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Going to the beach can create some amazing summer memories. A beach trip usually involves smiles, laughter, and plenty of time with friends or family.
It also involves a lot of sun (hopefully not sunburn), swimming in the ocean, depending how young you feel maybe even sandcastles.
In this article we’ll discuss the best beach blankets and mats and share what you should look for when buying a beach blanket. Some are big enough for the whole family.
We’ll share a number of beach blankets and explain the pro’s and con’s to help make your buying decision easy.
Growing Up At The Beach – Not All Beach Blankets Are Equal
I grew up at the beach in the 1990’s – yes it was long ago but recent enough to remember all the fun times. I was a minimalist and still am, so I’d frequent the beach with as little as possible.
I only took the bare necessities (..the simple bare necessities) which were:
3) keys, and
4) a towel.
Each was important in their own right but occasionally I’d forget my towel. Without a towel I’d spend my time walking the beach, diving in the water and sitting down in a way that only my behind touched the sand.
Sand is fun to play in, but not enjoyable when it gets all over you. Sand also has its way of getting inside of electronic devices, key chains, in your nose and ears, food, and on your towel. Towels are suppose to go on top of sand right – so why is it that sand always ends up on the towel.
After university I travelled the world, visiting some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Obviously I didn’t waste space in my suitcase for a soft, fluffy towel.
Instead I chose to take a few items to sit on and stay dry at the beach. One was a microfiber towel, perfect for quick drying and compact enough to fold up in a corner of my bag. The other item was a beach blanket and yes, even large beach blankets can be compact.
Although I prefer things that fold into small packages, you might be fine with a larger blanket, given the quality and price is what you’re looking for. Below, we’ll discuss what to look for when choosing the best beach blanket or mat, then we’ll get started with our review.
Related: Best Pop Up Beach Tents
What to Look For When Buying the Best Beach Blanket
There are a few things to consider when purchasing a beach blanket. Some of my consideration will be pertinent to you, while others might be irrelevant. The factors we believe are important are:
The appearance of your beach blanket has little to do with its performance, however it’s the first thing we judge when looking for a product. If it isn’t appealing to the eye, we will skip over it and look for other similar products.
Thankfully most of the blankets on our list look great and have some style. Beach themed products usually have bright colors or deep blues that will look great on the sand.
The material is also an important aspect of the beach blanket. The items mentioned on our list range from parachute nylon, to microfiber, to polyester, and a waterproof Oxford weave.
Some other materials are waterproofed, while others might not keep water from soaking through the blanket.
What size blanket will you need for the beach? Some beach mats are made for 1-2 people, while others are oversized, fitting 5-6 people for a party.
You might think that the bigger options might also be hard to carry, but that’s not the case – some of the biggest beach blankets on our list also fold into the smallest bags (parachute nylon).
I prefer the larger and lighter blankets. If I’m alone at the beach I can fold it in half. Some of the large beach blankets we mention are 10 x 9 feet and are still lightweight and able to fit in a small stuff-sack. 10 x 9 is huge and perfect for a family.
Will you be traveling with this beach blanket or does it’s storage size not matter? If you live close to the beach you won’t be worried about carrying it, but you might lack storage space at home. Traditional blankets take up a lot of space in closets and a smaller beach blanket might only be used a few times a year.
An ideal beach mat will expand and contract. In other words it will have lots of space for many people to sit on it, but take up little space when stored.
If you are travelling you’ll need a small size that easily fits in your suitcase. We recommend a few of the options below, specifically the Sand Escape Compact Outdoor Beach Blanket.
Carrying beach gear from the car to the beach is a headache. This is why I take as little as possible.
If you have a family, you might be taking an umbrella, chairs, snorkel gear, frisbees, footballs, and an ice chest. The last thing you need is a bulky blanket to carry.
There are handy carrying carts you can use and backpack chairs, but you’ll be carrying some things. Make it easy on yourself and get a lightweight blanket for the beach. Some of the options in our blanket review weigh 1 pound or less.
The Best Beach Blanket For The Whole Family
No. 1 Wildhorn Outfitters – Sand Escape Beach Blanket
The Wildhorn Sand Escape is our pick for best beach blanket. The 3 color schemes are class and simple, but not dull. The colors are dark blue/grey, meadow green/grey, and sea blue/charcoal. Our favorite is the meadow green and grey.
The Sand Escape is a big blanket, yet not huge. It will easily fit 4 adults and measures 7 x 9 feet.
It is lightweight and versatile so you can take it anywhere – use it at BBQs, lounging in the park, at the beach, or at sporting events. The material is parachute nylon and comes with built in sand anchors and a nifty valuables pocket (pocket built in).
Wildhorn advertises the nylon as breathable but that doesn’t mean you can’t get hot while laying on it. If the sand is hot underneath, the material is so thin that you might get hot too.
Don’t worry there are tricks and tips to get rid of hot sand. Likewise, you won’t want to use this on a surface that is soaking wet – not that waterproof.
The Sand Escape Blanket stuffs into a sack only 6 x 7 inches so you can pick up your blanket, shake off the sand and pack it in your backpack or pocket (only 1.3 lbs). To machine wash, use the gentle setting and a little soap.
This is one of the best reviewed products on our list with 100’s of positive comments. People love the zippered pocket to store valuables and the fact that it’s lightweight with an attractive appearance. Other comments mentioned it’s good for 3 adults and dries quickly.
Related: Best Beach Towels (soft material and cool designs)
No. 2 Lahtak Large Beach Blanket – Sand Proof
Lahtak was a close second as the best beach blanket because it’s huge and colorful. I like the Italian look of the light blue stripes – it adds a nice fashion statement.
The blanket is huge at 10 x 8 feet. Enough for a whole family or friend. My estimation is it could fit 6 adults comfortably and more if children are around.
For such a big blanket, it folds down well by fitting into a 8 x 4 inch pouch and weighs only 3 pounds.
Lahtak claims the blanket is as smooth as silk because it uses a 210T parachute nylon with a high thread count. The thread count helps support heavy loads (like people) and helps it keep from tearing damage.
Lahtak also includes loops that can be used with stakes to keep the blanket from blowing away (I’d just use my bags and sandals). If you don’t want to use stakes, you can use the sand pockets at the corners – just fill with sand and it won’t blow away.
Some customers say the beach blanket can fold down and fit into a purse. I like the fact it has perfect reviews. No one has anything bad to say about it.
Because it’s thin and lightweight, dogs (pets) might be able to puncture the blanket with their claws but if that happens you can always sew it up. Lahtak looks great, it’s huge, the price is right, and the reviews are great. What’s not to like?
No. 3 Scuddles – Extra Large Picnic and Outdoor Blanket
This 5 x 6.5 foot beach blanket is probably the best looking on our list and it’s a best seller so other people must like the design as well. It’s a smaller beach blanket than others on our list and the lower price reflects that fact.
It looks great when it is folded up into its own carrying bag (with brown cover). The material is a knit fabric that won’t heat up under the sun. Unfortunately it only comes in 1 color scheme – a white, blue, and black stripe.
The back of the blanket is a waterproof material (plastic) that helps you stay dry even if the sand becomes damp. Customers mostly like how it folds up and can be easily carried.
Other people take it to the beach to relax with their dog. We like the functional and practical components of the blanket, but wish it could expand more to get the whole family on the blanket.
No. 4 Bdsign Microfiber Beach Blanket
Bdsign offers the only microfiber beach blanket on our list. It’s also one of the smallest at 6 x 6 feet but that’s still a good size. 6 x 6 will fit 2 people comfortably (with the possibility of a small child or two). The blanket comes in two designs: a mix color and palm design.
Microfiber (85% polyester and 15% nylon) is a quick drying material that absorbs moisture so you can use as a towel as well. Don’t worry about sweating on the Bdsign blanket because the material will wick it away.
The Bdsign beach blanket will require more space for packing, but because it doubles as a towel and is anti microbial it serves multiple uses. It weighs 1.6 pounds and comes with a small stuff sack to carry.
This blanket can also be used for events outside the beach and it does not come with stakes or sand pockets. The price is competitive to the other products in our review and customers like the fact they can use it as a towel too.
Some people comment that although it’s huge, they just use it for themselves.
No. 5 Kahuna Next Gen Parachute Beach Blanket
The Kahuna parachute blanket isn’t the biggest or lightest on our list, but it’s got a great name and a fun design. It looks like a blanket for the beach. The green and yellow color scheme reminds me of Brazil, and they also have different shades of blue patterns.
It weighs 1.2 pounds and measures 8 x 8 feet, making it a big blanket with enough room for about 4 adults (my opinion). Due to its size and weight, it isn’t an “ultralight” option.
I believe it uses thicker nylon than some of the other brands we mention, so this beach blanket will hold up over time. I like the extras it provides.
It comes with a handy bag and strap, sand pockets, and stakes. If you use the sand pockets there is no need for the stakes.
Just pick up the blanket, shake and stick in the bag. Because it’s made from thin nylon, it drys in minutes. The Kahuna beach blanket is advertised for use at the park, at ball games, and outdoor concerts and festivals – don’t feel limited to the beach.
Kahuna stands by their product and offers a no-risk purchase. 1 one year warranty for quality and can be replaced if it’s not working to keep sand out. I love companies that offer solid warranties!
Reviewers have almost all positive things to say about the Kahuna. One specific comment warns about using tanning oil because it could stain the nylon.
I believe as long as you wash it after use it should be fine! Anther reviewer says the family dogs use it too and haven’t damaged the nylon.
No. 6 Go Strength Outdoor Beach Blanket
The Go Strength is a newer product that builds on other products we mention. They’ve taken note of what other companies offer, and boost their offer with “extra” items. I like their competitive nature and their attempt to disrupt the market.
Their outdoor beach blanket measures 10 x 9 feet – yes this is huge and competes with the other large blankets we review. Go Strength uses the same high quality ripstop nylon (parachute) and the total weight of the product is less than a pound (.99 lbs).
In my opinion their color offerings have room for improvement (orange/grey and green/grey) but I like what their effort.
In addition to the blanket they throw in additional “bonus” gifts. One bonus is a beach pillow – I wouldn’t use the pillow but maybe you would.
Another bonus is a secret pocket for belonging (tiny bag) – this is cool, but exactly necessary. Finally is their Ebook that shares information about the products.
The beach blanket is large enough to fit 7 adults or less adults and many more kids. Go Strength is waterproof and tear resistant. Go Strength provides a carrying bag, stakes, and the blanket has sand pockets that can be filled with sand or rocks.
Lastly, I like their guarantee, however it’s only 30 days – if the blanket doesn’t meet your expectations return it for a full refund.
Related: Best Beach Chairs Under $50
No. 7 Roebury Picnic Blanket
The Roebury beach blanket is a traditional blanket. Although it folds up nicely, it is not as compact as the other “nylon” blankets on our list. If you’re looking for an oversized beach blanket that is soft and thick, then Roebury is a great option.
The color schemes are offered with stripes, plaid, flowers, and wavy lines.
The blanket is made with a lining on the bottom so it will repel water and it folds into itself to make a rectangle with a carrying strap (clever). Some reviews commented on using the folded blanket as a pillow to sit on as well – makes sense.
It is 4.5 x 5.8 feet and big enough to fit 2-3 people. The benefits of this beach blanket are that it’s thicker, soft, and has a lifetime warranty.
The Roebury blanket has over 100 positive reviews. The negatives are that it has a smaller area and less compact than others on our list.
No. 8 Bearz Outdoor Beach Blanket
The best things about the Bearz blanket is it’s weight and compact size. It literally folds up into bag the size of your hand.
The carrying pouch has a drawstring and even a carabeaner to attach to a bag or belt. Bearz colors range from a light blue, camo, green, red, and yellow.
If you’re a beach minimalist this is a great product. It not only works as a beach blanket, but also works for picnics at the park, festivals, and sporting events.
It measures 55 x 60 inches which is 4.5 x 5 feet. It’s not huge, but not small either. In my opinion it could fit 3 adults or 2 adults and a couple kids. It’s made of polyester so it has tarp-like qualities and you might sweat a little bit while laying against it.
Bearz beach blanket is waterproof, sandproof (sand won’t come through) and puncture resistant. It’s 7.2 ounces – that’s incredible. If you want a simple beach blanket that effectively keeps the sand away, Bearz works well.
If sand happens to get on the blanket, simply pick and shake off – sand won’t stick to it.
One note of caution: due to it being thin, you’ll be able to feel the hot sand underneath the fabric. With that said, you can always move the top layer of sand and place the blanket on cool sand, underneath.
Most reviewers use Bearz beach blanket for travelling and appreciate its compact, lightweight size. Reviewers also mentioned the medium size – perfect for 2 people to spread out on or 3-4 people if cozy.
Beach Towel Options and Accessories
- Microfiber Beach Towels
Maybe you’ve decided you don’t need something for the whole family and would rather have a small beach towel that won’t take up much space in the car or suitcase.
If so, a microfiber towel is a solid option because they are thin, lightweight, and best of all they dry quickly.
We reviewed a few different microfiber beach towels and really like Rainleaf. They have multiple sizes, and wide array of color choices, and great reviews from satisfied customers. They even include a handy carrying case to keep it clean when you’re traveling.
- Cotton Beach Towels
Cotton towels are the norm on the beach, however if you choose to use one there are so many styles and options. We recommend to not choose a solid color – why not get a beach towel with fun colors or designs.
Our favorite is this Cotton Craft Oversized Double Woven towel. It look great with different shades of blue and because it’s oversize it can fit 2 (thin) people or 1 regular adult.
Cotton towels are the most common towels, but a nicely designed towel will be anything but normal.
- Funny Beach Towels
For some college humor, a funny beach towel could be in order. These also make great summer gifts and although they might not use as soft and luxurious cotton as the other towels on our list, the smiles they bring will make up the difference. We like the dog selfie beach towel that shows a bunch of smiling dogs.
If you’re a dog lover it’s perfect. Another option is the “glass of beer” towel that looks like a full glass of beer – be careful it may make you thirsty.
- Sand Coasters
If you want a fun, eye-catching accessory, these beach drink coasters will keep your bottles from falling over. They are for more than just drinks, you can use them as a dish for snacks and put your phone in them to keep it off the sand.
It just depends on how much flare you want at the beach. They come in a 4 pack and can be orders as a single color or multiple.
Reviewers love how easy they are – add them to your beach house and use it while sipping your cocktail during sunset. They also work well on lawn/grass and at sporting events
In this article we reviewed the best beach blankets. When we think about a blanket it doesn’t have to be a heavy, bulky item.
A blanket for the beach should look good, be lightweight, have a large area but be easy to store, and use quality material. Sometimes a waterproof material is best if you’ll be in a damp area on the beach.
Also consider how you’ll be using the blanket. Will you be with your family and drive to the beach or will you be with a small group and be traveling? Can the material dry fast and does it pack light?
Lastly, check the reviews and the warranty. Buying from a reliable and reputable company is how I prefer to find products. If other people are happy with the product and service, chances are I’ll be satisfied as well.
Thanks for reading another beach life article. We share all kinds of safety info, tips, and product reviews on our blog. Visit us again.