What Is A Beach Towel

Beach towels are essential items that allow you to comfortably chill on the sand while soaking up the sun. These oversized towels are designed with extra absorbency and durability to withstand the beach environment.

Beach Towels

When shopping for the perfect beach towel, there are some key factors to consider including size, material, weight, and special features.

Size Matters

One of the most important features of a quality beach towel is its size. Beach towels are substantially larger than standard bath towels, measuring approximately 35 by 60 inches or larger.

The oversized dimensions give you much space to stretch out while ensuring your whole body is protected from the sand. Bigger is often better when it comes to beach towels, so look for generously sized options.

Absorbent Fabric

Absorbent Fabric

You’ll want a beach towel made of a highly absorbent fabric that can soak up water and dry quickly. The best beach towels are constructed from soft, 100% cotton terry or velour that provides exceptional absorbency.

Synthetic microfiber fabrics are also excellent choices for beach towels, as they are super lightweight and quick-drying. Look for fabrics with a high GSM (grams per square meter), usually around 600 GSM or higher, for optimal water absorption.

Durable and Fast-Drying

Since beach towels take a beating from sun, saltwater, wind, and sand, they need to be crafted from durable fabrics that can withstand the elements.

Cotton holds up well to repeated use and laundering.

Microfiber is also prized for its longevity and abrasion resistance. No matter the material, the beach towel should be thick and dense so sand won’t penetrate the fibers.

Look for towels made of quality materials that won’t fade, pill, or unravel after prolonged sun and saltwater exposure.

Fast-drying fabrics are ideal for minimizing dampness between swims.

Lightweight is Key

When you’ll be lugging your towel to the beach, lightweight designs are must-haves.

Thick, plush cotton beach towels can weigh you down, so opt for lighter microfiber or cotton-blend towels.

Consider getting two thin, compact beach towels versus one thick, bulky towel. This makes them easier to carry and provides extra coverage.

Look for generously sized beach towels that weigh one pound or less for effortless transport.

Creative Designs and Vibrant Colors

Creative Designs and Vibrant Colors

Beach towels allow you to add a fun pop of color and personality to the sand. From bright solids and bold patterns to artistic designs, beach towels are the perfect canvas for creative expression.

Look for towels with tropical motifs, marine life, abstract prints, and other beachy themes. Vivid dyes also hide stains and wear better than pale hues like white or tan.

A brightly colored, picture-perfect beach towel will be an eye-catching addition.

Features for Extra Comfort

Features for Extra Comfort

Some beach towels incorporate special features for optimal comfort and convenience.

Look for towels with corner or side pockets to hold personal items like sunscreen, glasses, and keys securely. Built-in pillows provide cushioning for your head and neck.

Loop attachments allow you to hang and dry your towel from chairs, umbrellas, or bags.

Velcro, clips, or zippers on two connecting towels create a secure beach blanket that won’t blow away. Consider these useful add-ons for the ultimate beachgoing experience.

Sand-Free Technologies

One common problem with beach towels is how sand sticks to the fabric and then transfers to your skin and belongings.

Luckily, some towels integrate innovative technologies to repel sand. Certain fabrics have a smooth surface that prevents sand from embedding into the fibers. Others feature a microfiber bottom that blocks sand from penetrating the towel.

Look for towels specially designed to shake sand off easily, keeping grit away from you and your stuff.

UV Protection Properties

Don’t forget that beach towels can help shield your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Some towels contain special properties that provide UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) to block both UVA and UVB rays.

Terry cloth towels woven tightly from cotton or microfiber offer good UV protection on their own.

Or look for beach towels made from fabrics like Tencel that have built-in SPF. A beach towel with UPF 50+ will provide excellent sun protection for your skin.

Carry Bag Included

The best beach towels come with a lightweight, breathable carry bag. After shaking off your sandy towel, you can store it in the bag for easy transport home.

Bags keep damp or dirty towels separate from the contents of your beach bag. Plus, carrying bags make beach towels simple to tote on vacations and camping trips.

Seek out beach towel sets that include a carrying pouch or folding bag.

Compact and Portable

While on vacation or even just out running errands, you’ll want a beach towel that’s readily portable. Some thin microfiber and cotton towels can be tightly folded or rolled into your beach tote or luggage.

Better yet, look for beach towels that come with compact travel pouches with drawstrings or zipper closures.

Others feature buttons or ties so they can be folded up tight. Compressible beach towels take up less space when not in use.

Anti-Microbial Properties

On a shared beach towel, it’s easy for germs to spread between users. Certain beach towel fabrics are treated with anti-microbial technology to inhibit bacteria growth.

Silver ions added during manufacturing prevent microbes from thriving in the towel fibers. This creates a beach towel that stays fresher for longer.

Seek out antimicrobial beach towels for enhanced hygiene, especially when traveling with kids.


How often should you wash a beach towel?

You’ll want to launder your beach towel frequently during peak summer usage, ideally after every 2-3 uses. The combination of saltwater, sunscreen, sweat, and sand can leave towels dirty and saturated. Wash towels in hot water to sanitize and remove odors, bacteria, and stains. Cleaning them regularly preserves the look, lifespan, and freshness of your beach towels.

What temperature should you wash and dry beach towels?

To optimize cleaning power, wash beach towels using the hottest water setting recommended for the fabric. Cotton and cotton blend towels can be washed in hot water up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit to kill bacteria and fully dissolve dirt, sunscreen, and grime. For microfiber or delicate beach towels, use a warm water wash. Tumble dry towels on medium or high heat to expedite drying and further sanitize them.

How do you get rid of the mildew smell from beach towels?

To remove mildew odors from beach towels, wash them with detergent, bleach, and vinegar. Soak towels in a solution of 1 cup vinegar plus 1⁄4 cup bleach per load, then wash on the hottest setting. Add oxygen-based detergents to help deodorize as the towels are washed. Avoid leaving wet towels wadded up, which promotes mildew growth. Fully dry towels before storing or reusing. Repeat washing to eliminate stubborn mildew smells.

Should you rinse off beach towels before washing them?

Yes, it’s wise to rinse your beach towels prior to washing to remove excess salt, sand, and chlorine. These can damage towel fibers and washing machine parts if not rinsed away. Shake off loose sand outdoors first. Then, either hose towels down outside or put them through a rinse cycle before washing. This pre-rinse helps extend the life of beach towels and washing machines.

What is the best way to remove stains from beach towels?

For stained beach towels, pretreat heavily soiled areas before washing. Apply a paste of baking soda and water and let sit for 15 minutes to lift out oils and discoloration. Or spray stain remover or hydrogen peroxide directly on spots, let sit, then launder. Wash towels using bleach, OxiClean, or color-safe bleach to further banish stains and brighten whites. Air dry in direct sunlight to help naturally lift stubborn discoloration.


Keep key factors like size, fabric, weight, features, and portability in mind while searching for the best beach towel for you.

Test towels out in person whenever possible, assessing absorbency, softness, and overall quality.

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.