While most people think of camping by the lake when they hear the word tent, the fact is that beach tents are becoming increasingly popular. Ranging from small tents to help keep an infant cool during a nap to larger models that can be used for camping and even to change clothes. The best beach tent for you will depend largely on your own needs. But one thing is for sure, beach tents are quickly becoming a mainstay on shores around the country.
However, there are a number of different factors to keep in mind while looking for the best beach tent, many of which are quite different than what is required for a camping tent. In this guide, we will examine some of the most important aspects of purchasing a beach tent, as well as provide reviews of the highest rated beach tents.
Best Beach Tent Buying Guide
Who Benefits from a Beach Tent
Before investing in a beach tent, it is a good idea to make sure that one is actually a worthwhile investment. If the plan is to spend entire days out on the beach, staying relatively close to one area, and with no desire to go inside when the afternoon sun is beating down, then a beach tent is likely a good idea. On the other hand, if a day at the beach is really just a couple of hours playing in the waves followed by a trip to the boardwalk, a beach tent could be more trouble than it is worth.
Of course, there are exceptions. During hot days, a beach tent could be useful even if one is only at the beach for a few hours. Also, for those with small children, especially toddlers and infants, a beach tent allows naptime to happen, or overheated little ones to cool down so as to avoid a premature return to the car or hotel.
Features to Expect in The Best Beach Tent
While there are many similarities between a beach tent and a camping tent, there are a number of differences. Remember that the primary purpose of a camping tent is to keep campers safe from wind, rain, and small (and hopefully larger!) wild creatures. While a beach tent can do much of that, it should also carry a higher UV rating than many camping tents.
Additionally, a beach tent may not have four walls! Instead, many beach tents have three walls, with an open view out to the water. This would not be practical in a camping tent.
That said, there are some similarities. A beach tent, like a camping tent, will have a floor. This limits the likelihood of sand getting all over everything. Some shade structures, namely sunshades or large umbrellas, lack a ground covering.
Tips for Choosing The Best Beach Tent
Before we get to the reviews, here are a few basic factors to keep in mind while searching for a beach tent:
Remember that the primary goal of a beach tent should be to block the sun. That means that it should have sufficient UV protection.
Size requirements vary depending on intended use. Someone looking for a place to put the kids during an afternoon nap will have very different needs than a group of friends looking to spend a weekend on the beach.
Likewise, features like privacy matter. If the beach tent is only going to be used to rest in the afternoon, it likely will not have need for opaque walls so that people can change with privacy.
Know the difference between pole tents and pop-up tents. A pole tent is harder to put together, but is more stable in windy weather. Meanwhile, a pop-up tent can be put up in seconds, but requires much longer to secure properly.
Finally, know the trade-offs between vents in tents and making sure that the tent stays dry. Vents to allow air to pass through can help keep a tent cool, but if improperly constructed could lead to a wet situation following an afternoon storm.
The Best Beach Tent Reviews
One of the easiest pole tents to set up on the market is the Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent. A three-walled tent, the Pacific Breeze model offers UV protection rated at UPF 50. Additionally, large windows provide plenty of air circulation. Perhaps the biggest advantage of the Pacific Breeze tent is its portability; the structure, including stakes and bag, weighs less than five pounds.
Due to the lack of a fourth wall, the tent is not ideal for overnight camping, but does offer plenty of advantages to those who wish to stay on the beach for much of the day. Internal pockets built into the tent provide a safe place to store valuables like keys, wallets, and cell phones, while provided sand bags offer an extra method of securing the tent’s stakes against sudden gusts of wind.
For those looking for a larger model, the Easthills Outdoor Easy Up 4 Person Beach Tent delivers. It is nearly 100 inches wide, and has a height of 57 inches. This comfortably seats four adults, as the name indicates. Also rated at UPF 50, the Easthills Outdoor beach tent blocks nearly 98% of harmful rays. While a few small vents at the top provide some ventilation, three large window-style vents allow visibility and extra air flow.
Where the Easthills Outdoor model really shines is how easily it adapts to being a private tent. The extended porch, an area of covered ground in front of the tent, doubles as a fourth wall. It can be opened from inside and out, and with shades lowered on the windows, provides a private space for changing. That said, the lack of ventilation in the fourth wall may make sleeping overnight a bit uncomfortable.
This offering from WolfWise goes in a slightly different direction, being somewhat smaller than other models examined so far. However, it has a primary purpose of providing a cooler, shaded place for children and infants to play and sleep. It is extraordinarily well-vented, but lacks a fourth wall. Considering its intended use, this is certainly no accident.
That said, it proves useful for more than just keeping a child cool. Storage pouches are built under two of the windows, permitting not only safe keeping for the adults’ necessities, but also some small toys for children. For those without children, the tent still provides space for two adults, although it will be a bit tighter than other beach tents.
Those looking for a minimum of fuss when it comes to setup will likely approve of Sport-Brella’s Portable All-Weather Umbrella. Essentially, the umbrella is just that, an umbrella, but does have extra stakes to secure it to the ground with the canopy tipped back. Additionally, two flaps create an enclosure from the sides to the ground.
This Sport-Brella lacks the floor that many beach tents have, and is almost as heavy as some of the weighter models at nearly 8 pounds. Of course, it cannot be closed to the front. Those disadvantages are, for many users, mitigated by the fact that it can be set up extremely quickly and doubles as a traditional beach umbrella. Additionally, the Sport-Brella model also offers large flaps that act as vents, promoting airflow. In this it surpasses other beach umbrellas.
ALPRANG Easy Up Beach Tent
For beachgoers who worry about the durability of their tents, the Easy Up Beach Tent by ALPRANG offers durability combined with peace of mind in the form of a 24 month warranty. Additionally for the pragmatic consumer worried about losing instructions for assembly, the ALPRANG tent has assembly and disassembly steps sewn into the carrying bag, reducing the likelihood that they blow away on a windy day.
Also, the ALPRANG tent is large, with a width of nearly 96 inches. This means that the tent will be able to get plenty of sunshine. One potential downside for some consumers is that the tend does lack a fourth wall. However it is deep enough to permit some privacy, and three large vented windows can be closed by zipping up flaps.
This EasyGo Shelter may be one of the fastest beach tents on the market. To set up, simply unpack the tent from the carrying bag and pull the string. Needless to say, this makes it quite popular for those who want to spend less time working with stakes and poles and more time enjoying the beach, but does require extra staking or sand bag usage to remain stable during high winds. Like many other tents, it has three large windows to ensure plenty of ventilation.
With a 96 inch front opening, it is among the larger tents on the market, and comfortably seats between two and four people. As an added benefit for those looking to enjoy a bit of privacy, the front fourth wall can be zipped up, although it does lack any window or other ventilation.
On the other hand, those seeking extra stability in their beach tent will be very interested in this offering by Coleman, one of the most trusted names in camping. Their DayTripper beach shade is comparable in size to many medium-sized beach tents, but includes both stakes as well as guy lines to make sure that a sudden breeze does not blow it away. This can make putting up the tent a bit more involved, but reduces the likelihood of having to chase it down later. Likewise, it offers other protections as well, namely in the form of added protection against UV rays.
Like several other tents, its fourth wall can be used as an unshaded sand-free area or for extra privacy. However, while other tents have a zip-up wall, this DayTripper model uses snaps. This means that there is a chance that rain and sand can seep in through the tent. Also, it does offer a storage pocket within the tent, but only one window for ventilation.
The iCorer Automatic Pop Up Tent is one of the smallest tents featured on this list. It has a width of only 65 inches. This means that it can only effectively seat two adults, though a small group of children may find it more roomy. That said, it is also one of the lightest, weighing only 2.2 pounds.
However, for its size it is especially well ventilated. Sporting a large mesh window providing abundant airflow. Additionally, it can be set up or taken down in less than five seconds. One of the fastest times on this list. Finally, with large sand packs to either side of it, and a smaller profile overall, the iCorer Automatic Pop Up Tent is less prone to blowing away. This means that its one occupant can feel good about getting into the water.
While not as small as the iCorer model, this beach tent by AUGYMER is almost as light. That does come with a tradeoff, however, given the fact that it can seat two adults more comfortably. Compared to many other models on this list, the AUGYMER tent can be more difficult to take down, requiring somewhat precise folding.
Still, it does offer a number of benefits for the beachgoer, including 50 UPF sun protection and uses stakes to keep it in place. Further, a large back vent allows for a cross breeze to keep users cooler than if it were relying on shade alone. Finally, the fourth wall consists of two curtains that can be drawn to in order to provide more privacy; a zipper allows the two halves of the wall to be joined from both the interior and exterior of the tent.
The final entry in our best beach tent list is Arcshell’s extra large pop up beach tent. It is one of the roomier options on this list, and is exceptionally well ventilated with three large mesh windows. Storage options abound, with four medium-sized pouches sewn into the tent to hold valuables.
Like many other tents, it offers 50+ UPF protection, as well as a sand-free area on the front that can be zipped to the top. This offers a fourth wall and additional privacy. Moreover, a canopy covers the opening of the tent. This provides shade to the sand-free area without the enclosure of the rest of the tent. Five large sandbags provide plenty of stability in winds up to 25 miles per hour. The tent can be assembled in about a minute. Stakes are also provided for non-beach applications.