10 Best Beach Tarps for Shade and Shelter

A sunny day at the beach can satisfy your craving for vitamin sea, help you destress and give you that Zen feeling. However, your Zen can turn into sunburn or rain-soaked if you’re not prepared. To protect yourself from the harsh sun rays and other elements, having a reliable beach tarp is a must.

Best beach tarps for shade

What is a beach tarp?

A beach tarp, or what’s more commonly known as a beach canopy, is a type of beach shade that is open on all sides, making it essentially an overhead shelter.

Unlike tents that have usually rounded roofs, beach tarps typically have pyramid-like or peaked roofs. Poles and wind ropes keep it in place.

You might be wondering, why should you choose a beach tarp instead of a beach tent or the good ol’ beach umbrella?

Why do you need a beach tarp?

It gives you more room

A beach tarp or canopy is roomier than tents or umbrellas. While most beach tents can accommodate only two or three adults, a beach tarp like BaiYouDa can fit at least five people. Depending on how stretchy the canopy is, it can provide room for more occupants.

Beach tarps on a sunny day

It protects you from sun, rain, and wind

A beach tarp protects against sun, rain, and wind. While regular beach umbrellas can give shade, they can’t protect you from the harmful UV rays.

Beach canopies like BOTINDO offer UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) 50+ coverage and do a great job of keeping you sun-safe. Some tarps also have silver PU (polyurethane) coating that helps reflect sunlight and reduce heat absorption.

Likewise, there are lots of beach tarpaulins and canopies that are water-repellant like the Sea to Summit tarp and Unigear, which make light rain showers bearable. And with a great anchorage system, your beach shelter can stay put even on windy days.

That being said, beach tarps may not be the best option if you want privacy on the beach. To protect yourself from prying eyes, you may opt for beach tents, walled canopies, or even windscreens.

It’s lightweight and portable

Another reason to go for a beach tarp is portability. Most beach tarps are made of lightweight materials and the poles, although sturdy, don’t weigh much.

Lightweight tarps like the Kelty Noah’s Tarp is easy to carry and transport.

It’s versatile

Perhaps, the biggest benefit to having a beach tarp is its versatility. Aside from providing shade from the sun and rain at the beach, tarps like Bearhard and gracosy can also be used while camping, picnicking, attending outdoor events, or even in your backyard.

While tarps are often used as an overhead shelter, some models can also be converted to ground cloth, windscreen, hammock cloth, beach blanket, firewood cover, or truck bed cover.

Tarp for camping and outdoors

On the lookout for the best beach tarp for your next seaside escape? We listed down several options for you.

Top beach tarps for shade and shelter

1. BaiYouDa Beach Tent Tarp

The BaiYouDa beach tarp is one of the best in the market if you’re looking for a tarp shelter that you can also use on camping, hiking, or backpacking trips.

Its PU 1500mm coating allows for high water resistance while its 210D (denier) silver coating protects against harmful UV rays. This means you’re protected on both sunny and rainy days. Overall, its Oxford cloth material is durable and can last through years of use.

The set comes with two poles, six reflective ropes, and eight aluminum pegs. It’s also one of the biggest beach tarps out there as it can accommodate five to eight people. The downside though is that at almost eight pounds, it’s not exactly lightweight.

Check the price of this beach tarp.

Key features:

  • Waterproof and UV-resistant
  • Can fit five to eight people
  • Versatile. Can work in different outdoor settings.
  • Comes with poles, ropes, pegs, and a carry bag

2. Rain Fly Evolution Camping Tarp

Rain Fly’s tent tarp kit is one of the highest-rated on Amazon. And with good reason. It’s one of the most versatile options for ambitious adventurers.

This 12×10 tarp is made from 210T polyester coated with TPU and has double reinforced holes in the corners so you can easily secure it with aluminum stakes. What’s more, the tarp itself weighs only 1.65 pounds!

It’s tough, lightweight, waterproof, UV-protected, and equipped with accessories for wind-proofing. So, whether you use it at the beach, in the mountains, or your backyard, you’re protected from the elements.

As if that’s not enough, this bundle also comes with a survival bracelet that has a compass, scraper knife, whistle, flint fire starter, and 10.5FT of military-grade paracord. You may not need it on a laidback beach trip but it’ll come in handy for outdoor survival.

Check the price of this beach tarp.

Key features:

  • Water-repellant and UV-protected
  • Lightweight, durable, and versatile
  • Comes with aluminum stakes, carabiners, and adjustable ropes
  • Bonus multipurpose survival bracelet

3. Kelty Noah’s Tarp

Perfect for minimalist beachgoers and campers, Kelty Noah’s Tarp is a 68D polyester taffeta that allows for a very taut pitch. To ensure that you’re sheltered rain or shine, it has fully taped seams.

This 4-point beach tarp can be pitched in multiple configurations and can be used for camping, backpacking, fishing, and sporting events. For added sturdiness, it comes with corner guylines and reinforced guyout points.

The only thing that’s missing? Tarp poles. You can buy these separately.

Check the price of this beach tarp.

Key features:

  • Waterproof 68D polyester
  • Available in three sizes: 9×9, 12×12, 16×16 feet
  • Fully taped seam construction for rain-or-shine shelter
  • Sturdy corner guyline with a handy storage pocket
  • Multiple reinforced guyout points and stakes

4. gracosy Camping Tarp

When choosing a beach tarp, or any beach shelter for that matter, you want something that can stand the test of time. That’s exactly what you get with gracosy’s camping tarp.

Made of 420D Oxford fabric and reinforced with double stitching, it’s strong and resistant to pulling, scratching, and tearing. This high-density fabric is also waterproof. And with UPF 50+ sun protection, it can block about 95% of harmful UV rays.

For added stability in windy conditions, this tarp comes with wind ropes and aluminum spikes. Do note though that you have to buy your own poles.

Check the price of this camping tarp.

Key features:

  • High-quality 420D Oxford fabric
  • Waterproof and with sun coverage
  • Double-stitched edges and knots, and with binding rings and corner hooks for different installation needs
  • Can be used as a groundsheet, picnic cloth, awning, sunshade, and rain shelter
  • Can accommodate five to eight people

5. Sea to Summit Escapist Tarp Shelter

Planning a beach trip with your bestie or significant other? For two-person outings like this, Sea to Summit’s Escapist Tarp is ideal.

This ultralight and compact backpacking shelter can be used as a beach tarp and an A-frame shelter for camping. It also makes a great tent awning, wind blocker, or a ridgeline fly to cover a hammock.

Made from tape seam-sealed waterproof 15D Ultra-Sil Nano nylon, it provides shade from the sun and rain. it comes with eight Hypalon tie-out points that are configured to put the tips of poles, which are sold separately. Cord adjusters and reflective guylines are pre-attached.

Check the price of this beach or camping tarp.

Key features:

  • Waterproof 15D silicone/polyurethane-coated Ultra-Sil Nano fabric
  • Ultralight and compact
  • Eight Hypalon and bar-tack reinforced tie-out points
  • With cord locks and guylines
  • Multiple configurations possible

6. Unigear Hammock Rain Fly Waterproof Tent Tarp

One of the top-rated rain fly tarps on Amazon, Unigear’s tent tarp is praised for its water-repelling properties. It’s made of super-strong 210D rip-stop Oxford fabric with PU 3000mm. So, you can stay dry if you’re ever caught by a sudden downpour on the beach.

Coated with silver PU, this rain fly also provides UV protection. And with eight fix points with reinforced stitches, it’s rip-resistant, leak-free, and guaranteed to last long.

An all-around product, this rain fly can work as a beach tarp, a hammock shelter, an outdoor kitchen cover, a groundsheet, and even as a camping car tent. Perfect for pursuing the outdoor life!

Check the price of this beach tarp.

Key features:

  • 210D rip-stop and waterproof Oxford cloth
  • UV protection from silver PU coating
  • Comes with eight fix points and tie-downs
  • Multiple uses
  • Comes in 10×10 and 10×13 feet

7. BOTINDO Family Beach Tent Sunshade

Lightweight but sturdy, BOTINDO’s beach tarp is designed to impress. It offers all the standard features of great beach tents and canopies and more.

Made from strong and elastic Lycra fabric, this canopy has UPF 50+ sun protection and is water-resistant. With built-in sandbags, ample ground stakes, poles, elastic cords, and the canopy itself being stretchy, this beach shelter is also windproof. The poles are also rust-proof!

What’s more, this amazing sun tarp for the beach is so easy to set up and transport. Even one person can quickly install it in a few minutes. Since it’s portable, you can easily bring it with you to other outdoor activities like backyard picnicking, fishing, and even tailgate parties.

Check the price of this beach tarp.

Key features:

  • Durable Lycra fabric with UPF 50+ sun coverage and water-resistant ability
  • Rustproof aluminum rods
  • Lightweight and easy to set up
  • Available in two sizes: 10×10 and 7×7.5 feet
  • Comes with four ground stakes, four aluminum poles, four elastic cords, and a waterproof carry bag

8. Bearhard Waterproof Camping Tarp

An excellent backcountry tarp that can double as a beach tarp (but not as a groundsheet), the Bearhard camping tarp is made of 210T ripstop polyester that is waterproof and PU coated. This means you and your travel buddy can stay protected from the sun, rain, and ultraviolet rays.

To make it even more tear-resistant, this tarp is also designed with a thick ridgeline and reinforced tabs and edges, making it super durable. And thanks to the complementary paracords and stakes, it can stay strong on windy days, too.

At two pounds, this is a lightweight and compact essential for beach bums and campers. The best part? It comes with a lifetime warranty and great customer service!

Check the price of this beach tarp.

Key features:

  • Premium ripstop, waterproof, and UV-resistant fabric
  • All-around reinforced design for durability
  • Portable and easy to set up
  • Comes with six nylon paracords and six aluminum stakes
  • Lifetime warranty, 100% money-back policy, and 24/7 customer support

9. artik sunshade Beach Canopy

Fun in the sun doesn’t have to lead to sunburn. With this heavy-duty beach shelter from artik sunshade, you need not worry as it provides SPF 50 protection.

Even better, this beach tarp is crafted from stretchable Lycra fabric that makes it roomy. Depending on the size you get, it can accommodate four to eight persons. Quite spacious for something so lightweight.

Setting up is a breeze, too. It only takes five to ten minutes and the built-in sandbags and poles can keep it secure. The only drawback is that this shade is not waterproof.

Check the price of this beach tarp for shade.

Key features:

  • Tear-resistant Lycra fabric
  • Provides SPF 50 sun protection
  • Comes with two strong and rustproof aluminum poles
  • Built-in sandbags
  • Easy setup

10. Neso Tents Grande Beach Tent

Designed to protect its occupants from varying weather conditions, Neso Tent’s Grande Beach Tent is ideal for the beach, mountain, park, and other outdoor settings.

Made from a high-quality nylon-lycra blend and padded with reincorced corners, this tarp is extra durable. It stays in shape with the rust-free, 7-feet-tall aluminium poles. Large in size, it can fit four to six people comfortably.

It has a special coating to add UV protection. It’s also lightweight, portable for travel and comes in many eye-catching colors.

Check the price of this beach tarp.

Key features:

  • Water-resistant for rainy days
  • UPF 50+ protection
  • Sand anchors available
  • Multi-functional and light

Factors to consider when buying beach tarps and canopies

You’ve seen some of the best options in the market and you might be tempted to make the purchase ASAP. That’s all well and good, but how about taking some notes first on what you should look for in a beach tarp before hitting that “buy now” button? After all, these babies aren’t exactly cheap.

A blue beach tarp

Here are a few things to consider when finding the best beach tarp.

Fabric

Most beach tarps are made of polyester and nylon for good reason – both are durable and lightweight. Some tarps and canopies do use fabrics like Oxford and Lycra and these often incorporate either polyester or nylon.

It’s also worth looking at the fabric specifications. You’ll often see “D” after a certain number, like in 150D polyester or 15D nylon. D stands for denier, the unit measuring the weight and thickness of the individual threads in the fabric. The higher the denier count, the thicker the thread is.

T, on the other hand, stands for thread count or the number of threads used horizontally and vertically per square inch of fabric. So, 210T means 210 threads. A higher thread count means a tighter weave.

Higher denier or thread count often translates to stronger fabrics but not always. Sometimes, even low denier fabrics can be reinforced so do take those reinforcements into account, too.

Special reinforcements include ripstop, which increases resistance to tearing and ripping. Other tents also double-stitched edges and ridgelines to strengthen the cloth.

Protection from the elements

A beach shelter should provide ample protection against sunburn so you should look for beach tarps that provide UPF 50+. Tents with silver PU coating also help reflect sunlight and reduce heat absorption but prolonged use under the sun (especially at noontime) may also wear them down.

Water resistance is also worth considering because you just don’t know when a rogue shower will pop up. Often, a tarp is reinforced with silicone or Polyurethane (PU) coatings. These are added to make the cloth water-resistant.

The amount of water that these coatings can hold out is measured in mm. Tarps with ratings of 1500mm and above are considered waterproof.

Some tents are both UV resistant and waterproof, some are not. If you have to choose only one, go for the tarp with sun protection because you don’t want to be stuck in the rain anyway.

Finally, check if the tarp you’re eyeing has poles, stakes, anchor cords, sandbags, and other accessories that can help make the canopy windproof.

Intended use

Are you an avid beachgoer? A camper? A hiker? If you said yes to all three, it makes sense to get a beach tarp that also functions as a camping tarp.

But if you’re simply looking for a beach shelter, the stretchy beach canopies listed here should suffice.

Other factors

Before buying, do check the included accessories. Some tarps come with poles, some don’t. Setting up canopies on the beach without poles is virtually impossible unless there are lots of trees on the shore.

Cords, stakes, sandbags – these will make your time on the beach more relaxing, even if it’s breezy.

Size and portability also matter. How many people, on average, will be with you on your beach trips? Of course, the size of the tarp will also affect its weight. So, do go for lightweight tarps.

Lounge chairs under a portable tarp shelter

Whether you’re a frequent beachgoer or a seasonal adventurer, it’s worth investing in quality beach tarps and canopies. We hope you found a great choice from the above recommendations. Enjoy the shade!

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