The 3 Best Coolers for the Beach: Make Your Beach Day Better

Whether you’re planning a family beach day or a romantic seaside picnic, choosing the best cooler for the beach is a must to keep your drinks cold and food fresh. A great cooler does more than just keep things chilled, it’s an investment in fun-filled, refreshing beach experiences. From keeping your fruit salad crisp to ensuring your beverages stay ice-cold, the right cooler sets the stage for perfect beach adventures.

In our quest to help you find the best cooler for your next beach trip, we’ve narrowed down the top three contenders that excel in performance, durability, and design. Each cooler possesses unique features that cater to different needs, and we’re sure one of these will be your beach day game-changer. Stay tuned as we dive into each one features, pros, and cons.

What Features to Look for When Choosing the Best Coolers for the Beach

Best coolers for the beach

Before we get into the top three picks, let’s briefly go over what features to consider when choosing a cooler for your beach day.

Construction

When it’s time to invest in a beach cooler, you’ll have to choose between two options: soft-sided or hard-sided coolers. Both types have their advantages.

  • Soft-sided coolers are lightweight and made of flexible materials like nylon or polyester. They’re easy to fold or collapse for convenient storage, saving you space. Many models even have compartments and extra pockets to help you organize utensils, napkins, and other essentials.
  • On the other hand, hard-sided coolers are built tough with materials like rotomolded plastic, stainless steel, or thick polyethylene. Notably, these coolers can also serve as impromptu seating or provide additional tabletop space when needed.

Portability

When choosing a cooler, portability plays a crucial role. The amount you plan to pack may vary, but two key factors to consider are the weight of the fully-loaded cooler and how comfortable it is to transport.

Beach coolers, especially when filled with food and drinks, can weigh over 40-50 pounds. Moving all that weight from your car to your beach blanket can be challenging, particularly if dealing with a bulky and awkward shape.

Wheeled coolers, especially those with large wheels designed for maneuvering over rocks and sand, offer some relief. However, if you prefer a cooler without wheels, look for one with sturdy, ergonomic handles or straps. These features make it easier to carry the cooler over longer distances. Adjustable straps or padded handles help distribute the weight evenly, reducing strain on your hands and shoulders.

Price

Cooler prices can vary greatly, with budget-friendly options starting at around $50 and premium models exceeding $500. It’s important to consider how long you plan to use your cooler and the conditions you’ll be using it in.

If you’re looking to save money, you can definitely get by with a less expensive cooler,” but keep in mind that this may result in more frequent purchases of ice and potentially needing to replace the cooler if it doesn’t hold up well in the long run.

Waterproof

While a waterproof beach cooler may not be an absolute necessity, it can offer significant advantages based on your requirements and the conditions in which you’ll use it. Not only does a waterproof cooler prevent moisture and dirt from infiltrating, but it also ensures that no liquids or messes escape.

In addition, a waterproof cooler is typically more convenient to clean and maintain spills, dirt, or sand can be easily rinsed off without any concerns. Its versatility makes it ideal for camping, boating, picnics, or any other outdoor activities where exposure to water or moisture is likely.

It’s worth noting, however, that waterproof coolers tend to be more expensive. If you predominantly use your cooler in dry environments or don’t anticipate the need for water protection, a non-waterproof cooler may suffice.

Extra Features

In addition to size, insulation, and durability, there are a plethora of other features to consider when shopping for a beach cooler. For added convenience, think about features like drain plugs for easy cleaning, integrated bottle openers, storage baskets, and built-in cup holders to enhance functionality.

Moreover, coolers with built-in wheels or backpack-style straps can facilitate the transportation of your supplies across sandy terrain. Some coolers also come equipped with latches or locking mechanisms, which are ideal if you need to keep unwanted critters out. And while style does not necessarily indicate performance, you might as well search for a model that comes in your favorite colorway.

Best Coolers for the Beach Reviewed in this Article

Now that you know what to look for in the best cooler for the beach, let’s dive into our top three picks.


YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler

Best coolers for the beach 1 - the 3 best coolers for the beach: make your beach day better

Robust Construction for Ultimate Durability: Meticulously crafted with a robust rotomolded construction; Guarantees exceptional durability, making it capable of handling tough challenges.

Revolutionary On-Wheel Design: The YETI Haul stands out as the first YETI cooler equipped with wheels, offering a seamless blend of the renowned toughness from the Tundra series and unparalleled insulation power.

Reliable NeverFlat Wheels: Boasts NeverFlat Wheels, featuring a sturdy, one-piece tire construction designed to resist impacts and punctures effectively.

  • Important Note: The Tundra Haul is not compatible with the dry goods basket or divider accessories.

Durable StrongArm Handle: Features the StrongArm Handle, crafted with durable welded aluminum and outfitted with comfortable grips. The curved design ensures smooth tracking to the left or right, delivering a heel-friendly towing experience.

Consistent Emphasis on Rotomolded Construction: Highlights the significance of rotomolded construction, reinforcing the core and providing virtual indestructibility.

Buy Now at Amazon
Check Latest Price

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Considered among the best Coolers for the Beach, the YETI Haul, is the ultimate cooler on wheels. With its rotomolded construction, this cooler is armored to the core and virtually indestructible.

Take the legendary toughness and unmatched insulation power of the Tundra to the next level with the first-ever YETI cooler on wheels.

The NeverFlat Wheels feature a solid, single-piece tire construction that is impact- and puncture-resistant, ensuring durability wherever you go.

The StrongArm Handle, with its welded aluminum arm and comfortable grips, allows for easy towing with a heel-friendly curved design. Get ready to experience a cooler like no other with the YETI Haul.


RTIC 45 qt Hard Cooler 

Best cooler for the beach

Designed for Extremes: Engineered for impact resistance, durability, and extended ice retention.

Advanced Insulation: Boasts up to 3 inches of closed-cell foam insulation for exceptional temperature control.

Long-Lasting Ice Retention: Crafted for portability with heavy-duty rope handles, making it easy to carry wherever your adventure takes you.

Versatile Applications: The perfect choice for an ice cooler, drink cooler, travel cooler, beer cooler, can cooler, camping cooler, beach cooler, boat cooler, or barbecue cooler.

Wide Range of Sizes: Available in various sizes: 20 qt, 45 qt, 65 qt, 110 qt, and 145 qt. Doubles up as a bench, step stool, tabletop, or additional cutting board for added versatility.

Buy Now at Amazon
Check Latest Price

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Recently acquired the RTIC 45 qt Hard Cooler, and it has proven to be an outstanding companion for various outdoor activities. Here’s a detailed review of my experience:

The rotomolded construction ensures that this cooler is built like a tank. Its sturdy exterior not only withstands rough handling but also provides excellent insulation, keeping contents colder for an extended period. The build quality instills confidence that it can handle the demands of any adventure.

The RTIC 45 qt truly excels in ice retention. With up to 3 inches of closed-cell foam insulation, my beverages and snacks stayed refreshingly cold for an impressive duration. Even in scorching temperatures, the cooler maintained a consistently low internal temperature, exceeding my expectations.

Equipped with heavy-duty rope handles, transporting the cooler is a breeze. The handles are not only functional but also comfortable, making it easy to carry, even when fully loaded. The cooler’s size is optimal, providing ample space for drinks and food without being overly bulky.

This cooler caters to a range of outdoor activities. Whether it’s a day at the beach, a camping trip, or a weekend barbecue, the RTIC 45 qt adapts seamlessly. It doubles as a reliable seat or an impromptu tabletop, adding to its versatility.

The availability of different sizes allows users to choose the one that suits their needs. The 45 qt size is perfect for family outings or group gatherings, striking a balance between capacity and portability.

In summary, the RTIC 45 qt Hard Cooler exceeded my expectations in terms of durability, ice retention, and overall performance. It’s a solid investment for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a reliable and robust cooler for various occasions. I highly recommend it to anyone in need of a top-notch portable ice chest.


Pelican 50 Quart Elite Cooler

Best cooler for the beach

Volume: Offers a genuine 50-quart internal volume for ample storage capacity.

Extreme Ice Retention: Equipped with 2 inches of polyurethane insulation and a 360-degree freezer-grade gasket for unparalleled ice retention. Interior dimensions (L×W×D): 17.50 x 11.00 x 13.70 inches. Holds 38 cans.

Additional Features: Overmolded carry handle for convenient transport, 3-inch locking latches ensure a secure closure, Reinforced lockable hasp enhances security.Stainless steel bottle opener for added functionality, Anti-shear hinge system for durability, Molded-in tie-down slots for secure transportation.

Enhanced Design: Features 4 self-draining cup holders for added convenience.

Quality Assurance: Proudly made in the USA. Backed by Pelican’s legendary lifetime guarantee

Buy Now at Amazon
Check Latest Price

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.


The Pelican 50 Quart Elite Cooler boasts rotomolded construction, making it virtually indestructible. The rugged exterior not only stands up to harsh conditions but also provides a sense of confidence in the cooler’s longevity. It’s clear that Pelican prioritizes durability in their design.

One of the standout features of this cooler is its extraordinary ice retention capabilities. The two inches of polyurethane insulation, coupled with a 360-degree freezer-grade gasket, ensures that ice remains frozen for an extended period. Even in intense heat, this cooler outperforms, maintaining a consistently low internal temperature.

With a 50-quart capacity, this cooler strikes an excellent balance between size and storage space. It comfortably holds a substantial amount of beverages and food, making it suitable for both solo outings and group adventures. The interior design is well-thought-out, with tie-down slots for securing items and easy cleaning.

While the Pelican 50 Quart Elite Cooler may be on the heavier side, the molded-in handles provide a comfortable and secure grip during transportation. The non-skid rubber feet ensure stability, whether placed in the back of a truck or on uneven terrain.

Pelican has incorporated thoughtful features, such as over-molded carry handles, locking latches, and a reinforced lockable hasp. The stainless steel bottle opener adds a convenient touch, emphasizing the cooler’s practicality.

The fact that the Pelican 50 Quart Elite Cooler is made in the USA speaks volumes about its quality. Pelican stands behind their product with a legendary lifetime guarantee – “you break it, we replace it. Forever!” This commitment to customer satisfaction is commendable.

In conclusion, the Pelican 50 Quart Elite Cooler is a top-tier choice for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a cooler that combines durability, ice retention, and practical features. While it may be an investment, the long-lasting performance and lifetime guarantee make it a worthwhile purchase. I highly recommend the Pelican 50 Quart Elite Cooler for those who demand excellence in their outdoor gear.


Common Questions About the Best Coolers for the Beach

Before we get started, let’s answer some common questions about the best coolers for the beach to help you better understand their purpose and functionality.

What is the importance of having the best cooler for the beach?

When bringing food to the beach, especially perishable items like sandwiches, meats, dips, and salads, it is essential to pack them in a cooler to prevent spoilage. According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, bacteria multiply rapidly between 40°F and 140°F, doubling in number in just 20 minutes.

This temperature range, known as the “Danger Zone,” emphasizes the importance of refrigeration. The Meat and Poultry Hotline advises against leaving food unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours, or 1 hour if the temperature exceeds 90°F.

Apart from ensuring food safety, coolers also protect your goods from sand, seawater, and unwanted animal visitors. Even after consuming everything in the cooler, it can still serve as a convenient seat around the campfire at the end of a long day. It’s safe to say that beach coolers have multiple purposes beyond their primary function.

How Do You Carry A Cooler To The Beach?

When it comes to taking a cooler to the beach, there are several options to consider based on the cooler’s size, weight, and your personal preference. The most common methods of carrying a cooler include: carrying it by hand, using an adjustable shoulder strap, placing it in a beach wagon, or opting for a backpack cooler if you prefer to have your hands free for other essentials. Choose the method that suits you best and enjoy your beach outing with a perfectly chilled cooler!

What Size Cooler Is Best?

The ideal cooler size depends on the number of people using it simultaneously. For solo adventurers or couples, a compact cooler with a capacity of around 20-30 quarts is generally sufficient. These coolers are lightweight and easy to carry.

If you’re a small family or a group, a mid-sized cooler with a capacity of 30-50 quarts strikes a balance between portability and storage space. This size provides enough room for snacks, beverages, and ample ice.

For larger groups, a cooler with a capacity of 50 quarts or more is recommended. These coolers can accommodate a generous amount of food, drinks, and ice. However, it’s advisable to have an extra set of hands to help manage the load.

Consider the dimensions of the cooler as well. A longer, rectangular shape fits well in the bed of a truck, while a cube-shaped cooler is more suitable for smaller vehicles or public transit.

How long can you expect ice to last in your cooler?

The duration for which ice lasts in a cooler depends on various factors. Generally, it can range from a few hours to several days. Hard-sided coolers tend to maintain ice in solid form for the longest period, typically lasting between 2 to 7 days. On the other hand, styrofoam and soft-sided coolers may require ice replenishment within approximately 24 hours.

Video Best Cooler for Beach | Top 7 Rolling Coolers for Beach in 2023

If you prefer a visual representation of the best coolers for the beach, check out the following video showcasing the top 7 rolling coolers for beach trips in 2023.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, finding the best cooler for the beach can significantly enhance your beach-going experience. The right cooler ensures your food and drinks remain fresh, safe, and cool, no matter the heat. With the vast array of options available, you can find a cooler that fits your specific needs, from size and storage capacity to portability and duration of ice retention. Remember to consider factors such as the size of your group, the type of food and drinks you plan to carry, and how you intend to transport the cooler. With a fantastic beach cooler in tow, you’re all set to enjoy a fantastic day at the beach. Happy beach-going!

Author

Photo of author
Hey there, I'm Chris. I love hitting the road for some adventure on the weekends. I believe in buying the absolute best, which led me to a quest for the perfect cooler. Frustrated with the lack of reliable info, I started reviewing coolers myself. At OKCoolers.com, I dive into the nitty-gritty details so you know exactly what you're getting. So stick around, get the facts, and let's stay cool together.
Photo of author
Hey there, I'm Chris. I love hitting the road for some adventure on the weekends. I believe in buying the absolute best, which led me to a quest for the perfect cooler. Frustrated with the lack of reliable info, I started reviewing coolers myself. At OKCoolers.com, I dive into the nitty-gritty details so you know exactly what you're getting. So stick around, get the facts, and let's stay cool together.