For many families, a day in the sun is a day well spent. They make a list and check it twice to make sure they pack what truly makes a summer day for the history books: great music, even better food and the perfect blanket to lounge on.
Beach blankets are the perfect lightweight addition to your sun-day-fun-day roundup — and they aren’t just for when you’re hitting the sand. For a day at the park or a night with your boo under the stars, a beach blanket is a necessity.
Have three people or more in your crowd? Planning on using your blanket for more than just the beach? These options will fill every need for your days outdoors this summer — without you having to lug a chair down the sand.
Make a splash wherever you choose to go with these 12 unique beach blankets. Read on or use the links below to learn more.
Beach blanket vs. towel | What to look for | Best budget | Best overall, small | Best overall, large | Best lightweight | Most versatile | Best for families | Best for couples | Best waterproof | Best Turkish | How we chose | Meet our experts
What is the difference between a beach towel and a beach blanket?
Beach towels and blankets each have their distinct uses.
Kyle Ogilvie, marketing manager at outdoor gear company Kelty Pack, says that a beach blanket is often more spacious, more packable and less absorbent than a beach towel, which makes it ideal for lounging in the sand. Beach towels, on the other hand, are often more lightweight and portable than beach blankets, making them simpler to transport. Beach towels are also made to absorb water, making them perfect for drying off after a swim.
“The purpose of a beach blanket is to provide a place to land that keeps you and other beachgoers in your group off the sand,” Ogilvie says. “Beach blankets often have some level of waterproofing, whereas beach towels soak up water fast to dry you off post-swim.”
Furthermore, beach blankets are often bigger and thicker than towels, offering a comfy surface for lounging or sunbathing. And because they’re often water-resistant, they’re perfect for picnics and lounging on damp sand.
What should I look for in a beach blanket?
A quality beach blanket may make all the difference in an unforgettable summer beach day. When shopping for the best blanket for your lifestyle, there are a few key features to consider:
Our experts say the first thing you want to think about when choosing a beach blanket is the size of your group. Ogilvie advises to ask yourself, “Is it a solo beach day, or an outing with several friends? Even for beach days with just one to two people in your group, bigger is better for spreading out and keeping your things off the sand.”
Ogilvie suggests a beach blanket about the size of a queen-size bed sheet is best for larger groups to serve as a communal, sand-free landing zone.
Material makes all the difference when choosing a beach blanket. The key is to find a beach blanket that is absorbent but dries quickly. Frej Lewenhaupt, co-founder and CEO of Steamery, suggests a non-porous beach blanket because it’s less likely to trap sand and dirt. For those looking for beach blankets made of natural materials, the textile expert suggests cotton or linen.
“Linen fabric is typically lighter and less dense, which allows it to dry more rapidly as there is less material to retain moisture,” Lewenhaupt says. “Fabrics made of polyester or reinforced with synthetic material are often durable and quick-drying, and do not absorb much moisture,” he adds.
In addition to cotton or linen, Lewenhaupt suggests looking for terrycloth or microfiber, which is a blend of polyester and polyamide. He adds that Turkish cloth is also a great option for the beach because it’s quick-drying and lightweight.
Say goodbye to days of lugging heavy chairs to the beach — beach blankets’ lightweight material makes them easier to transport, no matter where you are. Lewenhaupt says the density and the absorption capacity of your beach blanket’s specific fabric will determine its weight.
To find your fabric’s weight, checking the GSM, or gram per square meter, is a good place to start. Towels and blankets with a higher GSM, Lewenhaupt says, typically means they’re thicker, but also heavier, softer and more absorbent. Beach blankets and towels average a GSM between 300 to 900.
Ogilvie suggests choosing a beach blanket that comes with a carrying tote, because it makes it easier to keep the rest of your gear sand and dirt-free.
Best budget beach blanket
Dimensions: 78 x 81 in. | Weight: 0.81 lbs. | Material: Rip-stop 210T polyester | Maintenance: Machine-washable
Who says quality had to come at a high cost? This $17 blanket from Amazon is a true bang for your buck. Its rip-stop 210T polyester, the same fabric used for parachutes, is proven to be durable. The blanket is also multifunctional and can be used as a rain shed, sun shade or tent. It can fit four to seven adults and is waterproof and sand proof.
It’s also garnered over 2,000 five-star reviews, with one reviewer noting, “Every time it got sand on it, I could simply wipe it off, and most of the time the breeze blew it off for me. It dries almost instantly when you get it wet so you aren’t laying on a wet beach towel all day.”
Best overall small beach blanket
Dimensions: 52 x 75 in. | Weight: 2.10 lbs. | Material: 100% recycled 30D rip-stop polyester fabric | Maintenance: Machine-washable, tumble-dry low
This puffy Rumpl waterproof blanket is perfect for your year-round solo outdoor adventures. For starters, it’s treated with a durable water repellant, making it highly water- and stain-resistant. The blanket is also eco-friendly: It’s made from 60 recycled bottles, and its larger version, which can fit two, is made from 100.
Rumpl’s cape clip (only available with this one-person model) gives you the option to go hands-free, perhaps to make an even cozier cocoon by a campfire, drink in hand. Plus, the blanket’s corner loops make it convenient to stake into the grown anywhere you go. The cherry on top: It comes with a water-resistant stuff sack.
Best overall large beach blanket
Dimensions: 120 x 108 in. | Weight: 1.6 lbs. | Material: 100% rip-stop nylon | Maintenance: Hand-wash only
The Sun Ninja Blanket gives you a lot of bang for your buck. It’s made of water-resistant breathable fabric that won’t hold moisture or sand. It’s also constructed from 100% ripstop nylon, meaning it’s made to last. The blanket is big enough for up to seven adults.
It also includes four stakes, but if you forget them on your next trip, it’s no problem: The four corner pockets of this beach blanket can be filled with sand to transform into anchors.
One reviewer reported, “Bought this blanket last minute for a family vacation to the lake, and it was the BEST! It is lightweight, soft and very large; six adults and three children had plenty of room.”
Best lightweight beach blanket
Dimensions: 79 x 60 in. | Weight: 1 lb. | Material: Acrylic | Maintenance: Machine-wash cold, air dry
Turn heads at the beach, park or lake with the stylish Scuddles Outdoor Blanket. The patterned cloth design is perfect for enjoying a picnic anywhere. Its backing is made from waterproof PEVA to keep out moisture, stains and sand, and with over 10,000 five-star reviews, it seems to be a fan favorite.
The blanket is lightweight, easy to refold and a breeze to carry with its carrying strap. To wash, use fabric softener on the cold, low spin setting and avoid using bleach. Reviewers also say air-drying works best.
Most versatile beach blanket
Dimensions: 74 x 55 in. | Weight: 0.75 lbs. | Material: 100% post-consumer recycled polyester | Maintenance: Machine-wash cold, tumble-dry low
Stargazing this summer? The Nomadix Puffer Blanket’s convenient snaps make the perfect camping option for snuggling up with your bae. Summer backpacking trip? No problem: The snaps on this puffer blanket go all the way around, turning it into a minimalist sleeping bag.
This blanket, which can fit one to two people, is sustainably made from 100% post-consumer recycled materials, and being temperature-rated to 50 degrees, it’ll keep you warm during chilly beach nights. (Note that the inner material is made of recycled polyester fill.)
Staff review: Nomadix Puffer Blanket
- "This is so lightweight: I end up going for this over my other regular beach blanket mainly because of that. I like that it can also be used as a sleeping blanket and a cloak — which I have not yet tried, but my boyfriend has definitely folded it in half to put his legs under during chilly days at the park. I also choose it a lot because it doesn't get dirty like my cloth blanket." — Fran Sales, associate SEO editor
Best beach blankets for small families
Dimensions: 62.25 x 65 in. | Weight: 3 lbs. | Material: 100% recycled polyester | Maintenance: Spot-clean
Step up your gifting this summer with this customizable Pottery Barn Kids beach blanket. It can fit up to three adults comfortably, and the recycled polyester construction makes this blanket durable and comfortable for years to come. The blanket features pretty stripes that are treated with environmentally safe yarn dyes. Plus, portability is no problem, thanks to its hook-and-loop fasteners and built-in shoulder strap.
Shop TODAY senior SEO editor Jess Bender says her older version of this blanket has gotten her family through a decade’s worth of trips to Montauk, and it’s still in good shape.
Best extra-large beach blanket
Dimensions: 120 x 120 in. | Weight: 0.75 lbs. | Material: 60% cotton, 40% bamboo | Maintenance: Machine-wash cold, tumble-dry low
This beach blanket from Big Blanket Co. takes size to a new level. This blanket is bigger than six beach towels combined and can hold large groups or families. It boasts over 100 square feet of space, and can comfortably fit four to eight adults.
One reviewer reported, “We are using it today at our local lake. It has two adult chairs, two kids’ chairs, a few bags on it and still has room for about three adults and a couple kids. This thing is amazing.”
This blanket is also sand-resistant and breathable for those long beach days. While it’s oversized, it’s also lightweight and rolls up to be incredibly compact.
Best beach blanket for couples
Dimensions: 63 x 63 in. | Weight: About 2 lbs. | Material: AbsorbLite™ fabric | Maintenance: Machine-wash cold, hang dry
This Australian-made beach blanket is so popular, it has over 41,000 five star reviews. Tesalate’s Bora Bora oversized beach blanket is double the size of its regular towels, perfect to fit you and your summer boo. The double-sided design is stylish, and the innovative AbsorbLite fabric cuts drying time in half. When it’s time to pack up, this beach blanket rolls up compactly and features a handy hook for easy storage after a day outside.
One review noted, “Not only do I live at the beach, I travel to Hawaii frequently, and I’m constantly fighting with the sand issue. I recently bought both the blanket and towel and brought it on a trip to Hawaii for the 4th [of July]. I’m obsessed! It’s such a great product. I think I might buy a few more!”
Best waterproof beach blanket
Dimensions: 83 x 78 in. | Weight: 1.09 lbs. | Material: Polyester | Maintenance: Hand-wash only
With its premium 210T parachute rip-stop polyester material, this durable blanket is the perfect companion for any adventure, whether you’re looking for beach shade or something to lounge on by the lake. Its sand-proof, waterproof and fast-drying material means you can leave sand where it belongs on the beach.
The blanket also features five zipper pockets so you can keep all your items safe while you hit the waves. Plus, the wind won’t be an issue, thanks to its four anchoring loops and six ground stakes. For a hassle-free pick-up, use the integrated drawstring storage bag included with the blanket.
Best Turkish beach blankets
Dimensions: 38 x 75 in. | Weight: Not provided | Material: Turkish cotton | Maintenance: Not provided
Stand out from the crowd with this monogrammable Turkish blanket from Mark & Graham. This reversible oversized striped blanket is woven from OEKO-TEX-certified 100% pure Turkish cotton and features a unique fringed, knotted border. It can also be used as a wrap or as a light throw, adding an extra bit of coziness wherever you go.
For a more personal touch, you can embroider a monogram on this blanket for an additional cost.
Dimensions: 70 x 70 in. | Weight: Not provided | Material: 100% organic cotton | Maintenance: Machine-wash cold, tumble-dry low
This TIMO & VIOLET Toujours Blanket is a favorite of Shop TODAY partnerships coordinator Sydney Weber. She and other pastel lovers can’t seem to get enough of this blanket’s jacquard stripes, backed with peacock blue terry for maximum absorbency.
Want to make this blanket more personalized? Email the company for a monogram option.
Dimensions: 68 x 69 in. | Weight: Not provided | Material: 100% cotton | Maintenance: Machine-wash warm with like colors, tumble dry
This Turkish beach blanket from Business & Pleasure Co. is perfect for an all-day beach trip. Plus, everyone gets a bit of shade, thanks to the stitched hole in the middle that can fit a large beach umbrella or cabana pole.
This breathable blanket is made of luxurious and soft 100% cotton, and it includes a leather and cotton carrying strap so you can conveniently carry your blanket to and from the beach.
One reviewer summed it up this way: “So pretty and washed beautifully! And it fits easily back into the carrying strap, which is so genius and makes it so easy to carry. Works perfectly with my navy umbrella for an ideal beach set up.”
Questions about beach blankets, answered by experts
How we chose the best beach blankets
We combed through customer reviews and spoke with outdoor experts to find the best of the best beach blankets that fit your entire family and are durable to last you many summers to come.
To guarantee that there is something for anyone and everyone spending time outdoors this summer, we made sure that our final selection contains quality products at different price points.
The Shop TODAY team is a group of bargain hunters, many of whom have even suggested their tried and true picks for this article.
Meet our experts
Frej Lewenhaupt is a textile expert and co-founder of clothing care company Steamery. He is a trained texting engineer and has a background in product development for the fashion industry. Lewenhaupt has a strong passion and knowledge of everything from textile fiber and design to tech.
Kyle Ogilvie is the marketing manager at Kelty Pack. He is an outdoor adventurer and enjoys camping, hiking and snowboarding in the great state of Colorado.