Let’s get real; your grandma might not have used an umbrella. Chances have she sunned herself on a lounge chair while holding a tri-folded foil tray. She probably wasn’t even aware that there was such a thing as a beach shelter. That’s probably because they weren’t as convenient, lightweight and easy to use as they are today.
Luckily, we’ve learned a lot since those days. While the sun can provide much-needed vitamin D, it can also cause skin cancer. Scary.
You can get your vitamin D in other ways. And you can still go outside as much as you want with the proper sun sense.
Wearing sunscreen and sun protective clothing are your first lines of defense. Staying in the shade is your next one.
Check out the best beach shelters for 2018 to take your sun safety up a notch (and your risk of skin cancer down).
THE BEST BEACH SHELTERS FOR 2018
This beach shelter has the ease of an umbrella but the protection of a four-corner canopy. If you’re tired of lugging your heavy, metal-frame canopy around, this could be the solution for you. One post in the center holds the whole thing up. Four pieces extend outward to support the shade material. The “posts” are long pieces of fabric with pockets at the bottom. Fill the pockets with plenty of sand and they’ll be impervious to wind and keep the whole thing stable. This is one of the more elegant cabanas that you can buy for the beach.
Easy for one person to carry and set up.
8 internal pockets keep your electronics and sunscreen shaded and protected
All colors are tested to satisfy UPF 50+ rating requirements
Block 98% of UV rays
Come with stakes to set up on grass, but better for use on sand.
Would be difficult to use on a hard surface, like wood decking.
Might have trouble standing up fully underneath it if you’re taller than 6 feet
We dig the vintage vibe of the Lovin’ Summer tents. They are so easy to carry and put up, it’s almost unbelievable. A simple piece of UPF 40 fabric has ropes already attached to it. Just put up the two aluminum poles, drape your fabric across them, and secure the ends of the ropes.
You’ll have the cutest tent on the beach.
You won’t sweat because there’s lots of air flow underneath.
Super light to carry.
You can vary the setup for the low or high sun.
Easy for one person to set up.
May not be able to stand up inside the tent.
Difficult for one person to put up in heavy wind.
The stakes won’t tap into a hard surface like concrete.
We’re nervous that the aluminum poles and plastic parts may break easily.
Have you ever been on the beach on a windy day? The breeze keeps the heat down, but getting pelted with sand is no fun. The Sportbrella Umbrella is one of the only beach shelters that can protect you from the wind and provide shade. You could even use this along with a taller four-cornered shelter for shade and wind protection all day. When the sun is directly overhead, you can stand this up like a regular umbrella.
Wind vents keep you cool underneath this umbrella.
50+ UPF sun protection rating
Takes only 3 seconds to set up and take down.
Wind flaps provide added protection.
Lightweight to carry.
Great for sitting under, but small if you want to really move around in the shade.
Need another weight mechanism to hold it down on concrete.
Must be oriented properly so that it doesn’t fall over when it catches the wind.
Maybe awkward to lie under.
This canopy is bigger than a 3-walled shelter but just as easy to set up even in high winds. You can fully lie down underneath it while staying in the shade. The outer sand pockets help weigh the whole thing down so that it doesn’t blow away, and you get lots of ventilation coming through it.
Fits 4 adult chairs underneath.
Has a floor, which can be convenient to keep crawling little ones off the sand.
Easy to carry and set up.
Comes with a removable wall for extra shade and wind protection.
When filled, stays put even on concrete.
May not be able to stand fully underneath.
Bottom of the tent is not removable if you want to sit in the sand.
Fabric can get caught in the plastic supports and rip as you set up the tent.
If the sun isn’t directly overhead, you won’t have full shade underneath.
A 3-sided shelter can protect you from the sun even when it’s not overhead. It also shields you from the wind. This one is designed to give you the most shade with the smallest footprint. You can weigh it down using the sand pockets or stakes.
Windows along the walls can be opened for ventilation.
The floor is made of lightweight tarp material to keep you off the sand.
The height of windows gives you privacy when you’re lying down.
Easy setup and takedown.
Need towels or blankets so that you don’t stick to the floor.
Floor cover doesn’t extend out the front door area.
Doesn’t fit a lot of people underneath.
This is an ideal beach shelter for just a few people. It goes up in a few seconds, so you can pitch it even while trying to keep your kids out of the sand. The UPF 50+ fabric protects you from the sun. The size and shape offer good protection from the wind.
Walls on three sides give you privacy and shade. The front door also zips all the way up in case you need to change your clothing at the beach.
When you’re lounging around, you can open the back wall for better air circulation or keep a better eye on your children.
Reliable Coleman protection from the elements.
Privacy on all sides.
Easy to set up.
Insulated drink sleeve and pockets inside are convenient for snacks, cell phones, etc.
Small; fits 4 people inside, but won’t accommodate more than 2 beach chairs.
Doesn’t offer 360-degree views from inside.
Might need extra-long stakes or another option to weigh it down in the sand.
There you have it; the best beach shelters for 2017 in different sizes, shapes, and configurations. The best one for you is the one that you're actually going to use. You won't get the sun protection you need if you keep the shelter tucked away in your garage. Of course, adding a sun protective rashguard, beach cover-up and floppy hat always help keep you protected from harmful UV rays too.
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