The best beach towels to buy in 2019

Plus, dozens of other great towels for every budget.
/ Source: TODAY
By Colleen Sullivan

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If you’re looking to buy a new beach towel, you’ve picked a good time. Today’s options include features that feel like they’ve been sent from the future. From fabrics that are fast-drying and contain UV protection to built-in technology that repels sand, who said anything about basic towels?

To help you find the perfect one, we asked design experts for their top picks, and then added a few of our personal favorites. With prices starting at $10 and summer in full swing, there’s no better time to stake out a spot in the sand or by the pool and show off your new towel.

1. The towel with “extra leg room”

Made of 100% cotton, this beach towel has a flatweave edging so it won’t snag or unravel, and is 78 inches long, giving your legs extra room to stretch out. Plus, it’s got a 50+ UPF to protect your body from the sun’s rays. Bonus: For an extra $8 dollars, you can have it monogrammed up to 10 characters.

2. The photorealistic wave towel

“Made in collaboration with photographer Clark Little, this luxurious beach towel replicates a photograph featuring the aftermath of a large wave breaking. It’s super absorbent, dries quickly, and is made from 100% recycled materials,” said interior designer Ryan White, founder of Ryan White Designs in Los Angeles.

3. The hands-free towel

This blue and white striped beach towel makes going to and from the beach a breeze, thanks to the attached straps. Simply roll up the towel at the end of the day and snap the ties into place for stress-free carrying.

4. The fancy fringed towel

Lighten up any beach load with this towel weighing in at less than 1 pound. Made of 100% Aegean cotton, the jacquard-woven pattern comes with a looped terry cotton back along with a pretty hand-knotted fringe.

5. The throwback pattern towel

With a nod to the ‘70s, this colorful honeycomb-patterned beach towel is made from 100% Turkish cotton, giving it a fluffy feel that’s super soft against the skin.

6. The lucky pineapple towel

Made of 100% cotton, this towel will pop in the sand thanks to its bright green pineapples and whimsical turquoise tassels. Certified Oeko-Tex, everything from the dyes to fabric have been produced without the use of harmful chemicals.

7. The beach buoy towel

This turquoise beach towel was designed in collaboration with Malin Unnborn and Lotta Kühlhorn, Swedish designers known for their geometric, bold, and graphic looks. Made of a soft terrycloth, it dries quickly after a dip in the pool or ocean.

8. The fade-proof towel

This stripped cotton beach towel is made from yarn-dyed dobby velour cotton, where individual strands of yarn are colored before being woven into the fabric, giving it a soft feel and making it less likely to fade.

9. The sunset-inspired towel

“I love the saturated orange and pink hues in this beach towel because they remind me of a sunset in an exotic locale, making a regular beach day feel like a getaway,” said interior designer Karen Vidal, owner of Vidal Design in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, California.

10. The towel and backpack combo

This beach bag covered in pineapples opens up into a towel and when the day is over, transforms back into a bag where you can store items like sunscreen and cellphones. The backpack-style straps free up your hands so you can hold other beach items, like chairs and coolers.

11. The lightweight Turkish towel

This Turkish beach towel is made with a yarn-dyed cotton, meaning it’s been dyed before weaving for long-lasting color and softness. It’s also Oeko-Tex approved, certifying the fabric was made without harmful chemicals.

12. The sand-resistant towel

Each beach towel is made of two layers of polyester fabric, so sand falls right through the weave — piles of it can simply be brushed through the towel using your hand. Bonus: It comes with a hanging loop for easy storage.

13. The striped set

Here’s a great deal: four beach towels for less than $40 dollars! Made of a yarn that’s specially spun to produce a stronger, longer cotton strand, these towels feature double-stitched hems for long-lasting durability. Colors include yellow, red, blue and turquoise.

14. The reversible towel

This striped beach towel is specially woven for use on both sides, and made with a dyed yarn that holds color after multiple washings and days in the sun. Speaking of color, this one comes in four: aqua and yellow, black, navy, and red and navy — all of which can be monogrammed for $10.

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15. The playful popsicle towel

Popsicles that won’t melt in the heat! Designed in collaboration with Swedish designer Malin Unnborn, this beach towel will dry you off quickly thanks to its absorbent terrycloth fabric.

16. The round towel with an environmentally friendly lineage

Made of 100% cotton, this round eco-friendly beach towel features gem-like shapes and a delicate white fringe around the edge. Sourcing cotton through the Better Cotton Initiative promises that the cotton fiber is grown following six environmental management principles, including efficient water use and concern for soil quality.

17. The beach blanket

Throw this towel over your legs or shoulders — with a UPF of 50+, you’ll be protected against burning. But the mix of cotton, spandex and viscose means it’s not chlorine or saltwater-friendly, so be sure to only use it as a cover-up, not post-swim.

18. The watermelon-inspired towel

The ombre stripes on this very affordable beach towel go from pink to green or green to pink depending on which way you’re lying in the sand. Made from 100% cotton, it absorbs water quickly after a dip in the sea or pool.

19. The monogram-friendly beach towel

Made of pure Turkish cotton, these oversized cabana striped beach towels guarantee you extra space in the sand. For an additional $7, you can have them monogrammed.

20. The beach towel that's also a sarong

This 100% cotton Turkish towel with hand-knotted fringe detail, absorbs water and dries quickly, and can be used as a sarong or shawl. It only weighs a pound, making it lightweight to tote.

21. The six-piece set

If you’re looking for some unique summer hostess gifts (or want to supply your whole family with beach towels), this set of six handmade Turkish beach towels (at $13 each) are a great choice and come in a variety of colors including blue, navy, gray, orange, mint and red.

22. The shady pineapple towel

This is one cool pineapple at a great price. The 100% cotton beach towel is Oeko-Tex certified which means everything from the dyes to fabric have been certified free of harmful chemicals.

23. The elegant beach towel

With its elegant gray damask print, this Turkish cotton beach towel can double as a travel blanket or sofa throw after the summer is over.

24. The towel that's also a reminder of your summer motto

This oversized towel with woven finished edges will put a smile on your face with its cheerful message. Bonus: Ten percent of all profits go to the Life Is Good Kids Foundation.

25. The multicolor palm-patterned towel

Go wild at the beach with this jungle-themed cotton-velour towel. It uses reactive dyes that yield bright colors that won’t fade after washing or exposure to the sun.

26. The kaleidescope beach towel

Round beach towels are having a moment, and this cotton towel will have you standing out in the sand with its geometric shapes and soft tassel trim.

27. The tropical flower towel

This beach towel, covered in tropical purple and pink hibiscus flowers, pairs perfectly with the sea no matter where you lay your towel.

28. The patriotic towel

Show off your American spirit all summer long with this standard sized beach towel that fits comfortably in your bag. It’s made with fiber reactive dye so it can withstand multiple washings and still hold onto its color.

29. The towel for little mermaids

Created by fashion designers Emily Current and Meritt Elliott, this mermaid-shaped beach towel operates just like a sleeping bag except in the case, kids slip their bodies into the opening of the mermaid’s head. The fabric’s UPF of 50+ means they’re getting extra sun protection as well.

30. The Joanna Gaines-approved beach towel

Made of terry cotton with pretty fringe detailing, this oversized square-shaped beach towel would fit right in at the Gaines family’s farm house — which makes perfect sense because it was designed by the “Fixer Upper” stars as part of their collection for Target.

31. The rainbow bright towel

This 100% cotton beach towel is not only super soft and colorful, it’s Oeko-Tex certified, meaning everything from the dyes to the fabric have been verified as free from harmful chemicals, plus it has a UPF of 50+ to guard against burning rays.

32. The fair trade cotton towel

The sunny yellow and white striping on this oversized beach towel will stand out on any beach or by any pool. The super absorbent 100% cotton towel is certified Global Organic Textile Standard, indicating the manufacturer has limited the use of toxic bleach, dyes and other chemicals during production.

33. The towel that's just really pretty

Featuring wavy stripes of synchronized swimmers, this beach towel was designed by famed illustrator Emily Isabella.

34. The classic striped towel

This wide-striped beach towel has a flat-woven cotton front with a looped terry back, giving it a fluffy feel against the skin. It comes in five colors, including charcoal, indigo, coral, linen and seaglass.

35. The towel that encourages you to "Go Coconuts"

If you like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain ... um, we mean the sun ... then this larger-than-average beach towel is for you! Bonus: It reverses to a blue and white stripe.

36. The nautical twist

“I love this classic striped beach towel — it’s made of plush Turkish cotton, available in six bold colors, and comes with a fun hand-knotted fringe,” said interior designer Beth Donnor, owner of Beth Donner Designs in Melville, New York.

37. The towel for couples

This beach blanket was made for two people. Created out of 100% cotton, its 4-inch bright orange border and colorful blue, yellow and green hues will have you on island time before you even step on the sand.

38. The boho beach vibe towel

“This beach towel is lightweight, super absorbent and quick drying. Plus, the 80% polyester, 20% polyamide blend is designed to repel sand. It’s generously sized and comes in a bright and bold diamond pattern,” said interior designer Melissa Fenigstein, founder of New Age Interiors, Syosset, New York.

39. When life gives you lemons ...

This large beach towel is made of an anti-fade yarn-dyed cotton and the lemons are raised off the fabric to help absorb moisture quickly.

40. Bring the Mediterranean to the U.S.

“Made of 100% organic cotton, these beach towels are lightweight, fast drying, and can be used as a wrap or even a table cover in a pinch! They’re very cabana looking without all the weight and thickness of a traditional beach towel,” said interior designer Betty Wasserman, owner of Betty Wasserman Art & Interiors in New York City.

41. The denim-inspired towel

“My favorite beach towel comes from Turkey. It’s lightweight, takes up little space in your bag, and dries quickly. It can also double up as a beautiful coverup,” said interior designer Sofia Joelsson, owner of Sofia Joelsson Design in Miami, Florida.

42. The retro vibe towel

“This chic, quick-drying beach towel adds fun to any beach day! It’s more expensive than your typical towel, but that’s because it’s created out of a super soft Portuguese cotton. Plus it's oversized, making it perfect for lounging in the sand,” said interior designer Fawn Galli, owner of Fawn Galli Interiors in New York City.

43. The towel that belongs on a mega-yacht

“Sure it’s pricy, but the quality of this terry cloth is unsurpassed — it’ll outlast every beach towel you'll ever own. Thick, absorbent, and beyond durable, it comes in four vivid summer colors including red, gold, white, and steel, as well as in two different sizes,” said interior designer David Scott, owner of David Scott Interiors in New York City.

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