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Kristina Cappetta

Best Baby Beach Tents to Block the Summer Sun

Finding the perfect baby beach tent is anything but child's play. Keep your cool this summer with our list of best tents around.

Now that summer is here, we're betting you and your family can't wait to head out for a fun day in the sun. If you're hitting the beach, sunscreen, hats and towels are likely on your packing list—but don't forget a baby beach tent. When it comes to summer sun safety, a tent that provides ample shade can be just as essential as sunscreen. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends infants under 6 months old avoid sun exposure. Plus, a baby beach tent offers not only a cool spot away from the sun, but also a (relatively) sand-free place to put baby down for a nap, change a diaper or enjoy a snack.

What to Look for in a Baby Beach Tent

You don’t want to run out to the store and just pick up any old baby beach tent. As with all the other baby gear you have in your house, you want to be thoughtful about what you buy, considering safety and quality above all. Here are some questions to keep in mind as you shop for your baby beach tent:

  • Is it easy to assemble? Sure, it looks nice in the box, but is baby going to be a teenager by the time you manage to get it up? You may want to consider a pop-up beach tent for baby to minimize assembly time. Otherwise, look for a baby beach tent that is quick and easy to assemble.
  • What sun protection does it provide? One of the main reasons you’re even buying a beach tent for baby is to gain some protection from the sun. Look into what type of UV protection the baby beach tent offers. Check whether it has enclosure options on all sides, but also ventilation. A baby beach tent is not meant to be an oven!
  • How durable is it? Ocean breezes can become quite brisk. Consider the materials the tent is made of and how durable it is. Choose a high quality product to avoid a baby beach tent disaster. A tent collapsing on baby = epic fail!

Best Baby Beach Tents

Now that you know what to look for in a baby beach tent, how do you find the best tent for for your family? Take a look at our list of awesome baby sun tents to help narrow your choices.

Schylling UV Play Shade, SPF 50+, Ultra Portable , $46, Amazon.com

This is a favorite of beach-going mamas because it’s roomy but very portable, folding up to carry like your favorite tote! More importantly, it’s made with a special certified material with built-in SPF 50+, which effectively protects baby from the sun’s harmful rays. And you won’t be chasing this tent down the beach after a gust of wind swoops in—the tent comes with tie-down pegs and sand pockets to keep it in place.

Pros:

  • Pops up and down easily for quick assembly
  • Sized to fit more than one child
  • Provides SPF protection

Cons:

  • May be too small for mom to breastfeed
  • Only one flap opens, which may constrict air flow

Babymoov Anti-UV Tent , $40, BuyBuyBaby.com

This easy-peasy baby pop-up beach tent is a favorite because it’s virtually assembly-free. In about three seconds you can provide instant shade and UV protection for baby. Close it up in another three seconds and store it in its carry bag.

Pros:

  • Ventilation net allows for air to come through while protecting against bugs
  • Four pegs (included) make it sturdy and stable for the beach
  • Anti-UV coating 50+ offers superior sun protection

Cons:

  • Tent instructions aren't very helpful

Shade Shack Instant Pop Up Sun Shelter , $50, Amazon.com

There’s room for mom, dad and a sibling in this family beach tent. It offers an easy pop-up setup and sand pockets and stakes for stay-put comfort, plus three fold-up sides for breezy ventilation while providing plenty of shade from the sun.

Pros:

  • Offers sun protection and ventilation at the same time
  • You can put sand in side pockets to weigh tent down
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Difficult to fold back up
  • Provides SPF 30+, not SPF 50+

One Touch Play Cabana Tent , $50, Jet.com

Baby (and big kid too!) will be styling in this roomy baby cabana. With a one-touch setup and sturdy design, it’ll stay in place and keep your family safe from sand, wind and sun, thanks to its SPF 30+ rating. Comes complete with a carrying bag for easy portability.

Pros:

  • Structural stability to withstand wind
  • Waterproof floor
  • Fits in a suitcase for easy travel when folded

Cons:

  • Mesh panels allow too much sun at times
  • Too small for more than one child

Pacific Play Tents Seaside Beach Cabana , $43, Jet.com

Did somebody say baby beach party? This tent’s got enough space for a baby, toddler and more. The fun ocean-inspired graphics are perfect for a day at the beach, and the tent’s two mesh sides and full vent windows will keep baby cool.

Pros:

  • Solid back keeps sun out for baby naps
  • Easy-to-clean floor
  • Large enough for more than one child

Cons:

  • No SPF protection listed
  • Does require assembly that could take time

Coleman RoadTrip Beach Shade , $40, Jet.com

You’ll hear a lot of “where did you get that?” when you roll up to the sand with this family beach tent. Lightweight, portable and UV-resistant, it’s large and sturdy enough for the whole family to hide away from the sun, sand and wind. Can’t decide if you want the back of the tent to be a wall or a window? Both are doable! And did we mention there’s also a UV guard to block harmful UV rays?

Pros:

  • Easy setup; usually takes less than five minutes
  • Comes with bags to weigh tent down with sand
  • Easy to take down and store in bag
  • Optional front privacy door is ideal for baby diaper changes

Cons:

  • May be hard to assemble on a windy day

Pacific Play Tents Lil Nursery Portable Dome Tent for Infants , $19, Amazon.com

Baby can be the beach boss in this pint-sized and portable baby beach tent! If baby doesn’t feel like having guests in his pad, just roll down the door for a little privacy. He can still see all the other beach babies through the mesh sidewalls that let in the sea breeze. Available in four different colors and styles.

Pros:

  • SPF 30 walls for sun protection
  • Washable floor
  • Folds up compactly

Cons:

  • Assembly required
  • Poles may break easily
  • Poles become difficult to use in the sand

Kel-Gar Kids Sun Dome , $50, Jet.com

If you want a baby beach tent, the whole tent and nothing but the tent, this should be on your list. There are no roll-up door panels here, but this sun dome does the job when it comes to keeping the sand out of diapers and other baby sand traps (thanks to that handy zipper!), all while blocking 98 percent of harmful UV rays.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to assemble
  • UV protective fabric

Cons:

  • May not be durable on a windy day
  • Difficult to fold back up
  • Poles may break easily

Pacific Play Tents Baby Suite I Deluxe Lil Nursery Tent with Pad , $48, Jet.com

We all know baby beach days can end just as soon as they start. When you need to make a quick exit, this baby beach tent is just as easy to take down as it is to assemble. Another bonus is the removable soft pad with a washable cover, for when those diaper changes don’t go exactly as planned.

Pros:

  • Two mesh side panels with Velcro closures allow for ventilation
  • Keeps sand out well
  • Can hold more than one child
  • UV-treated fabric for sun protection

Cons:

  • Poles may not be sturdy
  • Sand can get in Velcro closures, making it hard to close over time

Sunba Youth Pop Up Tent , $27, Amazon.com

This baby beach tent is so easy to put together, baby can practically do it himself. Just pop it up and fold it down. Just tell baby she can’t invite all the other beach babies—its cozy size makes it ideal for just one child at a time. This tent turns into a mini pool by just adding a little water inside the attached baby pool. Shade plus water equals one cool kid!

Pros:

  • Back has flap for ventilation
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Add water inside to make a baby pool

Cons:

  • Zipper may break easily
  • May become difficult to fold after multiple uses

Updated May 2018

PHOTO: iStock