What’s more relaxing than a day of sand and surf? The sea breeze, the warm sun, and best of all… the unimaginable amount of family stuff that needs to be hauled along: coolers, boogie boards, umbrellas, towels, sand toys, beach chairs, diaper bags, snorkel gear—plus a kid or three. Parents who don’t want to break their backs by dragging everything through heavy sand should invest in a sturdy beach wagon or cart.
Look for a lightweight, yet durable, high-capacity model that can hold at least 75 pounds. Ideally, be sure it’s a collapsible beach wagon that can easily slide into your vehicle’s trunk. Multiple mesh pockets are a beautiful thing for all the wet, sandy items you’ll be carting. Choose one that’s easy to maneuver, with an adjustable handle and—we cannot stress this enough!—large, heavy-duty treaded wheels that are designed to navigate soft, deep sand. Here are our picks for the best beach wagons and carts for 2020.
1. Timber Ridge Folding Camping Beach Wagon
Quick to set up and put away in its own carrying bag, the Timber Range Folding Camping Beach Wagon is built with sturdy polyester over a steel frame, and can haul up to 150 pounds of beach gear thanks to its oversized wide wheels and telescoping handle. Its front wheels rotate 360 degrees so you can turn it easily on hard ground, and it (thankfully) can power through soft sand, too. The roomy storage compartment can hold three small kids or a pile of other necessities, such as a beach tent, lounge chairs, towels, pop-up playpen, coolers and diaper bag. Reviewers with big families suggest picking up two of these if you spend lots of time at the beach—one for the children, and one for the gear.
Related: Best Baby Beach Tents
2. Mybeachcart Foldable Beach Cart
With 12-inch balloon tires that easily glide over heavy sand, Mybeachcart’s Foldable Beach Cart makes hauling beach gear a breeze. It has a wide telescopic handle with a comfort grip so even the tallest parent won’t have to hunch over to pull it along. Constructed of marine-grade anodized aluminum, this cart is lightweight, but rugged. A 15×21-inch cargo deck with a non-slip padded platform can handle up to 165 pounds without your things sliding out onto the sand. The included oversized zippered mesh bag and two seven-inch buckle straps allow you to store everything from sand toys to sunscreen securely. And when you’re ready to go home, the cart folds flat and has a Velcro strap to keep it closed, while the wheels quickly deflate when you pull out the pin. If your family spends lots of time at the beach, this beach wagon is worth the investment.
3. RIO Brands Deluxe Wonder Wheeler Wide
Offering 15 cubic feet of storage in its quick-dry main mesh compartment, the collapsible RIO Brands Deluxe Wonder Wheeler Wide features a sturdy steel frame and 10-inch all-terrain back wheels to navigate rough terrain. Plus, it has two articulating front wheels for a smooth ride on hard ground. This beach cart can be loaded with 100 pounds of beach necessities and its extendable stroller-style handle makes it easy enough for kids to pull. You can hang up to four beach chairs on the extended top frame, and in the back, a smaller pocket can hold sunglasses, cameras, Frisbees and snacks. There’s also a bottom tray and rack where you can slide a 48-quart cooler. Available in two colors, the beach wagon also includes a side-mounted umbrella and boogie board holders, plus a handy removable beach bag with a shoulder strap.
4. Beau Jardin Folding Push Wagon With Canopy
Beau Jardin’s Folding Push Wagon Cart has a removable UV protection canopy, plus two cup holders and a snack compartment so your kids can enjoy the ride from the parking lot or the beach house without the blistering sun on their heads. (You may even want to create the ultimate beach wagon playpen for a shady nap space for the baby!) This collapsible beach wagon sets up in seconds, and its sturdy black steel frame can be loaded with everything you need for the day, such as badminton sets, beach blankets, soccer balls and other beach games. The beach wagon’s fabric can be removed or hosed down for easy cleaning. The beach wagon features four heavy-duty 7×4-inch thick rubber wheels that rotate 360-degrees for different surfaces, and two adjustable handles for pushing or pulling. The cart folds into an included carrying bag for off-season storage. Bonus: Reviewers say this cart is just as amazing on snow so you can haul it out to take the kids sledding.
5. Wheeleez Heavy Duty Beach Cart
Big families hauling a ton of beach supplies will love the foldable Wheeleez Heavy Duty Beach Cart, which can easily accommodate up to 220 pounds of gear, but weighs just 29 pounds. Made of tough high density polyethylene for the tub, plus a marine-grade anodized aluminum frame and stainless steel hardware, this beach wagon is virtually indestructible. It also includes a large mesh bag for wet bathing suits, goggles or sand toys. Oversized balloon wheels will make it easy to lug through the sand to find the perfect spot to set up your beach umbrellas and beach chairs. This cart also works great on uneven dirt, rocks and grassy hills. You can even pull it through the water. It’s big, though, so if you drive a small vehicle, this may not be the best choice for you.
Related: Best Baby and Toddler Swimsuits
6. Tommy Bahama All Terrain Beach Cart
With its 10-inch-wide rear wheels and dual steer front wheels, the Tommy Bahama All Terrain Beach Cart can carry a 100-pound load, and its lightweight, yet sturdy powder-coated steel frame is topped off with a padded handle. It includes a removable insulated cargo bag to hold a picnic lunch plus drinks for the day. The zippered side pouches can hold your beach-worthy books, sunscreen or sunglasses. There’s 15 cubic feet of storage space, so you can carry four beach chairs, a 48-quart cooler and whatever floaties and toys your kids need. There’s also an umbrella holder on the side that allows you to strap it in securely when you’re on the go. This model folds flat when it’s time to pop it in the trunk or for off-season storage.
7. Mac Sports Heavy Duty Collapsible Folding All Terrain Utility Beach Wagon
Known for its range of rugged wagons and carts, Mac Sports’ Heavy Duty Collapsible Folding All Terrain Utility Beach Wagon is the model we recommend if you’ll be dragging a day’s worth of gear over deep sand. Featuring easy-clean fabric that’s UV- and mildew-resistant, this model’s extra-large wheels can carry up to 150 pounds, although in very deep sand, you’re better off not making it too heavy. It has an adjustable handle and a spacious interior that easily fits an inflatable kiddie pool, chairs, umbrellas, food and beach toys. Two mesh cup holders keep beverages from toppling over on your way to the water. Although it’s not designed for kids to sit in, it’s sturdy enough to carry a tired, nap-needing kiddo at the end of the day. Folding down into less than 10 inches thick, this beach wagon can quickly be popped into the trunk so you can head back home before tantrums begin.
8. Mighty Max Cart
It’s billed as a rugged garden cart, but with its 300-pound capacity, we think the made-in-the-USA Mighty Max Cart works really well for the beach, too. Its super compact frame weighs just 22 pounds, and features an expandable flatbed to hold extra-large coolers. It also has a retractable handle, two removable cargo walls, a removable storage tub, and a tool rack. Its grippy rubber wheels have no bearings, so they’ll never rust, even if you drag it through salt water. And because the cart itself is constructed from recyclable resins, it’s virtually indestructible. Bonus: When you’re not at the beach, this wagon is great for hauling heavy bags of soil and large pots of plants in the garden.
9. Big Kahuna Beach Wagon
If you’re looking for a top-quality product that will last for many years, invest in Alumacart’s Big Kahuna Beach Wagon. Perfect for families that love to fish as well as ones who practically live at the beach, this model features a large, aluminum deck with drain holes for wet gear, oversized low-pressure balloon tires that navigate easily on deep sand, plus holders for four fishing poles. This beach wagon—which is designed for commercial use—can accommodate up to 350 pounds of gear, making it ideal for everything your family needs at the beach. A curved, ergonomic pull handle makes it easy for your kids to drag, too. The wagon’s walls are removable if you prefer to stack the deck with large items like camping gear and extra-large coolers.
Related: Best Water Shoes for the Beach
Montreal-based Wendy Helfenbaum is a journalist, content strategist and TV producer who writes for dozens of digital and print magazines, as well as many brands. Wendy loves cruising, adventure travel and venturing off the beaten path with her husband and teenage son, and she can pack a carry-on bag like nobody’s business. Follow her @WendyHelfenbaum.