Among the largest towel sizes is a favorite among beach vacationers and backyard tanning enthusiasts. A beach towel provides the overall coverage and surface area of a bath sheet, combined with colorful graphics and other design features which make it easier to spot on a crowded beach. Many people invest in a beach towel as ground cover on hot sand as well as a means of drying off after swimming.
Beach towels are generally made from the same cotton terry cloth as other towels, although they may not be as plush as towels designed for bathroom use. It is not unusual for a person to use one beach towel as ground cover, another as a cushion for a lounge chair and yet another to dry off after a swim. Beach towels can also substitute as bath sheets if standard bath towels do not suit the user's needs.
While standard bath or kitchen towel sets may emphasize coordination and uniformity, a beach towel allows for individual expression. Some children may want to have a bath towel featuring their favorite cartoon characters or teen idols, while others may want to choose colorful graphics or a favorite sports team. Other beach towel designs may include famous logos, beach-related imagery, abstract art or humorous slogans.
The dimensions of a beach towel can vary widely, but an industry standard appears to be 60 by 30 inches, or roughly 152 centimeters by 76 centimeters. This sizing allows many users to use the towel as a cover-up over swimwear, or to sit comfortably on hot sand or wet ground. Because a beach towel is not as plush as a bath sheet, it is less likely to retain loose sand or become waterlogged.
Beach towels can usually be found in the linen section of a department store, although they may also be displayed in special sections dedicated to beach-related merchandise. Souvenir stores located on popular beaches may also have customized beach towels available for visitors, either for use on the beach or as mementos of the vacation. Some beach towels from famous beaches around the world are highly coveted in certain circles.