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42 best beach towels to buy in 2021

Plus, dozens of other great towels for every budget.
Image of a Woman sitting on the beach sitting on her pink striped beach towel
TODAY Illustration / martin-dm / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

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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 around the corner, 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 percent 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 artistic towel

This oversized option uses the iconic woodblock print The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai. The beach towel has a microfiber front and cotton terry cloth back for extra absorbency and is currently 20 percent off.

3. The hands-free towel

This pink and white striped beach towel makes going to and from the beach a breeze, thanks to the attached straps. Simply fold up the towel at the end of the day to transform it back into its bag form for stress-free carrying.

4. The fancy fringed towel

Lighten up any beach load with this lightweight and fast-drying towel. It is made of 100 percent hand-loomed Turkish cotton and features delicate knotted fringe at the ends to bring an added sophistication to your beach (or picnic) outings.

5. The throwback pattern towel

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

6. The lucky pineapple towel

This towel will pop in the sand thanks to its novelty pineapple print mixed with classic stripes. And thanks to its microfiber material, it is super absorbent for when you're drying off from the pool or the ocean.

7. The tie-dye towel

This towel from Pottery Barn Teen is made with UPF 50+ material to protect you from the sun and is Oeko-Tex certified, meaning it is free of potentially hazardous chemicals. This beach pick is as practical as it is trendy.

8. The fade-proof towel

The 100 percent cotton option is the perfect solo towel. It measures 36” by 68” and won’t fade no matter how many times you throw it in the wash.

9. The sunset-inspired towel

Channel a tropical vacation sunset with the orange and pink hues in this beach towel regardless of where you are.

10. The towel and bag combo

This playful pink striped towel folds into a bag so you can carry all of your sunscreen and snacks with ease. It also boasts sand-free technology, meaning a mess is one thing you won't be carrying back to your car.

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 velour and cotton blend, these towels are incredibly soft, though it is recommended to not use fabric softener when washing to prevent fabric breakdown. Colors include yellow, red, blue and purple.

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 $12.

15. The playful popsicle towel

Popsicles that won’t melt in the heat! And this beach towel will dry you off quickly thanks to its absorbent cotton terry cloth fabric.

16. The round towel

Made of 100 percent cotton, this unique round UPF 50+ beach towel features tropical flowers and a delicate white fringe around the edge.

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

This eco-friendly and sand-resistant towel is inspired by summer's favorite fruit: watermelon. Made from 100 percent 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 dress

This 100 percent cotton towel with tie-back feature absorbs water and dries quickly, meaning you can wear it as a dress to the beach, take a quick dip and dry off in enough time to wear it back home. Plus, its tight weave means sand won't stick.

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 xx-large Turkish beach towels (at less than $10 each) are a great choice and come in colors blue, navy, pink, orange, yellow and red.

22. The cute pineapple towel

This is one cool pineapple at a great price. The 100 percent cotton terry beach towel is Oeko-Tex certified which means everything from the dyes to fabric have been certified free of harmful chemicals and is UPF 50+.

23. 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.

24. The palm-patterned towel

Go wild at the beach with this jungle-themed cotton reversible towel, featuring a pretty pastel pink background and green fronds. It is machine washable and sustainably sourced.

25. The retro beach towel

This 100 percent Turkish cotton option channels a serious 70s meets 2021 vibe. The added fringe and sand-resistant fabric enhance its groovy look.

26. The tropical flower towel

This beach towel, covered in tropical hibiscus flowers and ocean-inspired blue background, pairs perfectly with the sea no matter where you lay your towel. Plus it's on sale for only $13.

27. 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.

28. The towel for little mermaids

This mermaid-shaped beach towel operates just like a sleeping bag — kids slip into this giant tail, which measures 55 inches long. It's even machine washable and comes in three colors and patterns.

29. 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.

30. The rainbow bright towel

This 100 percent 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.

31. The fair trade cotton towel

This classic striped option is made with a velour front and terry cloth back for equal softness and absorbency depending on the side you use. It’s also Global Organic Textile Standard certified, meaning it meets a high set of ecological and social impact standards.

32. The towel that's just really pretty

Featuring colorful abstract flowers, this oversized beach towel was designed the make you stand out at any pool party or beach day.

33. 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.

34. 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 slightly oversized beach towel is for you!

35. 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.

36. The towel for couples

This beach blanket was made for two people. Created out of 100 percent cotton terry, its colorful blue and green hues will have you on island time before you even step on the sand.

37. The boho beach vibe towel

“This beach towel is lightweight, super absorbent and quick drying. Plus, the 80 percent polyester, 20 percent 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.

38. When life gives you lemons

This super trendy and 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.

39. Bring the Mediterranean to the U.S.

“Made of 100 percent 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.

40. The denim-inspired towel

This quick-drying towel is attractive with denim-inspired striping and fringe, however, it has a hidden bonus feature — a built-in pillow. So, you can stay dry and comfortable while catching a poolside snooze.

41. 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.

42. 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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