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: My tent ripped! Is there any way to fix it?
A: For most smaller sized rips, yes. If your tent has a small rip, you can purchase a repair tape or tent repair kit. If the rip is on a mesh material like on a window or vent, you can purchase a mesh patch kit to help repair it.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instruction when using a repair kit, but here are a few general tips to make sure you repair the rip properly:
- Clean the area that you will be fixing with rubbing alcohol.
- Repair the tent on a solid flat surface.
- Do not pack up the tent immediately after mending the rip. Wait a day to make sure the patch has cured.
- If the rip is near a pole or another high tension area, you may want to patch the outside as well as the inside of the rip.
Q: Can I use a beach tent as a camping tent?
A: We don’t recommend using your beach tent for camping. In general, beach tents are not designed to protect you from the elements like many camping tents are. Camping tents are usually larger to accommodate multiple sleeping bags, whereas beach tents are smaller and are mainly to provide shade for a few individuals who are sitting.
To get the longest life out of your tent, use for your day trips to the beach!
Q: How do I clean my beach tent?
A: As with any product, check the manufacturer’s instructions to see the best way to clean a product. In general, spot cleaning is recommended. Use a mild soap, warm water, and a soft cloth or sponge to scrub out any soiled areas. Follow up by “rinsing” the area with water and a clean cloth or sponge.
So we’ve come to the end. We found some great beach tents for every size family, but our top pick is the Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent. The price works for most budgets and setup is super simple. And, if you’re looking for something a little bigger, the Pacific Breeze comes in an XL version, too.
We hope you enjoyed our article covering the best beach tents!