Boat Safe is a community supported site. We may earn comission from links on this page, but we have confidence in all recommended products.
You’re at the beach, you need coverage. You need a beach tent or a beach canopy. Nothing can spoil a good time faster than a brutal sunburn. Likewise, an unexpected wind is a problem worth avoiding. And sometimes you just want privacy without other people eyeballing you. Let’s check out the best beach tents and beach canopies.
Best Premium Choice
1. Pacific Breeze Beach Tent
Check Latest Price
With room for three to four adults on a beach blanket, the Pacific Breeze beach tent is roomy and comfortable. At 95” long by 52” high and 51” deep, few tents can match this for size. Especially at a lightweight 6 pounds.
Inside you’ll find storage pockets and even hooks for hanging some gear. Three windows allow for excellent airflow to keep you cool. The material is polyester, while the frame is fiberglass. That’s why it’s lightweight but still durable. For added stability there are sandbag pockets included.
Set up and take down is remarkably easy. It’s not a pop up tent by any means, but the process isn’t difficult. You fold out the front section and pull up on the drawstrings. The tent pops into place pretty simply. Just a minute and you’re golden. Take down of the Pacific Breeze tent works just as easily. It fits back in the storage bag easily as well.
Our big criticism of this tent is air flow. It’s a great design and super roomy. But on a hot day with no breeze, it can get really hot. If it’s facing the wind, things are not so bad, just make sure your windows are open. Otherwise, the tent acts a bit like a parachute. For the size and features, however, this is one of the best beach tents on the market. The company also offers a one year warranty. Most tents don’t offer up such a guarantee, so give this one a look.
2. Sport-Brella XL Beach Shelter
Check Latest Price
Can’t choose between a beach tent or a beach canopy? The Sport-Brella is caught somewhere in the middle. It’s also an umbrella, so it’s basically everything you need on a beach and then some.
At nine feet across with a sun protection rating of 50+ you’re getting incredible coverage here. The zippered windows provide great ventilation, like a beach canopy. But the overhand of the umbrella offers coverage like a tent. It’s really hard to appreciate how cool it is without trying it for yourself. When it’s set up, you can sit three adults under here with room to spare.
The material is 210T polyester. That makes it durable enough to handle whatever you throw at it. The pole in the center is 1.25” in diameter. The auger tip can be screwed into the ground for extra support and stability. There are also tie down stakes in case the day gets too windy. We recommend using those no matter what. A stiff wind can really wreak havoc on this tent. If it’s not secured, it can and will fly away.
Best Budget Choice
3. Coleman Beach Shelter
Check Latest Price
The Coleman Beach Shelter is a pop up tent to save you time. No need to fuss with poles and shaping things here. The tent pops into shape in minutes. Set up and take down will take you about four or five minutes.
For the price, this tent has some incredible features. There’s 50+ UPF sun protection to keep you away from the sun’s rays. At 4’5” by 7’6” there’s plenty of room to lay out or sit. The front flap zips up for extra privacy. The center height is 4’9” so it’s not huge, but you can change comfortably. There are storage pockets and a large window to allow for air flow. One of the coolest features? A dry line! It’s meant to hang clothes, but it’s also a handy place to hang things to keep them dry and out of the sand. There’s also a wheeled carry bag for easy travel.
While the features and the price make this a winner, it’s not the biggest tent by any means. The major drawback in our opinion is the time. For a pop up tent, this thing does take a while to get into shape. Other pop ups literally set up in under a minute. The five minute set up time for this is no exaggeration. It also has just one window in back. If the wind is coming from the wrong direction, it can get warm in here.
Best Overall Choice
4. Oileus XL Beach Tent
Check Latest Price
The website claims you can put it up and take it down in about 30 seconds. We suggest giving you a few extra seconds to be safe. But still, it’s faster than a lot of other tents. One thing to keep in mind is that the instructions are pretty vague. The tent really is easy to set up, but the instructions are rather unhelpful. Your best bet is to actually look up a video online. Once you see someone else do it, it will be a lot easier to figure out. The instructions read like someone who has never used the tent wrote them.
Made from 210T polyester, this can handle a lot of abuse. It’s puncture resistant and durable. The poles are fiberglass. There are six sandbags to offer extra support. There are also steel tie downs. The UV protection keeps you safe from a whopping 99% of harmful UV rays. There are windows angled to provide decent air flow. Unlike some tents, this doesn’t let air sit and stagnate. You’ll stay cool even on the hottest days in this beach tent.
You can fit four people in here without much stress. If you’re using chairs, two people fit in easily. It really withstands the wind in ways many other tents don’t.
5. Neso Beach Tent
Check Latest Price
Made from nylon and lycra, this beach canopy is incredibly durable. The poles are lightweight aluminum. Anchors can be filled with sand or rocks. That means you need to carry less with you. The end result is a super light and portable beach canopy. The corners are reinforced and patented. Neso knows those are major stress points, so they’re keeping them tougher.
With superior sun protection, the Neso beach tent is ahead of the game. They’re sold all over the world, so you’ll see these on beaches everywhere. It’s also available in a wide array of colors to meet your style needs.
Something to keep in the back of your mind is the story behind Neso. The founder of the company was an avid outdoorsman. When he was diagnosed with skin cancer, he developed these beach canopies. He wanted to ensure others could enjoy the outdoors without suffering the same fate.
The shape allows it to handle rough winds without flying away. The entire set up process is quick and easy as well. The longest job is filling the anchors with sand. You’ll be investing maybe five minutes of your time getting this ready.
Our biggest concern? The rotation of the earth. If you’re spending the whole day on the beach, the sun is going to move. That means you’ll need to tweak your set up a bit. But honestly, that took just a minute to manage. Just be wary if you fall asleep under this. You may wake up half in the sun. At the end of the day, this is one of the best beach canopies.
6. Coleman Sundome Beach Shelter
Check Latest Price
Another entry from Coleman that has a lot to offer for a reasonable price. Coleman is a standout for anything dealing with camping and the outdoors. You know this is going to be a high quality product.
The fly sheet is polyester and features a UV guard. It offers UPF 50+. It’s also very roomy. At 85 inches by 98 inches by 46 inches, this is one of the biggest tents you can get. There is room for four people in here without feeling cramped.
Water, sun, and rain are no issue for this tent. Set up is relatively fast and just takes a couple of minutes. It’s also sturdy and able to withstand the wind. Just make sure you secure it with tie downs and stakes ahead of time.
One thing to be cautious of is the metal parts. If you take this near salt water, they’re going to break down fast. The zipper can get gunked up with saltwater really fast. If you use it near saltwater, try to rinse it down afterwards.
7. East Hills Instant Shader Easy Up Beach Tent
Check Latest Price
The East Hills Beach Tent is made from 185T polyester. It’s tough and durable as a result. It’s also UPF 50+ to protect you from harmful UV rays. The inside floor space is 82 inches by 47 inches. It also offers a roomy 50 inches of height. That means you can sit comfortably inside in a chair. There’s also an extra 43 inch porch flap. That can be zippered up to offer privacy.
The frame is made from fiberglass. That makes it a good mix of lightweight and durable. It’s able to handle strong winds without breaking. Inside, you’ll find three large windows to allow for air flow. The walls are lined with four mesh pockets as well. These are good for storing snacks, sandals, books, or whatever.
Four plastic stakes, and 10 guy lines ensure the tent stays in place. Set up is remarkably easy and takes about four steps. Once you untie the tent, you need to unfold the pole. From there, pull the mechanism up with the two drawstrings on top. Then you pull them in opposite directions to lock it in place. The entire process takes about two minutes once you have the hang of it. On your first try, it’s going to take a few more minutes. That’s because it’s not 100% intuitive.
8. Otenkik Beach Sunshade Beach Canopy
Check Latest Price
They make this beach canopy from something called Eurojersey sensitive. Sounds weird, right? All you need to know is that it’s ultra lightweight. It also comes in a ton of colors. Some are muted and low key. Others are crazy bright. Whatever meets your preferences, you’ll find. It’s UPF-50 as well, so no worries about UV radiation.
Packed up this only weighs four pounds. That makes for very easy travel. The aluminum poles can be adjusted as the sun travels overhead, so you never miss out on the shade.
In terms of wind, it’s been tested for 18 knots. You’ll need to fill the anchors with rocks or sand to ensure it can handle that kind of force. When you’re setting it up, stretch it to the limits to ensure the best coverage. You’re going to think you’re stretching it too far. Don’t worry, you’re not. This material is 28% Lycra. It can take what you dish out and it won’t tear. The same goes for the sand bags. You want them packed full to anchor it. Stretch them to the limits.
9. Outdoorsman Lab Pop Up Beach Tent
Check Latest Price
When assembling a tent isn’t your strong suit, Outdoorsman Lab has your back. This is a pop up beach tent design. You just pop it into shape and you’re good to go. The tent is 71 inches by 60 inches. That means there’s room inside for two adults to lay down comfortably. It makes a great option for the kids as well.
The tent itself is made of 190T nylon. It’s been coated for UV protection as well. It’s moisture resistant and sturdy enough to handle some tough wind. Just close the mesh window to avoid any harsh weather conditions.
This isn’t the kind of tent you’ll want to use to get privacy or some time out of the sun. We recommend it for either kids or for a beach cooler. It gives you some space and shade to keep things dry and cool. It’s easy to use and super light weight at just over 2 pounds.
As weird as it sounds, there is a learning curve to folding this thing up again. It’s a little counterintuitive at first. Don’t get frustrated though. Once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy. It’s also something that can be cleared up in about a minute once you have the technique down.
10. EzyFast Pop Up Beach Shelter
Check Latest Price
At 7’6” x 7’6” this beach canopy offers serious coverage from the sun. Despite its large size, it can easily be set up by a single person. It may take you a minute or two to figure out that process, however. Once you’ve put it up and taken it down a couple of times, you’ll get the gang of it easily. The pop up function is fairly simple, but not necessarily 100% intuitive. We’d suggest having a second person on hand, just in case. More hands make less work, as they say.
Once you have the frame set up, you can attach the canopy and the back. The legs are telescoping, so they rise right up. At full height you have 6’7” of space inside. Everyone should be able to stand comfortably.
The corner poles feature what they call Gravity Corner Curtains. All you need to know about that is they have built in weight bags. Fill each sand pocket to root this thing firmly in place.
11. iCorer Automatic Pop up Beach Tent
Check Latest Price
At just 2.2 pounds, the iCorer is one of the lightest weight beach tents on the market. Despite that light weight, it has a sturdy steel frame as well. The material is nylon to keep it wind and waterproof. It also protects from the sun with a 50+ UPF rating.
The floor space measures 65 inches by 59 inches. There’s room for a couple of people in here, but that entire space isn’t covered. A good portion of that is porch space that extends beyond the beach canopy. Still, if you’re laying out with a friend, you’ll be comfortable.
Set up is beyond easy with this model. In fact, you barely set it up at all. The pop up design lets you just open it up and go. The downside is the inside isn’t super roomy. If you have beach chairs, they’re not going to fit in here. You’ll barely get a small cooler in here with you as well.
This is a lightweight and durable beach tent that covers the basics. If that’s what you need, this may be the best beach tent for you.
12. Lightspeed Outdoors Quick Cabana Beach Tent
Check Latest Price
The Lightspeed Outdoors Quick Cabana Sun Shelter measures 8 feet by 5.4 feet by 4 feet. There’s also a 40” porch. There’s room for two comfortably in here. In a pinch, you could fit a couple more as well. The big selling point for the tent is the set up speed. You can find some high quality tents that will take 10 minutes to set up. Set your watch when you set this one up. You can probably get it good to go in around 60 seconds. Setting it up is not much different from putting up an umbrella. It lives up to the name light speed.
The tent weighs just over 6 pounds. It’s easy to manage and carry around with you. The base is polyethylene. That makes it durable and waterproof. It can handle some abuse and is puncture resistant.
The frame of this tent is made of plastic, so be aware. It’s very sturdy, don’t get us wrong. But it’s not aluminum. You can’t put this one through as much abuse as some others. But if you take care of it, it can handle wind, rain and sun.
There are sand pockets to help weight the Lightspeed Outdoors tent down. But the front does not have a zip up like other models. Keep that in mind if you’re expecting privacy. This isn’t the kind of tent for that.
13. Crown Shades Pop Up Beach Canopy
Check Latest Price
If you want a simple, old-school beach canopy design, Crown Shades has your back. Their 10 x 10 beach canopy offers a ton of space. The best part is the pop up design. Once you get the hang of it, one push pops it into place. It’s like opening a giant umbrella. With 100 square feet of shade, you have room for 6 to 8 people. The center height is nearly 9 feet tall, so no worries standing up.
The frame is high quality steel. It adds weight to be sure, but it keeps it strong and sturdy. There’s a double truss one-piece frame around the top. Count on that to be tough.
As beach canopies go, this is a solid choice for a nice, leisurely day. If the weather starts kicking up, you may want to take this one down. High winds and this beach canopy do not mix. It’s great for sun protection, but it’s only designed for light rain and wind. Keep that in mind when conditions get a little rough. That said, the canopy fabric has a silver coating. That offers up UPF 50+ sun protection. The 150D Oxford fabric is also rain resistant.
Things to Remember When Picking the Best Beach Canopies and Tents
For some folks, one beach canopy is as good as another. After all, how in depth does a beach tent need to be. But if you want a beach tent to last, you need to shop smart. Check out these details that are guaranteed to make for a great, durable beach tent.
A good tent protects from the wind. That’s the big reason for using one. If you have spent any time at the beach, you know why this is important. Beaches are naturally windier than inland areas. The open water offers no protection at all. Wind can come fast and furious on the beach. That can kick up sand and blow your gear around.
You need a sturdy tent built to handle a beach wind. A solid double beach canopy or sturdy legs are a must have for any beach tent or beach canopy. Double canopies are necessary for what they bring to the table. They allow airflow between them which you want. But they prevent the tent from parachuting.
Naturally, you need some valid sun protection. You want a UV rating that will keep you safe from harmful rays and sunburns. These tents work a lot like sunscreen in that regard. The higher the UV rating, the safer you are. The UPF rating on a tent means ultraviolet protection factor. Look for a UPF of at least 50. This will help cut those rays and protect you from getting skin cancer.
Never assume a beach tent or beach canopy has sun protection. Most people don’t realize the average tent has no sun protection at all. In order to be useful, manufacturers need to use UV protective materials. Either the fabric itself or a chemical coating. Without these, if any light streams through, it brings the sun’s UV rays with it.
How hot is this beach, right? Well, the fact is the beach and grilling go hand in hand. And that’s awesome, so long as you are safe. A lot of people want to set a beach canopy up over the grill. That keeps the wind and sun out of the way. But be cautious. You need a beach canopy that is flame retardant. If just one spark or coal pops out, it could spell disaster.
The same thing applies to beach tents. Lots of people have beach parties with tents. They’ll circle them around a bonfire. But the wind on the beach can rise up out of nowhere. If your tent isn’t flame proof, it could spell disaster. Check the label before you buy.
If you’ve never seen a tent catch fire, it can be surprising. Older tents especially were veritable tinder boxes. Once the material catches, the whole tent will burn and melt in just minutes. Be safe and be smart about placement near fires.
A tent seems like a great idea until you’re stuck in one with no airflow. Ever sat in a tent under the blazing sun when the air can’t move? It’s like an oven. On the beach, this can become stifling. Even dangerous. You need good air circulation to keep the temperature down.
Beach canopies are obviously a great choice here. With open sides you have nothing to worry about. When you opt for a tent though, make sure it can breathe. Vents and window panels are key. And don’t forget that double beach canopies offers excellent airflow.
Beach tents and beach canopies can be made from a variety of materials. Everything from 190T polyester to canvas. Keep in mind what the tent is being used for before you settle on a material.
- Durability. Canvas may be tough, but can it withstand the sun for years? What about getting wet? You want a material that is tough but able to handle the elements.
- Sun Resistance: We’ll cover why sun protection is important to you shortly, but don’t forget why it’s important to the tent. If it can’t handle the sun, it will fade and crack over time.
- Water Resistance: You need a material that can handle getting wet. It’s the beach, right? Anything that holds water and grows mildew is bad news. It will look bad and smell bad in short order.
- Thickness: Lighter materials travel easily, but maybe aren’t best. If it’s flapping in the slightest breeze, is it any good? You want a thick beach canopy or beach tent.
We recommend polyester or nylon as the best materials. We’ve experienced a canvas tent after being stored for a season when it was still damp. That means we know what we’re talking about.
If you’re choosing a beach tent, keep an eye on the side walls. These offer wind and full sun protection that a canopy can’t match. Remember, if you’re on the beach at sunset, your canopy is essentially useless. A beach tent, however, offers coverage at any time.
Your beach canopy or beach tent can’t just float in space. You need to secure them with legs. Tie downs and stakes are key here. The legs themselves are typically vertical or with a slight slant. What’s the difference? There isn’t one. If anything, the slanted legs are slightly more prone to tipping, actually. That said, they look a little more sleek than straight legs. They can also offer the illusion of more space. They spread out more, but the space is not usable. So in a way you’re just wasting space with slanted legs.
Whatever style you like, make sure they are secure. Those tie downs and stakes will need to be rooted firmly. This can be a problem on some beaches. Loose sand and gravel is not a secure substance, after all.
Take where you’re going into consideration. Steel legs are sturdy, sure. But they’re also heavy. If it’s a long walk from the car to the beach, you may be straining yourself.
Since we’re talking body parts, let’s look at ribs. Your roof or canopy will have some ribs to keep the structure sound. Just like an umbrella, these maintain shape and help rain run off. But they need to be durable if you want your beach canopy or beach tent to last. Look for steel or aluminum to handle this job. You may find some composite materials that are tough and lightweight as well. We recommend avoiding cheaper tents made with plastics or very thin metal ribs. Once they bend, you can never get them back in shape.
This is another part of a tent or canopy that is easily overlooked. The quality of the material means nothing if the seam quality is poor. Look for taped seams. These will be extra durable. They’ll also stand up better to wind and rain. If the seams are exposed, they risk pulling apart. This can happen from poor handling or from accidental damage. But the constant pulling of wind can wear them out over time as well. Better seams can last for the long haul.
A big tent always seems like a fun idea, but it’s a lot more work. Harder to store, harder to carry, and harder to set up. The upside is you can store all your gear inside. It makes a fun place to get out of the sun and have a drink. You can play a game or even nap as well.
Small beach tents and beach canopies are great for just an afternoon trip. Put a cooler in the tent and stash your shoes in there, too. Lay your towel under the canopy and avoid the harsh rays after a swim. Large or small, there are clear benefits to each. You’ll need to consider how often you hit the beach and how much use you really get out of the tent or canopy.
One of the most easily overlooked parts of any beach canopy or beach tent purchase. You found one that looks amazing and has great features. It has exceptional sun protection and seems stable and secure. But how do you set it up?
This can be a big issue, especially with online purchases. Sight unseen you only have descriptions from the seller to go on.
We recommend doing a Google search of any large tent or canopy you want to purchase. If it’s a serious investment, and by that we mean more money and you’re comfortable losing, do it. Find some videos that show how other people have set it up. It’s worth it to see if it’s truly easy or not. We’ve recommended a few that we know for a fact can go up relatively easy. But if you’re out choosing a different model, do your research.
For some reason, some tents are unusually complicated when it comes to set up. There are a large number of poles and stakes that can get confusing. You want sturdiness and durability, but you want it as easy as possible, too. No one likes spending an hour setting up a tent.
Depending on what you choose, there can be a handful of extras involved here. Some beach canopies and beach tents include sand bags. You can fill these and use them to weigh everything down. This is essential in windy conditions.
A solid carrying case is also important. You want a sturdy case with quality handles that’s easy to transport. You’d be surprised but not every tent offers this.
Many tents and beach canopies offer storage areas. Pockets and containers that you can use to store books or drinks. Some even offer room for larger items. If you’re in a tent that can hold several people, it’s nice to have the extra space.
Beach Canopy or Beach Tent?
These two things are not created equally. Depending on your needs, one can definitely be better than the other. The best beach canopies are easy to set up. But they can also get taken by the wind more easily. Beach tents take longer to set up. But they offer more privacy. They also typically have a floor in them. That means a place to escape from the sand. With the right size tent, you have enough privacy to get changed.
Depending on where you go and for how long, you need to choose beach tent vs beach canopy. If you’re an avid beach goer who craves privacy, go for the tent. If you just need quick shade to protect yourself or your belongings, try the canopy.