Summer has finally arrived, which means it's time to refresh your beach towel stash and start preparing your big escape (cue the creative "out of office" responses!). We love to dip our toes in the water as much as anyone, so we've rounded up the very best beach towels of 2023 — including ultra-soft towels, lightweight towels, personalized towels and Turkish towels — perfect for your next beach day or sand-free pool day.
Whether you’re planning an island destination, hitting the shore, lounging by the pool, or just want to give your bathroom a colorful update (a beautiful beach towel also makes for a great summer birthday or host gift, BTW), we have you covered with our comprehensive guide, included everything you need to know about choosing a beach towel and some of the top-rated, editor-approved options we’ll be wrapping ourselves in through Labor Day.
When to update your beach towels
If you’re wondering if your beach towels are due for an upgrade, your linen closet or cabinet is a good place to start. Assess your current supply based on condition (is there excessive fading or other signs of wear and tear?), convenience (are they compact and quick-drying enough to tote around?) and cosmetics (do the colors and patterns reflect your current taste?) to identify any gaps or towels that need replacing. You may also want to take a glance at your calendar (are you set for upcoming vacations and visitors?), and take stock of any new or growing family members (a hooded baby towel is a rite of passage, but only for so long).
What makes a good beach towel?
Some additional things to consider when evaluating or purchasing a beach towel include material (do you prefer lightweight microfiber or plush velour?), durability (loose fringe can fray, while fade-proof dyes stay) and size (a smaller towel is great for drying off, while a larger canvas is ideal for lounging and sharing). Of course, you’ll also want to factor in cost. We tend to think of a well-made towel as an investment that will pay off with frequent use, though we found plenty of options that will help you de-stress or impress guests for less.
What is the best beach towel material?
Which threads you choose will likely reflect your desired use and feel. Microfiber towels are usually lightweight and smooth, while terry cotton blends are known for their fluffiness and texture. Velour cotton is supremely soft, while Turkish and Egyptian cottons tend to be a bit heavier and more plush, thanks to their elongated fibers. A closer look at the label can also provide insight into where and how the towel is made — ideally it's free of harsh chemicals and uses sustainable fabrics and manufacturing practices.
What beach towel doesn’t get sand in it?
If you like to frequent the shore but don’t necessarily want to take it home, a smoother fabric such as synthetic microfiber may be your best bet. In addition to being more compact —and odor-proof! — microfiber towels are known for their sand-resistant, quick-drying benefits, meaning you won’t need to worry about transferring all that wet sand to your beach bag or car.
Ready to dive in? Scroll down to discover the best beach towels for every preference, price point and occasion (and don’t forget to safeguard your skin with these derm-approved sunscreens).
Turn your backyard into a trendy resort with this cabana towel from Amazon Basics, which has racked up over 8,000 five-star reviews for its chic stripes (choose from seven colors to match your swimsuit), fluffy feel (made of pure cotton) and amazing value (last time we checked, it was over 40% off).
“They are like what you get at any nice resort. Nicely finished edges give them a classy feel; nobody would EVER think they were this price!,” said one verified purchaser. “Very soft!,” exclaimed another. “And super absorbent. This was a great deal. I’m off to buy a couple more!”
Dimensions: 60" x 30" | Material: 100% ring-spun pure cotton | Care: Machine wash. Tumble dry low.
For a sophisticated burst of color, consider this versatile, hotel-worthy collection from Kassatex. The towels feature a sleek piping and are dyed using a unique waterless method that allows for saturated yet completely bleach-resistant shades, making them great for the pool, bathroom and beyond (you can also add a monogram for only $7).
“Great quality and hue. Bought eight and planning on buying more,” notes one happy customer. “Very soft and durable,” confirms another.
Dimensions: 35” x 70” | Material: 100% long-staple cotton | Care: Machine wash with cold to warm water. Dry on low to medium heat.
Checkered prints have been taking over Pinterest, and Brooklinen’s fluffy, OEKO-TEX–certified towels have become one of our favorite ways to get in on the trend. Choose from three bright shades — including Mango, Mint and Pop Pink — and consider making it a party with a matching robe or pool tube (we’re also fans of Baina’s Checkered Towels for those looking to really splurge).
“Not only are these soooo adorable but the softness vs. absorbency is fantastic. I personally find the Super-Plush towels to be too thick but these are just right! Also love that they come in a pack of 2!,” said one five-star reviewer. “Cutest design, best colors, perfect texture and thickness. Love love love,” adds another.
Dimensions: 30"w x 58" l Material: 100% Turkish cotton | Care: Machine wash with cold water. Tumble dry on low heat.
Seas the day with Great Bay’s beach towels, beloved by Amazon shoppers for their soft yet durable fabric and treasure trove of coordinating, ocean-inspired patterns. We’re especially loving the Fenwick Coral, Seashell and Starfish, shown, for shore houses and vacations.
“These towels are cute, high-quality and durable. The towels are soft and have not started pulling even after several washes. They were [a] huge hit as teacher gifts for my son’s school!,” notes one verified purchaser. “Colors [are] more vibrant than pictured. Quick dry. Good value for price,” adds another five-star fan.
Dimensions: 30" x 60" l Materials: 100% cotton | Care: Machine wash.
For an eclectic vibe, consider Brooklinen’s very Instagrammable — and incredibly giftable — Artist Series Towels. They’re made with an absorbent velour front and thick terry back, available in five limited-edition, seasonal illustrations for setting the perfect summer scene (purchase a few, and save).
“These towels feel substantial and look great. Packing them for the kids for college. No complaints,” said one reviewer. “Softest, coziest beach towel. Love the colors and the extra large size. It’s worth the additional cost,” added another.
Dimensions: 34” x 70" l Materials: 100% cotton | Care: Machine wash with warm water. Tumble dry on low heat.
Woven of soft, OEKO-TEX–Certified cotton, Pottery Barn has some of the most touchable beach towels around. This new pattern (in blue or red) offers a modern take on the traditional paisley, while the brand’s Awning Striped Beach Towel (choose from nine colors to complement your umbrella and three sizes) is a poolside classic. Last time we checked, the towels were also 30% off as part of a limited-time deal.
Dimensions: 32" x 64" l Materials: 100% cotton | Care: Machine wash with warm water (gentle cycle). Tumble dry on low heat.
Escape to the Mediterranean with Smyrna’s top-rated Turkish Cotton Towel, backed by 4.5 stars and close to 4,000 Amazon ratings for its minimalistic, sand-resistant design. Reviewers love that they’re a quick-dry towel. Available in 25 shades and ringing in at under $12 a piece, the pool- and beach-going possibilities are truly endless (the towels also make a chic addition to park days and guest bathrooms).
“Cute, stylish, functional and a good value! Give them [a] try … you’ll be glad you did!,” says one reviewer. “I have two of these towels, love them [and] they take up less space in your beach bag or luggage,” notes another. “Care is much easier [than] those thick towels [that] take forever to dry.”
Dimensions: 71” x 37” l Materials: 100% cotton | Care: Machine wash.
Make a statement while keeping sand at bay with this bestselling Turkish towel from Sand Cloud. The brand has been making waves with its intricate, ocean-forward patterns, lightweight yet absorbent fibers and thoughtful construction (the sand-resistant fabric is composed of GOTS-certified yarns). Sand Cloud also donates 10% of profits to saving marine life for an easy way to give back and a truly meaningful gift.
One enthusiastic reviewer purchased the towel for a Hawaiian vacation and confirms it lived up to the hype, boasting enough room for two people and a backpack, while this Amazon shopper found it to be “just what we need to help control the sand effect at the beach. The design we ordered is beautiful.”
Dimensions: 38”x 64” l Materials: 100% organic Turkish cotton | Care: Machine wash with cold water (gentle cycle). Tumble dry on low heat.
If you’re really looking to lighten your beach load, look no further than Nomadix’ highly rated Ultralight Collection. The brand’s super-absorbent, quick-drying, sand- and funk-resistant towels — made of a special microsuede composed of post-consumer recycled polyester — weigh in at a mere eight ounces, making them the perfect companion to all of your beach and camping adventures. Their compact size and cool prints are also great for tackling sweat at the gym (available in 15 patterns; travel bag included).
“My new favorite towel to travel with. Dried quickly and looks cool. So big I can use it as a small blanket to keep warm,” says one verified purchaser. “Very bright colors and dries so quickly. Best towels on the planet!,” exclaims another.
Dimensions: 54” x 30” l Materials: 90% Post-consumer recycled polyester l Machine wash with cold water. Tumble dry on low heat.
For another lightweight option, consider a compact, travel-friendly beach towel from Dock & Bay. The brand has amassed a cult-like following and a near-perfect Amazon rating for compact, sand- and odor-resistant, quick-drying beach towels that are composed of 100% recycled materials and come with a drawstring bag for easy carrying. Choose from three sizes and over 40 prints (the Cabana Stripes are timeless while Stripes Go Wild, shown, are swirling with fun).
“I have been purchasing the Dock & Bay Beach towels for years. These are my family's favorite towels for the pool, beach or lake,” said one loyalist. “These towels are lightweight, absorbent, sand-resistant, and take up hardly any space in your beach bag,” adds this five-star fan.
Dimensions: 63” x 35” l Materials: 100% recycled materials composed of 83% polyester and 17% polyamide | Care: Machine wash with cold water (under 30 degrees). Tumble dry if needed.
If you like to stretch or secure some extra space for snacks, we suggest checking out the XX-large beach towel option from Ocoopa, which is made of odor- and sand-proof, quick-drying microfiber material and reigns as the largest towel on our list. Despite its generous dimensions, the towel-blanket hybrid folds up into a compact bag, making it ideal for concerts and picnics (and because it's also stain-resistant, you don’t need to stress about any spills).
Have a penchant for personalization? Lands’ End is one of the biggest names in the game, boasting a competitive assortment of fonts, logos and colors for creating a towel that’s all your own. Last time we checked, the brand was offering 40% off its plush, UV-resistant towels, complete with free embroidery for a limited time. (Be sure to check out the Tie Dye and Kids Printed versions for a more playful design.)
“Best beach towel ever! I have purchased these towels on numerous occasions over the past 10+ years, both for myself and as gifts,” exclaims one reviewer. “This towel is so plush! I use it after swimming as well as sitting on the beach. It’s great!," says another.
Dimensions: 39” x 78” | Materials: 100% cotton | Care: Machine wash with cold water.
Speaking of playful, we’re loving the latest towel offerings from Baggu, which are as creative as they are cozy (thanks to organic cotton terry) and add a touch of nostalgia to the pool, beach or bath. Available in five striking patterns — from wild sunflowers to smiley faces, shown — they make the perfect find or gift for adolescents and the young at heart. Bonus points if you throw in a set of matching hand towels.
Dimensions: 60” x 30” | Materials: 100% organic cotton terry | Care: Machine wash.
For little ones, we can’t get enough of the top-rated towels from Original Kids. Scoop up a set in their choice of four whimsical patterns — including polka-dots, whales, sharks and alligators, shown — to make bath and beach time a blast. Each towel is woven of terry jacquard, yarn-dyed for lasting color and pre-washed for a soft, fluffy feel.
“These are cute and soft and perfect for kids. They are not huge bath towels so better for kids,” said one verified purchaser. “Great quality. Not thin. The price was perfect,” added another reviewer, whose purchase was such a hit with their 3-year-old that they plan to purchase more.
Dimensions: 26” x 50” | Materials: 100% combed cotton terry jacquard | Care: Machine wash and tumble dry.
A hooded beach towel provides smaller toddlers and babies with added protection against harmful rays (and their families with some prime photo opps). This sunshine-themed, OEKO-TEX–certified cotton towel from Pottery Barn Kids is among our top picks for a snuggly cover-up that will set the stage for countless memories.
Dimensions: 34” x 23” | Materials: 100% cotton | Care: Machine wash with warm water (gentle cycle). Tumble dry on low heat, removing promptly.
For a more lavish lounge, consider investing in a luxurious towel that will elevate your (or your guests') beach trip for seasons to come. This reversible pick from Tory Burch — available in seven striking shades — is made in Portugal with thick, soft brushed cotton and an intricate T-tile design (save when you purchase a set of two).
“Not only are they beautiful, but they dry really quickly. I literally got stopped by five people the first day I brought them to the pool and was asked where I bought them. They are a hit!,” recommended one reviewer. “I love these towels, thick and luxurious. Absolutely beautiful. I'll be buying more,” gushes another.
Give yourself (and your bank account) a break with this bestselling beach towel set from Ben Kaufman. It stacks four color combos and has earned a five-star rating from more than 6,000 Amazon reviewers who’ve come to rely on the style for its accessible price point, soft, quick-drying fabric and bright, tonal hues. At time of publish, it was on sale for only $34, bringing each towel down to just over $8 a pop, for a great overall value.
“Great quality, thick beach towels. Vibrant colors. Very happy with this purchase,” said one verified purchaser. “Perfect lake towels,” suggested another. “Nice, big fluffy. Absorbent. Great towels. We love them so far.”