Beach Chairs, Umbrellas, and Shade For the Family

by dustytoes

Spending a day at the beach, especially here in Florida, means being comfortable and having some shade.

Heading to the beach for the day is a wonderful way to cool off and have fun. Whether alone, or with the family or a group, almost everyone loves a pretty, sandy beach.
Here in Florida, beaches can be crowded, and a great percentage of beach-goers have chairs and umbrellas or tents to block the sun. Sunscreen is essential, but shade is also important especially if you sit in the sand all day long.
Locals can drive to, or onto, the beach, depending which beach you go to. Vacationers can walk out of their condos onto the beach, or maybe they will have to walk a ways to get to the beach. But everyone likes easy packing and lightweight items to carry around.

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What Your Beach Chair Needs

Everyone has different needs, but these are basic.

A good beach chair will have a drink holder.  Otherwise your cup, or water bottle, will have to sit in the sand.  Usually the sand is hot, and there is always the chance that a wave will unexpectedly come up higher and knock the drink over.  For those reasons, a place for my drink, right next to the armrest, is perfect.

The chair should be easy to fold and carry.  Some chairs come with straps so it can be carried on your back - a backpack chair.  Some come with sleeves to stick the folded chair into and it can be carried that way.  Personally, I don't bother with a sleeve because it's usually too difficult to manage with a sandy, wet chair.

Beach Chairs With High Seats

Older folks, like me, may want a chair with seat of regular height.
Caribbean Joe Folding Beach Chair, 4 ...
$59.99  $56.15
Rio Beach 17" Extended Height 4 Posit...
Only $103.1

Chairs for More Than One Use

Camping, concerts, family gatherings and backyard barbecues.

Beach chairs are terribly expensive these days, so plan to use yours for around the house too.  Or, if you go camping, buy a chair that works around the campfire.

Also, use for outdoor concerts, kids sporting events, and sitting around the Solo Stove.

For extended use, take good care of your chair and bring it inside when not being used.

Low Profile Chairs With Size Considerations

People tend to be bigger these days, so make sure your chair's weight limit works for you.
Rio Beach Big Boy Backpack Chair, Blue
Only $61.93
Cascade Mountain Tech Camping Chair -...
$49.98  $28.1

Salt Water is Not Friendly to Beach Chairs

Powder-coating can help protect the metal, but it's not always easy to find on a chair.

Salt and sand is corrosive so picking the right type of beach chair is important if you want it to last.  If you can, buy a chair that has a powder coating.  It is a finish that will protect the metal underneath.  

Aluminum chairs are lightweight, and although aluminum doesn't rust, it can corrode.  I'm not sure that any type of chair can handle the salt without damage eventually.  It is very important to rinse all items when you get home from the ocean beach.

If your beach is on a freshwater lake, there is less to worry about.  

What You Don't Need in a Beach Chair

Forget about the zippers!

Some observations I'll share with you after using my beach chair for a while now.  It is a Tommy Bahama brand that I purchased at Amazon.  The hibiscus design on my chair doesn't seem to be available.

This chair is fine, but at my age, I really like the high seat better than the low seating option.  

Another thing I learned, the hard way, is that zippers - on those back of chair pouches - can corrode shut and then you can't open them!

If your beach trip is to the ocean, skip any chair that has a zipper enclosure!  Those two handy pouches on the back of my chair are pretty worthless.  The "cooler" will not keep anything cold enough on a Florida beach, and I always bring a big bag to hold all my stuff anyway.

Zippers fail when exposed to sea and sand.

Pouch and Cooler compartments are pretty worthless for my needs.
Pouch and Cooler compartments are pre...

Pouches in back are not needed.

Links to a similar chair at Amazon.
Storage with zippers that corrode!  Skip them.
Storage with zippers that corrode! S...

Umbrella or Beach Tent?

Beaches are not known for their shade, but while we love the beach, we sometimes need to get out of that hot sun.  I know I do here in Florida.  

In the summer months the ocean water is not always enough to keep me cool.  Water temperature is in the mid to upper 80's and the heat index is often over 100 degrees.  Even the ocean breeze is warm.  I don't like to bake in the sun, but I love being at the ocean, and most people take along some sort of shade.

If you choose to take an umbrella, make sure it will be anchored well into the sand.  You will need a sand anchor, either built into the bottom of the umbrella, or one to dig a hole to stick the umbrella into.  No one wants to chase their umbrella across the beach on a windy day - I've seen it happen!

I've never used a beach tent, but they get good reviews and are supposedly set up quickly.  These little cabanas are perfect when you have children or babies who need to nap at the beach.  Little ones need to be protected from the sun even more so than us adults.


The White Fang Store has two types of pop-up beach tents.

Both tents get good reviews and are easy to set up.
WhiteFang Deluxe XL Pop Up Beach Tent...
Only $59.99
WhiteFang Beach Tent Anti-UV Portable...
Only $33.99

Florida Beach

This is low tide at an east coast Florida beach where vehicles can drive and park on the beach.
Day at the Beach
Day at the Beach
New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Umbrellas and Preventing Fly Aways

If you use an umbrella on a windy beach, it must be secured in place.
BEACHBUB All-In-One Beach Umbrella Sy...
Only $156.45
Tommy Bahama Beach Umbrella 2020 Stripes
Only $89.99
Metal Umbrella Stands for Outside, Be...
Only $13.99

More Sun Protection

Sunscreen only lasts a year or two so make sure your bottle is within the use-by date.

Sunscreen is your number one need when spending a day on a Florida beach, or any beach in summer.  Don't buy sunscreen online.  Around here, most stores sell sunscreen products year round.  You can look at the bottle to find an expiration date.

Our favorite brand of sunscreen is Coppertone.  For some reason the bottle has a very hard to read expiration date on the cap.  

Also consider hats, rash guards, and SPF clothing.

Beach Wagons Can Help on Long Trips to the Shore

Read the reviews and decide for yourself which one works best for your needs.
Mac Sports Heavy Duty Collapsible Fol...RIO Gear Rio Brands Deluxe Wonder Whe...12" Balloon Wheel Conversion Kit for ...

What to Consider When Buying a Beach Wagon

Long walks to the beach mean using some form of buggy to carry your things.

I don't know, but I suspect that anyone renting a house near the beach, that requires a good walk to get there, will be provided with a beach wagon of some kind.

If you need to buy your own beach wagon, here are some things to consider.

First of all, will it hold everything you need it to?  These wagons have weight limits, and some have mesh bottoms which would not be comfortable for kids or animals (Many beaches don't allow animals or booze).

Pulling a wagon will be easier if less heavy items are packed into it.  Beach chairs, towels, umbrella, and bag of necessities might fit.  Add a child or heavy cooler and you may be in trouble.

Upright carts may work better for your needs.  There are a lot to choose from so take the time to research and read reviews.


The trek to the beach can be a long one, so pack light!

Smyrna Dunes Park has a whole new beautiful boardwalk (my photo shows the old one), but it's quite a walk to the water.
Smyrna Dunes State Park
Smyrna Dunes State Park
My photo

A Beach Less Crowded

Although it is possible to drive onto the beach, and that is usually what I do, there are beaches in my area that require lots of walking to get to.

The Smyrna Dunes State Park has long boardwalks and dog trails that wind throughout a peninsula ending at Ponce Inlet.  Some secluded beaches can only be reached by taking these trails.

Now why would I want to walk a long way when I could simply drive and park right on the beach?  Because of crowds.  I like to avoid crowds of people, which can be difficult to do in the state of Florida.  I seldom go near any beaches on the weekend.  During the week the beach can be okay, but in summer the vacationers are here.  They are also here for holidays throughout the year, Bike Week, Spring Break, Biketoberfest, and who knows what.

There is always something going on that brings tourists.  And many condos and hotels are constantly being built to accommodate even more people.

So paying a fee and walking the boardwalk to get to a beach less crowded is sometimes what I prefer to do.

Tide Coming in at Ponce Inlet Beach

Find this ocean pass at the tip of New Smyrna Beach.
Beach at the Inlet
Beach at the Inlet
My photo

If you like beaches, Florida, and collecting seashells, read my blog, Seashells by Millhill.

Campground review of our stay at Mike Roess Gold Head Branch state park campground, located in north Florida near Gainesville. .
Even before we owned a camper, I knew that Gamble Rogers campground was difficult to get into. Some of the campsites are right on the ocean, and lots of people want to...
Our experience with camping in winter at Juniper Springs in the Ocala National Forest in Florida.
Updated: 10/16/2023, dustytoes
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dustytoes on 07/13/2017

@DerdriuMarriner, I don't know about that, but really one side is all that is needed to hold a drink and small items. Plus you have the larger storage in the back.
You always have good questions!

DerdriuMarriner on 07/13/2017

dustytoes, Great chair in terms of comfort and convenience. Do they not make models with compartments on both arms?

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