Hitting the water with the family means hours of fun in the sun. But whether you’re surfed out or sunned out, there are times when you’ll need to chill in the shade, and that’s why beach tents are essential for the Australian summer.
Beach tents are brilliant for protecting the family from the sun’s harsh rays on those hot summer days. And it’s also super handy for storing all your essentials, like sunscreen, towels, toys – and more toys! Depending on the type of beach tent you invest in, it also makes a cosy and private place for the kids to change out of wet clothes, and enjoy their lunch off the sand.
But the most important job a beach tent or shelter has is to keep your family safe from UV rays. So always make sure you check that the beach tent you choose has a high level of sun protection.
Are beach tents a good idea?
Beach tents are a GREAT idea! Besides the obvious practical aspect of protecting your family from the sun’s rays, they’re also a great way to mark your patch of sand so everyone can find their way back. If you purchase a beach tent with zippered doors, you can also get the kids changed in privacy, as well as let them nap out of the sun, wind and rain. They’re also lightweight, and most come with their own carry bag, so they’re not a pain to lug over the sand.
If you want to know what else to consider before buying a beach tent, head to the bottom of the article for some handy tips.
10 Best Beach Tents, Shades and Shelters In Australia
Check out our shortlist of favourite shelters and get the whole tribe set for a sun-safe summer!
One of the most popular cabanas on Australian beaches, CoolCabanas premium canvas gazebos offer UPF50+ protection, plenty of room for the whole tribe to chill and loads of style. It even has sneaky internal pockets to keep your bits and bobs, and it’s a pretty compact fold so you can throw it in the boot easily. Measures 2m along each side, 1.55m to roof edges and 1.8m to the roof peak and weighs 5.3kg.
- Compact fold-up design
- Cotton poly canvas fabric providing 50+ UPF protection
- 8 internal pockets to stow your sunnies, sunscreen and snacks
Budget-friendly and easy to carry, the UPF50+ Kmart Beach Tent is one of Australia’s favourites. It’s simple to set up and pack down and measures 117cm (H) x 196(W) x 108cm (D). And at less than a kilo, even the kids will be happy carrying it!
- Pop-up design, no assembly required
- UPF50+ fabric blocks out 98% of UV rays
- Lightweight and easy to transport in its own carry bag
If you’re after an Insta-worthy summer set-up, this anti-fade and water-resistant beach tent is the must-have accessory. But it’s not just a pretty face, it’s compact and easy to carry and made of premium outdoor canvas so nice and durable too. Approximately 310cm long 170cm wide, and weighs a super light 3.5kg.
- Marine-grade fixtures
- UPF50+ premium outdoor canvas
- Internal pocket with lockable zip close
Specially designed for complete sun protection for the whole family, the Ozoola Beachlife sun shade offers 360-degree views, fast set-up and fuss-free relaxation. It’s UPF50+, fully wind-resistant and weighs only 1.7kg for easy toting to and from the beach. Fits up to six people with its generous two-by-two-metre size.
- Comes with its own carry bag
- Allows for optimal airflow
- Wind-resistant and UPF50+
There’s no risk of losing sight of your patch of beach with this glorious gingham cabana from Adairs! This large cabana provides UVE50+ protection, with functional sand pockets to keep your belongings safe and a zip carry bag to make toting a breeze! Large 200cm x 200cm.
- Zip-up carry bag
- UVE50+ protection
- Lightweight – only 5kgs
This option works as a beach tent, or on the grass for a picnic or sports. And here’s the kicker – it also converts into a patio umbrella. With a compact, quick fold it’s also super easy to store.
- UPF50+ sun protection
- Simple to set up and put down
- 2-in-1 dual purpose: umbrella or cabana
Get instant sun shelter with these luxe beach shades that are as easy to put up as they are to pop down. Each features three different height options, marine-grade fabrics that will stand up to years of good times and enough room for the whole family. Suitable for grassy picnics or sandy beach days.
- Internal pocket
- UPF50+ sun protection
- Water-repellent canvas
Ok, this may look like a strange beach shelter, but it’s actually incredibly clever. It’s like a modern tarp, and it’s able to throw off a heap of shade so the whole family is out of the sun. Depending on which size you get it can shade up to seven adults lying down, and it only weighs 3.5kg.
- UPF50 sun protection
- 4 tent pegs for extra stability
- Comes with a waterproof carry bag with handles
This dreamy beach tent is super simple to put up, it takes one person just a few minutes. The open design means the breeze can cool everyone on a scorcher. and it’s lightweight, under 4kg all packed up in its carry bag.
- Weighs less than 4kg
- 100% cotton canvas
- Comes with a lightweight carry bag
A stunner of a beach tent, the Premium Beach Cabana boasts UV, water and mould-treated canvas to keep the whole family protected in style throughout summer. It sets up in as little as two minutes and it’s tall enough for adults to stand up in. Measures 198cm x 198cm when assembled.
- Comes with a matching canvas bag
- Quick-release feature for easy packing up
- Includes reclaimed timber laminated pole, which looks gorgeous!
How do I choose a beach tent?
When it comes to choosing a beach tent or shelter, there are a few key things to consider to make sure you choose the perfect option for your family of beach lovers.
Size: There are two things to consider here – the size when the beach tent or shelter is erect, and when it’s packed up. Firstly, make sure it’s large enough when open to house your whole family comfortably. Nobody wants to be squished together on a really hot day! Secondly, check the size when it’s packed up. Will it fit in your boot along with everything else your family takes for a beach trip? And where will you be able to store it at home?
Portability: Think about how easy or difficult the whole kit and caboodle is to lug around. If your family takes an esky, food, toys, inflatables and towels as well, how easy is it to tote? Also, consider the weight – are you able to carry it for large distances over sand?
Ease of use: While some beach tents may look complicated to set up, most are actually really simple. The more elaborate or larger gazebos may take more than one person to set up, while the pop-up beach tents are usually the easiest.
Type: There are a few different types of beach tents, all with their own pros and cons:
- Gazebo-style tents are roomy and breezy, but they don’t offer much privacy.
- Pop-up shades with doors are a great option if you want to be able to get the kids changed. They’re also great if it’s a windy day and you don’t want to be whipped by hot sand!
- Canopy options cast lovely large shade, and don’t block your beach view.
- Beach umbrellas are easy to set up but can be awkward to lug around.
After more goodies for a summer full of fun? Check out our favourite beach trolleys for multi-terrain adventures!We may get commissions for purchases made using links in this post. Learn more.