The beach is the perfect destination for families searching for a warm, relaxing spot for their vacation. Unfortunately, sand can become a problem while you’re trying to relax. That’s why I think a beach blanket is an essential bit of beach gear.
Beach blankets stop sand getting everywhere and stop your feet burning if the ground is super hot. In this guide, I will take you through all the information you need to know about some excellent beach blankets for a better seaside experience. But if you don't want to read through my whole list of beach blanket reviews and want me to cut to the chase then....wait for it... the best beach blanket (IMO) is the CGEAR Sand Free Mat.
This blanket comes in 3 colors (turquoise, orange and green) and 4 sizes.
6' x 6'
3" x 23"
8' x 8'
9" x 22"
10' x 10'
10" x 27"
12' x 12'
22" x 19" x 5"
It uses a “patented sand free technology” that allows sand and dirt to fall through the weave in one direction, but not the other. (Apparently CGEAR developed the tech for military helicopters before making it available to the civilian population).
It is UV stabilised to prevent fading, water resistant, mould resistant and quick-drying. It also has D Rings on the corners which are double reinforced for staking the blanket to the ground.
Whilst I enjoy the beach, I am one of those people who finds sand quite annoying. And so I’ve never been entirely satisfied with ‘normal’ beach blankets. CGEAR has changed all that for me!
I don’t know the technical ins and outs of how the blanket works, but it’s basically some clever weave that lets sand ‘fall through’ the blanket stops it from coming back up. All you need to do is rub it a little and hey presto! Disappearing sand! Here’s a quick video that shows off how it works.
It means that you don’t have to do that little dance of brushing the sand off the bottom of your feet when you step on your blanket. You can just walk straight onto the mat knowing that the sand fill sink through. It means you get to keep your space cleaner than usual whilst putting in less effort. That’s a win for anyone like me who has a well-developed inner sloth!
It also doesn’t seem to catch the wind. It’s a touch heavier than a lot of beach blankets which means that whether you stake it down with metal stakes or not, it sticks to the ground tighter than your usual blanket.
It handles dry sand better than wet sand. Dry sand just seems to disappear. With wet sand you definitely have to work it through a bit with your hands or feet (or let it dry) but I didn’t see that as a problem myself.
The material feels quite coarse. I didn’t have a problem lying on it, but others might find it a tad uncomfortable on their skin. It’s nothing a beach towel doesn’t fix, mind you (and who doesn’t take a towel to the beach!).
Aside from that, the only other potential negative is that it’s a bit bulky. You probably do want to have a bag to pack it into (CGEAR also have a sand free beach bag if you don’t have one). Oh! And it also doesn’t have any storage pockets which some of the blankets below do.
But overall it’s a brilliant blanket; perfect for a mess-free family beach base (even if you’ve got toddlers in the group!), relatively easy to shake out and easy to clean.
If you want to carve out a nice, clear, sand free space at the beach, this is the blanket for you. Lots of colors and sizes to choose from. It’s exceptionally durable. It’s not going to blow away. I’d highly recommend setting it up under a canopy, popping your cooler down and kicking back in your beach chair! Essential beach gear!
Plus, it's not just limited to the beach. You can use this as a camping mat, for RVing and as a picnic blanket as well.
If you want something more lightweight and less bulky, check out the WildHorn Outfitters option below. It’s not sand free in the same way as CGEAR’s is. But the parachute nylon does stop the sand coming through from the bottom...
This blanket is 63 sq feet and the material is a quick-drying parachute nylon. There's are sand anchor pockets at each corner which you can fill with sand or stones to weigh the blanket down. There's also a zippered pocket to store your valuables. It weighs a little over 1lb and comes with a stuff sack that compresses to just 8"x5" making it very easy to carry.
There are 3 colors to choose from: Aqua, Pinky/Purple and Sky Blue.
This is a well-designed beach blanket with some nicely-thought-through features (particularly the sand anchor pockets, storage and compression sack). But the stand-out elements for me are how portable it is and how easy it is to shake off the dirt and sand.
The fact it compresses so small means you can keep it in the trunk of your car without it taking up any room (which is super-convenient). And it isn't going to take up any room in your beach bag. So for anyone tired of hauling 50lbs of gear every beach trip, that's a serious plus. (You can even outsource the carrying to a toddler if you want!)
The parachute nylon material is extremely effective at repelling dirt and sand. It really is just a case of shaking it out when you're done and that's it. For me this is especially helpful for the post picnic clear up. One of the main benefits I see to eating outdoors with kids is that I don't have to brush up crumbs, sweep the floor and wipe the table. So I hate blankets that are magnets to crumbs, sand and leaves etc! Not a problem with this one! Shake...gone! It's also easy to clean if you get any spillages.
Unfortunately, both of these excellent features do come with a downside. Because the fabric is so lightweight, it does not act as a heat barrier. So if you put it down on hot sand or pebbles, the heat will transfer right through. If this is an issue for you, you can lay down towels. But if you're not keen on that, you might want to look at a different blanket.
It's also not waterproof. So if you put it down on wet sand, it will soak up some water. Obviously the quick-drying feature is fantastic for splashes and spills, but it won't help you if you need a fully waterproof barrier between you and some wet ground.
This is one of the best basic beach blankets I know of. If you're looking for something that is easy to transport and easy to shake out, this is a great choice at a great price point.
If you need a waterproof blanket or that will act as a barrier on hot ground, you may want to look at something different (like the CGEAR Sandlite).
This lightweight blanket is water-resistant and puncture-proof. It provides about 23sq feet of coverage when spread out and has side pockets that can be filled to keep it grounded. It weighs just half a pound, is super compact and fits into a really small sack.
It's available in 6 colors (Apple Green, Cherry Red, Cotton Candy Pink, Camo, Sky Blue & Sunny Yellow).
Let me just say straight off the bat that this is possibly more of a ground tarp than a blanket. If you're looking for that soft, cozy feel the image of a blanket sometimes conjours up, this probably ain't for you.
If, however, you are looking for an extremely portable pocket beach blanket, you should read on!
This is a really handy little blanket that's great for all kinds of occasions. It's not just for the beach; you can also take it hiking or to festivals...pretty much anywhere you want. And it doesn't just work as a blanket. You could also rig it up as a temporary rain shelter, sun shade or even a wind-break if you need to take cover from the elements.
It's got both sand pockets and loops on the corner for stakes (though why you'd buy such a portable picnic blanket and then go to the effort of carrying metal stakes is a bit beyond me).
I think what you're buying here is convenience. It's so small that you can keep it in your car, or in your hiking bag or throw it in your hand luggage on the off-chance that you'll need it. It does come with trade-offs, however, which means if you know for a fact you'll need a camping tarp or that you'll definitely be hitting the beach, you're probably better off buying something more substantial.
Trade Off 1 is that the material is thin. So as I said at the beginning, if you want a cozy blanket, look elsewhere. But if you are looking for a basic ground cover, you won't be disappointed.
Trade Off 2 is the size. This is not a big blanket. You can sit a couple of adults and a couple of kids on it. But two adults lying down is a bit of a stretch. So fine for a small family or a sitting couple. Again, if all you want is a convenient, pocket-sized ground cover for you and one other, it'll suit your needs.
You should also note that it's water-resistent (not waterproof). This means it'll be fine on damp ground, but if you lay it over a puddle your butt will get wet. Similarly, unlike some blankets on this list, it's not really sand-resistant (while you can shake a lot of sand off, chances are some will stick to it).
It’s a great all-purpose blanket to keep in your car, bag or pocket. It’s durable and will serve you well in a host of different outdoor situations. It's main selling point is the convenient size when folded. And if you are happy with the trade-offs that come with that size, then you should definitely think about picking one or two up.
You may also want to look at the Matador Pocket Blanket for no other reason than the blanket folds up so small that it's one of the most compact blankets around (and people seem to really rate it)!
This mat is 60’’ x 78’’ and made out of recycled plastic that makes it a very waterproof blanket as well as having built in protection against mildew.
This Stansport Tatami mat made the list because some people just love the slightly old school look and feel of a straw mat. It's very lightweight and (while not the most compact) is designed to conveniently fold up to be its own carrying case with straps for handles and a pocket in the front.
This tatami mat repels water and moisture very well, and dirt and sand are easily shaken off. It's easy to clean as any spills or mud can be easily wiped off with a damp towel. Even though it is woven plastic, it's actually very durable. In fact, it’s a lot more tough and durable than it looks.
This is a convenient and versatile mat that can be easily kept in the back of your car between uses. It’s very sturdy and durable yet lightweight enough to carry around.
This blanket lays out at 9’ x 10’ and weighs just 16oz. It’s made with 100% parachute nylon material and also comes with an attached waterproof case to protect your other belongings (a very nice extra).
This is a great oversized beach blanket that deserves its place on this list because it’s very soft and comfy, great for relaxing on the beach, camping or at a festival. It is very lightweight and compact, collapsing down very small and fitting easily into its carrying sack.
I really like the addition of the waterproof case because it keeps your items safe if it starts to rain or if you're sitting close to the water at the beach.
If you’re looking for a comfy blanket with enough space that the whole family can fit on, this is a great option that’s large enough. It’s very strong and durable, making it ideal for regular use at the beach.
It’s 7’x7’, made with a durable parachute nylon fabric, and is very lightweight (weighing a mere 14oz). Exrta features include an attached stuff sack and anchor pockets on the corners to help keep it from blowing away.
The material is very sturdy and I love that it doesn’t stick to your skin on hot days. It’s water and sand resistant, but also machine washable in case you want to give it a good wash.
It’s great for all types of events and occasions, and you also don’t have to worry about it blowing away thanks to its anchor pockets or stake loops. The best thing: it folds up so compact. And you wouldn’t expect that, given how big it is when you lay it out.
This is a high quality blanket that’s so compact when folded into its own bag and you can use it as a comfy blanket to sit on or as a cover from the sun or rain. It’s also the perfect size for a couple to use time after time after time.
A genuine, handmade blanket that stretches out to 75’’ x 51’’. Made with very dense, heavyweight, high quality fabric.
I really love the look of this classic blanket. If you’re after something with a unique artisan feel, this one’s it. It keeps you very warm and is perfect for camping, taking to the beach, or even as a nice throw for your couch.
If comfort is your priority, this is a great blanket. It’s warm, comfy and great for more than just the beach. Its added bonus is its artisan design. I have to say, it’s really Instagram-worthy.
The Indian Mandala Microfiber Blanket is thicker than most beach blankets, super-absorbent, multi-purpose, and decently-sized.
Personally, I believe this is an excellent product if you are searching for a quality beach mat that can absorb water. Half beach blanket, half beach towel, the microfiber is absorbent in a way that other beach blankets just aren't.
This beach blanket is way more absorbent than most beach towels on the market. It can absorb seven times its weight in water and dries within minutes. This blanket also serves many other purposes aside from beach trips. The size of this blanket is 60 inches in diameter, so it is perfect for fitting two people along with any pets you’d like to lounge with.
If you are searching for a large size and super-absorbent outdoor beach blanket for your next family beach trip, then this blanket will definitely be the perfect option for you. It's also a nice color!
The Live Infinitely Outdoor Beach Blanket is a soft, travel-friendly nylon fabric blanket that is 90 square feet in size. It has a storage pocket, several sand anchors and 4 loops you can use with ground stakes (which is a nice addition).
You’ll be impressed - this high quality, extra large beach blanket is big enough to fit seven full-grown adults (so also great for a large family) and yet still folds easily for safe storage. Sand will slide right off of this blanket so you can spend less time shaking off sand and more time enjoying yourself.
It is a bit pricey, but the benefits are entirely worth it. Many of the people who have bought this blanket in the past love absolutely everything about it and praise how useful and lightweight it is.
This is one of the biggest beach blankets around with enough space to sit loads of people on it. Sand easily shakes off. The blanket folds up simply and is easy to store. And it's easy to clean.
What to look for in a beach blanket
In this quick buying guide, I'll detail some of the features you’ll want to search for in quality beach blankets. Every blanket on my list looks at comfort, portability, size, and the ability to repel sand and absorb water. A blanket that lets sand slide right off while also being big enough to fit more than one person is an optimal choice for any beach blanket. It is even better if the blanket is easy to carry and quick to dry for multiple uses within a short period of time.
You'll want to consider how many people you want to fit and get the right size. Too small and you'll have to put a family member of the party on the sand. Too large and you might have been able to fit in an extra bottle of water.
Are they easy to fold? How compact do they go? It's not just about the size when unfolded, it's also about the size when folded.
How durable is it? And do you need it to be durable or are you looking for just the occasional use?
Is color important? I like to see a range of color options with beach blankets but it's not important for everyone.
I also like to see storage pockets on beach blankets, as they mean you can easily store some of your smaller, more valuable belongings. They tend to be a really nice addition.
I also like to see beach blankets that offer an easy way to stake them down to stop them blowing away in the wind. Or if no loops for ground stakes, then sand pockets. (Sand pockets are little pouches stitched into the blanket that you can fill with sand to weigh it down). Or both!
Beware those beach blankets that claim to be sand free. Most aren't. What they mean is that sand doesn't come up through them once you've put them on the ground. So by that notion, pretty much every bit of fabric is sand free. Check the reviews online if you're unsure.
Also, not all beach blankets are easy to clean. So it's definitely worth taking a couple of minutes to look over the care instructions before you buy. And take note of the size. Too big and you won't have enough space in your washing machine!
Finally, most quality beach blankets are designed to be water resistant rather than water absorbent. So again, check the reviews before you buy.
What item should you bring in your beach bag to help remove sand from your skin?
If you do end up getting sand on your skin or in your belongings, talc or baby powder will work amazingly. After applying it to any part of your body that has been afflicted by sand particles, the sand will be able to slide right off. If your skin is easily irritated by sand particles and you have enough space in your bag, then talc or baby powder will be an essential item to carry with you on your beach outing.
A beach towel can be useful, but often doesn't cut it.
How to Make Sand Not Stick to You
As mentioned, talc and baby powder will remove sand from sticking to your skin since it is even more hydrophilic than sand. But it may not prevent sand from sticking on you in the first place.
Try to walk in areas with less sand and make sure you have a method of washing any sand off of your body after you are finished with your outing.
How to Get Sand Out of Shoes
If you wear normal shoes as opposed to open-toed shoes, chances are that you will get a lot of sand trapped inside your shoe. In order to get the sand out of your shoes, you can hold them upside-down while shaking them, wash them, knock them against a solid surface, vacuum the sand or take out the soles. All of these methods are relatively easy. Just keep repeating these methods until all of the sand has been removed. Top tip: don't do this inside your beach tent or your house. Do it in the car park after you've left the beach.
Should You Use Baby Powder to Remove Sand?
As previously mentioned, baby powder is effective in removing sand from any part of your body. It will absorb water from your skin and will allow to sand to slide right off of your body. You will only have to sprinkle a small amount on the affected areas in order to remove the sand.
How to Get Sand of Your Body
Talc will also help remove sand from your body and serves the same purpose as baby powder. Just apply to the affected areas and the sand will slide right off. Sand can easily irritate your skin and spread everywhere, so it is important to remember to carry baby powder or talc with you when you head out to the beach.