Everyone loves a day of fun in the sun with the family. Enjoying the calm ocean breeze on your face – while the kids run around playing in the sand and surf – is one of the most pleasurable ways to spend the day.
The only problem: the weather doesn’t always cooperate. Harsh UV rays can easily cause serious sunburns, wind can blow your towel halfway across the beach, and sudden downpours can send everyone running for cover.
A good beach tent goes a long way to solving these problems. They’ll shield you and your family from the elements, ensuring your beach outing is fun for everyone. Picking the best beach tent for families can be a bit of a confusing task, so I’ll break down some of the best beach tents on the market, plus how to pick the right one for you and your family.
Quick Answer: 7 Best Beach Tents for Families
- Best Overall: Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent Deluxe XL
- Runner Up: WhiteFang Pop Up Beach Tent
- Budget Pick: EasyGo Shelter
- Umbrella Tent: Sport-Brella Vented Sun and Rain Canopy
- Best Pop Up Beach Tent: Shade Shack Beach Tent
- Best Tent for Beach Camping: Hewolf Quick Setup Dome Pop up Family Tent
- Fun for Kids: Multifun Large 3-4 Person Shark Sun Shelter
Why do you need a beach tent for your family?
Beyond shielding you from the sun’s rays, beach tents are a great place to change into your beach attire, store coolers, and other food, have a picnic and even take a well-deserved nap.
If you’ve ever had to shimmy into your swimsuit or trunks underneath a towel – while carefully avoiding exposing yourself to the entire beach – you’ll know how important a shelter for changing clothes can be!
Beach tents also offer a shady spot for storing coolers, cold drinks, and sensitive electronics. You can easily stash several beach chairs or loungers inside them, creating a comfortable shelter from the sun. If you’ve ever fallen asleep in the sun – and then woke up looking like a tomato – you’ll be thankful for the UV protection beach tents offer!
Top 7 – Beach Tent for Families
How to choose the best beach tent for your family?
Picking the right beach tent can seem like a confusing task, and with so many different options out there, you’ll want to be sure the tent you choose is suited to your needs.
A good beach tent will provide shade, privacy, and a shelter from the elements. They should be easy to setup and teardown and be sturdy enough to withstand sudden wind gusts or downpours.
Let’s take a look at some of the key features to keep in mind when picking the right beach tent for families.
Ease of Setup/Takedown
Possibly the most important feature to consider is how easy the tent is to setup and teardown. If you’re going to be using the tent on a regular basis, having one that takes 2 minutes to setup will be a huge advantage over one that takes 15 minutes to setup.
All the above tents utilize some form of pop-up or easy-up deployment system. This means you won’t need to mess around with annoying poles and trying to thread them through narrow openings.
These tents are also quick and easy to take down and fold into their carrying cases. So, when it’s time to go you won’t have to deal with complicated folding methods or easy-to-misplace parts.
Size is an important consideration when choosing a beach tent. Most tents will comfortably hold 2 to 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 to 3 kids.
Ask yourself how many people you’ll need to fit inside your tent. How many adults? How many kids?
Generally, going with a larger tent will offer you more versatility than a smaller one will. Larger tents aren’t much heavier or bulkier than smaller versions, but you can fit a good amount more gear and people inside them.
A sudden wind gust can quickly turn your beach tent into a giant kite! Securing your tent to the ground will ensure it stays put no what the weather gods have in mind.
Most beach tents come with two methods of securing them – stakes and sandbags.
Stakes are typically made from steel and work well when securing the tent to harder surfaces. Think the park, campground, tailgating, etc. These stakes typically don’t work well in soft sand, as it tends to give rather than providing a solid base. Harder, more compact sand can work well with steel stakes.
There are also specially designed sand stakes for use in softer sand. These are much larger than regular stakes – with the added surface area needed to dig in and grip the softer sand.
Sandbag pockets are typically built into the bottom portions of the tent’s walls. These are great for use in soft sand – all you need to do is shovel several large scoops of sand in – and you’ve got yourself a makeshift sandbag.
If conditions are particularly gusty or stormy, you can use both sandbags and stakes in tandem. Many tents also come bundled with outrigger ropes for adding extra stakes.
Proper ventilation is an important consideration, especially if you’ve got small children around. A tent without good ventilation can quickly turn into a hotbox, acting to heat up its inhabitants rather than cool them down.
Most of the tents above have two or three zippered side windows. These are great for when you want a nice cross breeze going, and can be shut when you want a bit more privacy.
Beach tents will generally have an open front design, allowing airflow and an unobstructed view of the water. Some feature an optional removable back wall – allowing even more airflow – and turning the tent into more of a beach canopy.
Depending on where you plan to use your beach tent, transportation can be an important consideration. If you’re taking it on vacation, you’ll want to be sure it can fit inside your luggage or carry-on bags.
Most of the tents reviewed above are fairly lightweight, weighing between 5 and 10 lbs. when folded inside their cases.
Keep in mind when you’re already carrying an umbrella, cooler, and beach chairs, any extra weight can be a major pain. A good beach cart or wagon can save you the headache and make transporting all your gear to the beach a breeze.
Closed vs Open Bottom
This one comes down to personal preference. Some tents come with a closed bottom and some have open bottoms allowing you to sit directly on the sand.
Closed bottomed tents are great for keeping moisture out, protecting you from bugs like gnats and sand fleas, and providing a barrier from particularly hot sand. The downside is sand will inevitably work its way inside, which can be annoying to remove.
Open bottomed tents function more like beach canopies, providing shade, but still exposing you directly to the sand. They’re super low maintenance, as sand won’t get tracked inside them from outside. If you decide an open-bottomed tent, make sure to bring some good beach towel or mats with you to protect you from the elements.
There are several beach tent add-ons to be on the lookout for. Most aren’t strictly necessary but can be handy depending on how you plan to use your tent.
Many tents will come with some form of internal pockets for stashing important gear like cameras, cellphones, GoPro mounts, portable speakers and the like. The pockets are suspended above the ground, so if a sudden downpour occurs, your gear won’t get soaked.
Extended Front Enclosure
This is a particularly handy feature to have on any beach tent. The front material extends out in front of the tent, giving you ample space to spread out your towels and gear without getting them covered in sand. Many of these enclosures also double as a front door – allowing you to close them for privacy when you want to change clothes or take a nap.
Waterproofing is important – you don’t want to get soaked in a sudden downpour! All the beach tents above are waterproof, but some will have higher waterproof ratings than others. If you’re planning on using your tent in particularly wet environments, make sure to go with a higher waterproof rating.
A hanging/drying rack always comes in handy at the beach. You can dry swimsuits, towels, and even kid’s snorkel gear. You can also hang portable Bluetooth speakers and other electronic gear – keeping them away from the sand and water. \
Families looking for a good beach tent will always find something useful to do with a drying rack.
I’ve loved being in the outdoors for as long as I can remember. I grew up fishing, canoeing, and camping throughout the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. It’s what lead me to start this site and share my passions for fishing, diving, kayaking and more. Nowadays you can find me writing about my passions or (preferably!) preparing for my next outdoor adventure.