Best Beach Mats (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Love the beach, but hate the sand? These beach mats are just what you need.
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
BY Noelle Talmon / LAST UPDATED ON April 2, 2021
Everyone loves a good beach day: relaxing by the shore, playing in the waves, building sandcastles, and enjoying a cold drink with friends and family are some of the best things about a great day at the beach. What’s not so great is constantly trying to avoid getting sand in everything. This is where a well-designed beach mat can be a game-changer. A beach mat is designed to protect your body, food, and gear from hot sand, and unlike regular beach towels, they come in a wide variety of sizes large enough to accommodate your whole family if you want.
If you’re in the market for a new beach mat, check out our top picks and our handy buying guide to make sure you get the best one to suit your needs and help max out your fun and enjoyment while at the beach.
A beach mat protects your body from the hot sand and can accommodate your entire family if you choose the proper size. They repel sand and water and are great if you plan on lounging around in the sun. There are so many options available, so we put together this buying guide so you can choose from the best of the best.
This 9 by 10-foot beach blanket is made of 100 percent nylon that dries quickly. It weighs just 16 ounces and comes in three different colors.
- Sand brushes off easily
- Water repellent and breathable
- Sand pockets included
- Easily stains
- Included metal stakes not as effective as plastic stakes
This 82 x 79-inch mat is constructed from 100 percent waterproof nylon and is large enough to fit 4-6 adults comfortably.
- Super affordable
- Comes with four stakes and a carrying bag
- Fully waterproof
- Lifetime guarantee
- Material may be uncomfortable on bare skin
- Waterproof material is not very breathable
This parachute-grade rip-stop nylon beach mat measures 10 x 9 feet and can easily fit up to seven adults. It’s available in three colors and weighs only 14 ounces when folded up.
- Super durable
- Fabric is breathable and comfy
- Triple-stitched edges
- Comes with extra stakes and four corner anchor pockets you can fill with sand
- Parachute material makes it easy to blow away
- Four anchor pockets may not hold enough sand to keep the blanket on the ground without the use of stakes
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Beach Mats
- They’re comfortable. No one likes sitting directly on the sand when spending a day at the beach. A beach mat keeps the sand out, so it’s less likely to get stuck on your body, particularly after a swim. Plus, the sand can get hot, so a mat keeps you cooler.
- They’re versatile. Beach mats and blankets can be used for a variety of different activities. You can use them while traveling, camping, or hiking. They’re also great for concerts and music festivals.
- They come in various colors and designs. You can let your personality shine through by choosing a beach mat that’s brightly colored or whimsically designed.
Types of Beach Mats
Family-Sized Beach Blanket
The most common type of beach mat is an oversized family beach mat. These blankets are often made of nylon and come in a variety of sizes. They are generally designed to fit at least four people but as many as 10 or more. Many of these beach mats come with sand pockets and stake loops to keep them securely anchored to the ground.
Solo Beach Mat
If you want a mat that accommodates just one person, you may want a solo beach mat with an adjustable backrest. These mats are much smaller than beach blankets but have the added convenience of tilting up or down. While they’re foldable, they don't compress down as small as beach mats and are slightly less portable.
WellaX is a leading manufacturer of lightweight, ultra-compact sleeping pads, sleeping bags, and outdoor blankets. The company uses innovative designs and technology to create durable, lightweight, and state-of-the-art products like the WellaX Single Sandfree Beach Blanket.
Scuddles is an online manufacturer specializing in selling breathable, washable, and lightweight picnic and beach blankets and gardening accessories. The company sells direct to consumers as well as on Amazon. It’s known for high-quality products such as the Scuddles Picnic Outdoor Blanket.
Eccosophy was founded in 2018 by a former flight attendant and beach lover to create lightweight, super compact, stylish products that travel easily and encourage people to get outside. The company sells high-quality items, such as the Microfiber Beach Towel.
Oniva is under the Picnic Time umbrella. Established in 1982, Picnic Time traces its roots to Woodland Hills, Calif., after its Italian founders started a wine and cheese business before branching out to picnic supplies. One top product is the ONIVA - a Picnic Time Brand Beachcomber Portable Beach Mat.
Beach Mat Pricing
- Under $20: Some beach mats are very inexpensive, which is good for the casual beachgoer. However, they may not be very large and likely don't have sand pockets or stake loops to keep them in place.
- $20-$40: Most beach mats fall into this price range. They come in a variety of sizes, colors, and designs, so you have a lot of options to choose from. Look for features such as storage bags, carrying handles, sand pockets, and stakes.
- $40 and up: Premium beach blankets are typically more durable, longer-lasting, and available in extra-large sizes. These products are built to last and are a great option if you frequently spend time at the beach or go camping.
Beach mats come in a variety of sizes, so you must determine how many people will use the blanket before you make a purchase. It's better to overestimate the size because one that's a little large is better than one that's too small. Also, factor in whether you want to keep your belongings on the mat as well as people.
Some beach mats come with anchorage points, and others don't. The reason why they're desirable is because they will keep the mat or blanket in place in windy conditions. Nothing's worse than coming back to your spot on the sand and realizing your blanket was blown halfway across the beach.
Many beach blankets are made of parachute nylon because it is lightweight, sandproof, and water repellent. It's also durable and long-lasting. Other products feature material that is thicker and more padded, which can be a bit more comfortable, particularly if there are rocks or shells on the ground that can poke into your body.
- Portability. Many people love large and oversized beach mats and blankets, but some are easier to compress and fold than others. Look for products that fold into a small size without much issue. Also, make sure it's lightweight, so you can carry it without a problem. Finally, check for carrying handles on the bag or blanket itself.
- Cleaning. Some beach mats can be cleaned in a washing machine, while others require hand washing. Make sure to look at the specs ahead of time, so you know what to expect. Also, some mats are made of a material that stains easily. This may not affect its performance, but it can be unsightly.
Best Beach Mats Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- When you return home after a day at the beach, don't forget to thoroughly shake out your beach blanket and other beach gear, so you don't bring sand and other debris into the house.
- Clean your beach blanket regularly. You don't need to do it daily if you spend every day at the beach on vacation, but it's a good idea to hand wash it or machine wash it every once in a while. Just make sure to follow the cleaning instructions.
- For additional protection at the beach, consider using a beach umbrella or other type of beach canopy or shelter. That way you have a shady spot to get out of the sun and away from damaging UVA and UVB rays.
Q: Do sand-free beach mats work?
Yes. Sand-free beach mats are designed so it's easy to shake off the sand when you're done using them. While they may not be 100 percent sand-free, they are fairly effective at keeping sand at bay.
Q: What is a beach blanket?
A beach blanket is typically a large blanket made of various materials, like terrycloth, nylon, polyester, cotton, etc. It may or may not be waterproof or sand-proof but is designed to provide a layer of protection between the sand and you and your gear. On the other hand, beach mats are specifically designed to be waterproof or water-resistant and shake sand off easily and cleanly.
Q: What is the best beach towel?
While there isn’t one stand-out beach towel that makes all others pale in comparison, the best beach towels are made from super lightweight, fast-drying fabrics, like microfiber. They fold up compactly to maximize space in your beach bag, so they’re usually much thinner than typical bath towels
Our pick for the best beach mat is the WELLAX Sandfree Beach Blanket. It is generously sized, and it's easy to brush sand off it when you're done using it. Plus, it's water repellent and has four sand pockets with metal stakes to keep it grounded. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, the Mumu Sugar Sand Free Beach Mat is a durable and well-priced choice. It’s 100 percent waterproof and comes backed by a lifetime guarantee.