Baking in the sun with a baby? Scorching on the sand with a six-year-old? Not anymore. I’ve scoured the beaches for the best beach umbrellas for a family. Portability, weight and coverage are major factors, and what’s good for an impromptu beach trip isn’t good for an all-day family outing.
Best All-Purpose Beach Umbrella: The Sport-Brella Umbrella comes in a bunch of awesome colors, has side flaps for extra coverage, and is coated for extra sun protection. It provides the same shade as a beach tent like the popular Shade Shack Instant Pop Up Family Beach Tent I recommend on my Beach Tent page. It’s heavier than your standard beach umbrella (9 pounds), but is more versatile in terms of shade positioning. It’s also good for sporting events.
Lightweight With Full Coverage: If you’re in the market for a simple beach umbrella, you can always pick up one at a drug store. However, it’s best to look at the ones with a built-in SPF factor rather than just a regular fabric. A child’s sensitive skin needs all the protection he can get, so a good option in the lightweight but still full coverage category is the Tommy Bahama beach umbrella with sand anchor. This umbrella is sturdy and also tilts for full coverage.
Most Portable/For Travelers: Will you be traveling by plane to a beach destination? Check out the PortaBrella. It folds up to a mere 2 feet long and will fit nicely in a suitcase. Reviewers, however, say it’s not good in wind, tending to blow away or fall apart easily due to its many pieces. While it is a neat idea, expect the PortaBrella to be suitable for your vacation and not for everyday.
Cool and Convenient Umbrella Accessories: The Rio Sports Sand Anchor will keep your umbrella in the sand and not flying down the beach on a windy day. Another product especially made for those messy kids that get sand on all your stuff: the Umbrella Hook, a 4-hook holder that attaches to the umbrella pole for towels, purses and cameras.
What’s your favorite way to stay in the shade? The best beach umbrella for my family is always the one I can carry and set up by myself!
Photo by Ralph Daily