Now that summer is upon us, odds are you’ll want to make the most of the warm weather. From beach days to picnic sessions, our favorite outdoor activities call for a canopy or shelter—after all, the only downside to a day outside is a gnarly sunburn. There’s actually more to keep in mind when purchasing a tent than you might think, though. Do you have a large brood of little ones? Consider a canopy with built-in storage pockets and a dry line for hanging wet swimsuits. Are you prone to lobster-style sunburns? Make sure yours is made from UV-protective fabric. Whatever your sun-soaked needs are, we searched the market for the best beach canopies for any type of outdoor adventure.
- Best overall: L.L. Bean Sunbuster Folding Shelter
- Best value: NXONE Sun Shade Shelter
- Best compact: Fatboy x Miasun Portable Beach Tent
- Best French Riviera: Pottery Barn St. Tropez Cabana
- Best for families: Coleman Beach Shade Shelter
- Best umbrella style: Picnic Time Brolly Beach Umbrella Tent
- Best pattern: Letter Design Chessboard Sun Shade
- Best for a crowd: Cool Cabanas 5
- Best pop-up: Oniva Manta Portable Tent
- Best new release: Food52 x Kate Roebuck Pop-Up Tent
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
Types of canopies: If quick assembly is your top priority, a pop-up or umbrella-style tent is the right move—both can be erected in seconds and don’t require easy-to-lose accessories like poles and pins. If you’re foreseeing difficult terrain or exposed, windy beaches in your future, opt for a supersturdy design with sandbags to anchor it. But if sun protection and vacation vibes are your focus, a cabana-style framed tent has you covered.
UV protection: Coverage from your beach tent often isn’t enough to stop the sun’s rays from harming your skin. Many shelters are made from fabrics with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), which indicates how much UV radiation a fabric allows through. A UPF-50 fabric will block 90 percent of the sun’s rays, which is what you should aim for if you want to protect your skin.
Portability: If you’ll be taking your canopy with you on a wide range of adventures, from a day at the beach to a neighborhood soccer game, opt for a design that comes with an easily transportable case or carry bag with shoulder straps. Cabana and umbrella-style tents tend to be more cumbersome because of their central pole.
Stability: Even on a perfect beach day, there’s bound to be a bit of a breeze, so making sure your tent stays grounded is super-important. Keep an eye out for options with perimeter pockets, which weigh down the structure once filled with sand or rocks, or that come with stakes to secure into the ground.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: L.L. Bean Sunbuster Folding Shelter
Best Value: NXONE Sun Shade Shelter
Best Compact: Fatboy x Miasun Portable Beach Tent
Best French Riviera: Pottery Barn St. Tropez Cabana
Best for Families: Coleman Beach Shade Shelterswears by this do-it-all sunshade for “meltdown-free beach days” with her toddler.
Best Umbrella Style: Picnic Time Brolly Beach Umbrella Tent
Best Pattern: Letter Design Chessboard Sun Shadefavorite towel, it’s also water- and stain-resistant, making it the perfect accessory for spontaneous adventures in any type of climate. (Psst: If you like checkerboard but aren’t vibing with a red and pink pairing, choose from dozens of other palettes on the site.)
Best for a Crowd: Cool Cabanas 5
Best Pop-Up: Oniva Manta Portable Tentvideo tutorial to show you exactly how it’s done.
Best New Release: Food52 x Kate Roebuck Pop-Up Tent
How We Vetted These Products
Every product in a Domino guide meets these criteria:
- They blend form and function. We believe the best-designed products reflect your personal style and are a joy to use.
- They’re expert approved. In addition to our team of editors, we tap a range of designers, makers, renovators, and all-around knowledgeable people to share their intel.
- They’re endorsed by people who actually own them. We pay close attention to real reviews from both our creative community and third-party websites to know that they pass the test IRL.
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