Spending time at the beach is a favourite pastime of most Australians, and provides us with hours of relaxation, fun, and quality time with friends and family.
Unfortunately, spending time in the sun also puts us at an increased risk of dangers like sunburn and sunstroke.
Beach shelters are a great way to extend your time on the beach and protect you and your family from the sun’s harmful rays.
In this guide, we review the best beach shelters currently on the market in Australia and provide some tips on what to look out for when choosing one.
Best Beach Gazebo: CoolCabanas Beach Shelter
If you’re looking for a beach gazebo that provides a large amount of coverage and sun protection, the CoolCabanas Beach Shelter is a great choice.
The cotton-poly canvas fabric provides 50+ UPF protection, and the patented, super compact fold-up design makes it easy to store. It weighs around 5.3kg.
It’s easy to assemble and take down and also has 8 internal pockets to store valuables and essentials.
This shelter provides a large amount of coverage with its 2m x 2m dimensions, making it ideal for families or groups who want to spend long days at the beach together.
The price point on this product is a bit higher than others on the market, but with an innovative design like this one, we think it’s worth paying a little bit extra for something that will last longer than your typical beach shelter.
It’s also bulkier than some other options available, which can make it more difficult to carry when folded up and stored away in between uses.
Best Beach Tent: OZtrail Multi Shade 4
The OZtrail Multi Shade 4 is a great option for those looking for a mid-sized, quick and easy-to-set-up sun shelter.
The cross brace construction provides extra stability and strength. There are also sand pegs and sand pockets included to help keep the tent stable in windy conditions.
This beach tent is constructed from fibreglass poles, which means it has greater strength than other options.
It also comes with OZtrail’s silver coated UVtex Sun Tough fabric, which means it will last longer in the sun than cheaper options. The water repellent treatment means you will stay dry even in light rain.
The heavy-duty puncture-resistant floor will protect the shelter from sharp objects on the ground and general wear and tear.
Side and rear mesh panels provide ventilation without compromising protection from the elements. There is also a compact carry bag included for easy storage when not in use.
The tent floor area is 210cm x 150cm and the head height is 150cm.
If you’re looking for something that’s simple to set up and won’t break the bank then this is an excellent choice.
Best Value Beach Gazebo: Kings Cabana Sun Shade
The Kings Cabana Sun Shade is a great value, versatile sun shelter that’s perfect for beach and park use.
This shade measures 1.8 metres by 1.8 metres, and it has an integrated rear wall that you can roll down for extra wind and rain protection.
It also features pockets to fill with sand or water bottles for extra stability, a feature not always found on other beach gazebos.
There is also a handy carry bag included for easy transportation—making it easy to take on picnics, camping trips, and beach days.
One thing we noticed while researching this product was that some users had reported issues with quality control.
Despite this drawback, the Kings Cabana Sun Shade is still a great value and very versatile sun shelter that receives very positive user reviews overall.
Best Value Beach Shelter: FE Active Pop Up Beach Shelter
The FE Active Pop Up Beach Shelter is a great option for those who are looking for a lightweight, affordable beach shelter.
The half dome shape provides protection from the sun, rain and wind. It’s easy to set up and fits easily in the portable carry bag. This makes it great for those who want to use it while camping or travelling.
The tent is built with water-resistant Ripstop polyester, fibreglass poles and 4 aluminium stakes. Its dimensions are 230cm width x 150cm depth x 125cm height which means it can easily fit two people comfortably.
This product is very affordable and easy to use but may not be the most durable option available.
Also great: Life Tahiti 2.0 Beach Shelter
The Life Tahiti Beach Shelter is a great quality, easy-to-use beach shelter.
This shelter is perfect for 2 people, and it has all the features you need to have a comfortable day at the beach. The quick and easy setup system means that you can set up your shelter in just minutes.
The UPF50+ coating protects you from UV rays and a cross ventilation system with three mesh zip windows lets in plenty of fresh air. There’s even a handy pocket where you can stash your belongings like car keys and sunscreen.
Sand pegs keep the shelter secure during gusts of wind, and there’s also a carry bag included so that you can easily transport it from place to place.
All in all, this is an excellent product. Our only gripe is that when folded up for storage or transport, it still takes up a bit of space, so is less suited to those with very small vehicles.
However, if you’re looking for something that will keep you cool while enjoying time at the beach or with friends or family then we highly recommend this product.
Beach Shelter Buying Guide
The key things you need to keep in mind when shopping for a beach shelter include:
Manufacturers use a variety of materials in the construction of beach shelters.
The best sun protection and durability tend to come from more heavy-duty materials like polyester.
Some beach tents have a canopy-like structure while others are more like a pop up tent you’d take camping.
In general, those that resemble a tent are better for sun protection due to their fully enclosed walls and therefore increased shade.
Both options provide better sun protection than a beach umbrella which needs to be constantly adjusted to ensure you’re in the shade.
Let’s be honest, the last thing you want is a beach shelter that takes ages to assemble.
You want something that pops up quickly so that you can sit down and relax, read your book, or go for a swim.
While some beach shelters are easy to install, others are incredibly complicated – we take this into account in our reviews above.
Logically, beach shelters are located outside and they need to be able to withstand wind, rain, and sun.
Given they are exposed to the elements, cheap products often break and tear.
Durability is, therefore, a very important thing to look for.
Since you’re buying a beach shelter, make sure it comes with solid UV protection that prevents the sun’s rays from damaging your skin.
Look for products that have been tested for UPF50+ protection.
Fortunately, beach shelters come at a variety of prices to suit all budgets.
Unfortunately, “you get what you pay for” doesn’t always apply here.
Some expensive beach shelters don’t deserve their price tag while some affordable ones have excellent quality.