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Beach tents and shelters are an essential item for your family. With increasing concern about the effect sun has on our skin, families are turning to pop up tents to provide added protection during the hot summer months at the beach.
This isn’t to say sun is bad, rather, too much sun is bad. Within the last 2 decades the medical community has found that childhood sun exposure can significantly increase the chance of skin cancer.
Further, premature aging and is accelerated by spending too much time in the sun.
Beach Life Expert researched on the best pop up tents for the beach. We found many options available, with various sizes and colors. We ranked the best beach tents according to design and appearance, ease of use, price, and customer reviews.
We also provide an overview below on why beach tents and shelters are useful.
Why A Beach Shelter Is Important
Spending time at the beach is a fun family affair. The wide-open spaces of white sand and the sound of crashing waves can make us feel adventurous and relaxed at the same time.
Whether enjoying time at a large tourist beach in Miami or Los Angeles, or exploring hidden gems on the South Carolina Coast, the beach is the perfect place for a vacation.
But it’s important to remember there is rarely shade on the beach and once you’ve found a place for your family on the beach you won’t want to move.
Beach shelters are a relevant beach item for a number of reasons. We’ll cover them briefly below.
No. 1 Sunburn
When I was young I spent summer days outside in the sun. In the 1990’s we weren’t too concerned about getting sunburnt and I can’t recall ever wearing sunscreen.
Fast forward to the 21st Century and we hear time and time again about the importance of protecting skin to avoid sunburns.
But even if we constantly apply sunscreen we could still end up getting to much sun. A sunburn early on can make a family member stay indoors and miss out on swimming, snorkeling, and football games on the beach. Make sure you don’t get sunburned on the first day!
No. 2 UV Rays
Ultra violet radiation comes from the sun however we rarely pay it attention. There are actually two types of UV rays; UVA and UVB.
UVA penetrates deep into skin and is the main source of cancer-causing radiation. It also ages skin prematurely. UVB radiation affects the superficial skin layers and causes redness (sunburn). UVB also contributes to skin cancer.
To protect against UV rays, most people use chemical-based sunscreen but some people – like me – are sensitive to chemical lotions on their skin.
It’s extremely hard to find the best natural sunscreens that 1) protect 2) non-chemical and 3) environmentally conscious but you can find a few if you search hard enough.
No. 3 Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion occurs regularly at the beach and can lead to heatstroke if your body temperature rises to 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
This can occur when you are playing on the beach in high temperatures with or without high humidity and if you aren’t rehydrating regularly.
One reason heat exhaustion is hard to recognize on the beach is that people can take a dip in the ocean to cool off and feel hydrated from the water.
Your skin won’t absorb its water needs from the ocean, plus the ocean is salty so the ocean water can pull water from your boy.
A simple tip for beachgoers is to avoid alcohol, caffeine, and high amounts of sugar while at the beach. A pop up beach shelter should help reduce water loss from sweating and evaporation.
No. 4 Storage
One of the underestimated benefits of a beach tent is it provides a place to store your valuables. We’ve mentioned this in other articles but its tough to leave your stuff on the beach when going for a swim.
All it takes is the wrong person to walk by to ruin a beach trip.
When I’m alone I usually take a zip lock bag and bury it under my towel when I swim. If you’re with family it will you will have a lot of gear and a beach shelter is the perfect place to keep things hidden, out of the sun.
Characteristics Of The Best Beach Shelter
Now let’s take a look at the characteristics of the best beach tent. Obviously, they should be good quality. If they have a warranty guarantee it’s even better!
Colors and design should be pleasing to the eye. The following are the key characteristics we looked at to choose the best pop up beach tent.
A lightweight beach tent should be a priority. Most people can’t walk out their door onto the beach and they must drive, park, and walk.
Parking at the beach can be a challenge during the summer months so be prepared to walk a few blocks.
The walk to and from the beach requires that all your beach gear is lightweight and easy to pack. When you think about a tent, the word “light” probably doesn’t come to mind, but there are compact lightweight beach tents available. See our list below!
A pop up beach tent does just that – it pops up without much effort or assembly. These types of tents should fold down quickly and open up easily.
Technology has come a long way in the past decade and most of the beach tents on our list are easy to use beach tents. They also have a convenient carrying case and shoulder straps.
Without ventilation, your sun shelter will heat up. Many of the best beach tents have a wide opening and they also have mesh windows within the tent.
They can be opened or closed. We like the practical and thoughtful tent designs on our list.
Family Beach Tent
The size of your sun shelter will also need to be considered. A large beach tent will provide enough room for 3-4 people to relax in the shade.
Small beach tents might be cozy for two people. In our review, we recommend a few large beach tents and a few small options.
We’ve also reviewed baby beach tents in a separate article. Baby beach tents are smaller and will provide 1-2 small people shelter from the sun.
If you want to protect your small child or baby we recommend a smaller tent.
If there’s a cover on your beach tent, then you’ll have some UV protection. But here is a few interesting facts:
- The darker the material, the better UV protection you can expect. Lighter colors will provide some UV protection but not as good as darker blues.
- Synthetic materials are better choices for sun protection than thin cotton or silk. Dense weaves of fiber like wool and denim also provide good UV protection.
When we first began to research beach tents we wondered “Why would a beach tent be made of dark colors?”
Well, we learned the dark colors do a better job of providing UV protection!
Lastly, the ideal beach tent should pack down small. I like beach tents without stakes because they can twist and turn a little easier.
A large beach tent will take up a little more space than a small beach tent, however both sizes will easily fit into the trunk and over your shoulder as you walk to and from your vehicle.
Related: Beach Essentials for Women
The Best Beach Tent Brands
There are a lot of high-quality tents on the market, yet few made specifically for the beach. Some of the best tents in the outdoor tent industry were left off this list because they aren’t making a tent specifically for the beach.
One of the industry leaders we mention is Coleman and another well-known beach umbrella company is Sport-Brella.
We like both of these companies, but don’t be discouraged by the other tents on our list; Pacific Breeze and Easy Go also have great reviews.
All of the brands we mention below offer 1 year limited warranty – but be sure to double check how each company interprets their guarantee.
William Coffin Coleman founded the Coleman Company in 1900 when he was selling gasoline lamps. Mr. Coleman achieved the American dream and as they say, the rest is history.
They’re now an 845 million dollar company that sells outdoor equipment like ice chests, BBQs, and camping gear. We like Coleman because they stand by their product and offer solid warranties for their products with great customer service.
Buy a product from Coleman, support an American company and know you’re getting a high-quality product.
Pacific Breeze Products
Pacific Breeze Products make the most well-liked pop up tent on the market. According to their website, they make shelters, loungers, and cooler bags. When we look around on their website it doesn’t share much information about the company or its founders.
It’s discouraging for a brand that has such a well-liked product. I hate to say it, but when I see a website that shares limited information about the company I look at it less favorably.
They say product development takes place in New Jersey but manufacturing takes place overseas. They have a 1 year limited warranty.
Related: Best Beach Gear You Need
Easy Go Products
Easy Go sells a variety of outdoor, household and beach items. They share a little more information on their website with offices in Santa Ana, California.
They have a 1 year warranty for defective or damaged products which is nice. Similar to Pacific Breeze, they don’t share much information about who they are but their pop up beach shade looks great.
Sport-Brella is under their parent company SKLZ and makes a bunch of sport and beach equipment from baseball to football to golf, and exercise. They are based out of Carlsbad, California and also sell from their website.
We like Sport-Brella because they offer traditional products with a new look and design. They offer a 1 year limited warranty but don’t cover accidents, misuse, or water damage
The 6 Best Pop Up Beach Tents For The Family
In this section we’ll review and rank the best beach tents for families. We’ve got 6 great options for your next beach trip. Let’s get started.
No. 1 Pacific Breeze Easy Up Beach Tent
The Pacific Breeze pop up tent is an easy beach tent for families spending weekends (or weeks) at the beach. It comes in an ocean blue color, features a wide-open feel and air ventilation to keep ocean breeze from blowing it away.
- 87 x 47 x 49 inches in length
- Weighs 4.6 pounds
- Spacious interior for multiple people
- Takes a minute to put up and take down
- Includes carrying case, sand pockets, and stakes
- 1 year limited warranty
- UPF 50 sun protection
Don’t be fooled by this large beach tent. It folds down well – 40 x 5 x 5 inches and fits snugly in the carrying bag. It has a sturdy frame and once you follow the directions and learn how to collapse it, it’s literally a breeze.
Sandbags help to keep the tent in place rather than stakes. The design is forward thinking and doesn’t have too many moving parts.
The floor is waterproof too, so you won’t have beach water or dampness soaking through the bottom of the tent. I like the color – it looks good and fashionable but isn’t too bright.
Numerous reviews commented on the great customer service! When things go wrong, customer service always helps keep me happy and I can tell it’s the same with their customers.
If this beach tent is still too small, Pacific Breeze offers an XL tent that gives a little more head room.
As we mentioned above, you can’t lose with the Coleman Company. This DayTripper beach tent has over 2,000 reviews from happy customers.
I really like the color – a light green – but it’s available in a few different colors including lime, blue, pink, and orange. Pick one that suits your style.
The tent flooring folds out so you can extend the laying/sleeping area. This is not a true “pop up tent” so it will take a little more effort to establish, but is the most sturdy and highest quality beach tent on our list.
- 7 feet 6 inches x 4 feet 5 inches with a 4 foot 9 inch center height
- 5 pounds
- 5 minutes to open with 3 poles to insert
- Storage pockets and a dry line for wet clothes
- Ventilation window
- UPF 50+
- 1 year warranty
There is also a zipper area for privacy and a ventilation window in the back. It takes slightly longer to set up than your No. 1 tent and uses stakes, sandbags and pre-attached guidelines.
While the DayTripper might not be as easy as the Pacific Breeze, it’s hard to top its quality. Reviewers generally love the product and mostly mention quality craftsmanship and design.
As you consider your beach tent, think about the timeframe for your tent and what you expect. If you want a beach tent that will last years, then this is probably the one.
No. 3 EasyGo Shelter – Easy Beach Tent
The EasyGo sun tent for the beach works great and has the customer reviews to show for it. The tent sets up with a pull of the strings, making it one of the quickest beach tents to establish and take down. It comes with sand stakes and sand bags.
If the temperature is heading up, be sure to open the windows so air can pass through. It’s roomy enough for 4 people and similar to others on this list, the bottom of the tent folds out for leg room They have a 30 day money back guarantee.
- 48 x 96 x 48 inches and an additional 48 inches of leg room that folds out.
- 5.6 pounds
- Rain proof and UV protection at 50+
- Lots of pockets and 2 mesh pockets to keep phones dry
- Sandbags work great instead of stakes
- Pull and snap to set up
- No zippers – hook to close
Reviews are impressed with this pop up beach shade. Most of the buyers are families with children and 3-4 people. The most frequent comment is about how easy it is to set up.
They like the added space that folds out on the bottom – made from plastic canvas material. If you sit inside the tent, your legs might still get a little sun but that probably ok with most people.
No. 4 Camp Solutions Automatic Pop Up Sun Shelter
Similar to our #3 recommendation this is another easy beach tent to set up and take down. There are no moving parts, simply take out from the bag, allow it to unfold on its own and use the handy stakes if it’s a windy day.
On very windy days, the flexible frame won’t be as secure as some of our other beach tents so you should understand that before you purchase.
I go back and forth on whether I like this pop up beach shade better than the other tents on our list. This tent is not quite as deep but has a long window in the rear and a waterproof floor extension.
It has a limited number of reviews, but customers are satisfied none-the-less. It also comes in 3 colors which is helpful for those who are picky.
- Polyester fabric and UPF 50+
- 96 x 57 x 45 inches
- 2-3 people or 3 children
- Includes stakes and a carrying case
- Set up is taken care of automatically
- Great ventilation
When folded flat this sun shelter is about 32 x 32 inches. I like that it is simple and not to fancy because when I take things to the beach they tend to get sandy and show wear and tear. An easy beach tent like Camp Solutions won’t break the bank and can do a fine job of providing shade.
Most reviews are great – the only concern was trickiness of folding it back up. After some practice, I’m sure it will be an easy task.
No. 5 Sport-Brella Portable Sun Umbrella
The best way to describe the Sport-Brella beach tent is cool. Ok, so it’s not a true beach tent, but it may surprise you. It’s an umbrella that folds down into a half-tent.
My descriptions can’t do it justice so take a look at the photo. One of the drawbacks is it doesn’t feature a flooring, nor is it a “pop up” tent, but that’s what your beach towels are for right?
The canopy is 8 feet and works in all weather scenarios. It comes with stakes and a bag for easy installation and packing. When broken down it measures 54 x 4 x 4 inches and weighs 9 pounds. Understandably it’s not recommended for windy conditions.
- UPF 50+
- Tall canopy 8 feet
- Windows for ventilation
- Optional stakes
- Drop down side flaps
If you have a small vehicle it might be difficult to fit it inside. For days away from the beach, it works well for the park and sports games – just make sure you have a place to tie it down.
Customers love the tent/umbrella. They do give a helpful piece of advice: make sure you know what way the wind is blowing otherwise it may blow away.
The great thing about this Brella is it’s cool and artsy – something different than the masses. If you’re looking for something different this is worth a try.
No. 6 G4Free Outdoor Pop Up Beach Tent
The G4Free pop up tent is exactly that; a pop up. It’s exactly what you think a pop up tent should be and unfolds itself to stand up as soon as you unfold it.
It fits 2-3 people and measures 78 x 47 x 51 inches while weighing an ultralight 2.2 pounds.
It comes with a mesh ventilation window, sand pockets, and 4 fixed bands to keep the tent against strong. It also comes with a handy carrying case.
- Larger size
- Pop Up and only 2.2 lbs
- Idea for beaches, surfing, fishing, and camping
- Stakes if high wind
- UV protection
- Carry bag
Here’s how you open it. Just throw it into the sky and it pops open ready for use. Isn’t that easy?
You’ll need to read the instructions to fold it up again but it’s not difficult either. Simply fold in half, fold inward, and twist it into the shape of the number 8 (similar to those sunshades you use for the car).
I like the simplicity of this tent, however I would like to mention that the structural integrity and durability of this pop up beach tent should be viewed much differently than our #1 and #2 options.
Don’t expect the same quality, but there are other strengths about this beach tent – specifically, it’s an easy beach tent and perfect for families traveling light.
You won’t able to fit the whole family under it, nor can you fit beach chairs. It does work great for babies, children and pets.
In this article we covered beach shade tents, how they work, and the protection they provide. Maybe your childhood was similar to mine and you received way to much sun.
If so, you’re probably looking for a better way to shield the sun from your children’s skin.
Beach tents work great and you can find one that suits your family’s needs. If you prefer a large beach tent that will hold up over time, try our #1 or #2 ranked tents because they offer durability and quality.
If you need a small pop up tent, then #3 and #4 are good options that will be effective and require less effort to set up.
Lastly, if you’re looking for something fun and unique, try the Sport-Brella. It’s a good brand with satisfied customers.
No matter what tent you chose we hope you find shade at the beach. Visit us again at Beach Life Expert to learn more about the beach and essential gear. Thanks for reading.