The Best Beach Tents to Upgrade Your Seaside Vacation

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Beach tents are officially on everyone's shopping lists, along with other summer essentials like rainbow pool floats and sun protection. While the latter two are rather easy to shop for, finding the perfect beach tent can be a little trickier.

First, know you have plenty of great options. (This is the era of one-click Amazon shopping, after all.) Beach shelters come in many forms, from the iconic beach umbrellas symbolic of the French Riviera to the floating inflatable tents favored by water sports enthusiasts. We're talking cool features from lightweight beach shades and pop-up assembly to tent fabric made with UPF 50 sun protection. The best beach tents satisfy everyone in the family with very little compromise on must-have features. Here are a few of our favorites.

1. Oniva Picnic Time Brolly Beach Umbrella Tent, $71.95

Pros

Oniva's Picnic Time Brolly Beach Umbrella Tent's best feature is its super easy set-up: Pull a string at the top of the umbrella to unfold a personal pop-up beach tent. When you're done playing in the sun, quickly pack it away in its lightweight carry bag. Fans of this beach shelter say it is lighter than their rain umbrella. (Read: No back pain.) But not only is it a breeze to transport, but the Oniva tent also doles out UPF 50+ sun protection and performs well in rain and wind.

Cons

This is a personal size beach shelter and isn't one that a family can grow into, but at only $71.95, it's not a bad deal. (And we all need the occasional personal day.) The beach umbrella doesn't appear to come with sand pockets — the best way to anchor on shifty sand — however, the pop-up beach tent is designed with anchoring loops and overhead anchoring lines that keep it from getting caught in the breeze.

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2. Neso Tents Grande Beach Tent, $124.99

Pros

This beach shelter comes in 17 different colors and patterns on Amazon. Its adjustable tarp design allows for versatile airflow and some privacy. The Neso Tents Grande Beach Tent is lightweight, which makes it a piece of cake to carry, and comes with corner anchor sand pockets to keep the tent secure. Its nylon/lycra fabric blend offers 50+ UPF sun protection. This sunshade is seven feet tall and shades a nine-by-nine space.

Cons

You will need to buy suitable ground stakes. There isn't much in way of privacy since the tarp-style beach shelter lacks the more traditional, walled tent structure.

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3. Coleman RoadTrip Beach Shade, $46.72

Pros

The patio floor zips up into a door on this Coleman beach shade so you can get changed in peace. And when everyone's done playing in the water, you can hang up your wet beach gear on its included dry line before packing away. Coleman uses UVGuard material that offers UPF 50+ sun protection. Anchor this beach shelter down with included sandbag anchors to keep in place.

Cool features include a rear mesh window, giving you control of airflow, with a rollup shade and a front awning. Inside, clever mesh interior pockets offer storage space for small gear and belongings.

Cons

The center height of this Coleman beach tent has a height clearance of four feet nine inches so it may be awkward to stand up and change, but hey it gets the job done!

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4. Wakehouse HO iShade Inflatable Tent, $799.99, HO Bali iLand Inflatable Water Mat, $1,599.99

Pros

Buy this eight-by-eight inflatable beach shelter with or without its inflatable water mat and anchor on land or in water. The iShade comes with a detachable, velcro nylon wall for additional sun protection. (It also gives you some sense of privacy.) But otherwise, this inflatable sun shelter is open on every side for comfortable airflow.

The HO iShade inflatable tent is designed with stainless steel D-rings, allowing you to connect it to the HO Bali iLand Inflatable Water Mat for a floating water oasis. The D-ring system also enables you to anchor the tent to the ground with affordable Amazon tent sandbags or stakes. The mat is sturdy and perfect for beach parties and family beach vacations.

Cons

The iLand series does not come with all the accessories you need for easy set-up. The air pump requires a portable battery to operate or an extension cord. We recommend buying a portable air pump separately. And to keep from going adrift when using the tent in the water, the HO Sports Smart Anchor, Line, and Rope Bag are available on their Amazon store. The smart anchor works in depths up to 30 feet.

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5. L.L. Bean Traverse PackLite Easy-Pitch Shelter, $124

Pros

If you're under 6'3" you can stand up and have a nice chat underneath this beach shelter. Built from UPF 50 performance polyester, it keeps the skin protected during long days in the sun. Additionally, the back pole is adjustable, allowing you to move the shelter as the sun moves. The innovative L.L. Bean side-pull hub system allows this shelter to be quickly pitched similarly to a pop-up beach tent.

Cons

It is not the lightest to tote nearly 12 pounds, but manageable. It's also relatively large with its three nine-foot-long sides (ideal for beach gatherings). And it should be noted: While it offers detachable partial sun shades, there isn't much privacy in this beach shelter for changing.

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6. Decathlon Quechua Air Seconds Inflatable Camping Living Room, $399

Pros

Okay, we might have a crush on this inflatable tent! It's over seven feet high so your tall friends can change at the beach with ease. All four sides offer some sort of airflow. The front and back walls function as openings, the side door is designed with a mosquito net, and a mesh window sits opposite with an adjustable blind. This tent is versatile and can be entirely closed off or all sides unzipped and the front door pitched into an awning with the included two poles for shade, breeze, and views.

Since this sun shelter structure is inflatable, the set-up should be as simple as hooking up the air pump and turning it on. It's also durable and made with heat-sealed strips on the tent seams and a waterproof flysheet. Decathlon also goes the extra mile to wind tunnel test their tent living rooms. Decathlon says the Quechua Air Seconds Inflatable camping living room can stand up to 35mph winds when correctly set up and reinforced with ropes and its included tent pegs. We love the security and space this tent would offer as a beach shelter. Like most Decathlon tents, it connects to a family tent or van for varied uses. It's a solid investment.

Cons

The Decathlon outdoor living room is only designed for occasional use — which the brand says is around four weeks of use per year. UV rays break down the inflatable structure's fabric so it should not be kept up permanently. The total weight of this tent is 28.7 pounds, which means you may not want to plan on hiking to the beach with it.

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7. Anthrolopologie Soleil beach Cabana, $448.00

Pros

If you're looking to have a glam beach day, this decorative cabana from Anthropologie is a perfect pick. The classic sun-worn yellow and white striped fabric blocks 98% of UV light. And the little bit of assembly required is assuaged by the playful fringe and French style, promising a chic outing.

While incredibly simple, the cabana thankfully has four pockets that can be filled with sand to weigh down the structure.

Cons

It's a stylish beach shelter but lacks utilitarian functions like doors and walls for privacy, but it is a solid trade-off if you are more interested in its retro aesthetic for entertaining.

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8. Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent Deluxe XL, $119.99

Pros

This Pacific Breeze beach tent's panoramic views, made from its three extra-large windows, make it a top contender for your next beach tent. The windows have roll-down shades and allow for easy tent ventilation. Pacific Breeze lists the tent as water-repellent, but customers suggest this beach shelter performs better on a sunny day. The sun shelter offers UPF 50+ sun protection.

Weight-wise, it hovers at just over six pounds but trades off the extra weight for its set-up hub system. The hub system operates like any other pop-up beach tent with a fast and easy set-up. Once set up, four people can comfortably gather in the shelter and make use of the internal pockets and hooks. The Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent comes with a carry bag, sand pockets, and stakes.

Cons

There are not a lot of cons with this shelter, beyond not being able to stand entirely up while changing into your swimming suit.

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9. Woods A-Frame 3-Person 3-Season Tent, $200

Pros

Put this tent as close to the water as you want. Woods Canada designed this tent with a "rugged polyester ripstop floor with extreme water coating protection." And despite its humble appearance, reviewers say the Woods A-Frame tent is surprisingly roomy. There are openings on both sides of the tent. The slanted sides of the A-frame tent zip down for ventilation and airflow, keeping bugs out with special No-See-Um mesh panels. (A No-See-Um screen is fine mesh fiberglass that keeps extra small insects like gnats, sand flies, and other small coastal insects out of your tent.) Adjustable blinds can be unrolled and zipped up for additional privacy.

We included this option because we know not all beach trips are day trips. Woods Canada has been making tents for over 135 years — they're quality. The company also offers easy 30-day returns and free shipping.

Cons

This was designed more like a camp-on-the-beach tent rather than a sun shelter, so it doesn't come with a sun awning. But to make up for it, it has super-nifty glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls!

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10. West Elm REI Co-op Kingdom Porch, $199

Pros

West Elm collaborated with REI to make the REI Co-op Kingdom Porch, a collapsable shelter that offers light sun protection. The poles are made from lightweight aluminum and come with two removable wind walls, meaning someone will still need to hold a towel up on one side while you change.

Cons

Our negatives are fairly basic here: This sun shelter lacks complete privacy and has an unspecified UPF protection. Four stakes are provided, but since sand can be tricky to anchor to, we recommend ordering some affordable sandbags from Amazon.

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11. Gorich Beach Tent, $49.99

Pros

The Gorich beach tent is pretty and simple. (Our favorite is the soft red with a nude interior.) The upgraded version of this Amazon favorite features a UV rating of 50+ and a mesh D-door. Gorich claims the easy set-up is simpler than a pop-up beach tent, taking only a few minutes away from your beach time, and the Amazon reviews seem to agree. A common set-up suggestion is to fill the attached sandbag pockets first to keep the tent from blowing around during set-up. It comes with a soft carry bag and four tent stakes. All three mesh windows can be covered for privacy with a pin-up window shade.

Cons

This beach shelter will comfortably fit three to four people but it does not have standing room for easy changing into a bathing suit.

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12. Woods Canada Outbound Oasis 2-Person Beach Tent & Sun Shade Shelter, $60

Pros

While most beach tents are equipped with decent size sand pockets, Woods went a step further and elongated the sand pockets to run down the entire length of the sides of the sun shelter. This tent won't be going anywhere. The mesh front door can be zipped up for bug protection, and the design is completed with a small but decent-sized awning.

The floor of the tent is waterproof and relatively durable so you can set up your beach chairs inside and stay dry. This beach tent provides shade and offers ample headroom. The Woods Outbound Beach Tent and Sun Shade Shelter includes a carry bag, instructions, guy-lines, fiber-glass poles, and stakes, and is perfect for every season but winter.

Cons

This is a great shelter, but the windows are more for ventilation than anything else. The narrow mesh slit that races around the tent can't be covered while changing, ruling out total privacy.

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13. Poayhut UV50+ Deluxe Size Instant Setup Beach Tent, $64.99

Pros

This tent accommodates three to four people and the brand claims anyone over the age of seven can set it up. It comes with a lightweight round carry bag and you can enjoy helpful features like a central hook for hanging lighting or fans and a waterproof PVC pocket to protect electronics. The Poayhut features two openings: A large back door can be completely opened or you can zip up the mosquito B3 mesh and use it as a large window. The main opening features a curtain door that unzips down the middle, and the flaps can then be rolled and tied back. The mesh side windows can be covered for privacy with adjustable shades; airflow won't be a concern with this pop-up tent. The tent is made from UPF50+ 210T silver coated fabric and blocks up to 99% of UV rays.

Cons

There's no awning on this beach shelter, so it is sun and sand or shade and tent.

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14. Business and Pleasure Vintage-Inspired French Riviera Beach TentsPros, $299

Who doesn't love going to the beach and being cute? This French Riviera-inspired sunshade has all the tassels and stripes of a Fitzgerald sea holiday. The striped canvas is coated for UV protection (UPF 50+) and is mold- and water-resistant. The 100% cotton canvas shade can be pitched at its peak or adjusted for more shade.

Cons

You'll probably need help with setup. But you'll look oh-so-chic once it is up. Because this design is more focused on shade and feeling the sea breeze, there's little to no privacy to change into your beach gear.

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15. Lightspeed Outdoors A-frame Shelter, $79.99

Pros

This last tent has probably the most convenient of features: The ability to adjust its height. The interior height maxes out at an impressive 6' 4" (aka perfect for your tall friends). The sides feature small adjustable windows for better airflow control. And unlike most tarp designs, the A-frame reaches all the way to the ground, offering more privacy than most tarp sun shades. The fun ocean wave design gives this beach shade a little personality, while also offering UPF 50+ protection. This Lightspeed Outdoors beach tent comes with a soft carry bag and is equipped with six sandbag pockets and four steel stakes.

Cons

The Lightspeed Outdoors A-frame beach tent has two openings, but you cannot zip them shut, so no bug protection with this beach tent and less privacy.

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Klarrisa Arafa is a freelance writer, social media manager, and poet. For a living, she writes for disruptive brands that make a difference in people's lives: like women's wellness brand BodyCompleteRx.com and men's self-care brand CNTRD.org. Klarrisa lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is a strong believer in attending brunch on both Saturday and Sunday.

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