Along with the sunscreen, book, toys and snacks we haul to our waterside of choice this summer, we need a beach towel or two. The big "canvas" of a beach towel lends itself to big ideas, with room to let designs and colors romp. Here are some examples:
Online retailer One King's Lane has partnered with a number of well-known designers on a beach towel collection that rolls out through the summer. Proceeds support the designers' preferred charities, including Alpha Workshops, which helps HIV-AIDS victims, and Baby2Baby, which assists Los Angeles families in need. Celerie Kemble, Tracy Reese, Nanette Lepore, Rebecca Minkoff, Steven Alan and Robert Verdi are among the designers. Reese's was one of the debut collections, with wave and tropical-plant motifs in Popsicle hues (1). onekingslane.com
Target has some photo-printed beach towels with appeal to both kids and adults: A gentle golden retriever holds a newspaper on one; goldfish swim across the expanse of another. A Ferris wheel adorns a third.
Find here too Nate Berkus' collection of Newport-worthy preppy beach towels with designs like labyrinths, diagonal stripes and other geometrics rendered in navy, sunny yellow, aqua and red.
For the kids, check out Target's whimsical array of beach towel capes, part of a superhero collection of summer toys and accessories (2). There's a Batman-style cape with hood and ears, a bright red Captain America-esque cape with lightning bolt crest, and a snazzy Wonder Woman-style towel for the fearless little swim gals. target.com
For older kids, Pottery Barn Teen has towels with surfer-cool designs like hibiscus flowers, Tiki prints and tie-dye patterns (3) in summery hues, as well as sporty towels for baseball fans (4), with team logos. pbteen.com
Los Angeles-based, high-end textile house Fresco has a collection of beach towels reminiscent of antique Southwest-inspired rugs. They have a faux-faded quality that's enhanced by the luminous plushness of the Turkish cotton weave. The Golden Eagle features a dramatic bird image, and Mesa Diamond is another evocation of Native American textile art.frescotowels.com
If you're the creative type, check out marthastewart.com for ideas on how to embellish a towel with a tic-tac-toe grid to play at the beach, or make a tote bag out of a towel, or add pockets or ripstop nylon to expand the use of a beach towel.