When Catherine and I first moved to California we quickly headed off to Zuma Beach in Malibu. We quickly realized that if we wanted to come back we would need to bring our own shade. As two fair skin fair haired people we wouldn’t survive otherwise. And so began the search for the best beach umbrella.
As we strolled we made sure to take notice of as many umbrella brand names as possible. Beach umbrellas come in lots of shapes, patterns and sizes, and we wanted to make sure we found the best beach umbrella for our needs. After what could be considered a ridiculous amount of online research we went with the Sport Brella X-Large umbrella (shown below).
Three years later we have a pretty good stash of beach gear. We own almost everything on this list and I can say wholeheartedly that it’s all great.
Sport Brella X-Large Umbrella — The Sport Brella comes in several sizes and colors. We’ve found the XL version fits 2-3 people comfortably and keeps your cooler and other bags under shade.
I think it’s the best beach umbrella for a couple reasons. First, it’s easy to put up. Watch one YouTube video and you’ll know just what to do. Second, it can stand upright with two additional tethers to add extra shade. Or it can be set down on one side to form a more private tent. There are two windows that you can open to allow for air flow. The side flaps also have pockets to store your book or if it’s extra windy I’ve also filled them with sand to help secure the tent to the ground.
CleverMade SnapBasket Soft-Sided Collapsible Cooler — We have used or own pretty much everything on this list, except this little guy. The cooler we use is no longer made by REI. According to the Amazon reviews (over 700 reviews and 4 stars) it’s a winner. I like that it’s light weight and collapsible. If you’re worried about it not keeping your food and drinks cold enough you can always spring for a YETI or an Orca cooler.
Dock & Bay Microfiber Towel — These are the original sand free microfiber towels. They might feel a little different than a regular towel, but they dry out super quick and the sand rolls right off them.
Deluxe Rio Aluminum Backpack Chair with Large Storage Pouch — There are a lot of beach chairs out there. By the time I did all my best beach umbrella research I was a little burnt out. Luckily these backpack chairs turned out perfect. I love that the arm rests are wood. They are super light, recline, have a large pouch and can be used as a backpack. The cushy head rest is great too.
Corkcicle Thermos-Triple Insulated Shatterproof Stainless Steel — I’ll admit that this particular item is a real luxury. I’ve been known to make a batch of frosé for a frozen beach treat. It keeps the frozen rose cold and makes for a spectacular beach drink. Of course you can keep any hot or cold beverage of choice inside.
Lucky Bums Body Board with EPS Core Slick Bottom and Leash for Kids and Adults — Never in a million years did I think I’d buy a boogie board. Turns out I now own two! One pink and one orange. We’re not serious boogie boarders, but like to take them out for a few spins when the water is warmer. Both of ours have held up great plus they come in several sizes for kids and adults.
BeautyCounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Mist SPF 30 — You probably didn’t know this, but I’m a big fan of BeautyCounter. All of their products are clean and free of weird ingredients, plus they’re local to me which is an added bonus. I’ve been using their sunscreen for a couple years now and I love it. My second favorite is Supergoop! Super Power Sunscreen Mousse. It goes on smooth and has a very nice scent.
Supergoop! Fusion Lip Balm SPF 30, Mint, 0.5 fl.oz. — While you’re protecting your skin from those UV rays, you might as well grab a lip balm with sunscreen too. I got a sample of this on last summer and really liked it.
Birkenstock Women’s Eva Madrid Open Toe Beach Slide Sandals — These aren’t your usual Birks. They are waterproof, slip on and off easily and come in lots of great colors! I have a double strap pair and they have basically replaced my flip flops.
Ynport Mens/Womens Polarized Bamboo Frame Classic Wooden Coated Sunglasses — If you’ve lost your favorite sunglasses to the sea, these might be for you. Not only are they super cute, but they also float! So even if the waves knock them off your face, you’ll be able to grab them.
Quite honestly I could keep adding items to this list, but I figure that’s enough for now. What I’m really wondering is what you like to bring to the beach? What’s missing from my list?
Thinking about going camping at the beach? Check out these posts:
- Leo Carrillo Camping Review
- My First Official Backpacking Trip (at Crystal Cove near Laguna Beach, CA)