How Many Beach Towels Do You Need?

When planning a vacation, the beach towels are often the last thing on the packing list – or at least they are when I’m doing the planning. And then, after a few beach days, once we’re at our holiday destination, I inevitably realize that day or two at the destination, I’m frustrated because all the towels are wet and sandy. Which brings me to the question – how many beach towels do you actually need?

The number of beach towels you need depends on your personal circumstances. Take into consideration where you’re vacationing, your packing space, who will be there, how long you will be there, and what activities will you be doing when you’re there.

If you’re flying to your holiday destination, you must consider airline weight limitations, which can affect your decision about whether or not to take a towel — and which type of towel to take.

You don’t want to be sitting on your suitcase to try and close it, just because the beach towels were an afterthought. So let’s look at a few different vacation scenarios so that you can plan before you hit the road to your vacation spot.

How Many Beach Towels For a Beach Vacation?

When you’re off on a beach vacation, you obviously need beach towels, but the thing is – they’re not simply to dry you off after a dip in the sea. They also serve to give you a spot to rest on the grass or sand.

For a typical family beach holiday, one towel for each family member, plus two extras, just in case, should suffice. Extra-large towels, especially for adults and teenagers, are essential.

It is always a good idea to check on the laundry facilities at your accommodation to ensure that you’re going to be able to wash and dry your towels.

Top tip: For a beach vacation, it’s a great idea to take along a super large picnic towel or blanket for chilling on the beach.

How Many Beach Towels For A Backpacking, Camping, or Hiking Trip?

But, if you’re going backpacking, hiking, or camping, you will likely need to bring your own towels.

For backpacking and hiking, you will need a towel or two, but you really need to consider the size and weight of the towels. Microfiber towels are a winner in these cases.

When you’re off on a camping trip, especially if you’re going to spend time at the beach while you’re camping, you’re definitely going to want to have an extra towel or two available. Unfortunately, the camping environment means that your towel might get a bit grubby, and lack of laundry facilities means that you won’t be able to wash it when you need to.

How Many Beach Towels For a Hotel Or Resort Stay?

If you’re going to a hotel, you’re in luck. One towel per person should be adequate. In addition, the hotel should be able to help you out if you’re stuck.

At many all-inclusive resorts, you don’t need to worry about beach towels at all. They supply the towels for you, and you simply need to ask if you need a fresh towel.

How Many Beach Towels For A Staycation?

There is nothing wrong with a staycation next to the pool. In this case, one towel per family member should be adequate.

But you know how it is – you invite a few people over for a barbeque, and all the kids want to jump in the pool – but they forget their swimsuits and towels. So having a few extra towels around for visitors is always a good idea.

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What Sort Of Beach Towels Do You Need?

There are a few options for beach towels, and each has its own set of pros and cons.

The Traditional Beach Towel

They’re bright and colorful, and they scream vacation. But what is the difference between a beach towel and a bath towel?

Beach towels are usually less fluffy than bath towels. They’re also generally thinner and lighter, so they’ll take up less space in your luggage. However, they might still be a bit too bulky if you’re backpacking and the focus is on traveling light.

In a pinch, even though they’re thinner, they’ll make a good substitute to bath towels, because along with being designed for lazing on the hot sand, they’re also reasonably absorbent, just not as comfy as a fluffy cotton towel.

If you do forget your beach towel, you should be able to pick one up as a souvenir, so you’ll be able to bring it home as a memory of your vacation. 

Always check with your accommodation whether towels are offered for free or to rent.

The Travel Towel

If you travel frequently, a travel towel is a great idea. Extra slim and lightweight, they’re designed to be folded up to take up much less space than a regular towel.

They’re super-absorbent, and dry quickly, and can be used as beach towels as well as bath towels. Depending on what fabric they’re made from, they can also be multipurpose and be used as blankets, umbrellas, and possibly even scarves.

The fabric they’re made from determines how versatile and lightweight they are. They might, however, be pricier than regular towels, and while they certainly are lighter and thinner, they could still be heavier than you would want for lightweight travel.    

The Microfiber Towel

Microfiber towels are trendy amongst travelers for a good reason. They’re super lightweight, absorbent, and compact, making them great for taking on vacation.

Because they’re so compact, you can take a few with you in your luggage and use them for both swimming and showering. They dry quickly and mostly come with a small loop to make them easy to hang up.

They do feel pretty different from cotton towels, but all in all, they’re an excellent option for travelers.


Whether you’re hitting the beach or having friends over,  making sure you have enough beach towels is essential. To decide how many you need, always consider your personal needs – how big is your family, where and when might you be using them, and your personal budget?