Photo: Composite by VICE Staff
Towels are to the beach what bedding is to your bedroom. Sure, you can ultimately rest your sweet cheeks on whatever you get your hands on and call it a day. But wouldn’t you rather a towel with some personality? A quality weave? A quick-drying, microfiber material that can hold nine times the lake water of that terry cloth Costco towel you’ve had since 10th grade? Put it out of its misery, man.
The best beach towels should look just as good hanging on our bathroom hook, avoiding laundry day, as they will swaddling your charcuterie booty, sitting poolside with a can of White Claw. The only major points for you to understand are 1) size, 2) material, and 3) how which patterns can take your chip-stained fingers; find a vintage 90s beach towel that could live in a Florida nursing home, or a handwoven Turkish towel that could double as a living room throw. Whatever you’re looking for, make sure it clocks you as the main character of the aquatic summertime function.
Here’s a cheat-sheet to some of the best beach towels to throw your clams at this summer, including spicy Stüssy towels, an epic drop from Funboy x Malibu Barbie, and the best beach towels from Brooklinen’s big sale.
Home on the range
Look closely, and you’ll notice a family of smiley faces nestled among the classic bandana pattern of this terry cloth and cotton blend beach towel, which actually fell off the neck of Clifford the Big Red Dog.
Is that steam coming off your towel? This layer of hell is so much fun.
Groove is in the heart
This towel from the unbearably perfect Funboy x Malibu Barbie collaboration is so wavy-gravy, dude. It’s perfect for channeling your inner Valley of the Dolls diva and/or Deee-Lite self.
Ripple in still water
Come on in! The bong water’s fine. Also, you could spill salsa on this and no one would be the wiser with the chorus line of bears. Remember: the best beach towels should be worthy of lining your coffin.
You just want a thin, quick-drying towel
It sucks to lug a heavy towel to the beach when the rest of your wares (sunscreen, a cover-up) are lightweight—so just go for a microfiber towel, which can absorb nine to seven times (oddly specific, but OK) much water as a cotton or terry cloth towel, according to the makers, and dry faster too.
Brooklinen makes beach towels, too
It turns out that Brooklinen, one of the internet’s best cult-fave bedding companies, also makes a wicked soft beach towel. The brand is having its annual birthday sale right now, so scoop its scenic, Matisse-worthy towel for 20% off.
Ska bois needs beach days, too
Because every friend who arrives at the beach will know how to find you if you’re sitting on a pink and green checkerboard. Just don’t stare at it for too long under the sun?
You appreciate the classics
Nothing wrong with that. This is the kind of towel that could’ve hosted many a Coppertone bum on set for The Endless Summer.
Casually toss this on an olive tree in Malta
Turkish towels are magical because they’re super thin, but made of extra-long fibers that feel softer on your skin than terry cloth, and they actually get softer with each wash. This handwoven model is designed by a generations-old Turkish textile company, and will look great wherever it lands, from the couch to the post-beach patio.
For the 90s babes
In a perfect world, Shannyn Sossamon presents you not only with this towel, but matching BFF mood rings.
You snorted an Altoid in 6th grade
Can’t explain it, but you’re the wise one in the group—the one who brings the tarot cards to the beach. This cotton snake towel from iconic home decor designer Jonathan Adler shows not only that BB&B is ready to sweep us off our keisters this summer, but at 70 inches long and 40 inches wide, it can fit you and one to two hunnies.
A magic carpet to Flavortown
Who brings the XXL UTZ Red Hot chips to the beach, and licks their fingers clean in a pair of fresh Oakleys while watching the sets? You do. Think about how good it will look next to your Iron Maiden-themed Igloo cooler full of brewskies.
The streetwear pick
There are even streetwear candles now, man—and they’re pretty rad—so of course Stüssy makes a terry cloth beach towel that says, “I have finger tattoos, and I like to roll the dice.”
You still use traveler’s checks
Your nails are painted red. Your chest hair is curly. Whoever you are, your first words in the morning (meaning: 12 PM) are something like, “Be a dear, and go to the corner store to get Mommy a fresh pack and a mango?” For you, the best beach towel hasn’t changed a bit since 1991.
Next up for the summer: Killing all the mosquitos, with all the tricks.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.