The 4 Best Beach Blankets

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A good beach blanket can go a long way in helping you avoid the gritty reality of the shore. But beyond offering a layer of protection between you and the sand, the best beach blankets can also add comfort, warmth, and even some style to your day. More than just a picnic blanket, they can be water resistant, stand up to wind, and help keep sand off.

Many options are made from nylon, which isn’t normally a desirable blanket material, but at the beach, it offers lots of advantages. First, it's quick-drying, and it's also slick, so it won’t let sand settle and stick. Many nylon beach blankets also feature pockets where sand can be used to anchor the towel — and then quickly brushed out at the end of the day. Nylon also packs up well for lightweight travel. The only real downside is that it's not absorbent or soft, meaning you will also want a beach towel for drying off and maybe even lounging.

However, nylon isn't the only option. For more comfort, there are choices that are topped with soft polyester fleece and have a bottom layer made of water-resistant material, too. And if you simply want something that will dry you off and provide tons of lounging space (and aren't too concerned about water), an oversize beach towel may also do the job.

One thing’s clear: A day at the beach is way more comfy and fun with these top picks.

1. The Best Overall Beach Blanket

At 10 feet by 9 feet, the Wellax beach blanket provides even families and large groups with ample, sand-free space to gather on at the beach. Weighted pockets allow you to add some sand to hold the blanket in place on windy days. Included stakes also give you the option to better secure your blanket in grass or sand should it be extra windy. The nylon is water-resistant and durable, so it won’t snag or rip, and it's easy to brush sand off of. The nylon material also won’t absorb heat, keeping it relatively cool. However, you will still need to pack regular towels if you don’t want to drip-dry (or, if you’re not planning to swim, it might be all you need). When not in use, this compresses down to a small bag and weighs less than a pound.

2. The Best Nylon Option For Smaller Groups

Also made from rip-resistant nylon, Grand Trunk's parasheet blanket is slightly smaller (7 feet by 7 feet) and about $10 cheaper. It can easily fit three adults lounging or more sitting up. It also features pockets for anchoring with sand (but no stakes). An attached stuff sack lets you pack it up into a handy, small, and lightweight container for travel. It comes in six bright, contrasting colorways and will definitely help your spot at the beach stick out. And, like with my top pick, the nylon material is water-resistant and won’t overheat or get sand stuck to it. The total weight for this blanket is under a pound.

3. The Most Comfortable Option

Nylon has a lot of benefits, but it’s not exactly the softest material. If you’re on a rough shell beach, or just want something cozier, a picnic blanket with a soft top and water-resistant bottom is a great choice. With five classic patterns, at a distance, this VonShef picnic blanket will look like a regular cozy throw. Under the polyester fleece, however, is a PEVA backing that will keep you high and dry in almost any weather. It also protects the fleece top from ripping and tearing on rough surfaces. When not in use, this blanket rolls up nicely and can be carried with its chic, faux-leather strap. At 58 inches by 71 inches, it’s great for two adults to lounge on.

4. The Best For Families With Kids

Nylon blankets are great for the beach, but those with small kids might find that it bunches up too easily and is harder to clean. Made from polypropylene, Camco’s handy mat is waterproof and easy to clean. The woven material is thicker than nylon and offers some cushioning. Because the material is stiffer, it can be easily laid out and won’t require anchoring on calmer days. That means if you have kids in tow, the beach blanket can be ready to play on in seconds. Spills and messes can be easily washed off with a hose or water in the moment or at home later on. When folded, you can even use this blanket as a pocket to hold small items like a water bottle or sunscreen.

Also Great: An Oversize Beach Towel

If you want plenty of space to lay out on and a way to dry off, an oversize beach towel might be all you need. Turkish towels, like this one from FFsense, are popular for both home and outdoors, and for good reason. Super soft, they’re also quick-drying, making them a lightweight alternative to terrycloth that won’t stay soggy all day. This one can also act as an actual blanket around your shoulders or lap should it get chilly at the beach. Made of 100 percent cotton, it is 39 inches by 79 inches, making it great for one person to lay down on or two to picnic. When not at the beach, you can use it indoors as a regular towel or throw blanket.

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