If you love being outdoors, chances are you love two things in particular — tent camping and spending time at the beach. It’s rare to find a beach where you can set up a traditional campsite. But you can come close to beach camping with a day-use beach tent.
Read on for our recommendations for the best beach tents, including our choice for beach camping. You’ll also find a beach tent buyer’s guide and answers to some of your likely questions on purchasing a great beach tent.
Our Top Picks
Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent
Best Premium Option
Venustas Beach Tent Sun Shelter
Best Budget Option
Gorich Beach Shade Tent
The last thing anyone wants at the beach is aggravation in setting up for a day on the sand. The Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent is a great way to stay in good spirits as you get ready to enjoy the beach. So it’s a no-brainer as our recommendation as the best overall beach tent.
Weighing less than 5 pounds, the Pacific Breeze tent is a breeze to carry to your spot on the beach. Once you get there, setting up the Pacific Breeze is also easy. Its hub-style frame gets the Pacific Breeze up and ready in no time.
Four feet tall, another 4 feet deep, and more than 7 feet across, the Pacific Breeze offers plenty of room for taking breaks from the sun. Side windows provide ample ventilation for comfort, and a handy mesh storage pouch at the top of the tent keeps beach supplies out of the sand.
- Versatile air-flow options
- Handy mesh bag for storing beach items above the sand
- Great way to keep children from getting too much sun
- Support poles should be more durable
- Ventilation could be improved
- May be difficult to orient for maximum shade
Best Premium Option
Available in sizes for three to 10 people, the Venustas Beach Tent Sun Shelter is constructed of oxford cloth and polyester. That toughness ensures the Venustas tent provides great sun protection.
As our recommendation for the best premium beach tent, the Venustas shelter also features a durable fiberglass frame. It can literally be set up within a couple of minutes.
In addition, the Venustas tent offers four-sided ventilation that can be adjusted for optimum shielding from sun and wind throughout the day.
- High Ultraviolet Protection Factor (50+) ensures great sun protection
- Great ventilation for comfort
- Stays very dry in inclement weather
- Instruction manual should be more detailed
- Anchors may be too small for some applications
- Could use more sandbag pockets for greater stability
Best Budget Option
The Gorich Beach Shade Tent, available in sizes for three to eight people, packs a lot of features for a reasonable price. For example, its polyester fabric is silver-coated to maximize its Ultraviolet Protection Factor for shielding from the sun’s rays.
The Gorich tent weighs less than 4 pounds, making it a no-brainer addition to your beach gear. Equipped with 2 sandbags and four stake pegs, the Gorich tent will stay in place once you get it set up.
In addition, the Gorich includes a hook at its highest point, just perfect for installing a battery-powered fan to help keep things cool.
- Excellent choice for whole days at the beach
- Storage pouches are a great feature
- Lots of head room for sitting in beach chairs
- May not fit back into stuff sack after first use
- Can be difficult to set up in typical beach wind conditions
- Hard to balance shade and ventilation
Best Large Beach Tent
Spacious enough to comfortably fit four adults sitting up or lying down, the Easthills Outdoors Instant Shader is our recommendation for the best large beach tent. Nearly 9 feet wide and almost 6 feet high at its topmost point, the Easthills Outdoors tent is nonetheless easy to set up.
The tent is equipped with a special opening mechanism that makes it basically an easy-to-use pop-up tent. In addition, the Easthills Outdoors tent features large mesh windows on each wall for optimal ventilation options.
- Holds up well in windy conditions
- Large windows provide panoramic view from inside tent
- Lightweight for easy transport to and from beach
- Support poles should be more durable
- Window shades don’t stay in place when rolled up
- Set-up may be complicated for some users
Best Beach Camping Tent
If your idea of a day on the beach includes a night on the beach, the S’more Pop-up Camping Tent is great for beach camping. As our recommended best beach camping tent, the S’more simply springs open when unpacked and is equally easy to pack up.
Built to accommodate two campers, the S’more tent features two mesh windows and doors to ensure more than adequate ventilation. Each of the openings can be closed or opened as needed for privacy.
Among its other features, the S’more tent includes a small wall-mounted mesh bag for gear storage away from the sand.
- Set-up is extremely easy
- Large screened opening provide excellent air flow
- Includes ceiling hook for hanging light or other gear
- Air flow could be improved
- Window flaps inadequate for rain protection
- Hard to get back into carrying case
Beach Tent Buyer’s Guide
Choosing a beach tent might seem fairly straightforward. After all, you’re simply looking for something to provide shade and wind protection. There are, though, a number of factors to be considered to make a wise choice among beach tents.
Types of Beach Tents
Your first decision regarding the purchase of a beach tent will be determining the type of tent you prefer. Read on for a brief look at the different types of beach tents.
If you want an easy time at the beach, a pop-up tent is your best choice. To set up a pop-up beach tent, all you do is untwist it as it comes out of its carry bag. Taking down a pop-up beach tent is just as simple as you’ll simply twist it to fit back in its carry bag.
The traditional beach tent is a pole-style tent, with sectioned or collapsible poles supporting the tent structure. Routinely, they will have either mesh walls or solid walls that can be removed individually to regulate shade and ventilation.
A hybrid beach tent combines the features of a pop-up tent and a pole tent. To set up a hybrid tent, you’ll simply pull on a string that extends the poles and pulls the walls into place.
A canopy-style beach tent typically comprises just a roof extended between poles. Some canopy tents include a single wall section that can be attached to shield occupants from sun and wind.
Umbrella-style beach tents are similar to beach umbrellas, except they have fabric extending from the sides for additional shielding from the sun or wind. One thing to watch out for with an umbrella tent is the possibility that it could blow away in a strong wind.
One of the reasons you’re buying a beach tent is to keep yourself and family or friends protected from the sun. In that light, be sure your chosen beach tent is made of fabric with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor rating.
The minimum acceptable UPF rating for a beach tent is 30. But a higher rating will be better, and should be mandatory for any beach tent which will be used by young children.
There are a number of features you’re going to want in a beach tent for comfort and convenience. For one, a good beach tent will include sandbags attached to its sides or floor. Filling those compartments with sand will ensure your tent stays stable.
You’ll also want a beach tent with storage options to keep sunscreen lotion and other beach supplies out of the sand. Look for a beach tent with at least one storage compartment attached to a tent wall. Also, look for a hook at the center of the tent for hanging a light or other gear.
Frequently Asked Questions
Equipped with our recommendations for beach tents suited to various circumstances, you should be ready to make your own decision. However, if you need additional information, read on for a look at answers to frequently asked beach tent questions.
What are some tips for cleaning and maintaining a beach tent?
After investing in a beach tent, you’ll certainly want to keep it in tip-top shape so it will last for years of fun in the sun. Fortunately, keeping your beach tent clean between uses is easy.
Obviously, you’ll shake the sand out of your tent once you get it off the beach. But once you get it home, you’ll want to shake it out again to be sure all the sand is gone. For thorough cleaning, set up the tent at home and vacuum or sweep it out.
The next step is to spot-clean the tent with a mixture of water and dish soap applied with a sponge or soft cloth. Once that’s done, unzip the tent and turn it inside out. Immerse the tent in a tub filled with cool to lukewarm water to which a tent cleaner has been added.
Once the tent has soaked according to directions for the cleaner, drain the tub and refill it with clean water for rinsing. You may have to drain and refill the tube several times for complete rinsing.
After the tent is rinsed, either set it up or hang it up until it has dried completely.
Do beach communities have ordinances regulating beach tents?
Many beach communities have ordinances regarding the set-up and use of beach tents. Those ordinances can cover allowable types and sizes of beach tents, where they can be set up, and even the space required between neighboring tents.
Those ordinances usually can be found on the local government’s website or in online tourism guides. It’s wise to check out those ordinances in advance of taking your tent to the beach. Otherwise, you could be subjected to a citation or even a fine to spoil your day at the seashore.
Is it possible to rely on the manufacturer’s capacity claims for beach tents?
A frequent complaint in reviews of beach tents is that their advertised capacity often doesn’t accurately reflect the number of people they can accommodate. To avoid being surprised by capacity limitations, take family or friends with you to the store that has your chosen tent. Once there, gather under the tent.
Alternatively, you can mark out the dimensions of the tent in your home or yard to gauge its size and capacity.
After seeing our beach tent recommendations, you’re ready to make your own decision. As a reminder, our recommendation for the best overall beach tent is the Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent.
For more on beach life, check out Beyond The Tent for guidance on beach camping in Florida, California, and other states. You’ll also find help with choosing tents for everything from camping with dogs to luxury camping.
- About the Author
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Jim Thompson grew up tent camping with his family, and was introduced to backpacking with the Boy Scouts. He attended a military college, where he was introduced to rappelling, an outdoor activity which he has not pursued.
Jim holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Georgia, and spent 35 years as a newspaper writer and editor before become a writer for Apple Pie Media.
Jim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org