The beach is amazing and relaxing until about hour four when you’ve been in the sun all day and just want to get some shade. Your kids are exhausted and covered in sand. You really envy your baby’s tiny sunshade and wonder if laying your head under it might make you feel better. Tents are great for beach shelter, but most municipalities won’t allow a full-sized, standard tent. Even if they did, you don’t have the right equipment to get it to stay tied down. A tent made for beach trips might be just the thing you need, but you’re going to have to change your perception of “tent” before you get started. We’ve got ten of our top picks for best beach tents, but first, let’s look at what makes a beach tent different.
What Is A Beach Tent?
They aren’t made for sleeping. Instead, their primary purpose is a daytime shelter. Beach tents are generally three-sided and intended to block the sun without causing a big to-do on the beach. Many have vented windows that can roll up for privacy. Some even have a flap that temporarily covers the entrance for bathing suit changes. The entire thing is very light including stakes, and most pop up like an umbrella. Sand pockets allow you to fill little bags or tent corners with sand for weight. All should have a high SPF to withstand sun exposure.
Our first beach tent uses a hub system that’s both strong and easy to set up. The fiberglass frame can withstand beach winds without collapsing and is one of the fastest to assemble and disassemble on the market. It’s made from lightweight polyester and features three mesh windows for air ventilation. It sits three or four people comfortably. It features SPF 50 and is water resistant. The entire thing packs down into a convenient carry case including stakes and sand pockets, weighing just over six pounds.
The top fabric is a little thin and can lead to the to the tent getting slightly warmer than one might wish on very hot days. The inside has plenty of pockets to store items such as a phone or sunscreen. Hooks allow you to hang up wet towels or bathing suits. The package includes a carry case, four tent stakes, and five sand pockets for stability.
Lightspeed’s sun shelter uses an innovative side pull assembly system that makes things easy to set up. The hub style tent is durable and can withstand moderate beach winds without collapsing. Seam to seam mesh windows provide maximum airflow and 360-degree visibility.
The inner floor extends out further than the shelter, and you can fold it up for temporary privacy. It also has a generous overhang for when you’re lounging in the tent. With 50+ SPF, you have plenty of protection from the sun. It has three sand pockets included along with interior gear pockets for small things like sunscreen or your phone. You also get stakes for securing the tent and a gear bag to pack everything up. It weighs just over seven pounds when completely packed.
It’s a light color, but it has no liner or thicker material on the top. The sun can bake you inside on sweltering days, although the seam to seam windows do help with ventilation.
Oileus beach tent is an easy pop-up style that assembles and disassembles in less than 30 seconds. The floor is durable and water resistant while the tent itself is SPF 50+. Fiberglass poles offer excellent structure that doesn’t fold into itself with a little wind. This is one of our lightest tents, despite accommodating four people. It has a wide dome and hub structure that’s durable against wind and some weather. It includes stakes, guy lines, and eight sand pockets for even more stability. The interior accommodates four people and has plenty of gear pockets for all your small items that tend to get lost on a trip. There are two windows with plenty of ventilation and a small awning to help with sun protection.
We’d love it if the front had a flap that could enclose the structure temporarily for privacy, but the entire floor is very spacious, and the windows provide proper cross ventilation
Alvantor’s beach tent has an extensive front porch space that can keep you off the sand but still in the sun. If you need an extended staging area to help keep sand from creeping its way into the tent’s interior, this is a good option. It has three mesh windows that offer excellent ventilation. The strong fiberglass frame and hub design is wind resistant up to 25 miles per hour with sandbags and stakes installed. It comes with five sand pockets and four stakes for stability.
It pops up in less than 30 seconds and disassembles just as quickly. You can hang the porch fabric up for temporary privacy or protection from the weather. Setting it up and taking it down has a small learning curve, but once you master the twist motion, it takes no time at all to fold everything back up into the included carry bag.
Coleman’s beach shade has two zippered doors for privacy and easy access to all parts of the tent. It comes in a few different colors and has a UV guard with an SPF 50+ cover. It doesn’t have any windows for ventilation, but unzipping the other door could provide some cross ventilation on particularly hot days. It has four hanging pockets inside for all little things, and it comes with a dry line and a floor mat to help keep sand and moisture at bay. It folds easily into the carry bag along with the included sand pockets and extra-long stakes. It accommodates two to three people, and the extra long porch material gives you more space outside of the shelter as well.
We’d prefer some windows for visibility and ventilation, but if you unzip the other door partially, you might relieve some of the heat.
This beach tent is ultra light and sets up in one minute or less through a simple popup system. The instructions are sewn into the tent itself so you’ll never scramble for the directions. It’s very durable and can withstand wind with a durable, hub style frame.
The extra porch space zips up to the overhang for temporary privacy or protection from weather elements. The overhang allows a few more inches of protection from the sun. It has an SPF of 50+.
The package comes with ten stakes, four guy lines, and a storage pouch. The velcro sand pouch empties easily. The three mesh windows offer good cross-ventilation, and the light-colored tent does help deflect the sun’s rays. It fits two adults comfortably, or three with a tight squeeze.
Genji’s fiberglass shelter sets up in just two seconds through a pop-up system and disassembles in only five. It’s lightweight and accommodates two to four adults depending on how close you want to be together. It has an SPF 50+, and the wide floor offers excellent and easy access to the entire tent. It has three windows, two at the bottom of the tent and one in the middle for ventilation. Built-in sand pockets and the included stakes give it some stability. The structure is long and narrow, which is suitable for accommodating multiple sitting adults, but may not be a good structure for something like beach chairs. It’s good for the beach, but it also works well with other outdoor activities such as concerts.
The floor is very durable and can withstand more types of terrain than just beach sand. If you don’t always go to the beach, but you have multiple types of outdoor events, the Genji a good choice.
KingCamp’s shelter is a unique beach tent because you can use it as a traditional beach shelter, but you can also fold down three of the sides for a quick shelter with plenty of ventilation. Each side has a mesh screen to protect from insects. You can also zip up all four sizes for some privacy or temporary protection from the elements. It accommodates two to four people. The fiberglass frame sets up quickly and is durable through some wind and weather. It has internal pockets to store gear such as sunscreen and or phones. There’s also a roof ring to hang a lantern during night activities. It comes with four ropes, eight stakes, and some sand pockets for extra stability. Everything folds up easily into the carry bag.
The material is thin and not as water resistant as we’d like to see for a beach or outdoor shelter.
Alpha Camp’s beach tent is easy to set up and features a hub design with steel stakes. It has three mesh windows for natural ventilation, and the hexagonal design gives everyone plenty of space.
The steel frame holds up well against wind and mild environmental elements. You have some extra space with the slight overhang and the extended porch style floor. You can zip up the excess fabric for some privacy or temporary protection from the elements. It pops up and down quickly and accommodates two to three adults comfortably. The light fabric weighs just five or so pounds when fully packed in the convenient carry bag. It’s not as water resistant as we’d like, but it’s okay for fair weather.
Our last tent is a pop-up tent that offers 20% more shade even with all three sides open. It’s a basic canopy style with no sides, but this offers you shade from the sun. It allows maximum air flow but keeps the sun off with an SPF 50+. It accommodates two to four adults even lounging and allows for maximum floor space. There aren’t any loose parts to deal with in assembly. The sand pockets are attached and provide stability. It’s good for basic shelter at the beach or other outdoor activities, but if you’re looking for more of a privacy shelter, this one may not work for you. It’s great for just basic shelter and when you don’t want to deal with a bunch of stuff while you’re headed out to the beach.
The open sides do give you plenty of room to sprawl, and at eight feet by eight feet of floor space, it’s one of the larger ones on the list.