Beach Umbrellas

Take a break from the sun with a beach umbrella

Adequate shade is very important if you're going to be spending a sunny day at the beach. It helps prevent dehydration and sunburn and minimizes your skin's exposure to the UV rays that can cause everything from excess dryness to skin cancer. To address these needs, there are several beach shelter options available, including cabanas, beach tents and beach umbrellas.

The deciding factor on which of these options you select will have a lot to do with the number of people in your party. Regardless of the type of beach canopy, shelter or shade umbrella you prefer, there are some shopping tips you should always keep in mind to ensure you select a quality product.

Choose a Quality Sun Umbrella

Beach umbrellas are popular because of their portability and ease of use, and also because they come in a wide variety of sizes that create plenty of shade for one or more people. To make sure you buy a product that will last, select an umbrella made of a material that's lightweight but also strong. As a general guideline, you should know that price is usually a good indicator of quality; the more you spend, the better umbrella you'll get.

Before you buy the umbrella, test it to make sure it anchors securely. A sturdy anchor and durable but light umbrella material are more important than secondary features like tilting and telescoping.

For optimal skin protection, don't rely solely on a beach canopy or shading device. Cover all areas of exposed skin with sunscreen, or wear sun blocking clothing.

More Beach Shelters to Consider

Most beach umbrellas cast a shadow that's about 6 feet in diameter. If you need more shade than this, you'll need to consider larger beach shelters.

A cabana or beach canopy is perfect for housing families or larger groups. These collapsible structures consist of cloth walls and roofs that are held in place by lightweight aluminum poles, which are anchored into the ground and horizontally connected to one another at the top. Look for models which are easy to assemble and can stand up to high winds.

Beach tents are very similar to camping tents, except that they're typically lighter-duty with mesh screens designed to let more fresh air pass through. If you plan to actually sleep in the tent, you can get a more durable version intended for use on sand, or simply pitch a regular camping tent close to the water.

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