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Picking up a beach towel on your way out the door might not be a decision you mull over—maybe you just grab whatever is available, even if that’s the same faded number you’ve been using since your summer camp days. While that lived-in towel from yesteryear might work fine for the day, the best beach towels can be more than just a barrier between you and the sand. This utilitarian piece is actually a key accessory for summer (make room, sunglasses), and the market has a little something for everyone. From timeless chevron to sculptural shapes, the best beach towels are stylish yet trendproof—and durable enough to lounge on for many sunny seasons to come.

Our Favorites

For the Wave Chaser: Matouk Paros Beach Towel

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Dimensions: 40-by-70 inches  | Material: Cotton | Colors: Multi 

What we like:

  • Turkish style
  • Machine washable
  • Lightweight

Worth noting:

  • May show dirt

Why we chose it: The perfect companion for dipping your toes in off the side of the boat.

This chevron-adorned towel is ready to set sail from dawn to dusk. And it’ll look just as good draped over your shoulders for a walk along the shoreline. We love its striking pattern—which comes in faded hues of light brown, green, navy, pale blue, and gray—and that it’s finished with fringed edges for added fun. Large enough for two to sit on, it’s a vacation winner. 

For the Light Packer:  FRAMA Light Towel

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Dimensions: 39-by-59 inches  | Material: Cotton-linen blend | Colors: Sage green or burnt orange

What we like:

  • Soft on skin
  • Quick drying
  • Extremely compact

Worth noting:

  • Can stain and wrinkle more easily
  • Natural fraying can occur

Why we chose it: Subdued colors and easy enough to carry everywhere.

Fast drying and breathable, this crisp towel designed in Copenhagen is meant for post-bath or sandy all-day play. Its smooth surface won’t disappoint as the perfect home base after that last paddle out or an impromptu sunset picnic. Light in weight and luxurious in material (a linen-cotton mix), it will soften and become more absorbent as you use it. 

For the Playful Poolsider: West Elm Organic Collage Stripe Beach Towel

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Dimensions: 40-by-70 inches  | Material: Cotton terry | Colors: Multi 

What we like:

  • Vibrant design
  • Terry-cloth back is very absorbent

Worth noting:

  • Wash before first use for better absorbency

Why we chose it: A stripe pattern that you won’t get tired of.

Imagine the scene: You’re setting up at that hot-to-the-touch pool chaise, drink off to the side, and you get to pull out this vibrant towel that screams “summertime.” This choice from West Elm is cheerful and a nonsnoozy alternative to a basic stripe. Its larger dimensions and lower price point are also perks, so maybe get it in both lagoon (yellow, teal, and warm blush) and poppy (salmon and light blue) colorways?

For the Desert Lounger: Sabahar Abay Beach Towel

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Dimensions: 39-by-70 inches  | Material: Cotton | Colors: Multi 

What we like:

  • Naturally dyed
  • Locally sourced cotton
  • Lightweight

Worth noting:

  • Hand-wash or machine-wash in cold water only
  • Hang to dry or tumble dry low

Why we chose it: It immediately reminds us of desert landscapes. 

To give off those rustic, desert-chic vibes, you need just the right beach towel to transport you to a place of solace. Sabahar’s Abay beach towels check that box, available in earthy tones from a deep yellow to a burnt orange so you blend right into your surroundings. While it’s likely destined for warm, sandy places, we can also see this piece used as a park blanket or styled as a sofa throw.

For the Collector: Brooklinen Artist Series Beach Towel

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Dimensions: 34-by-70 inches  | Material: Cotton | Colors: Multi 

What we like:

  • Buttery-soft front
  • Unwavered by pool chlorine

Worth noting:

  • Machine-wash warm

Why we chose it: Art to take to the beach, for sunbathers and surfers alike.

For the collector who loves a little whimsy and a lot of colors, this new beach towel collection from Brooklinen, designed by New York City artists, is the perfect match. Available in three colorways—teal and pink High Tide, red and blue Island Life, and green and white NYC Summer—these towels are soft straight out of the box (you don’t need to wash to soften them, thanks to their velour front), and their thick terry back is very absorbent (we tried them out in water ourselves!). Thanks to their materials and construction, these primarily cotton towels should hold up for many beach trips to come, and the playful designs will make them your favorite to reach for in your summer stash. 

For the Whole Caravan: Softerry Extra Soft Beach Towels

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Dimensions: 30-by-60 inches  | Material: Cotton | Colors: Multi 

What we like:

  • Classic cabana stripes
  • Great deal for four towels
  • Fluffy

Worth noting:

  • A bit shorter

Why we chose it: Soft enough to snooze on, and plenty in the pack to go around. 

Need a soft, practical place to plop down? Channel your inner child with these colorful, cabana-striped beach towels, which might just transport you back to your favorite family beach vacation. They come in a pack of four (or 24!), and at such an affordable price, you don’t have to worry so much about dirtying them.

For the Check Devotee: House No. 23 Checkerboard Terry Towel

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Dimensions: 35-by-67 inches  | Material: Cotton | Color: Multi 

What we like:

  • Durable trim that won’t fray
  • Unique color choices

Worth noting:

  • Machine-wash cold

Why we chose it: Old school yet modern at the same time.

If you (or someone for whom you need a gift) are on a checkered kick, this towel from Turkey-based House No. 23 gives the popular pattern a stunning facelift. While checks have had many iterations through the decades, this chic version resembles a basket weave with its crisscross pattern. The earthy color options of canary yellow, olive green, and terracotta brown are hard not to like. Plus the hardy cotton build is just solid enough without becoming bulky.

For the Color Go-Getter: Dusen Dusen Dash Beach Towel

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Dimensions: 37-by-70 inches  | Material: Cotton terry | Colors: Multi 

What we like:

  • Brooklyn-based designer
  • Four patterns available
  • Double-sided design

Worth noting:

  • Machine-wash cold

Why we chose it: To fulfill your pattern desires without anything too dizzying.

Park yourself on this cheerful yellow brushed cotton-terry pick, take out your prepped beach snacks, and call it an idyllic afternoon in the sun. Brooklyn-based design studio Dusen Dusen is known for its very happy prints, so if your style is all about what’s bright and graphic, you’ll enjoy every textile on the label’s roster. We particularly love this dash pattern, created in an exclusive collaboration with Design Within Reach, but the three additional designs are just as showstopping.

How We Chose These Products

The best beach towels are the finishing touch to drape over your lounger, but they also hold up to the elements, from sand to salt water. You’ll want yours to be soft, comfortable to the touch, and roomy enough to sprawl out on. We considered the needs of different beachgoers—some may want a textile that feels nimble (and cute!) enough to drape over their shoulders; others may want something basic that they can roll up and tuck away—and, really, everyone has a preference. We provided options across the spectrum, from bold and youthful to traditional and understated, and considered a variety of price ranges and materials for the picks on our list.

Our Shopping Checklist

Design 

Personal taste takes the cake at the end of the day here, whether you lean toward earthy, understated colors or vibrant, graphic patterns that stand out. Domino’s style editor, Julia Stevens, agrees, especially when it comes to her idea of the perfect beach towel. “When I hang out on my rooftop or by a pool, I always snap an aerial pic of all my summery accessories (sunscreen, canned spritz, bag, hat, etc.),” she says. To her, something that serves as a photo background is ideal. “Anything bright and poppy, from a stripe to a check, does the trick.” That said, basic neutrals have staying power, too—especially if your color preferences change often. 

Size

Towels come in all sorts of sizes, but they are typically, and at a minimum, more than 30 inches wide and 60 inches long. Go even bigger for family towels that you know will be wrapped around wet swimmers wanting to get warm, or for times a towel may double as a seat for two in the sand. Oversize towels are, of course, bulkier to carry around in your bag, but if it’s replacing your beach chair altogether (while traveling, for example), it may be worth it. Larger towels extend nice and long, too, to generally 70 inches, which will stretch the distance of a lounger. For weekend getaways, spring for something shorter and more lightweight (looking at you, Frama) that will be easy to stash in a carry-on or duffel.

Material

From quick-drying microfibers and thick cotton for durability to linen blends for more environmentally friendly alternatives, there are so many options out there in terms of material. If you’re hoping for something cushy and absorbent, Stevens recommends keeping an eye out for towels made of terry, in part or whole, whether that’s a terry-cotton blend (which should hold up to pilling from season to season) or a terry-back for cushion. Go for a velour front for extra softness if you like to take a snooze under the sun. Keep in mind that the thicker the towel, the longer it will take to dry. When shopping based on material, we also recommend looking out for the towel’s stitching; one with a durable trim can help prevent excessive stretching and fraying.

Ask Domino

Q: I really like to hit the sand in warm weather often. When will I know it’s time to replace my beach towels?

Beach towels can generally make it through many seasons in the sun, especially if you take good care of them. That includes hanging them when wet to reduce odors and following care instructions. However, the fewer you have and the more you use them, the quicker you may need to replace them. If you see noticeable color fading over time; threads starting to pull; that they aren’t drying you as swiftly; or, in spite of a warm wash, there’s a lingering smell, then it’s time to swap in a new one. 

Q: What’s the best way to wash beach towels?

Before you head to the washer or sink to rinse away a summer day’s worth of sunscreen and sand, be sure to shake off any leftovers still on your towel—you want to avoid damaging your machine or allowing anything to get caught in the towel’s fibers. From there, it’s important to follow the care instructions based on the towel’s material; this will prevent damage and prolong its life. Most cotton and terry towels can be washed on a regular wash and dry cycle, though towels with colors that can bleed may need to be washed in cold water with like colors, at the very least in the first few washes. 

The Last Word

Beach towels all come down to personal taste in color, pattern, and material, but there is one that’s a fit for every occasion, whether you’re packing light on the go or need something oversize for two. Pick a beach towel that complements your style and speaks to your summer plans, and you’ll be ready for all kinds of warm-weather adventures.

Domino’s editors independently curate every product on our site, because we’re just as obsessed with a great deal and an under-the-radar discovery as you are. Items you purchase may earn us an affiliate commission.

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