Relaxing by the waves? Learn what features to look for when shopping for these portable chairs.
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Ah, the beach, where you can sit on the sand and chill to the sound of the waves. But don’t settle for laying on a towel. Up your comfort factor with a beach chair so you skip the sandy grit, soggy towel, and backache. The best beach chairs are similar to a camping chair, but designed with sand and water in mind. They’re lightweight and portable, and should also be comfortable and stable, sitting low to the ground so you can stretch out and relax. Some chairs offer adjustable positions, giving you the option of laying flat for a nap or sitting upright to read and take in the views.
Beach chairs usually have backrests and seats made of polyester or nylon, while frames are aluminum or powder-coated steel for strength and durability. These materials resist water and sun damage while keeping you cool and elevated. The best chairs also provide back support and are easy to collapse and carry.
Beach chairs should also look the part for seaside sitting, so bonus points for chairs in cool, coastal tones of blue, gray, or cheerful tropical stripes. Some chairs have features like cup holders, pillows, padded armrests, and canopies for portable shade, even on the hottest days.
Our Top Picks
There are many beach chairs on the market with a wide range of features. To help you pick the best beach chair for your next beach excursion, this guide includes a list of editor favorites for consideration.
The Rio Beach Big Boy is cute, sturdy, and comfortable. The Rio sits a little higher off the ground than some chairs–its seat bottom is 13 inches from the sand, so it’s a little easier to get in and out of than lower-profile chairs. It has a roomy, 22-inch wide seat that accommodates most body types. The Big Boy chair is strong and features a lightweight, rust-proof aluminum frame. The chair has backpack-style straps for hands-free transport and weighs just 11 pounds, so it’s easy to tote to the beach or pool. It can be adjusted to four seating positions, has a cushioned headrest, and attached drink holder. The chair is made of waterproof fabric and comes in four beachy colors.
The Coleman Utopia Breeze has a lot of features at a good price. It’s low-profile, sitting just 6 inches off the ground, and it’s lightweight and compact. It weighs just 5.3 pounds, but its strong, steel frame can support more than 200 pounds. The Utopia Breeze has some little luxuries, too, like a seatback pocket where you can put your car keys and towel, and a cup holder. It’s made of bright, striped fabric that gives it a tropical vibe. And it comes with a tote bag to make it easy to carry to the shore.
These Tommy Bahama Beach Chairs are strong, comfortable, and packed with luxurious features. You get a set of two chairs, each with rust-proof aluminum frames that can hold up to 300 pounds. They adjust to five positions, including flat, so you can recline on your back for maximum comfort. The seat and back are made of water-resistant polyester fabric that resists fading. Each chair has an adjustable pillow, insulated drink or storage pouch, back pouch for sunscreen, keys or magazines, and a folding towel bar so you can hang your towel up to dry. They have padded backpack straps for hands-free carrying and weigh 6 pounds each.
The ARAER Camping Cot provides the comfort of a beach lounger with the portability of a beach chair. The cot lets you lay flat on your back, feet up, and snooze seaside. It’s fairly lightweight, coming in at 15.8 pounds, but strong. Its steel frame can hold up to 450 pounds, and it’s long enough to accommodate people as tall as 6’8”. Its breathable, double-layer fabric is water-resistant and provides firm support. The cot sits 14 inches off the ground, so it’s easy to get in and out of. One end of the cot can be elevated to ease neck pressure and muscle tension, and it has a side pocket where you can put your car keys, cell phone, or sunglasses.
The KingCamp Low Sling Beach Chair sits just 8 inches off the ground, putting you close to the sand for the maximum toes-in-the-sand experience. Lightweight but sturdy, the chair weighs just 6.6 pounds but it can hold up to 300 pounds. Its frame is made of steel alloy and it has a mesh seat back that allows air to circulate, so you stay cool while you chill at the beach. Its seat is nearly 2-feet wide, so it can accommodate most body types. The KingCamp Low Sling chair has some little luxuries, too, like a padded headrest, a mesh pouch for storing keys, phone, and cash, and a cup holder for a cold one.
The MARCHWAY Ultralight Folding Camping Chair chair weighs just 2 pounds, but can hold up to 250 pounds, thanks to an aircraft-grade aluminum frame and super-strong, ripstop nylon fabric. The frame is also corrosion-resistant, so it can stand up to salt water. Fold this chair up, and it’s the size of a loaf of bread, making it extremely portable. You could fit it in a beach tote bag. The chair has a mesh seat back that allows air to circulate while you sit, and it comes with a carrying case. It doesn’t have any bells and whistles, because cupholders and padded headrests add weight and bulk. This is one about getting maximum strength from the minimum weight.
Too much sun can leave you burned or dehydrated during long days at the beach. That’s why the GCI SunShade is more than a beach chair: it’s got a portable sun shade, too. This quad-style chair includes an adjustable sun canopy that has 50+ UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) and can rotate 270 degrees front to back to shield you from the sun’s burning rays all day.
The chair’s frame is aluminum and steel, for strength and durability. The wide, nylon seat is designed for comfort and support. The GCI SunShade chair weighs about 9 pounds, so it won’t weigh you down. When folded, the chair and canopy fit into an included carry bag that has backpack straps for hands-free portability. It even has a cupholder.
Beach chairs don’t always provide great back support, because they’re generally designed to be lightweight and collapsible, not ergonomic. But the Strongback, designed with lumbar support, aligns your hips and back into a position that eases body tension for maximum comfort. This low-profile chair weighs just 8.5 pounds but can hold up to 300 pounds. The frame is powder-coated steel, and its seat is made of heavy-duty, tear-resistant polyester. It comes with a backpack-style carry bag, wide feet that won’t sink in the sand, and an integrated cup holder. Choose from four beachy colors. The chair comes with a two-year warranty.