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The Best Beach Towels for Being the Hottest Chalupa at the Pool This Summer

We are declaring towels 2021's best form of summer streetwear, from Wacko Maria's leopard print jawn to quick-drying microfiber and Turkish weaves.
New York, US
July 7, 2021, 7:28pm
Beach Towel
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 beach towels we love will 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. 

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.   


Green Bandana Towel

Instant ambiance

Is that steam coming off your towel? This layer of hell is so much fun.  

Christopher Kane

More Joy Beach Towel

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.  


Bear Bones Beach Towel

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. 


Microfiber Beach Towels (2 Pack)


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?  


Cotton Candy Pink and Cadmium Green Checkerboard Beach Towel

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. 

House no. 23

Handwoven Turkish Beach Towel

For the 90s babes

In a perfect world, Shannyn Sossamon presents you not only with this towel, but matching BFF mood rings. 


Yin Yang Oversized Beach Towel

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. 

Jonathan Adler

Snake Beach Towel in Orange

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.  

Old Glory

Pyromaniac All Over Beach Towel


The streetwear pick

There are even streetwear candles now, man—and they’re pretty rad—so of course Wacko Maria makes a terry cloth beach towel that says, “I have finger tattoos, and I think your mom is hot.”

Wacko Maria

Beige & Black Leopard Jacquard Beach Towel

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?” 

RJ Reynolds

Vintage 1991 Joe Camel Playing Pool Beach Towel

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. VICE may receive a small commission if you buy through the links on our site.