Whether you tend to spend your summer days lounging poolside or prefer to catch waves and build sandcastles, a quality beach towel (or two) is a must. It's time to retire your faded, ratty beach towel that's embarrassing to pull out of your beach bag and upgrade to a new one that's equally fun and functional.
To narrow down your (endless) options, we scoured the market for the best beach towels. From classic striped designs to lightweight Turkish towels, we found 11 beach towels that are soft enough to lounge on, absorbent enough to dry you off, and so stylish you'll want to show them off.
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Go ahead, plan that beach day. Just don't forget the sunscreen!
What to Consider When Purchasing Beach Towels
Material: No matter which beach towel material you prefer, it should check two boxes: soft and absorbent. No one wants an itchy or scratchy beach towel, nor do you want one that still leaves you damp after a dip in the pool. For a cushy, absorbent towel, shop for cotton or terry-cotton blends. (The thicker it is, the more comfortable it'll be, but that means it'll take longer to dry too.) If softness is supreme, velour is your friend; that'll be the best option if you like a soft-to-the-touch spot to lounge. Meanwhile, microfiber is the best material if you need a lightweight yet quick-drying towel that is easy to cart around and won't leave your car smelling like a wet towel—yuck!
Size: Beach towels come in a variety of sizes, but in general, you'll want a style that's at least 30 inches wide and 60 inches long. (Add a few inches to both sides for a little more room.) Whichever towel you choose, make sure it's larger than a bath towel—especially if you opt for a towel in lieu of a beach chair. For a style that can fit the whole family, shop for a beach blanket instead. Keep in mind that the larger the towel, the bulkier it'll be in your beach bag, so you may want to shop for a lightweight design to save space in your tote and spare your shoulder from an extra heavy load.
Ready to shop? Read on for the 11 best lounge-worthy beach towels.
1. FUNBOY Mellow Yellow Striped Beach Towel
There's a reason FUNBOY has "fun" in its name. In addition to their oh-so-delightful collection of pool floats (which will have you feeling like a kid again—guaranteed), they also sell a wide variety of quality beach towels. They have a host of color options, as well as cheerful patterns that are sure to draw the attention of fellow beachgoers. You can't go wrong with a standout stripe with tassels, or for a more retro look opt for one of their whimsical Barbie-colored patterns. Not only are they cute, but they are soft and super absorbent too since they're made with 100% cotton.
2. Slowtide Psychedelic Sunshine Beach Towel
Picture it now: you're whipping out this groovy cotton beach towel (OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certified!) to lay over a chaise lounger with a beverage of your choice within arm's reach and a book begging to be read. That sounds like a dream summer day, especially with this retro-inspired towel as the backdrop. It's lightweight yet absorbent and also features a drawcord loop, which allows for faster drying. What's not to like?
3. Geometry Happy Check Beach Towel
Want to pack light? Add one of these Geometry beach towels to your cart. This style isn't thick and cushy but it is remarkably quick-drying and ultra-absorbent, especially with the hang loop. Plus, the trend-proof checkerboard design is just as classic as stripes but more unexpected, so you'll be able to easily spot your towel in a sea of lounge chairs.
4. Serena & Lily Mallorca Beach Towel
Take a snooze under the sun while resting on this Turkish cotton beach towel, which perfectly balances absorbency with cushiness. Buy a single towel or go for a linen closet full of them in sets up to 12. Take your pick of a myriad of bright colors too, including yellow, green, and French blue, which all make for a timeless nautical-inspired stripe design. They're on the pricier side but are sure to last you for many summers to come.
5. Nomadix Original Towel: Grand Canyon National Park
Whether you're planning a beach trip or a camping excursion, you'll want to pack this versatile National Parks-themed towel. It's made of high-performance recycled polyester, which is not only earth-friendly, but can absorb four times its weight in water and dries four times faster than a traditional terry towel too—perfect for drying off and warming up a kiddo (or yourself) quickly. It's also sand-resistant and quick-drying, so you won't continue to find sand in your car long past your last swim of the season and it won't ever take on that funky mildew smell that some other towels do.
6. Society6 Aperol Spritz Cocktail Print Beach Towel
Cheers to this cabana-worthy towel! This Aperol spritz-inspired design screams "summertime" and balances a soft microfiber front with an absorbent cotton terry back. It's comfortably oversized too—74 inches long by 37 inches wide—so you'll have plenty of room to stretch out. Whether or not you indulge in the real beverage while sunbathing on this towel is up to you.
7. Brooklinen Artist Series Beach Towel
If you don't take your beach towel design too seriously, opt for this comfy and colorful style. Brooklinen partnered with New York City artists to design cheeky beach towels that are soft enough for all-day lounging thanks to their velour front, but still absorbent with a terry 600 GSM back. The more you buy, the better the deal too. If you nab two, you'll receive 10% off, and if you purchase a pack of three you'll save 15%.
8. Society6 Sun Retro Art III Beach Towel
Celebrate sunshiny days ahead with this bright and beautiful beach towel. It'll quickly dry off wet swimmers wanting to warm up with its cotton terry back, while the microfiber front gives you an especially soft place to soak up the sun. It's just oversized enough (74 inches long and 37 inches wide) without taking up your entire beach bag either.
9. Home & Loft Buffalo Check Montauk Towel
While some beach towels are meant just for that—the beach—this Turkish cotton towel has a long list of uses, from a swimsuit cover-up to at-home shower use to, of course, accompanying you at the beach. It's super soft, remarkably absorbent and ultra-lightweight. (If you crave cushiness, opt for a different towel.) The trick to owning a Turkish towel like this classic buffalo check design is to wash it a couple of times before using it. That'll help soften it and increase its absorbency.
10. Bay Laurel Turkish Beach Towel With Travel Bag
There's no denying that beach towels aren't always budget-friendly, but they're a beach day necessity. For a more practical buy, add this travel towel to your Amazon cart. The lower price point is an obvious draw, and so is its accompanying bag, which not only makes for easy packing but keeps sand from getting everywhere. It comes in over 30 colors too, so each member of your family can have their own designated towel. (No fighting allowed.)
11. Geometry Limoncello Beach Blanket
Say you want to get cozy with your honey on the beach or need a spot to corral kiddos and all of the seemingly endless beach toys they bring with them. You'll need an oversized beach towel, or better yet a beach blanket. Measuring 62 inches by 65 inches, this design from Geometry offers plenty of room and can double as a picnic blanket too. Perhaps most importantly, it's quick-drying, super compact and ultra-absorbent, which spares you from waiting around for your large towel to dry before packing up. The fact that it comes in cute designs, like this limoncello one, is just a bonus.