At the height of summer, finding a spot to take in the waves and sunshine can be serious business. Sometimes beating the crowd for the perfect spot on the beach can almost feel like finding a needle in a haystack. But once you've secured your place in the sand, you can lay back, take your cover up off, put your sunblock on, and melt all of your cares away. The last things you want to worry about are flimsy kid's beach towels or even your adult beach towel coming up short or leaving you feeling uncomfortable and scratchy.
If you're like anyone else who frequently enjoys the beach, there's a good chance you already have an arsenal of beach towels in your lineup. You may even be the owner of a second home that comes with its own closet full of sun-bleached, much-loved towels ready to throw into your beach bag.
While it's easy to develop a certain nostalgia for those towels that have served for family beach vacation after family beach vacation, it's also true that they may no longer be the best option for the beach. After so many years of use, they may be getting threadbare—pulling away at places, and worn down so much that what should be a comforting cloud of cotton feels more like a strip of sandpaper. If any of those descriptions match your towel collection, it's time for an upgrade.
Towels such as our Rugby Towel represents the best qualities a beach towel can have. And what are those best qualities? We'll start with fabric: a 100% cotton towel will have a soft, fluffy feel and act as the perfect cushion between yourself and the sand (or a poolside chaise lounge). It's the next best thing to having your own sofa on the beach (and a lot easier to transport). And of course, as a cotton fabric, it is resilient, easy to wash, and will only grow softer with time.
Another key detail is a subtle design choice that's often overlooked. Our Rugby Towel is finished with flatweave edging. Flatweave edging wraps extra fabric around the towel's edges so that it won't get caught or unravel easily. In addition, it also gives our beach towels a cleaner look — and provides a slight buffer to incoming sand. As anyone who's ever visited the beach with a shovel-toting toddler can tell you, a sand buffer is one feature you don't want your towel to be without.
When looking for the best beach towels you should do your research on the brand’s reputation as well as any unbiased customer reviews.
What's a beach towel without wraparound potential? We made sure to give the Rugby Towel generous proportions: at 39" wide and 78" long, it packs 6-½' of wraparound power. Aside from providing ample room to stretch out in the sun without sandy spillover, it also has enough length to wrap the body after a dip in not-as-warm-as-we-wish-it-was water (a perennial issue in Wisconsin). Plus, beach space can come at a premium during high summer. If you happen to be settling down with a generously sized towel, you'll be able to claim more land for your sun-seeking tribe right off the bat.
Ideally, a beach towel will provide refuge from the sun, too. A beach towel that has been tested and rated UPF+50 (as our Rugby Towels have been) will act as an extra layer of sunblock (but to be clear: still wear sunblock).
Anyone familiar with Lands' End knows that we have a soft spot for monogramming and that soft spot carries over to our monogrammed beach towels, too. There are certainly practical benefits to monogramming—for instance, adding your initials or first or last name to avoid any mix-ups, especially if you have kids—but you can definitely use it for less practical purposes, too.
Rather than engage its 10-character-limit for purposes of identification, you can add a cheeky phrase like "Beach Bum." Or forgo words entirely and personalize it with embroidered details like a sailboat, a lobster, or even a pair of boat shoes—whatever best gets you into a beach day state-of-mind.
When it comes to choosing the best color for your beach towels, you need to consider how many times you’ll be using them since that’s how many times you’ll be washing them. It’s normal for towels to fade over time with darker tones fading first. Neutral colors such as whites and light greys tend to last longer than let’s say black or navy. However, if you have a great quality towel, you won’t need to worry about fading for a while. If you have kids, you’ll want to buy colorful beach towels for them to enjoy in their favorite colors or prints.
Even though beach towels are larger than regular bath towels, we still recommend purchasing two per family member. One to lay and one to dry, especially if taking a dip in the ocean. The last thing you’ll want to do is dry off with the same towel that’s been laying in the sand. Not only can this be abrasive when drying against your skin, but it can also cause other issues such as getting sand in your eyes when drying your face.
If using beach towels at a pool, it’s always convenient to have two. Even though you may have a lounge chair to lay on, you can still place one towel over the chair for more sanitary purposes (if it’s a public or shared pool).
Always read the washing instructions on the care tag before buying so that you can be aware of the maintenance. You should always wash your towels in a load with similar colors to avoid discoloration.