How to Fold a Beach Towel

Heading to the beach for a relaxing day of sun, sand, and surf? Don’t forget to pack your beach towel! A quality beach towel can make your beach day infinitely more comfortable by providing a soft, absorbent surface to lay on.

How to Fold a Beach Towel

But simply tossing your beach towel into your bag all willy-nilly can lead to a wrinkled, sandy mess. Taking the time to properly fold your beach towel keeps it neat, clean, and takes up less space in your bag.

Why Proper Folding is Key

Folding your beach towel neatly before packing has a number of benefits:

  • Prevents wrinkles and creases – A neatly folded towel won’t get all wrinkled in transit. This means you’ll have a smooth, comfortable surface to lay on at the beach.
  • Saves space – Compactly folded beach towels take up less room in your beach bag or luggage.
  • Keeps sand at bay – Tight folds prevent sand from getting trapped inside and spreading everywhere.
  • Quick and easy access – You can grab and unfold your towel in one smooth motion instead of fumbling with a messy bundle.
  • Better for the towel – Proper folding helps maintain the shape and absorbency of the fibers over time.

So whether you’re packing for a beach vacation or just a quick beach trip, taking the time to fold your towel properly is worth the effort.

Beach Towel Materials and Their Folding Needs

Beach towels come in a range of different fabrics, each with their own properties that impact folding:

  • Cotton – The most common beach towel material. Soft and highly absorbent. Can be folded using basic techniques but prone to wrinkling.
  • Microfiber – Made from synthetic fibers. Extremely lightweight and quick-drying. Roll or loosely fold to prevent creases.
  • Terry cloth – Known for its luxurious plushness. Excellent at absorbing water. Fold gently to avoid damaging the loops.
  • Bamboo – Eco-friendly fabric made from bamboo fibers. Often has anti-bacterial properties. Requires careful folding to avoid snags.
  • Sarong/Pareo – A very lightweight rectangular wrap. Can be folded into a compact bundle or rolled up.

Consider the size, thickness, and fabric of your beach towel when deciding on the best folding method. Delicate materials may need more care to prevent damage.

Key Takeaway: The beach towel material affects the folding technique you should use.

Prepping Your Beach Towel for Folding

Before folding up your beach towel, it helps to do some prep work:

Shake Out Sand and Debris

Give your beach towel a good shake to dislodge any sand, dirt or debris that may have collected on your last trip to the beach. You want to remove this material before folding, otherwise it can get trapped in the folds.

Smooth Out Wrinkles and Creases

For the best folding results, start with a beach towel that’s as smooth and wrinkle-free as possible. Gently smooth your hands across the towel to remove any existing creases.

Ensure It’s Completely Dry

Never fold up a beach towel that’s still damp or wet! This can lead to mildew and a musty smell. Always allow your towel to fully air dry before folding it up for storage.

Basic Folding Techniques for Beach Towels

Here are some easy, basic folds that work for most standard beach towels:

The Classic Rectangle Fold

This straightforward technique neatly folds your beach towel into a compact rectangular bundle.

  1. Lay your beach towel flat with the pattern or design face down. Smooth out any wrinkles.
  2. Fold the towel in half lengthwise.
  3. Fold in half again widthwise.
  4. Fold into thirds lengthwise to create a rectangular bundle.

The rectangle fold is great for maximizing space in your beach bag. The clean folded edges also allow for a nice stacked presentation in your linen closet.

The Roll Fold

Prefer to roll up your beach towel rather than fold? Try this technique.

  1. Lay your beach towel flat and smooth out wrinkles. Make sure it’s dry.
  2. Fold one short end inward a few inches.
  3. Begin rolling the towel tightly from the unfolded end toward the folded end.
  4. When you reach the end, unroll just slightly and tuck the folded end inside to secure it.

Rolling works well for long, thin beach towels or lightweight sarongs. It keeps the towel wrinkle-free and creates a compact cylindrical bundle.

The Triangle Fold

Want to fold your towel into a nice triangle shape? Follow these steps:

  1. Lay the beach towel flat.
  2. Fold one corner diagonally inward so it meets the nearest side edge.
  3. Take the opposite corner and fold it in to meet the first fold.
  4. Fold up the remaining flap to complete the triangle shape.

The triangle fold neatly tucks all the edges in. It’s great for maximizing suitcase space when packing for a beach vacation.

Advanced Beach Towel Folding Techniques

Ready to take your beach towel folding to the next level? Try some of these more advanced folding techniques.

The Snake Fold

This fun technique folds a rectangular towel into a snaking zigzag pattern:

  1. Lay towel flat and fold in half lengthwise.
  2. Fold in half lengthwise again to create a long rectangle.
  3. Fold one short end in to meet the closest edge.
  4. Now fold the opposite short end in to meet the fold.
  5. Continue folding back and forth until the entire towel is folded into a concertina snake shape.

The snake fold keeps the bulk of the towel contained in the middle for a uniquely compact bundle.

The Sandwich Fold

If you’ll be slipping your beach towel into a bag or backpack, this folding technique bundles it neatly:

  1. Lay towel flat and fold into thirds lengthwise.
  2. Next fold the towel in half widthwise.
  3. Now fold one short end into the center.
  4. Fold the opposite short end in to meet it and “sandwich” the two ends together.

The sandwich fold creates a tidy rectangular bundle that’s easy to pack into a bag.

The Accordion Fold

Make your beach towel into a neat accordion shape:

  1. Fold towel in half lengthwise, then open it back up.
  2. Fold both short ends toward the center crease.
  3. Continue folding into the center alternating sides to create an accordion pattern.

The accordion fold keeps all the edges tucked in and makes for easy storage in beach bags or luggage.

Tips for Folding Different Beach Towel Types and Sizes

The folding technique you choose may vary based on the size and shape of your beach towel:

  • For a large rectangular beach towel, try the classic rectangle fold or accordion fold.
  • With an extra long beach towel, fold it up with the snake or sandwich technique to control the length.
  • For a small guest towel, fold it like you would a hand towel using the thirds technique.
  • round beach towel can be folded into a cone shape or rolled up neatly.
  • Use the triangle fold for a beach sarong or pareo to keep the loose edges contained.

In general, focus on folding the towel evenly and compactly based on its size and shape. Try different techniques to see what works best for your particular beach towels.

Keeping Folded Beach Towels Organized

So you’ve folded your beach towels neatly – great job! But how do you keep them from unfurling on the trip to the beach? Here are some tips:

  • Secure with a rubber band, hair tie, or ribbon. Look for soft ties to prevent snags.
  • Store in a beach tote or bag with dedicated towel compartments.
  • Use packing cubes in your beach luggage to corral towels.
  • Place folded towels in a sealed plastic bag or storage container.
  • Store upright in a narrow basket or bin.
  • Hang folded beach towels on hooks to keep tidy and dry.

Be gentle when packing folded beach towels to avoid wrinkling. Use organizational tools to transport them neatly to the beach.

Storing Folded Beach Towels at Home

The way you store your beach towels at home between uses can impact their longevity. Here are some storage tips:

  • Store folded beach towels in breathable fabric bins, not sealed plastic.
  • Use cedar blocks or sachets to keep towels smelling fresh in storage.
  • Refold and restack towels about once a week to retain shape.
  • Hang towels on hooks near your laundry space for easy access.
  • Use shelving or over-the-door organizers to neatly store folded towels.
  • Place delicate beach towels in soft cotton pillowcases before storing.

Proper at-home storage keeps your beach towels clean, dry, and ready for your next trip to the seaside!

Caring for Beach Towels

To keep your beach towels in great shape all season long:

  • Shake off sand and debris after use – don’t let it get trapped in the fibers
  • Fully air dry before folding – never store a damp towel
  • Wash regularly with mild detergent, especially after frequent beach use
  • Avoid harsh chemicals like bleach that can damage fibers
  • Be gentle when folding, packing, and storing to prevent tears or snags
  • Store properly – keep clean, dry, and away from direct sunlight

With the right folding techniques and care, your favorite beach towels can provide years of beachgoing enjoyment!

Key Takeaway: Proper care is key to keeping beach towels soft and absorbent over time.


How do I fold a large beach towel neatly?

For a very large beach towel, try the classic rectangle fold or accordion fold to contain the bulk evenly in compact layers.

How should I fold a beach towel to fit in a small beach bag?

Opt for the roll fold or sandwich fold to create a compact cylindrical bundle that will slot neatly into your beach bag.

What is the best way to fold beach towels into a suitcase?

The triangle fold minimizes surface area and contains loose edges, making it ideal for efficiently packing beach towels in luggage.

Can I fold a towel while it’s slightly damp?

It’s best to let beach towels fully air dry before folding to prevent mildew and odors. If you must fold a damp towel, unfold and dry it out completely as soon as possible.

How do I get rid of creases in my beach towel?

To smooth out creases and wrinkles, machine or hand wash the beach towel then air dry while gently tugging and straightening it. Once dry, refold using a technique that minimizes creasing.


Whether you’re packing for a weekend trip to the shore or simply tidying up after a day at the beach, properly folding beach towels makes a difference.

With the right techniques, you can keep your towels neat, organized, and ready for the next wave of summer fun.

Test out a variety of folding methods to find what works best for your unique collection of beach towels.

Emma Kellam
Emma Kellam

I'm Emma, and I run Towels Edition, a website for fellow home goods enthusiasts who, like me, are passionate about textiles. After working in high-end retail, I was amazed by how little most people (myself included!) know about all the towel options out there.

I research and write all the content myself. Whether it's specialized towels like bar mops, Turkish cotton production methods, or comparing hair towel absorbency, I cover it. My goal is to share my knowledge and enthusiasm to help others.

Running Towels Edition allows me to constantly expand my own expertise too. I love learning about innovations in bamboo fabric or ideal bath towels. It's so rewarding to receive emails thanking me for recommendations that improved my readers' routines.

I want Towels Edition to be the ultimate online towel resource, making this overlooked necessity far more fascinating. My aim is to open people's eyes to how specialty towels can thoroughly enhance hygiene, cleaning, recreation and self-care.