There’s nothing quite like a day at the beach. Basking in the sun, relaxing with a cold drink and spending time with friends tops most people’s list of the best thing to do with some free time. Or maybe you’re more of a sleep under the stars in a cozy sleeping bag with your favorite snacks and ice-cold water at arm’s reach. Whatever your activity of choice is from beach to land to sea, there’s a beach cooler that’s essential for you.
Gone are the days when the same old cheap plastic coolers were used. Today, coolers are more advanced than ever, with a plethora of features to elevate their design and offer adventurers lasting coolness for days of frosty beverages and chilled food. Shopping for one of these new, improved coolers can be a daunting experience for even the most seasoned cooler user. Read on for tips on what to look for in the best beach cooler, as well as the rundown on some of our top picks out there right now.
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The Best Beach Cooler for 2023
YETI Tundra 45 Cooler
Virtually indestructible, the YETI Tundra 45 Cooler boasts impressive durability and rock-solid construction that can’t be beat. Extra thick walls with up to 2 inches of insulation mean icy cool temps that keep your snacks, food and drinks Arctic Tundra-worthy cold. This might be one of the best beach coolers, thanks to its portable design that’s made so one person can carry it all by themselves.
Other key features include:
- Carry up to 20 cans when using the recommended 2:1 ice-to-contents ratio
- Portable enough for one person to haul
- Up to 2 inches of PermaFrost insulation fills the extra-thick FatWall design walls (certified Bear-Resistant)
- Virtually indestructible design, armored to the core to stand up to whatever the journey throws at it
- Roto-Molded Construction
- T-Rex Lid Latches designed with heavy-duty rubber and patented constriction to make busted latches a thing of the past
- Dimensions: 21” Length x 16” Width x 15.5” Height
- Empty weight: 17 lbs
Igloo Trailmate Journey
Journey near and far with the built to move Igloo Trailmate Journey. From campsites to days at the park and beyond, this wheeled cooler is sure to bring the life to the party. What’s to love about this durable, on-the-go cooler? Not only does it boast a tough plastic exterior that’s made to keep Fido out, it also boasts 4 days of ice retention. That’s 4 days to make sure that your drinks are as frosty as possible, no matter what you’re up to. The all-terrain design also means that you can take the Trailmate everywhere you travel with ease.
Key features for this bad boy include:
- Tough plastic exterior designed to stand up to the elements and more
- Keep ice solid for up to 4 days thanks to the Ultratherm insulated body and lid
- Pop another one with ease, as two bottle openers keep the cold ones coming
- All-terrain travel design with oversized 10-inch, never-flat wheels that deliver stellar traction and grip, as you haul your cold goods near and far
- Dimensions: 59” Length x 19.7” Width x 23.61” Height
- Self-draining cup holders
Pelican Elite 50 Quart Cooler
The Pelican Elite doesn’t mess around. Built to meet the demands of whatever Mother Nature throws at it, along with elevated insulation to deliver North Pole-worthy chill, the Pelican Elite is a standout thanks to a durable build and large interior. Boasting Pelican’s lifetime guarantee, no matter how beat up this baby gets, you can ensure that your beach cooler investment is protected. This is a huge selling point, as high-quality coolers are expensive, but it takes the sting off if you know you can get a new one if anything happens to your Pelican Elite.
Our favorite features of this advanced cooler include:
- 2 inches of polyurethane insulation with a 360-degree freezer-grade gasket for extreme ice retention
- Exterior Dimensions: 30” Length x 20.3” Width x 20.4” Height
- 3-inch locking latches
- Non-skid rubber feet to keep this heavy-duty cooler in place
- Pelican’s lifetime guarantee “You break it, we replace it. Forever!” MADE IN USA
YETI Hopper Flip Portable Cooler
Whether you’re kicking back on the beach with a cold one and your buddies, or kayaking to your favorite chill spot on the other side of the river, the YETI Hooper Flip Portable Cooler is down for the ride. It’s made from materials borrowed from Hazmat suits, ensuring this tough-as-nails cooler can stand up to whatever it faces. We all know YETI for their popular cups that keep your drinks as cold as ice, now enjoy their advanced cooling technology on one of the top coolers around. Portable, easy-going and made for action, this cooler keeps your drinks and ice cold as you take on adventures.
Some of our favorite features of this go-everywhere cooler include:
- ColdCell Insulation, a closed-cell foam that holds in the chill superior to other ordinary soft coolers
- 6 can capacity plus ice
- 100% leakproof HydroLok Zipper
- Easy access and visibility to contents thanks to wide mouth opening design
- Dimensions: 11.5” Length x 8” Width x 10.5” Height
- Empty Weight: 2.8 lbs.
- Mildew, puncture and abrasion resistant DryHide Shell is also waterproof, ensuring lasting durability when facing the hazards of the wild
OtterBox Venture Cooler 25 Quart
Focus your energy in the outdoors on dodging mountain lions and avoiding mosquitos and not on worrying about your lunch with the OtterBox Venture Cooler. Built to meet the rigors of the trail less traveled, this bear-resistant Cooler keeps your must-haves safe so you’re always hydrated and satiated. This standout cooler can keep ice intact for up to 10 days, so longer trips are a breeze with this must-have cooler. With your hunger and thirst addressed, now you can direct your attention to more important things, like finding the perfect spot to camp.
- Ice retention for up to 10 days!
- MADE IN THE USA and backed by the OtterBox Limited Lifetime Warranty
- Bottle opener included so you never have to go without
- Mounting system ensures you can attach accessories for every type of adventure
- Built-to-last latches that lock in contents and keep small animals at bay
- Anti-slide rubber feet so this cooler stays right where you want it
- Durable integrated handles
- Slanted interior bottom at a slight angle for easy draining
- 25 Quart Capacity: 29 pounds of bagged ice, 14 12-ounce cans and 25 juice boxes so everyone gets their thirst quenched
- External Dimensions: 26” Length x 18.76” Width x 16.08” Height
Built to meet everyday demands and provide a solid, well-insulated design to keep your ice-cold sodas and juice boxes frosty, the RTIC 65 is one of the best beach coolers. Noted as being “highly bear resistant,” this cooler isn’t messing around. Small animals and the elements alike don’t stand a chance against the heavy-duty material of this cooler. Key features include:
- Up to 3” insulated walls to lock in the cold
- Roto-Molded construction for durability
- Freezer Grade Gasket keeps the chill going
- Molded Tie Down Slots
- Non-slip feet keeps the RTIC from moving
- Bear-resistant design keeps your picnic intact
- Rapid V-Drain System for easy drainage when you need it
- Heavy-Duty T-Latches
- No-sweat exterior
Coleman Xtreme Series Portable Cooler
Need a seat? Keep your stuff frosty and take a rest on the durable lid of the Coleman Xtreme Series Portable Cooler. An EZ-Clean lid makes wipe and go a breeze, while the handles are designed not to pinch as you carry. This makes it easier to haul this beach cooler back and forth from the sand to the car. This cooler might also be one of the largest coolers because of its massive capacity, as it can hold up to 100 cans to ensure the masses are well hydrated. Made to give you everything you need to enjoy a day at the beach with the ones you love, this Coleman Cooler is an essential.
Key Aspects of the Coleman Extreme Series Portable Cooler include:
- Impressive 70-quart capacity holds up to 100 12-ounce cans so you can ensure everyone at the party is hydrated
- A well-insulated design makes this bad boy a great choice for everything from road trips to beach days to tailgates
- Built to deliver 5 full days of ice retention in up to 90-degrees F temperatures with an insulated lid and walls
- Place your drinks in the molded cupholders on the lid for easy access when you need a cold one
- Get controlled lifting and carrying with plenty of comfort thanks to no-crush handle grips
MILEE – Heavy Duty Wheeled Cooler 70Quart
Day after day in the sun, the MILEE – Heavy Duty Wheeled Cooler keeps your drinks and other refreshments cool, while standing up to the elements. Featuring built-in UV resistance, this cooler is designed to stay intact and with longer lasting plastic that doesn’t break down in the sun. Built to keep ice nice and chilly for up to 6 days, this party-ready cooler is ready to go!
Some of the best features of this advanced cooler include:
- Solid 7-inch diameter wheels so you can transport the MILEE easier. Pop out the wheels and disburse refreshments from sun up to sun down
- Indestructible Roto-Molded Thermoplastic Construction with commercial grade insulation to keep those essentials frosty
- Cooler includes free gifts of $50 accessories: Cup holder, Cooler divider and hanging wire basket
- Nylon rope handles are military-grade for heavy durability and ease of carrying
- Non-slip rubber feet
- No-leak drain plug for easy drainage
- 2 built-in bottle openers so you can open drinks with ease whenever you need to
YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Sided Cooler
Hit the beach with one of the top YETI coolers around! The YETI Hopper Backflip boasts straps so you can pull it on and carry your refreshments with you easily. No beach party is complete without this must-have cooler, which offers durable soft material and heavy-duty insulation to keep your drinks, snacks and food nice and chilly. This bad boy is also great for hiking, kayak trips, camping and pretty much any adventure you can dream up!
- From boat trips to torrential downpours to every other adventure you have up your sleeve, this tough bag stays intact and dry, thanks to the SideKick Dry design
- Dryhide Shell is built with similar materials and construction to high performance whitewater rafts, so you get the durability and protection you need for your active on-the-go lifestyle
- Hydroshield closures utilize powerful, advanced magnets that create a 100% waterproof shield, ensuring your stuff stays safe no matter what Mother Nature has up her sleeve
- RF-Welded Seams also add a layer of protection, keeping out any wetness that tries to seep in
- Dimensions: 11 3/4” Length x 7 1/8” Width x 3 ¼” Diameter
Coleman Steel-Belted Portable Cooler, 54 Quart
Whether you’re partying hard with 20 of your best friends or spending a 3-day weekend in the great outdoors, the Coleman Steel-Belted Portable Cooler is the perfect addition to your weekend. With its classic design and 85-can capacity, your next tailgate just got a whole lot cooler. Ice can last up to 4 days in this cooler, so the party doesn’t stop for days. You can also enjoy the durable design with rust-resistant stainless steel hardware that ensures this cooler will last for a long time.
Some other key aspects of this cooler include:
- 54-quart capacity can accommodate up to 85 cans
- Advanced insulation offers 4-day ice retention in temperatures as high as 90-degrees F
- Heavy-duty cooler built with a charming retro design
- High capacity to carry all your essentials
- Rust-resistant stainless steel hardware for years of performance and beauty
- Carry and lift with ease thanks to comfort-grip steel handles
Keep Your Cool However You Like
When shopping around for the best coolers, you’ll notice that not all of them are created equally. They range in size, shape, durability, portability and so on. Depending on how many sodas you need to bring or how much ice you’re keeping cool, some coolers are worthier of your lifestyle and your favorite activities than others. Keep your—and your food’s—cool however you would like to with some of the top cooler categories. These include:
- Hard Coolers – Featuring a hard outer-shell and plenty of interior space, these devices deliver arctic cold and an element-battling tough outer shell. Go ahead, toss these babies around, they can handle it. Often hard coolers can hold a lot more insulation, so they keep the interior at North Pole-level temperatures.
- Wheeled Coolers – Featuring wheels on the bottom, these beach coolers often have a larger capacity and are built to take on adventures near and far. Look for wheels that can stand up to a wide variety of terrains, as well stay inflated or are easy to pump up. Locks on the wheels are also important, ensuring you can lock your cooler into place when you need to.
- Soft Coolers – With a lighter weight than hard coolers, soft coolers still provide impressive durability when you need it. They are easier to manage and can be carried wherever you need, ensuring your sand escapades are also well stocked with drinks and snacks. Refresh in style and ensure your essentials are safe with durable soft coolers. Many are made with materials that can stand up to everything from torrential downpours to bear attacks.
Related: Best Beach Carts
Where’s The Party At?
Another factor to consider when you’re shopping around for coolers is where you plan to go. If you’re white water rafting with a stop at the shore for lunch, or if you’re lounging on the beach with a crew of 50, you’re going to need two different types of coolers. Focus on the important aspects of your lifestyle when investing in a cooler. Some important things to consider include:
- Number of people in your group –If you have 50 people hanging out at your beach bonfire, you’re going to need a cooler with a large capacity to hold drinks for the whole crew. Check gallon capacity to determine which cooler meets your needs. Some coolers hold 10 or so cans comfortably, while others can fit up to 84. Consider the size of your party and how much everyone usually drinks and consumes before you purchase a new cooler.
- Portability – This one is key. If you’re going to be taking your cooler out somewhere far, over rough terrain, you’re not going to want to have to carry it. That’s where wheels come in. Wheels, especially high-quality ones that are built to handle a wide variety of surfaces. If you’re only going to be taking your cooler down the beach and don’t need to transport it much, handles can be a good choice. If you’ll be doing some trekking or plan to head out to remote spots, a backpack cooler might be the choice for you. Always consider where you’ll be going and whether you can manage a cooler before you purchase.
- Outer materials – The exterior build of a cooler is another key factor that you need to consider. Coolers that are made of hard plastic are going to be more durable, but also heavier. Coolers that feature soft materials might be a better choice if you want a lighter weight design. If your cooler is going to sit outside for days on end, look for plastic or soft material that is designed to stand up to the sun’s rays, heavy rains and anything else Mother Nature has in store.
Your gatherings aren’t complete without ice cold drinks, grandma’s potato salad kept at the perfect cool temperature, and cold-cut sandwiches that last all day long. Keep the crowd fed and hydrated no matter the conditions or the terrain with any one of these top-rated, made for action coolers. Go ahead, get out there and explore with your favorite refreshments in tow! Figure out which type of cooler is the beach cooler for your needs, and don’t forget to pay attention to the must-have features like capacity, insulation material, size, portability and more!
Ryan is an extreme kite surfer. When Ryan isn’t shredding in on the waves he spends time with his riding his bike, canoeing, and surfing.