7 of the best beach tents to protect your babies and kids at the seaside
With the weather getting warmer, lots of families are taking to the beach. We share our list of the best beach tents to take along with you
Most people prepare for their beach visits by buying sunscreen, summer shoes and sun hats, and rightly so – but one thing you might be missing is a beach tent. It's essentially a portable enclosed shelter that is usually set up in seconds by unfolding and allowing it to instantly pop up. Whether you need one for your local beach, or one to take on holiday, beach tents are a brilliant accessory for summer outings. Sitting in the scorching heat can be dangerous for you and your child, so having a beach tent you can quickly set up really goes a long way.
Beach tents serve as a great way of keeping you and your child out of the sun to comfortably eat a picnic on the beach, or for shielding older members of the family away from direct sunlight, all whilst still having the benefit of making memories by the sea. They also offer a safe and sheltered place for younger kids to take a nap in the shade while older siblings are playing.
For holiday inspiration, take a look at the best family hotels in Tenerife or the best undiscovered beaches and places to visit in Spain.
Best beach tents at a glance:
- Best compact tent: Babymoov Anti-UV Tent, £36.95
- Best open tent: Argos Pro Action Pop Up Shelter, £25
- Best budget buy: Pound Shop Pop Up Sun Tent, £7
- Best for changeable weather: Jojo Maman Bebe Infant Sized Sun Protection Tent with Mosquito Net, £45
- Best for shark fans: Free Swimming Baby Pop Up Baby Beach Tent with Pool, £25.99
- Best for packing up small: Ludi Beach Tent with Pool, £51
- Best for the whole family: Trespass Kingsbarn Pop Up Beach Tent, £49.99
What to look for when buying beach tents:
Size – Depending on what you're after, the beach tents in our list vary in size. You find some that are small enough for infants, for two kids or so, and then others that are big enough for the whole family. Something to bare in mind though is the bigger tents won't always fold down as compact as a smaller tent.
Extra features – As standard, you'll get a storage/carry bag with your tent but some beach tents have other extra features such as mosquito nets, mini integrated pools and pegs to help keep the tent in place and not blown away by the wind. You may also get pegs included which keep the integrated pool in place. Some of the options in our list below also include mini integrated pools so that your baby won't miss out on water fun while keeping cool and sitting inside the tent on the beach.
Sun protection – It makes total sense for beach tents to come with sun protection material as essentially, 90% of the time you'll be using your tent outdoors in the sun. Most of the tents in our list have a UPF of at least 50 to keep your child protected from harmful sun rays while they play in the tent. We still recommend that you apply sun cream as specified on the packaging throughout the day to protect your child from sun damage.
Privacy options – It can also help if the tent can be zipped or fastened, giving you a private spot to breastfeed, change a nappy, or get your kids out of a wet swimsuit into a fresh change of clothes.
Ease of fold – Since there is a knack to folding down beach tents, it's best to practise at home before using it. Follow the instructions that come with the tent and try it a few times if you're not so confident.
Here’s our pick of the best beach tents for 2022
1. Babymoov Anti-UV Tent, £36.95
– Best compact tent
Weight: <1kg | Sun protection: Yes, UPF 50
This Babymoov tent has a number of simple but effective features that will keep you and your child safe while on holiday or at your local beach. The tent comes with a mosquito net that can be tied up or unraveled to protect little ones from mosquitos and flies and provide some privacy. There's also a ventilation window on the back. The tent features a lovely nautical design that is perfect to get you in the mood for the seaside.
With this tent you get pegs that enable you to anchor it into the ground and help prevent it from being blown away by the wind: they're stashed away carefully within a little pocket, so much so that MFM Consumer & Commerce Editor Gemma, who used this tent with her toddler, didn't even realise they were provided at first!
You won't have to worry about having to follow lots of steps to erect this tent as once it comes out of the storage bag the tent simply pops up in one action. "It's easy to put back down once you get the hang of it – luckily the directions are printed on the label so you always have a reminder," says Gemma.
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Pros: Compact design, mosquito net, closure, easy to set up
Cons: Not big enough for a group
Available from: Natural Baby Shower
2. Argos Pro Action Pop Up Shelter, £25
– Best open tent
Dimensions: L200 x W120cm | Sun protection: Yes, UPF 50
Whether you're playing out in the garden or taking this along to a camping trip, this tent is a good option if you just want a bit of shade from the sun as opposed to also using the tent for privacy. It has a wide open entrance so kids can freely go in and out as they please without having to faff around with opening it.
Although it has an open entrance, the tent has a generous footprint with a larger floor covering than some others on the list. This makes it a great option for use in areas where you want to cover dirty ground or small pebbles/shingle, although do bear in mind the fabric is quite thin.
The tent offers sun protection of UPF 50, which will help keep kids safe on sunny days, but do remember to also ensure they wear sunscreen and a protective sun hat.
Pros: Open for easy access, easy set up, generous footprint
Cons: No closure for privacy, no mosquito net
Available from: Argos
3. Pound Shop Pop Up Sun Tent, £7
– Best budget buy
Sun protection: Yes, UPF 50+
If you're on a tight budget, this is a super affordable option to take on holiday or keep in the car boot. It's very small and will probably only take one child at a time, but this could be a bonus: because it's on the smaller side it won't be a pain setting it up often if your child constantly wants to play in it in the garden or on holiday. The peep-hole design gives it the feel of a play tent, so that's quite likely.
Although this comes at a bargain price, there is sun protection of UPF 50+ in the fabric so no matter whether you're out in the garden or at the beach, you'll have some extra shelter from the sun's rays.
Pros: Very affordable, smaller size will be easier to set up
Cons: Can only take 1 child
Available from: PoundShop
4. Jojo Maman Bebe Infant Sized Sun Protection Tent, £45
– Best for changeable weather
Dimensions: H105 x W156 x D115cm (dimensions when folded up) | Sun protection: Yes, UPF 50
Having a beach tent can do wonders for tired toddlers on the beach who just want to take a little nap out from the sunlight. This Jojo Maman Bebe infant beach tent is a great option for infants: it is a good size for them to sit, rest or play in. It also has a closure flap that can be unraveled and secured with velcro straps or rolled up for easy access. The closure is great for moments of privacy if you need to breastfeed or change your baby while on the beach.
The closure also doubles up as a mosquito net to keep your infant safe from bugs and insects lurking about. This beach tent also comes with pegs to secure it, but also clever pebble pockets: place beach pebbles inside to help weigh down the tent while the wind is blowing.
Pros: Mosquito net, closure for privacy, pebble pockets to weigh down the tent
Cons: Not ideal for a large group
Available from: Jojo Maman Bebe
5. Free Swimming Baby Pop Up Baby Beach Tent with Pool, £25.99
– Best for shark fans
Weight: 698g | Sun protection: Yes, UPF 50
Any shark fans will love the fun design of this beach tent! It features fins on either side and pointy shark teeth along the opening so your child can really have fun and get creative with imaginative play.
With the package comes the tent, a carry bag and 4 pegs for anchoring it to the sand. The sides have flaps that can be rolled up to reveal mesh panels that lets in light and air while protecting your child from any flying bugs. Another cool feature is the integrated mini pool that can be easily filled with water fetched from the sea. Simply dig a small ditch in the sand to allow for the pool, and remember to always supervise your child while they play with it.
There are two colour options for this one – blue or pink – so your child can choose which one they prefer. With the automatic pop-up system, it's easy and convenient to set up and fold down quickly into its bag.
Pros: Fun design, ventilation on the sides, mini pool
Cons: Might be tricky to set up pool properly
Available from: Amazon
6. Ludi Beach Tent with Pool, £51
– Best for packing up small
Dimensions: L105 x W105 x H90 cm | Weight: 3kg | Sun protection: Yes, UPF 50
Beach tents come in all shapes and sizes, and this one comes with square base and is joined in the middle with tent wires. While most of the other tents on the list fold down into a flat but rather large circular shaped bag, this one rolls up into a small, narrow cylindrical bag that may be better suited to being stashed in a pushchair basket or carried on public transport.
The colours are a bright yellow and turquoise which invite the fun of playing on the beach. With this tent your child can also have the benefit of having the sea close to them without having to be too close: the integrated mini pool can be filled with water fetched from the sea and they can have their own splash fun under the tent's shelter.
Pros: Fun design, compact carry bag, mini pool
Cons: Might be tricky to set up tent
Available from: Amazon
7. Trespass Kingsbarn Pop Up Beach Tent, £49.99
– Best for the whole family
Dimensions: H120cm x W220cm | Sun protection: Yes, UPF 50
This tent is made for the beach and will make an excellent choice if you and your family all want to sit together in a sheltered spot. With a width of 220cm, this tent can certainly take more than just your little one. Keep all your family members protected from the sun rays with the UPF 50, one less thing to worry about as you enjoy some fun in the sun.
Though this tent doesn't have an enclosure, it's still a great option for bringing you all together and providing your family with an easy-to-spot beach base on a day out. As it's larger it does need more securing, so the tent comes with pegs and guy ropes to help keep it secure. It also has water-resistant floor sheet to prevent any slipping and sliding when in contact with seawater.
Pros: Large size, water-resistant floor sheet
Cons: No closure
Available from: Trespass
When testing and selecting beach tents we considered size, extra features, sun protection, privacy options and ease of folding.
Our 10 of the Best lists are compiled by qualified and experienced parenting journalists. They rely on a number of sources, including our independent reviews, testing undertaken during the MadeForMums Awards, and feedback from our home testing panel and Top Testers Club. Each year thousands of products are put through their paces by hundreds of parents across the country on behalf of MadeForMums, to ensure we’re bringing you honest and true reviews and recommendations.
Our list is not an ordered ranking from 1-10, instead it is a carefully selected group of tried-and-tested products, each of which we believe is best for a different situation or requirement. We don't just tell you what is best, we help you discover what is best for your family.
About the author
Janet is a Digital Journalist at MadeForMums. She has a BA Honours Degree in Media Production and has developed a keen eye and passion for creating online media content. She is a wife and mother to a boy and girl both under 4, and has plenty of personal experience bathing both babies and toddlers! She shares her journey of motherhood, fashion and beauty looks, and encouragement for new mums through her own instagram account.
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