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Best Overall: Dock & Bay Cabana Microfiber Beach Towel
Sure, sand in your toes is nice, but sand everywhere else? Not so much. If you’re tired of finding sand everywhere, The Dock & Bay Microfiber Beach Towel may be the best choice for you. This vibrant, retro towel is formulated to repel sand, making it easy to shake off and throw in the car. And if you like choices, the Dock & Bay has plenty of them—it comes in over ten colors and three sizes (large, x-large, and round). If you want a standard sized towel that’s easy to transport, the large works well at 63 x 31inches. It’s made of microfiber, and reviewers say this microfiber option can soak up just as much water as a traditional towel. If you want a great sand-repelling towel, this trendy item won't let you down.
Best Budget: AmazonBasics Cotton Beach Towel Cabana Stripe
If you’re looking for a simple beach towel that gets the job done and looks stylish at the same time, the AmazonBasics Cabana Stripe towel is a great choice. For a bargain price, you'll receive two matching striped towels made of 100 percent ring-spun cotton. They come in retro colors like navy blue, sky blue, yellow and mint green, so they’ll look great in that next beachside Instagram. Each one is slightly oversized (30 x 60 inches), making them the perfect size to wrap up in or toss over a chair.
While the AmazonBasics towel may not be the single highest quality towel on the market, the low price and good materials make it our pick for the best one overall. If you don’t know what you need, and you’re just looking for a great standard towel that will keep you dry and last a good amount of time, you can’t go wrong with this chic Cabana Stripe towel. Reviewers say it dries quickly and absorbs fast—and they’re soft and thick for ultimate comfort.
Best for Travel: WildHorn Outfitters Akumal Microfiber Beach Towel
If you're getting ready for a tropical vacation and trying to pack light, a travel beach towel may be a better choice for you. WildHorn Outfitters Akumal Microfiber Beach Towel is a compact miracle, taking up just 10 x 3.5 inches when stowed in its own travel bag. Though it’s small enough so that it won’t compromise souvenir space, it’s very effective when put to the test. Made of microfiber, the Akumal towel is 35 x 75 inches and holds up to four times its weight (one pound) in water. It comes in six water-inspired colors like “zen blue” and “port navy.”
Reviewers love how quickly the Akumal towel dries, stating that it wicks water and dries off within a few minutes. If your beach days require a lot of travel, the Akumal towel is a great choice for a fast-drying, compact towel you’ll use over and over again.
Best Turkish: Brooklinen Hammam Towel
Turkish towels are a great choice for the pool or beach because they're lightweight, more absorbent than other types of cotton, and quick to dry. We love Brooklinen's Hammam Towels because they come in five colors and the lightweight, absorbent material will dry in record time.
Made from 95 percent Turkish cotton (and just a little bit of polyester) with hand tied fringe, these gorgeous towels can also double as a summer scarf, wrap, or cover-up. You can even use them as bath towels because they're so easy to care for! All things considered, if you're looking for a stylish towel that absorbs water quickly and has a wide range of utilities, Brooklinen's Hammam Towels are a clear winner.
Best Oversized: WildHorn Outfitters Sand Escape Beach Blanket
If you need a beach blanket that’s big enough to fit the whole family plus your favorite beach toys, the WildHorn Outfitters Sand Escape Beach Blanket is the best option. This oversized blanket is 20 percent larger than most beach blankets, measuring an impressive 9 x 7 feet. To make traveling a little bit easier, it comes with an integrated stuff sack with compression straps so you can stash it in your beach tote at the end of the day. Crafted from light and durable parachute nylon, the WildHorn blanket also has plenty of storage space (in the form of pockets) for your sunglasses, keys, and other beach items. Even though this blanket is lighter than most, it has four sand anchor pockets to help weigh it down. Choose from five different tropical colors.
Best for Kids: Stephen Joseph Hooded Towel
Convincing your children that it’s time to leave the beach can be a difficult task, but this adorable Stephen Joseph hooded towel may make drying off to go home a little more fun. It comes in four designs, including a shark, alligator, crab, and pirate. Each one has different details, like fins or claws that will make your child feel like he or she is playing dress-up each time it’s used. The towel is made from 100 percent cotton and runs 46 x 23.5 inches, not including the hood.
Reviewers say the size is great for children under 8 years old, and rave about how quickly it absorbs water. It’s so adorable you’ll want to buy a second one for bath time. And if you’re looking for a cute towel to give as a gift, you can't go wrong with this option.
Best for Toddlers: Skip Hop Central Park Convertible Outdoor Blanket
Bringing your littlest one to the beach? The Skip Hop Central Park Outdoor Blanket and Detachable Cooler Bag is a spacious, durable blanket that you'll definitely want to take with you! This 5 x 5-foot blanket provides plenty of room for babies and toddlers to crawl (or walk!) around, and the material is washable so you'll never have to worry about staining. The cushioned surface can also be wiped down if there's a small spill. Unlike other bags on this list, it boasts a detachable cooler bag that's big enough to store snacks, juice boxes, car keys, sunscreen, and anything else that you might need for your day outdoors. When it's fully detached you can use it as a messenger bag for trips to the bathroom or the car. Users rave about the material and quality of this bag, saying it's easy to hose down after a long day at the beach and comfortable to lounge on.
Our reviewers spent 15 hours testing one of the most popular beach towels out there. To make sure we’re getting the most well-rounded results, we had our testers take this towel to the beach themselves and consider its most important features, from softness to absorbency. We’ve outlined the most important takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in a Beach Towel
Look for 100 percent cotton towels — Egyptian cotton, Pima or Supima cotton, and Turkish cotton. This material is soft and much more absorbent than synthetic alternatives like polyester. Cotton blends sit somewhere in the middle of the pack — they’re less expensive, but still absorbent enough.
Take a look at the way the towel is stitched before making your purchase. If it has short loops, that indicates that the towel will dry faster. It also means the towel is less likely to snag. Densely woven edges — called selvage edges — is also an indication of durability. This type of stitching prevents the towel from fraying over time.
Though you want bath towels to have a high GSM (grams per square meter), beach towels should have a slightly lower GSM — somewhere between 400 to 600 is ideal. These towels will still be very absorbent and soft but will dry quickly and be light enough to tote. Anything less will be too thin and lack absorbency.