The Best Beach Shades (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Protect yourself from the sun's harmful rays with these beach shades.
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BY Noelle Talmon / LAST UPDATED ON April 2, 2021
Frequent beachgoers know the importance of a shelter, especially if they spend the whole day or an entire vacation beachside. After all, while spending time in the sun can be a lot of fun, there are times when you just want to relax in the shade for a little while, and the proper beach shade can help you do so safely and comfortably.
The sun's UV rays can be very damaging, so it's a good idea to take a break once in a while and reapply sunscreen before heading back into the waves. A high-quality beach tent, canopy, or umbrella can also keep your towels, cooler, and other belongings in an organized area. Some models even provide privacy, so you can change clothes without fear of being ogled. Check out our picks for the best beach shades in the buying guide below.
This tent weighs 4.5 pounds, includes sand pockets and stakes, and is 87 inches long, 47-inches high, and 49-inches wide. It includes UPF 50+ protection.
- Quick and easy to set up
- Interior pocket
- Smaller than some other shade options
- Folding it up for storage can be a hassle
This tent is 7.6 feet by 4.5 feet with a 4.9-foot center height. It has UPF 50+ sun protection and can comfortably fit two to three adults.
- Extended floor zips up for privacy
- Includes a dry line for wet clothing
- Ground stakes included
- Doesn’t set up as quickly as some alternatives
- No side windows for extra ventilation
This canopy shelter is 7 feet by 7 feet and includes sand anchors and rust-proof aluminum poles. It comes in blue and weighs 4 pounds.
- SPF 50+ protection
- Lightweight and portable
- Requires a lot of space on the beach
- You must account for wind direction when setting it up
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Benefits of a Beach Shade
- They provide protection against the sun. The sun can be very damaging to your skin and overall health, particularly between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. A good beach shade will keep your body protected from harmful UVA and UVB rays.
- They're versatile. In addition to using a sun shelter at the beach, you can also use it while camping, picnicking, attending outdoor sporting events, or in your very own yard.
- They can provide privacy. Depending on what type of beach shade you choose, they can include privacy doors that allow you to change clothing, change a child's diapers, etc. without other people watching your every move.
Types of Beach Shades
Pop-Up Beach Tent
This is one of the most popular types of beach shelters. Beachgoers like pop-up tents largely because they are so easy to set up. Many take less than a minute to install on the shore, giving you more time to enjoy activities such as swimming and making sandcastles. They're also not super expensive.
Beach umbrellas are another great way to protect yourself and others from the sun. These shelters are also quite easy to set up and don't take much time to do so. One downside is that they may not accommodate as many occupants as some other options on the market.
The reason why some people choose a beach canopy is because many models can accommodate a larger number of people compared to tents or umbrellas. They also permit the greatest amount of ventilation and airflow. However, they may not provide as much coverage as a beach tent and don’t have privacy doors.
If you’ve done any type of camping, you’re familiar with the Coleman brand, which has been in business for more than 120 years. The Kansas-based company makes everything from sleeping bags and coolers to tents and canopies, such as the Coleman Beach Shade Shelter.
This outdoors-focused company is based in California and was developed by several outdoor enthusiasts who met while skiing in the French Alps. The company makes gear and accessories for snow sports and water sports. We recommend the OutdoorMaster Pop Up 3-4 Person Beach Tent.
Based in San Diego, Calif., Lightspeed Outdoors has been around since 2009. The company is made up of people who love spending time outdoors and using products that make that time more enjoyable. Check out the Lightspeed Outdoors Quick Canopy Instant Pop Up Shade Tent.
Based in Encinitas, Calif., Neso Tents focuses on making lightweight and portable sunshades, beach chairs, tote bags, and more for beach-loving people. One of its most popular products is the Neso Tents Beach Tent with Sand Anchor.
Beach Shade Pricing
- $40 to $75: You can get a good-quality beach tent or shelter without investing too much money. Smaller tents with fewer features may be a little less expensive but overall should offer good protection.
- $75 and up: Some beach shelters and canopies can cost upwards of $100 or more, depending on their construction and size. These products tend to be more durable and are designed to last.
UPF 50+ Protection
One of the main reasons why people purchase beach shelters is to protect themselves and their loved ones from the sun's damaging rays. Most if not all beach tents, canopies, and umbrellas are made with some sort of UVA and UVB protection. However, it's a good idea to double-check to ensure that your body is properly protected by the shelter's material.
Beach shelters come in a variety of sizes, depending on how many people plan on using it. There are beach shades designed solely for babies and toddlers or children, while others are designed to accommodate families. Some canopies can fit six, seven, or more people underneath. Determine how many people will use the shelter before shopping for one.
You don't want to purchase a beach shelter that blows away easily in the wind. That can be very frustrating and can even ruin the whole day. While most options include sandbags, stakes, or some sort of anchorage system, they're not all the same. You may have to purchase additional, better-quality stakes, for example, to keep the shelter properly in place in windy conditions.
- Privacy. Pop-up tents are very popular because many models include privacy "doors" that can be zipped up and closed to allow the occupant(s) to change clothing, feed an infant, etc. A canopy does not provide this type of privacy, so keep that in mind when you're choosing a beach shelter.
- Setup and Storage. When you go to the beach, you want to spend time in the sand and water, not assembling a beach shelter. The good news is that many beach shades are easy to set up. However, some take longer than others. Also, some brands are more difficult to fold and pack up into a storage bag, which can be frustrating.
Best Beach Shades Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Always read the instructions. Some beachgoers get excited and try to set up their beach shades quickly, but if you don't follow the directions, you may improperly set up the canopy, tent, or umbrella, which can fail.
- If you choose to use a beach umbrella, rock it back and forth into the sand, and make sure to buy it at least one-third of the way down to keep it securely in place.
- To keep a canopy from blowing away in the wind, remove the sidewalls because they can catch the wind.
Q: What is the best pop-up canopy for the beach?
There are a variety of excellent pop-up beach canopies available, and we include a few in this buying guide. Choose one based on its size, durability, sun protection, and value.
Q: What is the best shade for the beach?
There are many styles and designs on the market, and the best one will be based on your preferences. Do you want a tent that can provide privacy, or a canopy that promotes more airflow, for example? They all have benefits and drawbacks.
Q: What is a beach tent?
A beach tent provides shade from the sun when you're spending time at the shore. It resembles a camping tent and typically has windows for ventilation and sometimes a door to provide privacy.
Our pick for the best overall beach shade is the Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent.
It provides UPF 50+ sun protection and is water repellent, breathable, and easy to set up. Plus, it is backed by a one-year manufacturer's warranty. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Coleman Beach Shade Shelter.