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The Best Beach Towels of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

May. 13, 2024

The Best Beach Towels of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Our favorite beach towels excel in portability and quick-drying abilities while also offering high-quality, luxurious feels, making them great for travel and almost any adventure. Some snagged top spots for their fantastic performances in categories like sand-repelling and size during the testing process.

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A beach towel is a quintessential summer accessory that can come in handy for a wide variety of activities, whether you’re spending a day at the beach, hanging by the backyard pool, or hiking to a remote lake where you plan to cool off with a dip. Nothing is worse than a towel that doesn’t absorb water well or is super bulky and takes up most of your bag. We tested 21 beach towels in search of the best balance of quality, absorbency, durability, texture, and overall value.

We love that the Venture Microfiber Beach Towel doesn’t hold sand or dirt, making it easier to clean and less of a mess post-adventure. Despite being very packable, this microfiber towel is large and fits nicely into the included travel bag. It performs well with water absorbency and drying very quickly. It met our durability standards by having no loose threads, no bleeding when washed, and stitching along the edges that remained intact after our trips to the beach. Even after several washes, the colors stayed vibrant like new. The built-in snap loop at the top is a nice bonus as well, allowing it to easily be hung on a hook for drying. Plus, there are so many stellar design options you may have trouble choosing just one.

Since towels tend to get dirty at the beach, we love how easy this one is to keep clean.

The Details: 36 x 67 inches | Organic Turkish cotton | Machine wash on delicate or gentle using cold water with like colors. Hang to dry or low tumble.

We love how packable the beautifully designed Sand Cloud Icon Coral Restoration Foundation Beach Towel is without sacrificing its ability to absorb water. The stylish towel is super soft with fun tassels and dries quickly after use. It held up extremely well after washing, even after we spilled a drink on it. The tassels stayed intact, and the stains came out in the wash with no fading of the colors. It doesn’t hold sand in it either, so there’s no risk of dragging the beach home. Perfect for travel or adventures where you don’t want to bring a bulky towel, this is a stellar option that still gets the job done.

The Lands’ End School Uniform Beach Towel is our favorite personalized towel for its extensive customization options as well as its large size that allows most people to lounge without having to put their feet or heads in the sand. It’s nice and thick, making it plush to lay on, and it absorbs water very well for when you want to dry off after a swim. Despite being generously sized and extra-soft, it doesn’t feel heavy to lie on and dries quickly in the sun. Although we enjoyed that it retained its soft texture even after several washes, we noticed that the blue color we tested did have some pilling. Still, this towel offers a great value and comfort while also featuring a wide-range of custom embroidery options, including everything from nautical designs to patriotic patches and monograms as well.

It's snag-resistant, and you can customize it with a monogram, an embroidered design, or both.

We love the ‘70s vibe and inspired-by-water design that the Brooklinen Beach Towel sports. More importantly, this towel is extra-plush, with a velour front that has an ultra-soft and luxurious feel that’s perfect for lounging on by the pool , the beach, the park, or anywhere you want to fully relax. Made in the U.S., these beautiful towels are stylish and functional, with fantastic water absorbency and quick-drying abilities. This is a spacious towel with enough room for even tall beach-goers to lay down on comfortably. It performs well when drying off, absorbing water and then drying quickly when hung up. We also appreciate that it only gets softer after each wash.

For the first wash, you’ll want to be sure to wash it with like colors, as the dye can potentially bleed into other items.

The extra-large Ocoopa Sand-free Beach Towel won the award for best-oversized towel not just for its roomy design, but also because it’s incredibly quick-drying despite being thin and lightweight. We found it perfectly compact for transporting and easy to put away after use. One of our favorite features is that the towel doesn’t retain sand, so you don’t have to worry about endless shaking at the end of your beach days . The material is ultra-absorbent, dries fast, and doesn’t change in quality, texture, or color after washes. This towel is an excellent option for one to two people to lounge on comfortably, though it’s a bit large to use for just drying off.

It’s big enough to use as a beach blanket, and the sand-repelling quality makes it even more of a crowd-pleaser.

The Details: 71 x 35 | Microfiber | Machine wash separately before first use, do not use fabric softener, bleach, or iron.

We love that the Eccosophy Microfiber Beach Towel can be used as both a towel and worn as a sarong and comes in an array of vibrant prints. Produced out of recycled materials, this towel is a great eco-friendly choice. It folds up to a compact size that fits nicely within the included bag, and a hook for hanging tops off the convenience. The length did fall a bit short for lying down, but the material is very durable and won us over when it didn’t collect sand. The microfiber material is known to excel at absorbing water but also dry quickly, and this towel lived up to the hype.

We love the colorful designs that the Decomen Microfiber Beach Towel comes in, but our admiration isn’t just about looks. This affordable option excels in absorbency, and its quick-dry abilities are impressive as well. It’s oversized yet packable due to the compact material, which held up pristinely for us after numerous washes. Easy to transport in the included stuff sack, this towel is a great option for almost every type of activity, whether you’re poolside or doing yoga at the beach. The bright patterns make it easy to spot if you leave your towel to take a dip in the ocean too. The material is soft and dries faster than our cotton beach towels. We also loved that sand from the beach was easy to shake off, so it didn’t end up in our cars or home.

Although the price point is on the higher end, this towel is a worthwhile investment that we believe will retain its functionality and soft texture for years to come. We also love how easily it packs up for outdoor trips and that we were able to fit three people on it to comfortably lounge at the beach .

The Coyuchi Mediterranean Organic Towel snagged the award for best overall beach towel for many reasons, including its large but packable design, premium material, and ability to absorb water well but still dry quickly. It’s the perfect companion for almost any type of adventure and ideal for travelers who don’t want a towel to take up too much space in their bag. The soft, luxurious organic cotton immediately blew us away with the amazing feeling on our skin, and it washes well even after being put through the wringer. Even after using it on a river bank with dirt and rocks where it got stained, the towel came out of the wash looking like new. We’ve tried many different brands of Turkish towels and have generally been disappointed in their absorbency, but this one far exceeded our expectations, soaking up water quickly and drying when hung in a very short amount of time.

Although this Coyuchi towel is plusher than many of a similar style, non-Turkish towels are still the heftiest option.

Softer and fluffier than the average Turkish towel, this premium pick impressed us with its light weight, packability, and impressive absorbency.

Other Beach Towels We Liked

Three other beach towels we tested didn’t quite make the cut for our list of top picks but offered some stellar features that might make them a great fit for some beachgoers.

L.L.Bean Seaside Beach Towel: This towel was longer and roomier than most, and we liked how soft and absorbent it is. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that quick to dry and showed signs of threadbare after just a few washes.

Travel + Leisure / Abby Mercer

Our Testing Process

Travel + Leisure / Morgan Glaze

The company is the world’s best Custom Shape Reactive Printed Compressed Towel supplier. We are your one-stop shop for all needs. Our staff are highly-specialized and will help you find the product you need.

We tried out 21 different beach towels over the span of two weeks, taking them on various adventures like going to the beach, traveling, and lounging by the pool to see how they performed in the real world. We’ll continue to use each towel for six months after the initial testing period, updating this article with our insights along the way. After washing them according to instructions prior to use, we traveled with the towels to assess their portability. We saw how they performed while in use, particularly for lounging and drying off to test comfort, space they provided, absorbency, and how quickly the material dried. If they were used in sand or dirt, it was noted how much sand stuck to the towel and how easily it came off. Next, the towels were evaluated on how well they washed and whether stains remained, threads pulled, or fading occurred over time. With all of these factors in mind, the beach towels with the highest testing ratings were selected for this roundup.

Tips for Buying a Beach Towel

Look for a material that suits your needs

Beach towels that perform well are typically made out of cotton or polyester, which is found in microfiber towels. Cotton towels are soft to the touch, absorb water well, and dry quickly. These can range in thickness, with Turkish cotton towels offering the thinnest profile, ideal for travelers looking to pack lightly. Microfiber towels are crafted from a polyester blend and dry much more quickly than any other towel, making them a popular option as well. Known to be super absorbent and very thin and packable, they’re great for a variety of activities like camping and travel. They’re more sand-resistant than cotton towels too, so you won’t be finding sand everywhere for days after using them. The downside is the texture, as they generally don't feel as soft as using a cotton towel and offer less comfort for lounging since they are thinner. 

Double-check the size

To avoid having your head or feet hanging off your towel and in the sand, grass, or dirt, it’s key to check the sizing of the beach towel you’d like to buy before purchasing. If you’re a taller person, it might be wise to get a larger, oversized towel for comfort purposes. A larger beach towel will make it less packable as well, so it’s a good idea to find the best balance for your intended activities. A standard-sized beach towel is around 63 x 31 inches, though bigger towels around 70 x 40 inches are fantastic to provide more room for lounging. Whatever size you purchase, prioritize being able to lie on it comfortably. 

Consider portability

No one likes toting around a bulky beach towel that takes up a lot of room, so portability is a main factor to consider when looking for the right one as well. A towel that folds up to a compact size is ideal for travelers looking for something lightweight that doesn’t take up a lot of room in their luggage. Some towels come with a carrying case for ease of transporting as well. Turkish cotton and microfiber towels are both excellent portable choices.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you fold a beach towel to save space?

    There are many different ways to fold your towels for storage and travel, but rolling a towel saves the most space. Start by laying the towel flat and folding one corner down, creating a triangle. Then, fold the towel in half lengthwise, and again the opposite way up to the bottom of the triangle. Then, roll it from one end to the other tightly, tucking the endpoint piece into the rolled towel.  

  • Can I use beach towels and bath towels interchangeably?

    You technically could use beach and bath towels interchangeably, though overall, bath towels tend to be more soft and plush since beach towels are built to stand up to sandy outdoor environments. Beach towels also tend to be much larger and often more lightweight than bath towels, so if you use a bath towel on the beach, it's going to be small in size, heavy to carry, and may experience wear and tear more quickly from the elements like sun, sand, and chlorine. You could use a beach towel in your bathroom if you'd like, though it may not be quite as soft or absorbent as a bath towel.

You Might Also Want

If you have a beach trip in the works or just want to be prepared for warm weather activities, here are some other items you may be interested in.

Business & Pleasure Co. The Beach Bag: Stash your towel and other beach necessities in this lightweight beach bag. It's essentially one large pouch, but it also has one interior zipper pocket for smaller items, and the bag itself is foldable if you need to pack it in a suitcase.

Tommy Bahama Backpack Beach Chair: This is at the top of our list of all the beach chairs we've tested, impressing us with how easy it was to carry thanks to its built-in backpack straps. We found it comfortable to sit in; loved that it has the ability to recline; and found the built-in accessories useful, including a storage pouch, an insulated cooler pouch, and a detachable headrest.

Beachbub All-in-one Beach Umbrella: This heavy-duty umbrella is our pick for our favorite beach umbrella because of how portable and sturdy it is. Not only was it easy to set up, but it was also comfortable to carry around inside the included carrying case featuring a padded shoulder strap.

Travel + Leisure / Sarah Naftzger

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

T+L contributor Lauren Breedlove scoured our testing insights to find the best beach towels for various water-based activities. A traveler, camper, and beachgoer herself, she also used her personal experience in finding the right products for everything from lounging by the pool to packing light for a multi-month trip abroad. Combined with testing insights, this list of the best beach towels was created.

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