The Best Beach Coolers to Keep Everything Chilled On the Hottest Days
No summer is complete without a trip (or 10, if you're lucky) to the beach. And if you're a water-lover or live close to the coast, you understand how important it is to get on the road and fast when you want to skip beach traffic or catch the early-morning waves. That's why investing in a beach cooler is essential. Of course, you'll have your beach towels, favorite sunscreen, and beach chairs in tow, but pre-packing some snacks and drinks for you and your crew will save so much time and money. (Related: The Health-and-Safety Guide to Packing Food for the Beach)
And with all the new technology available, today's beach coolers hold their appropriate temperatures longer, are easier to carry, and are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes to fit your specific summer getaway needs.
Below in this list of the best beach coolers of 2021, you'll find everything from mini coolers for solo beach trips to heavy-duty beach cooler options for large group trips. So, don't waste any more time — summer is almost over! — searching for the best beach coolers on the market, and just click to buy via the links below to make your next oceanside trip a whole lot easier.
- Best Beach Cooler for Two: Business & Pleasure Premium Cooler Bag
- Best Beach Cooler with Wheels: Igloo Latitude 60 qt Roller Portable Cooler
- Best Backpack Beach Cooler: YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Sided Cooler Backpack
- Best Medium-Sized Beach Cooler: Corkcicle Mills 8 Cooler
- Best Beach Cooler Tote: Hydro Flask 26 L Day Escape Soft Cooler Tote
- Best Lightweight Hard Cooler: RTIC Ultra-Light 52 Qt
- Best Beach Cooler for Large Groups: YETI Tundra 45 Cooler
- Best Small Beach Cooler Bag: Igloo FUNdamentals Messenger Cooler Bag
- Best Multi-Purpose Beach Cooler: Icemule Pro Large 23L Cooler
- Best Beach Cooler Basket: HappyPicnic Leakproof Picnic Cooler Basket With Waterproof Beach Blanket
The Best Beach Coolers for Any Summertime Outing
Best Beach Cooler for Two: Business & Pleasure Premium Cooler Bag
There's so much to love about this cooler bag. It's stylish, functional and is the perfect accessory to all your summer soiree's, beach days included. It's large enough to carry a lunch for two, snacks for the family or a dozen cans or bottles. And thanks to it's insultaed lining, your food and drinks will stay cold for hours, even on the hottest summer day. The beach cooler's fabric makes spills super easy to wipe clean, too.
Reviewers love that this hand-free beach cooler sits comfortably on the shoulder for easy carrying. Not to mention, there's a small-sized front pocket that can hold your phone, sunscreen or car keys. Business & Pleasure also offers a slim (and ornately designed) ice pack (Buy It, $30, amazon.com) that helps to keep your items cool without taking up too much space.
One reviewer writes, "This beach cooler is super cute for beach picnics and can hold a lot, but it's not bulky. It's definitely bigger than a lunch bag but it's not like a large cooler bag, so it was easy to walk with over my shoulder. It kept everything cold and definitely made the beach feel a bit more like vacation."
Best Beach Cooler with Wheels: Igloo Latitude 60 qt Roller Portable Cooler
When you're lugging your entire family's belongings to the beach, chances are you won't have the capacity to carry a beach cooler with both hands. That's where this rolling edition comes into play. It's an upright beach cooler with wheels that allows you to perfectly stack your food and drinks without toppling anything over while en route to the perfect spot. It's also designed with a patented THERMECOOL insulation that keeps items cooler for longer than other options on the market. (Grab one of these beach bags to stash all your small essentials.)
This beach cooler with wheels can fit up to 90 cans and offers a triple-snap drain plug that makes emptying out the cooler practically fool-proof. But the real winning feature of this cooler is the oversized wheels that make pulling and pushing a breeze, even on bumpy boardwalks and squishy sand. (Related: The Best Beach Umbrellas for Shady Vacation Naps)
"So far, it has kept ice frozen for 48 [hours] and it has cup holders on top, which are always great to have on the boat," one reviewer said. "While it's huge, the fact that it's taller versus wider makes it better for packing in the car. Absolutely, 100% you should buy this cooler."
Best Backpack Beach Cooler: YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Sided Cooler Backpack
Backpack beach coolers are not only convenient, but they're easy to grab and go when you're running out the door. To no surprise, YETI built this backpack cooler with more bells and whistles than you could imagine. It was designed to be taller, instead of wider so the weight of the contents is evenly distributed while you carry it on your back. And since the straps are ergonomically designed, it's more comfortable to wear, even when its full of your favorite flavored La Croix, or canned wine — it can fit 20 cans of anything to be exact.
One reviewer raved, "I live in Florida. We are constantly in the sun for events or at the beach. So far, it's has been the best portable cooler I could ask for. There is such attention to detail in every aspect of this bag and I have no doubt it will hold up over the years. Ultimately, I went with the book bag to free my hands for carrying other stuff."
Best Medium-Sized Beach Cooler: Corkcicle Mills 8 Cooler
This beach cooler is truly versatile. It can double as a lunch bag for work or days on the town and personally, I've even used it to store baby bottles during a long road trip. The brand says it can hold 8 cans or two bottles of wine, plus a few snacks you can squeeze in between. And the best part is it's easy to carry and doesn't add much bulk to your load.
One reviewer on the brand website said, "This cooler is the perfect accessory to your next BYOB party. It is well-designed and keeps your drinks cold all-night long."
Best Beach Cooler Tote: Hydro Flask 26 L Day Escape Soft Cooler Tote
Tote bags were practically built with beach days in mind. They're easy to carry on the shoulder and you can stuff a whole lot of items in it without feeling like you're overpacking. This insulated beach cooler tote offers 36-hours of cold insulation and watertight construction so melting ice doesn't leak out of the bottom. And even if you do accidentally overpack, this tote bag comes with a removable cross-body strap that makes it easier to carry as you find your perfect spot seaside.
"My wife bought this for me for my birthday," said one reviewer. "I took it on vacation to Florida and used it every day on the beach and worked great with even a couple of a 1 1/2-pound ice packs in it for the day. Even in a car in the hot sun, it kept my food and drinks cold for 6-8 hours. I am super happy with this gift."
Best Lightweight Hard Cooler: RTIC Ultra-Light 52 Qt
Let's be honest, hard-sided beach coolers don't look fun to carry. Not only do they store tons and tons of food and drink — great for your party, but not so great for your back — but they can usually weight a hefty bit even when empty. That's why this ultra-lightweight cooler is a dream come true. It's more than 30 percent lighter than other roto-molded beach coolers and can be carried by one person. And with 52 quarts of storage, you can pack more than enough to last you an entire day by the water. (Make sure to load it with these best low-calorie beers.)
Another perk of hard-side beach coolers like this option, is it doubles as a seat or tabletop while dining by the shore. And the no-sweat exterior will keep your vehicle dry to and from your destination.
"I bought this for a beach vacation, and I have used it every day but haven't gone on vacation yet," said one reviewer. "It keeps adult beverages on ice for days. I left it in the back of a pickup truck under the bed cover and the cooler was so hot you couldn't even touch. But when I opened it up, there was still ice-covered beer."
Best Beach Cooler for Large Groups: YETI Tundra 45 Cooler
Meeting up with friends for your next beach trip? Having this oversized beach cooler means you can fit all your food and drinks in one communal space. This YETI cooler is designed with extra-thick walls that keeps temperature retention which means you could even use it to store hot food items, too.
One reviewer said, "My first time putting this cooler to the test was with an 8-hour trip, with food needing to stay frozen. It surpassed my expectations. The ice I put in didn't even melt."
Best Small Beach Cooler Bag: Igloo FUNdamentals Messenger Cooler Bag
Don't let this small-sized cooler bag fool you. It will surely come in handy. It can hold up to 4 cans, snacks (such as these chilled protein bars), or even medicine that needs refrigeration. And it wears like a small purse. It will especially come in handy for mamas with little kids that need a juice box, snack or milk after a few hours out at the beach or pool.
Best Multi-Purpose Beach Cooler: Icemule Pro Large 23L Cooler
This backpack works for practically every outdoor activity you could imagine. From beach trips to hiking, this hands-free bag makes packing meals and drinks a breeze. It can hold up to 18 cans, is lightweight, and comes with padded shoulder straps. And since it maintains ice-like temperatures for up to two days (!), it works for camping trips, too. (Related: Cute Camping Gear to Make Your Outdoor Adventures Pretty AF)
"I can't state enough how impressed I am with the performance of the Icemule," wrote one reviewer. "Three hot days on the beach with temps in the 90's, ice mule kept everything cold, not cool, but cold!"
Best Beach Cooler Basket: HappyPicnic Leakproof Picnic Cooler Basket With Waterproof Beach Blanket
If a picnic basket and a cooler had a baby, it'd be this beach cooler option. It's the perfect way to pack lunch or dinner for the beach without traveling with a bulky or flimsy bag. And what's even better is this option comes with a waterproof beach blanket so you're all set for a beachside meal.
One reviewer wrote, "This beach cooler surpassed my expectations. It's a great size and easy to put away. Plus, the blanket is perfect for beach or backyard."