One thing you can’t avoid when you’re out fishing or boating is the sun. In fact, that’s the one thing most of us don’t want to avoid. Enjoying the sun is part of the fun of heading out on the open water. However, you do need to take your health seriously. The sun’s rays can be harmful in the short-term and the long-term. You don’t want to risk a nasty burn, or the potential for skin cancer. As a result, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve got a quality tanning lotion on hand. That way you can enjoy getting some color from the sun, while avoiding harmful UVA and UVB rays. Remember, protect your eyes from the sun’s rays with sunglasses and your skin as well.

Outdoor tanning lotions and spray-on tanning lotion offer you a great way to get some color. They also don’t have any of the harmful effects of old school tanning. Let’s take a look at which tanning sprays are going to offer you the best results.

Maui Babe Browning Lotion

Based on a Hawaiian recipe, Maui Babe Browning lotion is a great outdoor tanning lotion. It helps boost the natural color you’re going to get from the sun. If you had difficulty in the past getting any kind of decent tan outside, you should give this a try. It’s ideal for those who have pale skin who go from no color to a red burn right away. This should be able to get you right in the middle with that skin tone you’re looking for.

Even though this is an outdoor lotion, it doesn’t offer and SPF. That means there is no protection from the sun’s rays. So you should keep that in mind and use a separate sunscreen if you’re going to be out for a long time. Apply the sunscreen with SPF first, and then Maui Babe on top. You wouldn’t want to spend any serious time outside using this without sunscreen. That could cause damage to your skin that you don’t want.

Australian Gold JWoww Black Bronzer Tanning Lotion

Yes, this one is named for the former Jersey Shore star, Jenni JWoww. Don’t let that dissuade you from giving it a try. It’s meant to be a tanning accelerator for indoor tanning beds. Unlike some, it doesn’t contain bronzer particles. Instead, it uses natural ingredients to help darken your skin. Things like kukui nut and blackcurrant. There’s also melanin in it. This helps boost the tanning effects. It also contributes to a much more natural, deep tan.

Because this is meant to be used with a tanning bed it also contains moisturizers. Some lotions avoid this and you’ll end up with dried skin. You also don’t need to worry about streaking when you use this. The application is silky smooth and very even.

Millennium Tanning Solid Black Dark Tanning 100x

Millennium Tanning Solid Black Silicon Bronzer is a two-in-one tanning solution. It works as a tanning accelerator as well as bronzer. That means you can use it as an indoor tanning lotion, or a fake tanner. Unlike some blends, this one does not take a long time to work. You don’t need to ease into this over a couple of weeks. The concentration is quite strong. You’ll have a dark tan after one application. While that may seem intimidating at first, it provides a clean, natural color. The tan is deep and long-lasting. It also has a pleasant smell and will leave your skin feeling smooth and streak free.

Australian Gold Dark Tanning Accelerator

If you’re looking for an authentic, dark tan then Australian Gold is where you want to go. Their dark tanning accelerator takes about 2 weeks of use to really show results.

The lotion itself smells like caramel. It’s made with natural oils and is easy to apply. You’ll get a smooth, silky feeling to your skin when you use it. If you’re a fan of outdoor tanning, few others can match this. You’ll get a very even, all over color when you use Australian Gold. You can also get the job done indoors as well. The indoor tan is just not as effective or as rich as you get if you’re exposed to the sun’s natural rays.

Unlike some lotions, Australian Gold dark tanning accelerator does not have SPF. That stands for sun protection factor. That means this is just a tanning lotion, and not a sunscreen. You’ll need an extra sunscreen on top to protect you from UVA and UVB rays when you tan.

Supre Smoke Black Bronzer Tanning Lotion

If you already have dark skin, Supre Smoke Black Bronzer might be the best choice for you. This is for indoor tanning and it helps stimulate the melanin in your skin. It uses an oxygen regeneration system to help keep your skin looking youthful. It even boasts the ability to minimize wrinkles.

Aside from serving as an indoor tanner, it’s a self acting bronzer. That means even if you can’t get into the sun, you can still get a natural-looking boost to your skin tone. As an added bonus, it has a tropical fruit scent that is very appealing. Tones of pineapple, passion fruit, and mango are available.

Sun Bum Moisturizing Tanning Lotion

Sun Bum moisturizing tanning lotion is an outdoor lotion that offers sun protection. The SPF is only 15 though, so protection is minimal. It’s well formulated for sensitive skin as well. The natural ingredients are even vegan friendly and won’t harm the environment if it washes off in the ocean. It doesn’t need harsh, bright sun to work, but it will work faster on a very sunny day. Even in the off-season though, this is a good choice to help boost your color. It also won’t clog your pores, and it’s hypoallergenic. If you’re looking to be environmentally friendly, this is a great choice.

The Sicilian 200x Double Dark Black Bronzer

When you want an immediate tan, the Sicilian 200x Double Dark Black Bronzer will get you there. This one is only for serious tanners. If you’re looking for a subtle hint of color, try one of the other brands. The Sicilian Double Dark formula will give you the darkest tan you’re likely to get from a bronzer. The color is smooth and even, but it is very noticeable. If you’re looking for those rich, dark tones, this is where you want to go. The color is still natural, but it looks like you really put in the effort under the sun. This is the kind of tan you get after a whole summer on the beach.

Your skin will remain soft after using this particular lotion. It also has a pleasant smell. You can get several shades darker with only two or three applications. One thing you want to remember is to be safe when you apply it. Use gloves when rubbing it in, or make sure you wash your hands immediately.

Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil Original Spray

Along with Australian Gold, Hawaiian Tropic is the biggest name in tanning. Their dark tanning oil is one of the best sellers on It is a dry oil spray on tanner so be prepared to have that oil feeling on your skin. It doesn’t massage in as smoothly as the lotions do. If you have a good base tan already, this can boost your skin tone significantly. But even if you have pale skin, this can definitely help to darken the shade. It works great for outdoor tanning or with a tanning bed. And because it has an SPF, you are getting some protection from the sun’s harmful rays. Just keep in mind that the low SPF here won’t protect you from significant sun exposure. Because it’s oil, you will tan quickly and it can potentially lead to a burn if you’re not careful.

The scent is the familiar Hawaiian Tropic fragrance of coconut. Some reviewers even claim it’s good for warding off flies and biting insects. That’s not the intended purpose, but if it works then that’s an added bonus.

Somewhere on a Beach Indoor Outdoor Instant Dark Tanning Lotion

As both an indoor and outdoor tanning lotion, Somewhere on a Beach has a lot to offer. It’s also a bronzer and has anti aging properties for sensitive skin. Outdoors, the tan accelerators boost the natural power of the sun to brown your skin. But it also works indoors with tanning beds. And, as a bronzer, you don’t really need to expose yourself to sun or tanning beds at all.

It takes some time and applications to build up to the color you want using this particular lotion. After one application you will have barely noticeable effects. If you use it daily, you will notice the effects. Luckily it’s easy to apply and goes on streak free.

As with many other outdoor tanning lotions, don’t forget your sunscreen. There is no SPF in this particular kind. That means you risk exposure to the sun’s harmful rays. Apply your SPF sunscreen first, and then Somewhere on a Beach after. If you plan to just use it as a bronzer, then there are no worries.

Things to Remember

It’s always best to read reviews when you’re looking for any kind of spray on tanning lotion. Whether it’s a bronzer, a tanning oil, or lotion, do some research before you buy. If you plan on tanning under the sun, it’s best to get SPF protection. Many outdoor lotions don’t include SPF. Those that do often only have a low SPF. You need to strike that balance between total sun protection and no sun protection. We recommend pairing any kind of spray tanner with a separate sunscreen that you can apply first. That way harmful UVA and UVB rays will be blocked. A hat is a good idea for protecting yourself from sun rays as well But at the same time, you’ll still get the desired skin tones you’re looking for.


The biggest thing to remember when looking for the best tanning lotion is the kind of skin tone you’re going to get. Some tanning spray will only get you slightly darker than your natural shade. There are other kinds of browning lotion that can greatly alter your skin tone. If you’re not sure of a new tanning lotion, test it somewhere unnoticeable. Try it on a little spot on your arm or leg. Check it out after a day and see what you think. If it works for you, then the product is good. You want a natural looking, long lasting tan.


The best spray tanners contain natural oils and moisturizers. This is important if you’re worried about how your skin is going to tan. Remember, many of these formulations can dry out your skin, not to mention what the sun can do. Try to go for the ones that contain natural moisturizers so your skin type will stay soft and won’t feel like leather.


When it comes to using tanning lotion you have three different options. There are tan accelerators that can work outdoors and require the sun to activate them. There are also indoor tanners. These ones don’t require natural sunlight but can be enhanced by tanning beds. And, of course, there are also bronzers or self tanners. These kinds of spray-on tanners will darken your skin through the use of natural oils. No light is required for these to work.


There are a few potential downsides to using tanning lotions. One thing we’ve already mentioned is the danger of sun exposure. If you’re outside tanning, you need to make sure you’re using something with a solid SPF.

Additionally, you need to keep an eye on color blending. Some poor quality tanning lotions may lead to streaking. When that happens your tan will look uneven and it will not be natural looking.

The kind of tanning lotion you’re using is also important. By that, we mean whether or not it’s even lotion. Some are actually tanning oils as opposed to lotions. An oil could potentially be harder on your skin than lotion. It may also promote burning if you’re out of the Sun. And you need to be aware of how it might affect your clothes in terms of staining.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a nice, dark skin tone, there are many tanning lotions to choose from. You don’t have to sacrifice safety to use them either. You can get a realistic tan without having to turn yourself an unnatural color, and you get the added bonus of a pleasant smell and soft skin as well. Try a few times to see what works best for you. And remember to always test them somewhere inconspicuous first.