When you’re planning to spend all day at the beach with your baby or toddler, bring along a beach tent so your child can nap or play without baking in the sun. There are so many options nowadays for beach shelters, and you’ll benefit from choosing the right one in advance. The main things to consider when selecting a beach tent for your baby or toddler are size, material and ease of use.
Size: Your beach tent can be solely for your baby or toddler, like the ABO Gear Bambino Cabana Tent. If you’d like your child to nap while at the beach, or you have two children that will play together in the tent, this size is right for you. This one is UV-coated (more on that later) and doesn’t have doors or a bottom, so playing in the sand under it is fun and easy.
A bigger tent can accommodate the whole family, including chairs. I think a lot of people have the Shade Shack Instant Pop Up Family Beach Tent at our beach in Carlsbad, CA because it has no bottom and pops up easily. Families with several small children will like that the kids can play under it in the sand. If you want a beach tent that you can stand up in, it might be better to use an E-Z UP Sierra II or a multi-purpose tent made for camping/sports.
Material: Most beach tents have UPF protection, meaning that the fabric is coated or weaved a special way to block out some of the sun’s rays. This can be a great help when the sun is high overhead, as the coating is usually on top of the tent. The sides may be unprotected, which allows for better ventilation but won’t keep your child out of the sun in the morning or afternoon. In this case, you might consider the ezShade, a UPF-protected sun shade that quickly attaches to the best beach umbrella for your family and can be moved easily when the sun changes positions.
Ease of Use: Although the pop-up tents are sometimes more expensive, they can be well worth it when you have an impatient toddler ready to sprint toward the ocean! The Lightspeed Quick Draw Sun Shelter, as the name suggests, is fast to put up and light to carry. Large vents, sand bags and tent stakes help secure this tent on windy days. For a more sturdy, all-purpose option, check out the Coleman Road Trip Beach Shade. It requires more thought and time to set up (think 2 people) but is great for long beach days.
When you’re picking a beach tent, be realistic about what your family does at the beach. If you know your child will not nap unless blocked out from the world, choose a small enclosed tent. Your older children want to build sandcastles all day? Get a tent without a bottom. Whatever your family’s beach style, there is a beach tent for you.
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