I love spending time on the beach with my family. The sun in Australia is fierce though, so you need to be prepared with your own beach tent, beach umbrella or beach shade. We wear sunscreen, long-sleeved rashies, hats and sunglasses for our beach days but if you plan on spending a few hours on the sand you need to find the best beach shelter so you can spend all day enjoying the fun. It can sometimes be tricky finding the best beach shelter for large groups but I’ve found lots of options for you no matter how big or small your family.

This best beach shelter buying guide for 2019 will tell you about the best beach tents for families, the best pop up tents, the best beach umbrellas and the best beach umbrella tents (which are a combination of a beach umbrella and a beach sunshade). Hopefully by the end of the article you’ll know which is the best beach shade for your family.

Love days out at the beach? Find the best beach wagon here and read my detailed review of the Buddy Wagon.

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Introduction to buying the best beach shelter Australia has to offer

So you love spending time on the beach but you want to do it from the comfort of the shade of a beach side tent (so sensible!). Investing in some kind of beach shade tent is a great investment for your health and wellbeing. There are all kinds of options of beach shelters in Australia depending on your needs and the size of your family. Here are the different types of beach sun protection tents you can choose from:

A sun shade tent is a framed tent. Tents for beaches sometimes take a little more effort to put up so it’s worth reading reviews of lots of sun shelter tents to find ones that go up easily. Summer shade tents are great for medium and large families as you can get them in larger sizes. Australian beach tents have a few more parts to them which means there is potential for more to go wrong so it’s worth investing in quality in a great beach tent for Australia this summer. However, a sun tent is an amazing option for a large family wanting something they can put up in the morning and leave up all day. Like regular tents, sun shelter tents tend to come with a carry bag.

Pop up tents for the beach are the easiest beach shelter to put up – you literally unpack a pop up beach tent and they do all the work. This makes it really easy if you’ve got little kids and don’t want to waste time struggling with tent poles (when we get to the beach our kids are just itching to run into the water so if we have to pause to put up a tent it drives them crazy!) The only downside is they tend to be smaller so might not work for large families, but if you’re just looking for a kids’ beach tent or a beach sun shade for your baby then this is a good option. A pop up beach shelter is generally light and easy to carry and it usually folds into its own pop up sun shade carry bag.

A beach sun shade (or sail shade/sun shelter) is an adjustable beach shade with material, cords and usually a few poles – these sun shades are very portable as they are mainly just fabric and you can usually arrange the angle to suit where the sun is facing. Beach shelters come in a range of styles. You can get lots of portable sun shelters in Australia and they are a really easy option if you want something that is fast to put up and that gives you flexible shade. They’re also handy to use as a kids beach tent as there is no groundsheet – this means little ones can sit on the sand underneath it to build sand castles, and you have a visual all around for keeping an eye on them too.

A beach umbrella or sun parasol is an easy option. A sun parasol takes seconds to pop it up and dig it into the sand. The best beach umbrella would be an adjustable beach umbrella as this allows you to angle your sun protection. You can also get a regular, unadjustable umbrella-style sun parasol. Australia has the strongest sun, so the bonus of a large beach umbrella is you put it up instantly so isn’t as complicated as sun tents can be. The downsides to a beach umbrella can be its size (it is more suited for couples or as a baby beach shade to keep a baby or small children out of the sun). They do work well over beach beds though so are great to have by the side of your pool or as a patio umbrella. Another downside is they can be long and awkward to carry to the beach – a fold up beach umbrella is still quite large to carry along with the rest of your beach gear.

A beach umbrella tent combines the shape of a beach sun umbrella with the versatility of a beach tent as it has sides which wrap around down to the ground. It is basically a large beach umbrella with side panels – you have the curve of a beach umbrella at the top but with more substance, as it attaches to the ground and isn’t going to blow away in heavy winds like a large beach umbrella might. These also come in much larger sizes than regular beach umbrellas and can sometimes provide shade for three or four people. This makes them a good option as a family beach shelter.

A beach gazebos tend to be more structured and they need a firm ground so aren’t usually ideal for using on sand.  They can be flexible as shade for an outdoor bbq but they work better at parks or for get togethers outdoors on solid ground. They aren’t easy to put up like a pop up sun tent and take a bit more effort. Beach gazebos often come with a number of poles which can make them harder to put up and heavier to carry.

The best beach shelter in Australia: Beach tent comparison chart 2019

Read this at-a-glance comparison chart to help you choose the best beach shelter Australia has to offer.

ProductImageTypeCheck prices on Amazon
Easthills Outdoor Sun TentBeach tentCheck out price now
KingCamp Outdoor Beach TentBeach tentCheck price now
G4Free Easy Set up Beach Tent Pop up Sun ShelterPop up beach tentCheck price now
LINKE Pop Up Beach Tent Sun ShelterPop up beach tentCheck price now
Lovin' Summer Bondi Beach Tent ShadeBeach shadeCheck out price here
Chillout Beach ShadeBeach shadeCheck price now
ZiggyShade Beach SunshadeBeach shadeCheck price now
AMMSUN 2.1m Outdoor Patio Beach UmbrellaBeach umbrellaCheck price now
SKLZ Super-BrellaBeach umbrella tentCheck price now
Instahut 3x3m Outdoor GazeboBeach gazeboGet price now
Instahut 3x6m Outdoor GazeboBeach gazeboGet price now

Find the best beach tent for a family

Here are some of the best beach tents on the market.

Easthills Outdoors Easy Up 4 Person Beach Tent Sun Shelter

>> Easthills Outdoors Easy Up 4 Person Beach Tent Sun Shelter

This Easthills Outdoor Beach Tent looks the part. It is a sleek and smart looking family beach shelter and it would look so good on a white sandy beach. It is extra large (being suitable for up to four adults). It takes one minute to put it up, and it has roll up windows so you can see all around (this is important – the beach tent I bought when we arrived in Australia didn’t have this and I used to hate losing sight of the kids when they moved to the side of the beach tent where I couldn’t see them.)

The beach tent material is UPF 50+ and it blocks 97.5% of the harmful UV rays from the sun. I love that you can zip up the front completely to get changed – another game changer. It comes with a carry bag (complete with instructions sewn inside in case you need them) which has a shoulder strap making it easy to carry from the car. It also has a one-year warranty for your peace of mind.

Pros of the Easthills beach tent:
You can put it up with just one person making it really flexible.
Windows all around for visibility.
It zips up front for privacy.
Large enough for families.

Cons of the Easthills beach tent:
It can be tricky to get the beach shelter tent back into the carry bag but a big positive is that it comes as one piece meaning there is no fiddling around with the poles.

>> >> Shop for Easthills Outdoors Easy Up 4 Person Beach Tent Sun Shelter on Amazon  

KingCamp Outdoor Beach Tent 3-4 Person UPF 50+ Quick-Up Sun Shelter with Canopy and Mesh Side Walls

 Check out the latest prices of KingCamp Outdoor Beach Tent on Amazon

The KingCamp Outdoor Beach Tent is a slightly different style of beach tent in that it has a large canopy at the front giving it additional shade outside the main enclosure which makes it great as a baby sun tent as it gives you the extra shade and more space outside of the actual tent. It provides UPF 50+ protection from the sun and offers an easy assembly. It seats four people, and the front area is a great spot for enjoying a picnic. There are two layers to the tent so you can use both layers to use it as an actual tent or just use the inner tent alone. It has a bright, eye-catching design which makes it easy for your kids to spot on the beach. 

Pros of the KingCamp beach tent:
The large canopy at the front to create a more flexible space for the shelter tent.
It can double up as a real tent as well as a beach tent – two products for the price of one!
As it has two layers, you can use it as a real tent as well as a beach shade tent

Cons of the KingCamp beach tent:
If you only need a beach tent (and not one for camping in) then some of the features may be lost on you.

>> Get the KingCamp Outdoor Beach Tent from Amazon

Find the best pop up beach tent

Pop up beach tents are even easier and faster to put up than regular beach tents! Pop up beach shade tents are great if you’re looking for a pop up baby beach tent as there is no effort to get them up and when you have a baby you want something that is as easy as possible when you visit the beach.

G4Free Easy Set up Beach Tent Pop up Sun Shelter 

Get the G4Free Easy Set up Pop up Sun Shelter from Amazon

The G4Free Easy Set up Beach Tent Pop up Sun Shelter is an option for smaller families. Comfortably fitting two adults and two children, this shelter offers UPF 50+ sun protection and the material keeps the temperature under the sun shade lower than the outside which means it’s great for those with babies or toddlers. This beach shelter pop up is easy to set up and put away, utilising a pop up system. For stability, this sun shelter tent has built-in sandbags and ropes to hold it down with stakes. It weighs 3.1kg.

Pros of the G4Free pop up beach tent:
It is a pop up tent making it easy and fast to put up.
This beach shelter tent packs up small.

Cons of the G4Free pop up beach tent:
No zip up front meaning it might not be the best beach tent if you want to get changed in it.
Not quite big enough for larger families.

>> Get the G4Free beach tent from Amazon

LINKE Pop Up Beach Tent 4 Person Beach Shelter

Check out the LINKE Pop Up Beach Tent Sun Shelter, 4 Person Easy Setup Camping Shade on Amazon

The LINKE pop up tent has a HUB mechanic system which makes the tent open by itself effortlessly. It is sturdy and has a fibreglass frame that will withstand the weather. It provides 50+ UPF and is water resistant making it a good buy. Beach tent windows on the sides can be rolled up and provide ventilation and the sand pockets and stakes ensure the tent is stable in winds up to 25mph. This day tent shelter can be put up in just 30 seconds and folds down easily into a roomy carry bag (so no struggle stuffing it back in at the end of the day!). The pop up beach shelter can fit 3 – 4 people comfortably. It weighs just 2.8kg.

Pros of the LINKE pop up beach tent:
It is an easy to put up beach tent – it takes just a few seconds so no more arguments about poles!
It can withstand the weather.
The front section can be zipped up if you want some privacy to get changed.

Cons of the LINKE pop up beach tent:
It is good for small families but not for larger groups.
You can’t stand up in it.

>> Get the LINKE Pop Up Beach Tent Sun Shelter, 4 Person Easy Setup Camping Shade from Amazon

Find the best beach shade

While I love beach tents for long, lazy days on the sand, I think beach shades offer so much flexibility. Beach shades in Australia are easy to put up, they are lightweight to carry and easy to pack up again.

Lovin’ Summer Beach Tent Shade

>> Check out the Lovin’ Summer Bondi Beach Shade on Amazon

Lovin’ Summer’s beach shade takes minutes to put up and it provides 5.9m² of sun protection, with UPF 40 and blocking 97.5% of the suns harmful UV rays. It’s an Australia designed products that was created with our harsh environment in mind. You can use it at the beach or the park.

The item weighs 3.8kg and is made with durable material. It also comes in its own carry bag and lightweight mallet which is really handy and makes putting it up a breeze.

Pros of the Lovin’ Summer beach shade:
It is easy for one person to assemble the beach shade.
The beach shade comes in a range of vibrant patterns and looks very smart on the sand.
It offers full airflow as it doesn’t have sides and it allows you to see your kids from all angles with no restrictions from walls.
It is quite compact and doesn’t take up a huge amount of space on the beach.

Cons of the Lovin’ Summer beach shade:
You can’t stand up under it or use it to get changed in.

>> Buy a Lovin’ Summer Bondi Beach Shade from Amazon

Chillout Beach Shade

A blue Chillout beach shade tent on the sand

Get the Chillout Maxi Shade from ozchillout.com.au 

Chillout’s beach shades are brought to you by a beach-loving family business based in Sydney. They provide an innovative stakeless design, meaning you can take your beach shelter for a day out on the sand and leave your heavy mallet at home. The beach shade can be set up in multiple configurations, so you can move it around easily as the sun moves. The breathable Lycra Polyester fabric offers UPF 50 and is quick-drying if you happen to be out in a downpour, and the fact that it stretches makes it less likely to split or tear. It is designed to minimise wind resistance so you don’t need to worry about it being blown away down the beach.

To keep the Chillout Shade securely in place, you just fill up the sandbags with sand. It only takes a couple of minutes to have it up and it’s so easy that the kids can even help. The Chillout beach shades come in a wide range of vibrant colours – this means your kids can easily find you on the beach.

The Chillout Shades come in three sizes: Maxi Shade (3m/3m, fits more than 6 people underneath and weighs 2.5kg), the Midi Shade (2.1m/2.25m, fits 4 people underneath and weighs 2kg) or the compact Cosy Shade (2.1m/1.5m, fits 2 people underneath and weighs 2kg). All of the beach shades come in a handy carry bag and extra poles can be purchased later if necessary (i.e. if you lose or damage a pole there is no need to throw the whole thing away which is a win for the environment).

Pros of the Chillout Shade: 
They are lightweight plus you don’t need to carry a mallet.
The fabric is strong and stretchy and can be adjusted to suit the direction of the sun.
Putting it up is a breeze so you can enjoy your beach trip from the moment you arrive on the sand.
The Maxi shade is high enough to set up chairs underneath and to stand in.
It comes in bright colours which makes it easy for your kids to spot on the beach.
It offers full airflow as it doesn’t have sides and it allows you to see your kids from all angles with no restrictions from walls.

Cons of the Chillout Shade:
It is open-sided, so isn’t a fully enclosed space for getting changed like a beach tent would be.

>>  Buy the Chillout Maxi Shade now

Ziggy Shade Beach Sun Shelter

Get the ZiggyShade Beach Sun Shade from Amazon

The ZiggyShade beach sun shade is a lightweight UPF 50+ beach tent designed in Australia. You can use it at the beach, park or any outdoor space. It comes in two sizes – standard and family. It weighs 2.2kg. This is a great option for larger families as the family size is an extra large beach canopy that fits up to 6 people under it and the standard is a 4 person beach shelter. The outdoor sun shade can be set up in less than five minutes by one person. The sunshade is held firm by sandbags and ropes. It stays stable in a breeze as the wind can pass over and through it – it’s like an open tent for the beach! As the sun moves, you can adjust the sun shade by moving the sandbags. If you are using your Ziggy Shade beach tent at the park or camp ground instead of the beach, you can use the included tent pegs instead which gives it total flexibility as a camping shelter in Australia too. It’s like a big open tent for the beach giving you a really flexible beach shade.

Pros of the Ziggy Shade beach shade:
As far as beach canopy shelters go, it is very lightweight.
It is easy to put up.
It comes in bright colours which makes it easy for your kids to spot on the beach.
It offers full airflow as it doesn’t have sides and it allows you to see your kids from all angles with no restrictions from walls.

Cons of the ZiggyShade beach shade:
It takes up a large space on the sand (which could be an issue if the beach was busy but then this is Australia so not likely too much of a problem!)
It doesn’t offer total privacy for getting changed like a zip up beach tent would.

>> Get the ZiggyShade Beach Sun Shade from Amazon

Find the best beach umbrella Australia has to offer

Beach umbrellas are a simple and practical option for providing beach shelter. They’re a great option if you’re just popping to the beach for an hour and want a small amount of beach shade. You can get large beach umbrellas or compact beach umbrellas and pop up sun umbrellas with sides. The best beach umbrellas are adjustable and come with a beach umbrella stand or a beach umbrella anchor so that it won’t blow away in the wind.

AMMSUN 2.1m Outdoor Patio Beach Umbrella Sun Shelter 

Check out the AMMSUN 2.1m Outdoor Patio Beach Umbrella Sun Shelter on Amazon

The AMMSUN 2.1m Beach Umbrella is a fabulous portable beach umbrella. Australia has some stunning beaches and a beach umbrella allows you to arrive at the beach and begin enjoying the sand and the view instantly as you just need to open the beach umbrella to benefit from the beach shade. A beach umbrella is a bit old sckool compared with all of the modern beach shelter options on the market right now, but a classic beach shade umbrella like this is so easy to use and it is practical in the right situations.

This AMMSUN beach umrealla comes with a bright, vibrant design and has an air vent designed to allow air flow for stability. You can tilt this high-quality beach umbrella to ensure you are always in the shade – it’s much more than just a sun parasol. It is quite light at 2.8kg and it comes with a beach umbrella carry bag for protection. There is an optional beach umbrella anchor available (sold separately) which is a wise investment along side the main beach umbrella as it will hold your portable beach umbrella steady. It can get windy at the beach in Australia and you don’t want your large beach umbrella blowing away!

Buy the AMMSUN Beach Umbrella Anchor here

As lightweight beach parasols go, this is a good option as it has the tilt feature and the ability to anchor it so it offers a lot of flexibility as well as durability as it is made with quality materials.

Pros of the AMMSUN beach umbrella:
Easy to put up and put down.
Tilt option means you can adjust your sun umbrella it for the sun.
The anchor holds your sun parasol in place (sold separately).

Cons of the AMMSUN beach umbrella:
The best large umbrella is great for couples or for a baby or toddler but doesn’t work for big families unless you buy a few of them.

>> Check out the AMMSUN 2.1m Outdoor Patio Beach Umbrella Sun Shelter on Amazon

Find the best beach umbrella tent

Not quite an umbrella or a tent, this hybrid beach tent offers the best of both options. It’s like a big sun umbrella with sides.

Super Brella Portable Sun Umbrella

Check out the SKLZ Super-Brella-Blue on Amazon

The Super Brella beach tent umbrella is the best buy beach umbrella with sides. It combines the best features of the best beach umbrella with the best features of the best pop up beach tent. It provides UPF 50+ protection and is extra large to allow a family to sit under it on camping chairs. The wrap around sides give extra coverage from the weather.

It has windows in the sides so you can see your kids even if they’re playing at the side of the beach umbrella tent. It is water repellent and is the perfect spot to wait out a rain shower whether you’re at the beach or watching your kids play sports. It weighs 4kg and takes just a few minutes to put up. If you’re looking for large outdoor umbrellas to use as sunshades then this product is definitely worth checking out.

Pros of the Sport Brella Portable Sun Umbrella:
This super brella wraps around so gives more protection than even the best beach umbrella.

Cons of the Sport Brella Portable Sun Umbrella:
It takes a few minutes to put up.
It can fit small groups under but for larger families another option of beach tent would be better.
It doesn’t offer any privacy as no zip up front.

>> Get the SKLZ Super-Brella-Blue from Amazon

Find the best gazebo for the beach

Beach gazebos offer a different type of beach shelter. Often, portable gazebos are a heavier structure that need to be put up on solid ground but they do offer shade that works well as a party gazebo or a a bbq tent. A portable gazebo is practical and functional for large get togethers or big days out. Things to consider when choosing your outdoor pergola is how easy it is to put up, how heavy it is when it packs down and where you are likely to use it.

Instahut Pop Up Beach Gazebo

Check out the Instahut 3x3m Outdoor Gazebo in black on Amazon

Instahut offer a range of portable gazebos in different sizes that are suitable as a beach gazebo or camping gazebo or party gazebo!  The Instahut beach gazebos are a sturdy structure with an anti-rust powder-coated steel frame that makes it strong and durable. This does make them heavier than your average pop up beach tent but as a brand they may some of the best beach gazebos.

The roof of this camping gazebo is made from durable PVC coated oxford fabric which protects from the UV rays and is also weather-proof. You can change the height to suit your location – if you’re just looking for a shade gazebo you can set it up lower to lay under it but if you’re after a bbq gazebo for the side of the beach or the park then you can set it higher. As far as gazebo designs go, it is sleek and smart. The product is to be used on solid ground, so set it up on the grassy area at the side of the beach rather than directly on the sand.

Pros of the Instahut portable gazebo:
A portable gazebo is practical as you can use it for lots of occasions like as a camping gazebo or a bbq gazebo.
A gazebo like this will last you for years and is great to get out for parties, get togethers or as additional shade for a camping trip.
Instahut offer beach gazebos in lots of different sizes so you can choose a size that suits your family.

Cons of the Instahut portable gazebo:
It doesn’t have sides so isn’t great in bad weather.
It isn’t adjustable as the sun moves around.
It is really heavy at around 30kg so you wouldn’t want to move it far!
It’s not the best gazebo for the beach if you want something to go on sand.

>> Get the Instahut 3x3m Outdoor Gazebo from Amazon

>> Get the Instahut 3x6m Outdoor Gazebo from Amazon

Why buy the best beach shelter?

If you love the beach as much as I do, you’ll love spending time there. The best beach tent or beach shade will mean you can enjoy your beach days so much more and spend more time there out of the direct sun. A beach shelter or pop up beach sun shelter is a great place for kids to have a rest, a place to enjoy a picnic or even a place for a relaxing snooze without the worry that you’re going to get sunburnt.

Before invest in the best beach shelter: Things to consider when choosing the best beach sun shelter

There are five main considerations when choosing the best beach shelter.

Portability: How small does your beach sun shade pack down for transport in the car? How easy will it be to carry to the beach? Does it come with it’s own sun shade tent carry bag to make carrying it easy? When you take down your pop up beach tent, beach gazebo or sun shade tent, does it go back into the carry bag easily for storage? How heavy and strong is the beach shelter – will it withstand wind at the beach? Will you be able to carry it to the beach along with your other beach gear?

Durability: Are you looking for a heavy duty beach umbrella or a quality beach tent that will last you for years. Think about the materials the sun shelter is made from – both the material of the sun shade and the poles and connectors if you’re looking at beach gazebos and beach frame tents. It’s easy to pick up cheap beach umbrellas and cheap pop up tents, but think about the environment – what a waste to buy something you’re only going to use once or twice before it snaps and has to go into landfiill. If you buy the right beach shade, you can use it for decades.

Size: This is an important one. Know how many people you want the beach shade for. Are you looking for something that creates beach shade for your entire family, is it something you’re going to use at parties or maybe it’s just a baby beach tent to keep the youngest member of your family out of the direct sun on beach days, or it could just be a kids’ beach tent. Be clear how big a beach shelter you want to buy and only look at brands that offer that size.

Shade coverage: The sun moves around – think about how flexible the beach tent or beach umbrella is. Can you adjust the shade to suit the location of the sun? Do you want your beach shelter to have sides – if so think about how the wind is going to pass through these (you don’t want a big gust to make your tent take off!)?

Ease of use: This is a top priority although again it depends on a few things. If you only intend on using your beach shelter during big family events, you might not mind putting up a sturdy beach shade that takes a bit of effort. However, if you just want something you can throw up at the beach quickly then finding something that isn’t fiddly to put up is important. Think about how many adults will usually be around when you put it up – if you go to the beach with your kids without a friend or partner, will you be able to put it up on your own? A complicated beach shade is fine for occasional use but ideally, you want something you can put together quickly.

A white beach shade on the sand with a girl under it

What kind of things can you use a beach shade for?

A good beach shade will make your days out at the beach a lot more fun and comfortable. You can use a beach tent or beach shade for all the following (depending on the type of beach shelter you go for):

  • To give you shade on the sand during beach days
  • As somewhere out of the sun to enjoy a picnic
  • As a shade while watching sports events
  • At a festival or live events so you have based to come back to
  • As somewhere undercover during rainy weather or cold weather
  • As somewhere to cook a bbq on rainy days
  • As somewhere to keep buffet food in the shade during get togethers

Best beach sunshade, Australia

As you can see, there are lots of things to consider when you’re searching for the best beach shelter in Australia. I hope you’ve found this guide to the best beach tents and the best beach umbrellas useful! I hope it has inspired you to pack up your portable BBQ and beach bag and head to the sand!

See you at the beach!

>> Shop beach tents on Amazon now


Pinterest image which a lady laying under a beach umbrella

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