Baking in the sun with a baby? Scorching on the sand with a six-year-old? Not anymore. I’ve scoured the beaches for the best beach umbrellas for a family. UPF coverage and weight are major factors, and what’s good for an impromptu beach trip isn’t good for an all-day family outing.

Best All-Purpose Beach Umbrella! I have the Sport-Brella Umbrella. It comes in a bunch of awesome colors, has side flaps for extra coverage, and is UPF 50+. It provides the same shade as a beach tent like the popular Shade Shack Instant Pop Up Family Beach Tent I recommend on my Beach Tent page. It’s heavier than your standard beach umbrella (9 pounds), but offers better shade protection. It’s also good for sporting events.

Lightweight with UPF — My favorite regular beach umbrella? The Tommy Bahama beach umbrella with sand anchor. It’s also got built-in UPF, which is better than those ones from the drug store. A child’s sensitive skin needs all the protection he can get, and this one is a good lightweight option. It’s sturdy and also tilts for full coverage.

Most Portable For Travelers — Will you be traveling by plane to a beach destination? Check out the PortaBrella. It folds up to a mere 2 feet long and will fit nicely in a suitcase. Reviewers, however, say it’s not good in wind, tending to blow away or fall apart easily due to its many pieces. While it is a neat idea, expect the PortaBrella to be suitable for your vacation and not for everyday.

Cool and Convenient Umbrella Accessory — The Rio Sports Sand Anchor will keep your umbrella in the sand and not flying down the beach on a windy day.

What’s your favorite way to stay in the shade? The best beach umbrella for my family is always the one I can carry and set up by myself!

Photo by Ralph Daily