Bring on the shade. Not the eye-rolling, snarky-comment kind of shade, but literal sun protection. A big beach umbrella shields you from UV rays and the scorching mid-day heat, making it much more pleasant to linger on the beach for as long as you'd like. Still, not all beach umbrellas are created equal, and there are a few important factors to consider if you're on the hunt for a new one before your next vacay.
As always, safety comes first. If you have ever seen a gust of wind get hold of an umbrella and send it flying, you know how alarming it can be. So, think about what kind of weight and mechanism the umbrella has in order to stake it properly and securely in the ground or sand.
You'll also want to consider how to get the cumbersome umbrella from point A to point B, as the shape, weight, and size of a beach umbrella can make it tricky to carry. Many have a convenient strap or carrying case that helps lighten your load between trips to the car.
Aesthetics and style still matter, too, of course — just think about how much thought goes into your choice of bathing suit or beach towel. Solids, stripes, prints, fringe; beach umbrellas have lots of fun ways to stand out on the sand — a useful advantage when you're trying to find your spot after coming out of the sea.
Ready to make a purchase? Read on for some of the highest-rated beach umbrellas available right now. (Then, stock up on a few pieces of UPF clothing to further protect your skin from sun damage this season.)
A beach umbrella with a tilt option will come in super handy as the position of the sun in your view moves throughout the day. (Reminder: The Earth is the one moving, but we'll leave that lesson for another day.) The steel pole on this portable style allows you to angle the top portion of the beach umbrella without having to move your chair and belongings. Assembly is simple since it's only two pieces, and getting this beach umbrella securely in place and taking it down is a breeze, too. Polyester fabric is durable and 5-feet in diameter, providing plenty of shade for two.
One five-star review said: "We have been looking for exactly this thing for more than a year with no success until now. We have a narrow balcony that faces east, so we needed an umbrella 5 to 5 and a half feet wide, that tilts to block the morning sun. The othes we ordered from other places didn't tilt. This one does, and we are so happy with it that we bought two more for future use. Very well made, and it does what it says it will do."
If staking a beach umbrella in the sand never goes your way, bring an umbrella stand, too. Don't be alarmed; it only weighs four pounds. Plus, the stand opens open and acts as a vessel, helping you carry items you need to take with you both don't have the extra hands for. When you find your perfect location, fill the stand box with sand to anchor it. You can even add ice and drinks to use as a cooler if you want to really get creative. Insert the umbrella, and, voila, you have a safe and strong umbrella that can withstand 40mph winds.
"Thank you!" raved one happy customer. "Struggled with keeping my umbrella in the sand every year. The U-Stand is so convenient for me to carry to the beach empty and fill it with sand once I'm there."
The sun's rays can still pass through fabric; something to consider when choosing an umbrella. The good news, is that the nylon this style is constructed with will block 98 percent of those harmful rays. It also has vents that will help air to pass through, so you still get a good breeze. While a tripod stand might not be what you had in mind for your beach umbrella, this version has a built-in sand screw on either side for a super quick and secure setup. Cup holders and hooks on an adjustable accessory collar will keep all you need handy and away from the sand. This umbrella comes with a carry bag for simple transport from car to ocean. (These chic beach chairs will keep your butt comfy AF while you lounge, too.)
"This is my second purchase of the best free standing umbrellas," commented one happy customer who opted to use these multi-function umbrellas in her backyard, as well. "I bought two this time as I have them on my garden patio. They are perfect with my trees and plants. I'm amazed at the quality of the material my last one lasted for three years outside among my trees. I live by the beach so the extra new one is in my car always ready for a day of sunshine."
This is an all-in-one system that ensures your beach umbrella won't be swept up in an unpredictable wind gust. LIke magic, it secures itself without any stakes, screws, or digging. A tarp creates a pouch-like base that you fill with sand to defend the pole and umbrella against the wind. If this sounds complicated, it's actually not. In fact, the whole system weighs about the same as a gallon of milk and fits into an extra-large carrying bag with a padded strap and handle for comfort. (Related: The Only Beach Tents You Need for Staying Cool and Shaded This Summer)
One of the more than 2,000 five-star reviews said, "Everything about this product is of high quality; the umbrella is clearly built for both ease of use and durability. It takes about three minutes to set up and fill the base with sand, and once the base is filled, that umbrella isn't going anywhere. But it's not just the base that makes this umbrella so stable in high wind. The superstructure of the umbrella itself is heavy duty. A cheap umbrella will turn inside out in a high wind, no matter how stable the base is. This one will not. Yesterday I took this to the beach at St George Island, Florida, and it withstood a steady 20 mph wind for three hours — rock steady and needing no adjustment. Well worth the price. I can't recommend this umbrella more highly."
With its classic gingham print, this beach umbrella will mentally transport you to the Hamptons, no matter where you're vacationing. The canopy is water- and UV-resistant, so the color won't fade in one season, and is decked out with fringe. While you're relaxing on the shore, tilt the canopy in any direction to escape the intense sun, then carry the nine-pound umbrella home in the matching carrying case.
Solo beach trips are great, but if you usually goes in a group, you need a beach umbrella that is easy for your friends to spot in the crowded sand. How could anyone miss this over 6-foot rainbow option? The tilt mechanism allows you to adjust the angle with how the sun moves throughout the day. The canopy is fade-resistant and easy to clean, ensuring you will never lose those bright hues. More than 70 percent of the reviews on Amazon for this beach umbrella are an impressive five stars, so you can trust this purchase is tried and tested.
"This umbrella is legitimately one of the better ones out there," shared one review. "I took the umbrella for a spin for the first time to the beach just yesterday, and was impressed by the experience of setting it up. It comes with a plastic handle that is sturdy and lets you screw the pole into the sand faster, easier, and safer. Then, the grooves at the bottom of this pole are superior because this has thicker grooves, and once it's in the ground, you can't even turn it that much, it's already secure. Lastly, it started to get windy on the beach, and with my friend's umbrella, we had it almost a foot in the ground, but it still flew away. This beach umbrella stood the test of the wind, and was not budging at all. This is your ride or die beach umbrella, people. This umbrella is a game changer."
If the adjectives chic and glamorous are words that describe you as you show up to a day at the beach, this is the umbrella for you. No matter what watering hole you are heading to, whether in California, South Carolina, or New Jersey, this beach umbrella will transport you to the South of France. The fringe finish on the cotton canopy takes the style up a notch, and the wooden pole seals the deal providing a natural, effortlessly cool look. The beach umbrella comes with a carrying case with a strap for easy non-fussy transport, so you arrive at the sand looking put together with your giant shades and sun hat.
"Love the size and color of this beach umbrella," wrote one buyer. "The patio area by our pool is small. This fits perfectly and adds a Miami Beach resort vibe to our pool!" Another purchaser shared, "This is the dopest umbrella; it looks like the most luxurious one on the shore no question."
This beach umbrella is a perfect match for your animal-print swimsuit. The 6.5-foot canopy is designed with a golden leopard spots, and the cotton tassels give it a luxurious, spa-like vibe. Plus, the umbrella's polyester fabric offers UPF 50, so you won't burn to a crisp while you lounge underneath. (FTR, you'll still want to apply sunscreen to protect against sun damage.)
While not exactly a beach umbrealla, this pop-up tent-like option still offers a repreive from the sun's rays. It offers a quick and simple assembly and takedown, as well. Stakes and a tie-down cord keep this anchored while mesh windows on either side help provide better airflow and ventilation. The nylon material also has UPF 50 protection included to keep you doubly protected along with your sunscreen. Bring along some outdoor pillows to toss in to create a beach oasis as you slowly fall asleep for a nap while listening to the crashing waves. (Related: The Best Sunscreens Tested and Approved By Shape Editors)
One buyer quickly fell in love with this sun shelter, saying "I used this tent for the first time a couple of days ago, and I found myself staring at it with hearts in my eyes and talking about it over and over again to my friend! When folded it is compact and easy to carry with my backpack, cooler and chair. It pops open VERY easily and provides the shade we needed when we had enough of the sun. It is spacious! I can lay in it with my arms extended, which is something I didn't expect at all. The window is a great feature and definitely assisted with air circulation. It is the perfect place to nap comfortably (which I did for about a 1/2 hr)! Like many of the other reviewers, I had to practice closing it and that was somewhat of a challenge, but once I figured that out, it was easy, and I was able to effortlessly fold it and place it in its case on the beach without the embarrassment of it popping back open in my face. I highly recommend this tent to anyone looking for an easy, lightweight solution to a beach umbrella. I will never need an umbrella again!"
For those who take solo trips to the beach or have friends who are still sun-bathers, you might not find a traditional large umbrealla worth it. In that case, opt for this beach umbrella option that simply clips onto the back of your beach chair. The sleek, sporty style has a 4-way, 360-degree swivel to block rays no matter what direction they're coming at you from. It also folds down easily to store with your gear. This is also an excellent umbrella option for golf bags, strollers, and wheelchairs.
More than 20,000 buyers gave this beach umbrella a five star rating on Amazon, including one who commented, "This is such a great product! It made my trip to the beach absolutely perfect since I love being in the sun without the burn and heat. This provided the perfect shade without blocking any of the sun for my husband sitting right next to me. I got the XL size and glad I did; anything smaller would not have given me enough shade at the beach since it didn't provide shade for my legs. I did read some reviews that stated how it didn't hold up in the wind, but this was not my experience; it held up to the craziest wind at the beach and never once flipped backward. Very light-weight and easy to fold down and carry. The one con is maneuvering the umbrella to get the shade where you want it. I wish there was perhaps one more hinge to pivot the umbrella, particularing when the sun is not directly above."
Weighing just seven pounds, this beach umbrella is ideal if you're already carrying a heavy load to the shore. The canopy offers UPF 50 protection, is UV-resistant to prevent color fading, and can be set up in less than a minute. If the navy doesn't match your aesthetic, opt for the pink crew stripe, golden eyelet, or antique white pattern instead. (These kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards will help you make the most of your beach day.)
Turn your beach day into a tropical retreat with this tucan and floral-printed fringe canopy. The bright colors will make you feel like you are in the tropics, even if you are just 60 minutes away from home. This beach umbrella includes a heavy-duty pole system with easy locking and dismount into the sand. It also features air vent design to let some wind in to keep you cool on those super hot and humid summer days. (Related: Healthy Canned Wines, Cocktails, and Spiked Seltzers)
This positive review really nails all the benefits of this pretty beach umbrella: "I chose this umbrella because it comes with its own "spike" to put in the ground so you do not have to purchase that separately. The colors are very nice and bright as shown. Our day at the beach was disturbed by a big rain/wind storm. The umbrella served us well. I carried the umbrella on our long walk to and from the beach and it was not heavy at all. Very happy with it."
Not only is this affordable beach umbrella option under $40, but it's also a large option at a whopping seven feet. The polyester canopy is weather-resistant as well as UV- and fade-resistant. The bright blue color feels very beachy, as does the cute whale design on the trim. Don't let the large size fool you into thinking this beach umbrella will be difficult to transport; it folds up into a slim profile for relatively easy carrying.
"This beach umbrella is awesome!," commented one reviewer. "It's very sturdy, has UVF 50 to block rays, and it's 7ft! It provides plenty of shade for two people in chairs and a cooler at the beach. It holds up against the beach wind, and is very cute with the whale print on the flaps! Best investment to buy for shade at the beach, or park. Very satisfied!"
If you don't go anywhere without a crew, a standard beach umbrella isn't oging to cut it. To keep everyone covered, this cabana claims a big area on the beach, so get there early for enough prime sand. Multiple chairs can fit underneath, and you can even set up a picnic area or blanket for kids to play or nap. Sand pockets on each of the legs are what secures this canopy-style beach umbrealla down. It comes ina variety of prints and patterns, but you can't go wrong with retro blue and white stripes for nautical vibes by the water.
"I absolutely love this product," wrote one shopper. "After years of struggling keeping umbrellas up at the beach I finally purchased this product for my family. It is simple to use and compact enough to easily carry with my family in tow. It takes about two minutes total time to put up or down, which is great. We were at the beach on a very windy day and watched numerous umbrellas fly away. Our cool cabana didn't even seem to flinch under the wind conditions. My only regret is not buying this sooner."
A heavy-duty screw at the bottom of this beach umbrella's pole is what anchors it into the sand. Flip-down handles make it easier to drill into the ground, so you can get to relaxing as soon as possible. Vents in the top of the canopy help with wind tolerance if any sudden gusts appear. A button makes it a breeze to tilt the top when your sun starts to move, while the strong fiberglass and aluminum pole won't wobble, making this a beach umbrella you can revisit summer after summer. It offers up to UPF 50 protection from 99 percent of ultraviolet rays, as a great bonus. (Related: Does a "Base Tan" Really Protect You from Sunburns?)
The beach umbrella even outlasted brutal waves, one buyer shared. "This umbrella is totally awesome for the beach! We went on a windy day when most people had to put their umbrellas down. This was one of three that were able to stay up! Love it!"
If you're hosting a waterside party (or even just a backyard picnic), you'll want this 6.5-foot cabana to keep your guests cool. While it's not technically a beach umbrella, the cabana offers all the same features: The canvas is UV-, mold-, and water-treated, has a chic striped design with a fringe trim, and takes just two minutes to set up. And thanks to the matching carrying case, it's easier than you might think to bring this 16-pound cabana to the beach or park. (These portable hammocks offer the perfect seating no matter where you're mingling.)