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Our list of summer necessities is short—sunscreen, a chilled glass of rosé, and the perfect beach towel. Whether you use it to dry off after a dip in the pool, to spread out on during a picnic in the park, or to sunbathe at the beach, you’ll undoubtedly reach for one all season long.
When it comes to picking a beach towel, function is important, of course. Do you want a microfiber option that’s quick-drying and portable? Or do you prefer something extra soft and plushy for cozy post-swim bundling up? Aesthetics matter too, so ditch the stash of mismatched, hand-me-down towels in the back of the linen closet in favor of some newbies that are both pretty and practical.
Here, a handful of beach towels that are sure to make your summer that much better.
If a trip to the French Riviera isn’t happening this summer, this towel is the next best thing. Fun and whimsical (without veering into cheesy territory), Clare V.'s La Plage towel—part of her Anthropologie capsule collection—draws inspiration from summer holidays in France. Pair it with a cheese plate and a glass of cold rosé and you might as well be in Cannes.
Laguna Beach Textile Co. gives the classic striped cabana towel an upgrade with a thicker, softer, and more absorbent material. The brand's 70 x 35-inch towels are also more oversized than most and come in a nice array of complementary colored stripes. We’re partial to this navy and seafoam pairing which feels both summery and sophisticated.
If striped towels aren't your thing, Society6 is a treasure trove. The decor site offers oversized towels from hundreds of independent artisans—each with a unique style. One of our favorites? The Mid-Century Modern Sun & Rainbow Beach Towel from MoonlightPrint. The super-soft terry and microfiber towel is easy to spot on the beach or in a park and it provides ample space for sunbathing, too.
Color-blocked stripes and hand-knotted tassels give Coyuchi's towel a casual, laidback feel. The terry cloth back boasts a double weave that makes it soft and absorbent, but it's still lightweight enough to be carried from beach to boardwalk (and back) in a tote. Made of 100 percent organic cotton, it’s also GOTS-certified, a designation that limits the use of toxic bleaches and dyes, a boon for anyone looking to stick with cleaner, greener textiles and fabrics.
Whether you're actually lounging on a beach in Costa Rica or just soaking up the sun in your suburban backyard, Slowtide's Mahina Leaf Print Beach Towel with make you think you're somewhere tropical. The 100 percent cotton towel is done up with monstera leaves and other lush, exotic fronds in varying shades of mauve and green.
Stripes are a common beach towel motif, but this West Elm option does things a little differently. The brand's plush, sheared velour and terry cloth towel features contrasting offset lines which add more visual interest. You can pick one up in bright citrus yellow or midnight blue.
If one trend has taken 2020 by storm, it's definitely been tie dye. If you're all about it but looking for a way to branch out of your tie-dye sweatsuit box, pick up this hand-dyed towel on Etsy. The lightweight, ultra-absorbent towel is available in 10 different hues and patterns.
Parachute may be best known its bedding, but don’t sleep on their beach towel. The yarn-dyed cotton features subtle mini stripes with a flat woven front (great for sitting on) and a terrycloth back (great for drying off with). Plus, despite the large 70 x 40-inch size, it’s still lightweight and easily foldable, so it won’t take up too much room in your beach bag.
Lay this round stunner out and it could easily be mistaken for a high-end rug. The round shape and pattern make it easy to spot on any crowded beach, and it comes in two gorgeous summery hues: coastal blue and canary yellow. Made of 100 percentTurkish cotton, the front is a soft terry velour that’s perfect for snuggling up on or bundling up in. Twisted tassel trim around the border adds the perfect finishing touch.
We love Turkish towels not only for their looks, but their versatility. Take this option. Yes, it works great as a beach towel (and with its sun-bleached red, white, and blue stripes is screams classic Americana), but it could also pull double duty as a bath towel, a picnic blanket, or even a wrap to toss over your shoulders on a chilly summer evening. This particular pick is sustainable, too, made in a state-of-the-art Turkish factory that uses solar energy exclusively.