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Quest for a GOOD Beach Umbrella

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  • Quest for a GOOD Beach Umbrella

    Last year I belabored the purchase of beach water bottle, this year it's time to replace our umbrella(s).

    We have accumulated, over the years, 3 or so of what I call the standard beach umbrellas ... probably 6', Rio Beach or equivalent. Nothing great but over the years 2-3 of them stuck in the sand got us by. Now all of them are pretty much in the same state of disrepair. I believe we bought two of them from the beach store that used to be beside the 65th street market. I think that's been gone a few years! ;-)

    Debating whether to add a couple of the same size umbrellas in the $25 each price range or do I upgrade to something like an 8' fiberglass in the $70 range. I've ruled out the commercial grade umbrella in the $200 range but wouldn't that be nice! ;-)

    I don't care too much about weight ... I lug so much stuff down to the beach every day that I'll not notice the extra weight or another trip. I would like something heavy enough that it could stand up under a decent wind and provide a broad enough circle of shade.

    Anyone have any recommendations or warnings?

  • #2
    Holly's Treasure Chest on Fenwick sells ones like the lifeguards use for around $150. I bought one at Sam's Club (Wal Mart) many years ago that I still use to this day. I'm talking at least 15 years ago. Heavy canvas, not sure if it's a steel or aluminum pole, and it tilts. We paid around $50 for it then, so maybe $75 now and we use one of those screw sand anchors (best thing we've ever bought.) Came in a canvas bag with a long strap for carrying. You could even check Ace Hardware on Coastal for a good one.
    So check Costco or Sam's if you have either near. Check out ebay and Amazon too. Always good bargains around but when you see one, that's the time to buy.
    Ask an OC Insider


    • #3
      Dave....I am in the process of looking for a new one also. About to pull the trigger on a Sport Brella XL. I have seen them popping up all over the beaches. The poles look a little frail for the size but they get good ratings and you can use them as a semi tent with air vents and all. They go for about $50. I have a little grand daughter now and I think this will be perfect. I have attached a link to Amazon.


      • #4
        I bought a 7.5' Frankford beach umbrella on Amazon a few years ago for about $200. It is a really good umbrella - thick wood pole, thick ribs, heavy fabric. Elliot's hardware in West OC, right on Route 611, sells them too (or perhaps a very similar brand) for about the same price. Definitely checkout Elliot's for a good selection of GOOD beach umbrellas.

        You indicated you want to spend less than this, but I think Elliot's has some pretty good umbrellas at a lower price too. The Ace Hardware at 70th Street also usually has a good stock of better umbrellas. Rhodes 5&10 in Bethany also usually stocks a pretty good range of nicer umbrellas.


        • #5
          Thanks for the suggestions.

          We don't get down until September and I don't know if the stores are picked over or what by then but we checked Elliot's and Ace (not Holly's) last year and the pickigns were slim. That's why I got to figuring I'd need to make a move earlier this year and probably online. Although, maybe I should just make an early season umbrella shopping trip! Sounds like as good of an excuse an any. ;-)

          For last year we bought one of those beach tents and it was a great investment for the windy September days. ( ) I can see an advantage to an umbrella that incorporates the wind blocker.

          OCGuy ... how heavy is that Frankford to cart around? I know I said weight didn't matter but .... the young girls working the beach stands make them look like straws but I know better!

          I'm leaning towards something in the mid-range maybe: or similar. Something between this and the Frankford might be ideal, maybe I can find something similar to Z's lifeguard style.

          Definitely hoping for something I can set and forget on the breezier days.

          Thanks again for the input, keep it coming.


          • #6
            Those pop up canopies may eventually be banned from OC since Rehoboth is banning them, so I wouldn't invest in one of those just yet. Here's a good site to check out a lot of optionis.
            Ask an OC Insider


            • #7
              Just curious.............Why did Rehoboth ban the canopy type of umbrellas?


              • #8
                The pop up tents are an eye sore. And some have sides and wrongful things were going on inside thus the ban.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by tfunkhouser View Post
                  The pop up tents are an eye sore...
                  Oh man, if they start outlawing eyesores on the beach lot of folks are in trouble! ;-)


                  • #10
                    The Frankford umbrella is a bit heavier that the others, but it is not too heavy for most people to carry fairly easily. I'd guess it is between 12 and 15 pounds, but that's really just a guess. We have the 7.5' one with the wood pole and steel ribs. I think they may have some aluminum and fiberglass options too that may be lighter, but probably cost more. I bought the carry bag which makes it easy to pack up the umbrella and sling over my shoulder to carry on and off the beach (then I can carry some other stuff too). I was glad I bought the bag, but it is a bit weird beaus the top pole (the one with the umbrella) sticks out the top. I think this is to make it easier to take in an out. If you have anyone who knows how to sew even at a basic level it would be easy to make one of these bags.

                    If you have not bought one and are down at the beach when the boxes have opened, ask one of the rental places to let you carry one to check the weight.


                    • #11
                      If you know someone that works in a restaurant or bar they might be able to hook you up for free. I've been bringing this Meridian Vineyards umbrella to O.C. over 10 years



                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Hooper View Post
                        If you know someone that works in a restaurant or bar they might be able to hook you up for free. I've been bringing this Meridian Vineyards umbrella to O.C. over 10 years

                        I don't know anyone in the business but perhaps I should write to the Virginia Beach or Myrtle Beach Chambers of Commerce and see if they'll give me a free umbrella that I can display on the OC Beach?

                        Btw, nice umbrella but that chair has to go!!! ;-)


                        • #13
                          Thanks to all for the input. I chased a number of leads and decided on:


                          It arrived yesterday. Pretty much whatI expected. Feels sturdy enough. Not too light, not too heavy. Not too cheap, not too expensive. We'll have to see how it stands up to the OC "breeze".

                          Now if only our vacation wasn't so far away. Perhaps I'll set the umbrella up in the driveway and pretend/practice.