The Best Beach Towels to Pack for Your Next Vacation
From personalized to sand-free, these are the beach towels we're obsessed with this summer.
Our Top Beach Towel Picks
- Best for Travel: The Beach People Gingham Travel Towel
- Best Under-Umbrella: Business & Pleasure Co. Beach Blanket
- Best Poncho: Mark & Graham Kids' Hooded Beach Towel
- Best Terry Cloth: Brooklinen Artist Series Beach Towel
- Best Set: Great Bay Home Large Beach Towel Set
- Best Sand-Free: Sand Cloud Beach Towel
- Best Personalized: Mark & Graham Classic Stripe Beach Towel
- Best Turkish: Bay Laurel Turkish Beach Towel
- Best Round: Dock & Bay Quick-Dry Round Beach Towel
- Best Budget: Amazon Basics Cabana Stripe Beach Towel Set
What are the makings of a perfect beach towel, you ask? We have a few must-have factors when making your shopping shortlist for vacation.
The perfect beach towel is plush to the touch yet ultra-absorbent when drying off after a swim. It stows seamlessly in your beach bag, then is surprisingly roomy when you unroll it for the day. Sand does not stick to any of its nooks, crannies or tassel trim, and you never find any unsightly lint stuck to you after your seaside siesta.
What is the best beach towel for you? That depends on your idea of the perfect beach day. Are you splurging on a plush, personalized towel to take on your honeymoon or buying in bulk for your family vacation? Do you plan to sunbathe solo, chase your little ones in the sand or enjoy a picnic lunch with your partner?
Whatever your idyllic day by the sea may be, we have just what you need. Read on to get the 4-1-1 on how to pick the perfect beach towel for your family, then shop the best beach towels for every budget, lifestyle and activity in the links below.
What to Look for in a Beach Towel
ABSORBENCY: Absorbency is the cornerstone of all phenomenal beach towels because, let’s face it, no one enjoys the feeling of drying off with a damp, sand-ridden towel after an afternoon dip. Water-absorbent towels are quick-drying and ensure your family has a comfortable spot to stretch out under the sun or dry off before heading to your vacation rental for lunch. Popular water-absorbent towel materials include terrycloth, cotton or polyester blend.
THICKNESS: Beach towel thickness is measured in GSM or grams per square meter. GSM refers to the weight of the fabric, and the higher the number, the thicker the towel. The sweet spot for beach towels is typically between 400 and 600 GSM. This mid-range thickness level produces beach towels that are both highly absorbent and fast-drying. Towels with lower GSM are less durable and unlikely to last for more than a couple of seasons, while towels with higher GSM are heavy, hold onto water and take much longer to dry.
SIZE: The best beach towel offers ample space to lay out and relax without your feet dangling off the edge into the piping-hot sand. Sidestep the steaming toes by treating yourself to beach towels that measure at least 30 inches wide and 60 inches long. Want even more room to spread out or set up a picnic lunch? Invest in a few oversized beach towel options measuring 50 x 70 inches.
Keeping absorbency, thickness, size and ratings in mind, we researched the top beach towels for your next vacation. Shop our top picks in the links below.
Chronic over-packers, rejoice! We tracked down the ultimate travel-friendly beach towel to keep your checked bags within the weight limit. The gingham travel towel from The Beach People weighs 1.5 pounds while simultaneously measuring 60-by-60 inches. You have plenty of space to enjoy a seaside picnic with your family and, most importantly? You have some wiggle room in your luggage to pack those extra sundresses before hitting that sweet spot that requires you to unzip and consolidate all your belongings into carry-ons when checking your bag.
Escape the sun for lunch or lounge on your vacation from the comfort of this savvy under-umbrella beach towel from Business & Pleasure. The retro-style towel measures 66-by-66 inches, offering ample sand-free space for your entire family to catch some shade. The best part is that each towel comes with a hole at the center to accommodate your beach umbrella, avoiding all the messy bunching and awkward gaps between standard towels.
Parents, you need to add this cozy kids’ poncho beach towel to your cart. These plush ponchos are hand-loomed with absorbent Turkish cotton and come in four classic hues: navy, blush, pale blue or yellow. And be sure to take advantage of the optional embroidered personalization and add their name as an extra-special touch.
If laying around in a wet swimsuit gives you the icks, this terry cloth towel from the Artist Series collection at Brooklinen is the way to go. The imaginative beach towel collection includes three unique and lively motifs inspired by New York City. Each towel features a velvety velour front and an ultra-absorbent terry cloth backing designed to get you cozy and dry in no time.
If you're hunting for a top-rated — but budget-friendly — beach towel bundle for your family, you found it. The Great Bay Home's cabana stripe beach towel set from Amazon includes four ultra-soft beach towels in your choice of pale blue, gold or light gray finish. The lightweight towels measure 30-by-60 inches to comfortably bundle up between swims. Plus, the bundle has rows and rows of glowing reviews stating how well the towels wear after washing and the enduring quality of the design.
Love the ocean but hate the sand? While we can't eliminate that issue for you, we can share our secret to combatting the grains on our beach excursions: Sand Cloud. The pros at Sand Cloud make beach days as sand-free as possible with their top-rated Turkish cotton beach towels. The unique sand-resistant beach towel will keep you comfortable while soaking up the sun or eating a picnic lunch after a quick morning dip. Plus, we gave the Sand Cloud towel an in-depth review to give you even more information before taking the plunge on this purchase. Check out our review on several Sand Cloud beach towels.
Never met a monogram you didn’t like? Go ahead and add this classic coastal-stripe beach towel to your cart ASAP. The buttery-soft Turkish cotton towel features hand-knotted tassel trim on each end and a mix of wide and narrow white stripes against one of six beachy colors: orchid, red, turquoise, navy, sky blue or yellow. Give your beach towel a personal touch with your pick of 19 unique monogram designs and seven personalization styles.
The top-rated Bay Laurel Turkish towel is tried-and-true with over 6,000 rave reviews with a 4.6-star rating. In other words, it's the beach towel of your dreams. The oversized towel measures 39-by-71 inches to provide generous space to lounge about on your beach day. Plus, it's quick-drying, sand-proof and includes a travel-ready drawstring bag so you can throw it in a carry-on before you head out the door. Snag a Turkish towel for your next beach trip in your choice of 40 unique color and stripe finishes.
Think outside the box (er, rectangle) when searching for your perfect beach towel. This organic and quick-dry beach towel from Dock & Bay breaks the norm with a unique round silhouette. Each towel features sand-repellent technology to provide a comfortable spot to stretch out after splashing around during the day. Another plus? Its classic cabana stripes make the round beach towel easy to spot in a crowd. Snag the nautical navy-and-white combination or opt for one of the more colorful options like pastel rainbow or pale pink.
The Amazon Basics Cabana Stripe Beach Towel pack is our top pick for anyone and on any budget. The two-pack cabana stripe towel set has more than 10,000 positive reviews, with 74 percent of those customers giving this product a perfect rating. Sure, we could gush about the towel set’s ultra-plush material, top-quality construction and the chic stripe motif but let’s face it, the five-star customer ratings speak for themselves. Snag your pair in charcoal, navy or gold stripes.