The best beach towels

Beach

While you may reach for your beach towel every time you head to the coast, keep in mind that it’s also useful when hanging out around the pool.

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Beach towels

A towel is as essential to an enjoyable beach day as the sun and sand. You need it for drying off after a splash in the waves, or to spread out and lounge as you relax on the shore. However, not all towels are made to accommodate beach activities. To make the most of the sun and surf, you need a beach towel.

Beach towels are made for maximum absorbency and portability, and they’re larger than standard bath towels. They come in different designs, colors and patterns. 

Why should I use a beach towel?

You may be tempted to grab a bath towel as you pack for a beach trip, but chances are it will disappoint you, regardless of how you use it at the shore. Regular bath towels differ from beach towels in several ways that make them impractical for beach-time use.

Beach towel size

There’s a significant size difference between bath towels and beach towels. A typical bath towel measures approximately 27 x 52 inches (9.75 square feet), which comes up short when relaxing on it in the sand or wrapping it around you after spending time in the water. 

On average, beach towels measure between 30 x 60 inches (12.5 square feet) to around 35 x 78 inches (19 square feet), which provides enough material for lounging and drying.

Beach towel design

As you stroll along the shore when it’s packed with beachgoers, it’s not just the size of beach towels that stands out. The majority of them are bright and colorful or have fun themes that fit the atmosphere of a leisurely beach excursion. Beach towels with unique shapes are also available, including round and extra-large options. Their bright and unique designs make it easy to find your spot on the beach. With subdued styling fit for bathrooms, bath towel designs aren’t very beach-worthy. 

Portability of beach towels

Beach towels are easy to fold or roll up, so stashing one in your beach bag is no problem. Although absorbent, they’re typically made of material that’s a bit thinner than a standard bath towel, so they take up less space. Another upside of the thinner fabric is that it dries fairly quickly, so you don’t have to tote around a sopping wet towel.

Beach towel materials

Microfiber, cotton blends and natural cotton are the three main materials used to make beach towels. Each one is absorbent, provides a barrier between the sand and the occupant and releases sand easily when it’s time to head home. However, there are a few differences to consider before you buy.

Microfiber beach towels

Microfiber is a synthetic material that has many purposes and textures, but when it’s used to make towels, it’s usually extremely soft. Because of the softness, this type of beach towel is great for beach enthusiasts who prefer to relax on it in the sand. Although microfiber can be lacking in absorbency, it dries quickly and generally holds up well to laundering.

Cotton beach towels

Cotton is known for being highly absorbent, long-lasting and natural. The downside of the absorbency, however, is that a beach towel made of cotton takes a little time to air dry. There’s also a chance it may shrink if you aren’t careful when tossing it the washer and dryer.

Cotton-blend beach towels

Beach towels that are crafted of a mixture of cotton and other materials stand out in terms of affordability. While they may not last as long as their cotton and microfiber counterparts, they’re great for those hitting the beach scene on a budget.

Oversized beach towels

Patagonia Organic Cotton Towel

Patagonia Organic Cotton Towel 

This is a durable beach towel made of organic cotton that’s exceptionally absorbent. It’s available in several bold prints and offers the quality you’d expect from Patagonia. 

Available at Backcountry

Akumal Microfiber Beach Towel

WildHorn Outfitters Akumal Microfiber Beach Towel

This beach towel is made of soft microfiber material that’s reasonably absorbent and dries fast. Choose from six appealing patterns in bright colors. 

Available at Amazon

Lands’ End Kids' Swirl Tie Dye Beach Towel

Lands’ End Kids’ Swirl Tie Dye Beach Towel 

With the slightly scaled-down size of 32 x 64 inches, this beach towel is a good choice for a child. It comes in a choice of two color schemes with a fun tie-dye pattern. 

Available at Kohl’s

Smyrna Vintage Series Original Turkish Beach Towel

Smyrna Vintage Series Original Turkish Beach Towel

Smyrna’s original Turkish beach towels are available in many attractive solid colors. The organic cotton construction is lightweight, absorbent and quick-drying. 

Available at Amazon

The Big One Beach Towel

The Big One Beach Towel 

It’s affordable, and this beach towel is made of quick-drying Turkish cotton that’s machine-washable. It has a bold, reversible pattern and folds easily for transport. 

Available at Kohl’s

Enchante Home Starfish Turkish Cotton Round Beach Towel

Enchante Home Starfish Turkish Cotton Round Beach Towel 

With fringe trim, a starfish theme and round construction, this unique beach towel is sure to attract compliments. It’s lightweight and easy to transport, and it offers two-ply cotton material that encourages relaxing on the shore. 

Available at Bed Bath & Beyond and Amazon

Genovega Round Beach Towel

Genovega Round Beach Towel 

This round towel offers plenty of space for two people when lounging on the beach. The microfiber material is soft and doesn’t take long to dry when wet. 

Available at Amazon

Destination Summer Seashells Beach Towel

Destination Summer Seashells Beach Towel

This towel stands out for its reversible seashell pattern that’s perfect any day at the beach. It features quality stitching and holds up well to repeated laundering. 

Available at Bed Bath & Beyond and Amazon

Kaufman Sand-Free Fouta Stripe Beach Towel Set

Kaufman Sand-Free Fouta Stripe Beach Towel Set

These towels are crafted of cotton with a sleek finish that resists sand sticking to the surface. A pack of four is a solid deal. 

Available at Amazon

Bdsign Oversized Microfiber Beach Towel

Bdsign Oversized Microfiber Beach Towel 

You’ll like this beach towel’s lightweight construction that makes it easy to fold and carry in a beach tote. It’s made of soft microfiber material that’s comfortable to relax on and dries fast after a dip in the ocean. 

Available at Amazon

CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel

CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel 

These sand-free towels are made of polyester that doesn’t trap sand in the fibers and dries fast. They feature a loop for storage when rolled up after use. 

Available at Dick’s Sporting Goods and Amazon

Lacoste Chroma Cotton Stripe Logo Beach Towel

Lacoste Chroma Cotton Stripe Logo Beach Towel 

We love that this towel has two textures — a terry side for drying off and a plush soft side for lounging. It’s made of 100% cotton that does a good job absorbing moisture. 

Available at Macy’s

Welhome Cabana Beach Towels

Welhome Cabana Beach Towels

This pair of thirsty towels is available in a choice of bold, beachy colors. The towels fold neatly for stashing in a beach bag and are made entirely of highly absorbent cotton. 

Available at Amazon

Montsegur 6-Piece Cotton Beach Towel Set

Rosecliff Heights Montsegur 6-Piece Cotton Beach Towel Set

This set is ideal for groups heading to the beach, as it includes six cotton beach towels for a reasonable price. Each striped towel is a different color for easy identification. 

Available at Wayfair

Superior Cotton Luxury Oversized Beach Towel

Superior Cotton Luxury Oversized Beach Towel 

Whether you need a beach towel for drying off or relaxing on shore, this cotton towel’s terry and velour sides make it a versatile option for beach day fun. The polka dots make a fun design for a day in the sun. The towel is also easy to wash at home.

Available at Amazon

 

Jennifer Manfrin is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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