The 10 Best Beach Towels

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This wiki has been updated 31 times since it was first published in March of 2015. Why simply get dry when you can make a statement, too? If you're planning a family trip to somewhere tropical or just hanging out at the lake with your friends, be sure you take one of these stylish and absorbent beach towels. Whether round or a traditional rectangular shape, they are so eye-catching that you might find it difficult to hide them away in a closet when they're not being used. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Dandelion Textile Peshtemal

2. Packtowl Personal

3. AmazonBasics Premium

Editor's Notes

April 06, 2020:

At this time, the Coyuchi Mediterranean Bath Sheet has become hard to find, so we have opted to remove it. Not to worry, though, as the Dandelion Textile Peshtemal remains a great alternative for those who want a large yet lightweight Turkish-style option. It dries well and comes in a range of colors, making it an excellent choice for a variety of settings, such as your bathroom or the gym, in addition to the beach. Those who need something smaller might consider the Packtowl Personal, instead. This sports towel comes in several sizes that each pack down small, so you can easily pop one in your suitcase. They've got a loop in the corner for hanging, and they'll dry up to 70 percent faster than cotton, both huge benefits when you're on the go.

If both of the aforementioned options are too bland, design-wise, there's the AmazonBasics Premium or the Ricdecor Indian Mandala Round. The former comes in fun beach-themed options, including lobsters and anchors, while the latter sports gorgeous geometric prints. Or, for those who want something with a classic resort feel, there's the Utopia Towels 4-pack. They're affordably priced but not as robust as some, so be prepared to clean out the lint trap after you wash and dry them. And, finally, for kids there's the Northpoint Kids Hooded, a cute choice that makes it a cinch to get your little one dry from head to toe. "Little" is the key word here, though, as it's simply not big enough for children other than toddlers.

Special Honors

L.L.Bean Seaside Not only is the L.L.Bean Seaside large and long to please taller users, but it can even be monogrammed, making this a thoughtful, personalized gift for the beach lover in your life. Each is incredibly plush, whether you choose a plain striped version or something more fun, such as turtles or lobsters.

Coyuchi Malibu Organic The Coyuchi Malibu Organic manages to combine rugged durability with soft usability thanks to a blend of flat woven cotton and mini-loop terry. Just as the name suggests, it's made from organic materials that are skin-friendly, while your eyes are sure to love the handsome color-block stripes.

Tesalate Bohemian The Tesalate Bohemian is bound to draw a few looks, as its bright geometric pattern is luxurious and eye-catching, to say the least. Extra-large for two people, it can absorb up to a liter of water, yet it dries quickly so you aren't stuck with a wet surface for sitting on.

4. Cotton Craft Luxury for Two

5. Northpoint Kids Hooded

6. Dock & Bay Microfiber

7. Laguna Beach Textile Company Cabana

8. Ricdecor Indian Mandala Round

9. Star Wars Han Solo Carbonite

10. Utopia Towels 4-pack

Planning A Successful Trip To The Beach

Or are you headed to a rocky beach that's likely covered in many sharp, pointy stones and shells?

The five words "a day at the beach" call to mind the ultimate escape to pure, carefree relaxation and pleasure. When we think of the beach, we think of warm sunshine, cool surf, and hours to be spent at leisure. But, in fact, the amount of pleasure you derive from your time at the beach is directly proportional to how carefully you plan your visit. It might seem counter-intuitive, but unless you have a home mere steps from the shore, careful, even meticulous pre-planning is the best way to enjoy a truly carefree beach visit.

There are myriad factors to consider. For example, without adequate sun protection in the form of sunblock and, ideally, an umbrella or sun-shading structure, the sunshine can lead to burns, dehydration, and fatigue, none of which add to the fun. Always prepare to protect yourself and your family against prolonged sun exposure.

If food and drink is allowed on the beaches you attend, bring plenty of snacks and, more importantly, beverages. It's of critical importance that you stay well-hydrated while enjoying the sun and surf, and who wants to walk all the way back to the boardwalk or drive to a shop for a beverage when thirsty?

And then there is the terrain itself to consider. So ask yourself, will your day take you to a sandy beach that's likely to be pleasantly smooth and level? Will the sand be quite warm (aka too hot to touch with bare skin) in the sun? Or damp due to the tide? Or are you headed to a rocky beach that's likely covered in many sharp, pointy stones and shells? Or, like so many beaches, will this one feature varied terrain?

When it comes to comfort on the beach itself, your beach towel is an all-important catch-all tool; a good beach towel provides a place to sit or lie down in comfort, lets you store your stuff off the sand or stones when you're off swimming or playing volleyball, and, of course, it dries you off when you're wet with sweat or seawater.

Choosing The Right Beach Towel

If you use the term "beach towel" rather loosely and in fact are headed to the pool or cabana, then by all means choose a towel that is soft and luxuriant, made from pure cotton woven or spun into a thick terrycloth. These plush towels make a soft, welcoming spot for reclining on a lounge chair and can quickly dry you off after a dip in the pool.

These plush towels make a soft, welcoming spot for reclining on a lounge chair and can quickly dry you off after a dip in the pool.

But a soft, thick, 100 percent cotton towel -- or at least one spun for softness as opposed to one tightly woven for durability -- won't provide you much protection against a rough and rocky beach. These plush towels also tend to hold moisture for longer than other types of summertime towel, meaning they're not great for a long day involving many dips in the water.

For getting the most enjoyment out of your trip to the beach, consider a beach towel designed for the very elements you'll encounter there. Many beach towels feature "anti-sand" backing on one side, which usually consists of a tightly woven nylon that resists the cling of sand (wet sand included) meaning more comfort when you need to dry off and less sand shaken onto your beach site and its occupants.

This type of specialty towel offers another benefit, too: anti-sand towels mean more sand stays at the beach where it belongs instead of finding its way into your car or back home, where it seems nearly impossible to clean away every last grain.

Also, consider a beach towel (note that they're often referred to as a "beach blanket" when they are oversized) with pockets in the corners that can be filled with sand, stones, or sundry items to weigh them down, preventing a breeze from blowing your towel over. These weighted pockets are convenient for preventing your stuff from getting sandy or, on quite a gusty day, from losing your towel entirely.

And while you shouldn't machine wash a towel that's merely wet (unless it's soon be stored away), you should by all means deep clean a towel that's been soiled by spills, dirt, or heavy use.

Beach Towel Care And Maintenance

It might seem obvious, but it bears stating anyway: the more you use a beach towel, the faster the towel will wear down. How you use a towel has everything to do with its lifespan, though, and actually matters more than how often it is used.

For example, consider using a tightly woven, anti-sand-backed beach blanket to sit on while drying off with a separate terrycloth cotton towel. The plush cotton towel can't stand up to repeated use as a seat on the sand or rocks like the beach blanket can, but it will go through the washing machine many times without losing its softness or absorbent qualities. The beach blanket might need nothing but a good shaking after a long day of use, especially if it stayed relatively dry thanks to your other towels, which means minimal cleaning and a long lifespan.

Caring for your towels means, above all else, keeping them dry whenever possible. This is ideally accomplished by hanging them out in the breeze and in indirect sunlight. That combination prevents the wear-and-tear of the dryer and minimizes damage and fading from direct UV light.

Melissa Harr
Last updated by Melissa Harr

Melissa Harr is a language-obsessed writer from Chicagoland who holds both a bachelor of arts and master of arts in English. Although she began as a TEFL teacher, earning several teaching certificates and working in both Russia and Vietnam, she moved into freelance writing to satisfy her passion for the written word. She has published full-length courses and books in the realm of arts & crafts and DIY; in fact, most of her non-working time is spent knitting, cleaning, or committing acts of home improvement. Along with an extensive knowledge of tools, home goods, and crafts and organizational supplies, she has ample experience (okay, an obsession) with travel gear, luggage, and the electronics that make modern life more convenient.

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