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With a great beach towel, you can claim your patch of the sand, dry off after a dip, and even change your clothes right there in public.

The Ombre Octopus Oversized Beach Towel is our top pick because it's large, comfortable, and affordable, too.

Beach towels are different from bath towels primarily because of their larger size, but many are also thicker, more durable, and more decorative than bath towels, too. These decorations are partially just for fun, but they can also make it easier for you to spot your little outpost there on the sand after you've gone for a swim or to get a shave ice or margarita.

So when it comes to choosing the best beach towel, size is definitely the first consideration. Will you use it for tanning? Then you need one that's long enough for you to lie flat. Will two people share it? Then width matters as much as length. And so on.

Next consider the materials, as there is always a trade-off when you opt for one fabric or blend over another. Cotton is soft and comfortable when dry, for example, but it stays wet for much longer than microfiber materials. On the other hand, microfiber towels rarely feel as luxuriantly inviting as their cotton cousins. We've included towels from across the size, price, and style spectrum, so you're sure to find one you like. 

The first thing you'll notice about this beach towel is that it's decorated with a large octopus. That makes it easy to spot from afar and adds some marine-themed charm that kids and adults will appreciate. The second thing you'll notice is that it's huge. The towel is also thick, soft, and entirely inviting.

Laid out on the sand or on a lounge chair, the Ombre Octopus Oversized Beach Towel creates your own personal 36-by-72-inch relaxation spot. It offers plenty of room for your person, your book or magazine, a phone, a snack, and so on. Thanks to the two-ply thickness of the woven jacquard cotton fabric, you can even use this towel on beaches that are on the rocky side, or you can lay it out on grass during a picnic or concert.

When it comes to drying off, this towel can soak up every drop clinging to your body. Just note that being 100% cotton, it will stay damp for a while.

Bed Bath & Beyond shoppers are really enthusiastic in their praise of the Ombre Octopus Oversized Towel, with one customer calling it a "great beach towel... because it's huge" while another called it "nice and thick" and said "the colors are so pretty."

If you can beat the price of $19 for two 100% ring-spun cotton beach towels that are actually well made and comfortable ... please let me know where you shop. The AmazonBasics Beach Towels come in four different colors of cabana striping, and they look great on a pool chair, on the sand, or hanging in a bathroom, too.

At 30 by 60 inches, these towels are certainly large enough to be used on the beach or by the pool, but they are also a great size for use after a shower or bath. I've used AmazonBasics towels and found them more than adequate for lounging around and for drying off.

Unlike many beach towels, these don't have a top and a bottom. They are equally soft and fluffy on both sides and equally absorbent from either side as well. That means more comfort and more drying potential. Also, if one side of the towel gets dirty, you can just flip the thing over. And when it comes time to wash your AmazonBasics Beach Towels, go ahead and toss them in the washing machine and then in the dryer.

There are hundreds of AmazonBasics Beach Towel reviews posted on Amazon, and most buyers are thrilled with their purchases. A buyer named Brian calls them "pleasantly styled" and "very absorbent and soft."

In their review, the product testers from The Spruce noted the "low price and good materials" used to make these towels. 

It's a tough call as to which aspect of the striking Pendelton Oversized Jacquard Towel is the biggest selling point. Is it the gorgeous, colorful patterns that look more like artwork than linens? Or is it the fact that the towel measures 62 by 70 inches and can easily accommodate two full-grown adults or a bevy of kids? Or maybe it's the smooth, comfortable sheared top that's perfect for relaxing paired with the looped pattern on the underside that provides excellent absorption.

Or you can just take all of those points into consideration because they are the key features of this large, stylish Pendleton Oversized Jacquard Towel. There's one more feature you'll have to note, and unfortunately, it's the high price. At about $90, this is far and away the priciest towel on our list. But it's also the largest, and it's certainly an eye-catcher.

Price notwithstanding, the buyer reviews of the Pendleton Oversized Jacquard Towel for Two are glowing. An owner named Chris praises the "awesome towel and design" and notes its size and softness, while a buyer called Connie say it is "so beautiful."

When you're traveling, you want to bring all the stuff you need to make the trip pleasant, but you don't want to bring more weight along than necessary. This is true when you're traveling by air or rail, but all the more so when you'll be hiking and carrying your gear on your back. Whether you're trying to keep your vacation luggage at carry-on size or you're loading up your hiking pack, the Packtowl Original Towel is a great choice.

This thin microfiber towel is nonetheless comfortable when laid out on sand or grass, and it's actually significantly more absorbent than thicker cotton towels. In fact, it is rated to absorb up to 10 times its own weight in water, which is quite a feat. When nice and dry, the Packtowl Original Towel weighs only a few ounces, so once it's rolled up and tucked away in its included carrying pouch, you'll hardly be adding noteworthy gear weight.

At 27 by 50 inches this towel is significantly smaller than most other beach towels we've covered, but it more than compensates for the smaller size in outsized performance.

Backcountry shoppers love their Packtowls. One says he "always carries [his] Packtowl with" him when he's traveling, while many note the excellent absorption properties and love how small it packs down when not in use.

In their review, the gear testers from The Wirecutter loved the Packtowl's "tear-resistant fabric" and "fast drying time."

Circular beach towels have become more and more popular in recent years, and happily, there's something to be said for them beyond the fad mentality. A round beach towel provides ample space for keeping all your possessions off the sand, but they can also create a welcome spot for a couple to lounge or for kids to play. In the case of the ShengChun Round Beach Towel, you will also welcome the fact that it costs only twenty bucks.

This towel features an excellent blend of materials, with a smooth, brightly printed microfiber top and a soft, absorbent cotton bottom. Of course, you buy this towel primarily for how it looks and for its size, but it's nice to know that the underside is cozy and absorbent.

The ShungChun Round Beach Towel measures 59 inches across, thus creating a surface area that measures 18.9 square feet. That's ample room for a person, a couple, or even a small family to enjoy their day at the beach.

2 Person Beach Towel

One Amazon customer named Elizabeth calls this the "best towel ever" and praises its "great quality." A writer from NYMag loved the "abstract graphic prints" and noted the low cost, too.

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