Your kids know this: a juice box is somehow just not the same when served at lukewarm temperature. And forget about a less-than-chilled cheese stick. Can you hear the “yuck!” chorus already? This summer, you’ll need a beach cooler that can hold all the snacks and drinks (not to mention breastmilk or even refrigerated medications) your family needs while keeping them nice and cool.
We checked out several different beach cooler designs and narrowed them down by category to help you choose the best beach cooler for your needs. These are the best beach coolers in 2021.
Best Rolling Cooler for the Beach: Coleman 62-Quart Xtreme 5-Day Heavy-Duty Cooler with Wheels
You can’t buy a better rolling cooler for the beach than the Coleman Xtreme 5-Day Wheeled Cooler, with sturdy wheels that are made to traverse rough terrain, from the beach to the woods. The beach cooler’s 62-quart capacity means you can store up to 95 cans, and its insulation system can keep items cold for up to five days in temps as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Best Soft Beach Cooler Bag: NorChill 24 Can Marine Boatbag Soft Cooler
NorChill offers soft-sided coolers in a variety of sizes. But this soft beach cooler bag with nine-quart capacity is best for the beach. Load it up with ice and drinks—the bag is advertised to keep everything cool for 24 hours.
The best part is the easy clean-up for inevitable spills, plus dirt and sand. You can remove the gator skin lining for easy cleaning, and the external shell is mildew resistant and can even be hosed down—a necessary part of any equation that includes kids, drinks and snacks.
Related: 10 Best Travel Cooler Bags
Best Cooler Backpack for the Beach: Coleman Soft Cooler
This economic cooler backpack for the beach is a convenient way to carry your snacks and drinks. Store your cold items in the main compartment and any dry items in the zippered front pocket. Adjustable shoulder and waist straps make this a great cooler for hiking, too.
Best Yeti Cooler for the Beach: Yeti Hopper Flip Portable Beach Cooler
Want to invest in a Yeti, but not sure which one is right for the beach? Enter the Yeti Hopper Flip Portable Beach Cooler. This beach cooler has ColdCell Insulation, a closed-cell foam that’s guaranteed to keep your drinks ice-cold. The cooler also features a 100-percent leakproof HydroLok Zipper that’ll prevent spills, and a DryHide waterproof shell that protects the cooler from mildew, water and general damage from the elements.
Best Beach Bag With Cooler: Ginrry Mesh Bag With Cooler
Want a cooler that’s also a beach bag? Yes, they exist! Consider the Codream Mesh Bag With Cooler, which holds four beach towels, up to 12 cans, and two external pockets for storing sunglasses and sunscreen. Its mesh exterior makes it easy to clean.
Best Beach Cooler With Wheels: Igloo Maxcold Cool Fusion 36 Cooler
If you’re taking your kids to the beach or pool for the day, this 36-can capacity cooler on wheels makes an easily transportable cooler for your day’s meals and drinks. The Igloo Maxcold Cool Fusion 36 Cooler‘s generous number of external pockets allow you to pack extra snacks that don’t need to be kept cold.
Parents love the little tray revealed after you open the top—providing an ideal surface for kids to enjoy their lunch or snacks so they don’t get sandy or soggy on the beach blanket.
Best Small Beach Cooler: The ICEMULE Classic
If you’re looking for a small beach cooler that’s easy to carry, check out the ICEMULE Classic. This cooler is actually billed as “The World’s Coldest Hands-Free Cooler,” featuring a sling-style carry design so your hands are free to carry kids and other beach gear. This small beach cooler can hold up to six cans or a few reusable water bottles. Bonus: this beach bag floats, making it great for kayaking, water park trips and more.
Cynthia J. Drake is a travel writer based in Austin, Texas, where she lives with her husband and two sons. Since becoming a mom, she’s been stranded at sea with her family, gotten lost in the Rocky Mountains, dealt with more than her fair share of public vomiting, and still can’t wait for the next trip. She writes regularly for AAA magazines, Austin American-Statesman, Texas Highways and Cruise Critic. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
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