18 Best Summer Hats for Every Outdoor Activity
These essential warm-weather accessories will help you stay safe all season long—in style.
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These hats are all that
It’s the time of the year everyone has been waiting for! Summer means endless hours of fun in the sun, but unfortunately, all of that outside time means more exposure to harmful UV rays. That’s why it’s so important to wear a summer hat when outdoors to protect your skin, scalp, hair, and eyes, says Marina Peredo, MD, a dermatologist based in New York City. It will also keep your head cooler during those scorching-hot days. However, she warns, wearing a hat doesn’t replace the need for face sunscreen—it’s still essential to apply (and reapply) SPF.
Natalie Aguilar, a celebrity facialist and dermatological nurse, also stresses the value of donning a hat. “For one, the sun rises higher in the summer and is more intense. Wearing a hat will prevent sun damage, collagen breakdown, sunburns, and early unwanted wrinkles,” she explains. “We are always looking for the latest and greatest anti-aging skin-care cream, but we don’t practice enough preventative care.”
Along with sunglasses, bathing suits, cover-ups, flip-flops, and even beach towels, sun hats are a key accessory to keep on hand all season long. And not only do hats these days offer crucial sun protection—they’re also seriously fashionable. Whether you need a topper for gardening or a day at the beach, you’ll find the perfect picks for every outdoor occasion on this list.
Best summer hat for the beach: OhSunny Foldable Floppy Sun Hat
A day spent enjoying the sand and surf is only complete if you have a suitable beach hat for sun protection. “I recommend wide-brimmed hats with at least a two- to three-inch brim,” says Dr. Peredo. Your motto should be “the bigger, the better” when it comes to any activity where there is direct sunlight. This oversized straw hat has a 6.24-inch, extra-wide brim that supplies full coverage in a stylish silhouette. The foldable design makes it effortless to carry, and after a day at the shore, the washable fabric makes cleaning it a breeze.
Best summer hat for hiking: Sun Cube Wide Brim Hat with Neck Flap
No matter the terrain, choosing a sun hat that covers your face as well as the back of your neck is your best bet when hiking. Natalie Aguilar also suggests looking at UPF factors, and this one is rated for 50+. “A UPF 50 fabric blocks 98 percent of the sun’s rays,” she explains, so the bigger the UPF rating, the more UV protection it provides. And here are more features you’ll love: Mesh side panels and a moisture-wicking elastic sweatband ensure a comfortable and breathable fit, and the lightweight, quick-drying material makes exploring the great outdoors even more enjoyable.
Best summer hat for sporting events: FitKicks Folding Baseball Caps (2-pack)
Whether you’re watching your kid’s soccer practice or rooting for professionals at an outdoor field, a summer hat is an essential accessory to cheer on your team. This sporty style—which features UPF 50+ protection and a moisture-wicking material—offers peak compact portability. The collapsible cap folds in half, and the brim folds down in thirds, so you can easily stash it in a pack or even in your pocket!
Best summer hat for lounging: Sunday Afternoons Sun Dancer Hat
The dramatic pleated neck-caped silhouette adds a pop of personality to this chic sun hat. Not only does it provide an added layer of protection, but it’s also the best design to wear when lounging by the pool or beach. The soft flap allows you to lay flat on a beach chair or towel, without a hard, bulky brim getting in the way. The water and stain-resistant fabric, interior wicking sweatband, and adjustable chin strap make it the perfect choice for a chill day relaxing in the sun.
Best summer hat for running: Gone for a Run Ultra Pocket Hat
The moisture-wicking performance fabric on this summer hat helps keep sweat at bay and your eyes clear on a jog. Both sides are made up of mesh panels allowing maximum airflow, so your head stays as cool as possible, and an easily adjustable Velcro strap allows it to remain perfectly positioned throughout any athletic activity. The best part? You won’t have to worry about schlepping a bulky bag or having items bounce around in your pockets while exercising. The cap is equipped with two zippered pockets that can hold keys, money, credit cards, or any other essentials!
Best summer hat for long walks: Reiss Ivy Woven Fedora
Whether you’re on a sightseeing tour or a sunny-day stroll through your neighborhood, this sleek fedora is the perfect pick to bring along. The quality construction is what sets it apart from others. “Hats that are made from tightly woven fabric will provide more protection than canvas hats,” says Dr. Peredo. Dark colors will also effectively shield against UV rays, she adds. Plus, it’s a classic design that won’t ever go out of style. FYI, a fedora works on most people, but here’s a comprehensive guide to the best hats for your face shape.
Best summer hat for picnics: San Diego Hat Company Sun Hat Visor
For a fun day of alfresco dining with friends, this hat-visor hybrid provides maximum shade and breezy all-day comfort. “My favorite hat style is definitely an all-around visor,” reveals Aguilar. “I love that it’s open on the top, which makes it breathable and lightweight. They fit perfectly, are easy to wear with my hair up, and offer wonderful protection.” If that’s not enough, you can even roll them up (great for traveling!) and store them nicely at home. And since this one is only $22 a pop, you can afford to buy it in all four colors! To look perfectly pulled together at picnics and other outdoor functions, you’ll also want the best sweatproof makeup for even the hottest days.
Best summer hat for traveling: Maylisacc Safari Linen Hat
There’s a reason linen is a beloved summertime fabric: It’s lightweight, durable, breathable, and helps keep you cool in steamy temperatures. The soft material allows it to easily fold up, which also makes it the perfect portable travel companion. Even better? A reversible design gives you two ways to wear this versatile bucket-style hat. A soft wire at the edge of the brim allows you to roll it up or down, so it’ll never flop in your face when you’re on the go.
Best summer hat for bike riding: Giro Peloton Cap
A helmet is the most important thing to wear when you’re cycling, but it’s also vital to don a hat that offers sun protection. This cap is specifically designed to be worn under a helmet: It’s thin enough to fit without bunching and light enough to practically disappear when you put it on. The slightly shorter brim also provides for better upper peripheral vision when riding, without reducing the ability to block out the elements. Don’t own a two-wheeler yet? Find out how to choose the best bike for you.
Best summer hat for a boat ride: Tommy Bahama Wide Brim Canvas Hat
Ideal for cruising on the water, or anywhere with a chance of high winds, this nautical-inspired striped number adds a fashion-forward flair to your next day-in-the-sun outfit. Tie the two chin straps in a bow to ensure the canvas number stays put. The extra-wide brim shields your face and shoulders, while a UPF 50 rating blocks 98 percent of UV rays.
Best summer hat for weekday errands: Furtalk Straw Hat
The foldable brim on this straw number makes it a perfect option for when you’re running errands. Dr. Peredo loves this summer hat because “the brim is wide enough to cover the whole face but also has built-in UPF 50, which gives you amazing sun protection.” It’s available in seven different colorways and two sizes. One Amazon reviewer raves: “The material is great and well worth the price! I got a large since my hair is curly, and it fits great.”
Best summer hat for golf: Nike AeroBill Heritage86 Golf Hat
Top off your tee-time look with a topper made for the pros. “Designed to the exact specifications of tour athletes” is even printed on the seam tape. Laser perforations on the side and back panels enhance ventilation and provide breathability; an inside terry cloth sweatband is soft and absorbent for humid days on the course; and an elastic strap on the back adjusts for a custom fit.
Best summer hat for camping: Kokatat Sunwester Hat
Adventurous outdoor activities won’t want to miss this tip from Dr. Peredo: “Hats that have a non-reflective underside on the brim will help lower the amount of UV rays that reach the face.” That’s why we picked this standout style that features a floating wide brim with an anti-glare underside—it provides full sun coverage. Plus, it has flip-up side vents for additional airflow, an adjustable bungee drawcord for an A+ fit, and a chin strap for added fly-away protection.
Best summer hat for outdoor parties: Eric Javits Bradfield Woven Visor
The sporty visor gets a sophisticated upgrade with this woven design, suitable for any sweltering outdoor soiree. The flexible band has a soft terry-lined interior that provides just the right amount of pressure to keep it in place without pinching. And it’s equal parts functional and fashionable: UV-blocking material provides plenty of shade, while the metallic detailing delivers a glam vibe.
Best summer hat for gardening: Coolibar Etta Shapeable Sun Catcher Hat
This is one of Dr. Peredo’s favorite sun hats “because the fabric is both breathable and shapeable and, of course, has UPF 50+ protection.” It is even recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation. In fact, Coolibar is the first clothing company to receive the Skin Cancer Foundation’s seal of approval, and all of the company’s fabrics have been approved as effective UV-protectants. This ultra-soft and lightweight topper is also made with a quick-dry performance fabric and has an adjustable chin cord that will keep it in place while you tend to your plants.
Best summer hat for swimming: MOMOCOY Outdoor Sun Hat
This waterproof printed hat (which comes in 11 colors!) should be your go-to for any water-related summer activities, whether you’re splashing around in a pool or in the waves at the beach. A quick-drying mesh lining ensures your head stays cool even on the hottest days, and the lightweight and foldable fabric allows you to carry it wherever you go. We also suggest keeping it stashed in your bag for any unexpected summer rainstorms.
Best summer hat for fishing: Columbia Bora Bora Booney
There’s nothing better than a nice, relaxing day on the water, except that it leaves you exposed to the full glare of the sun. This unisex cap was made with anglers in mind and features an ultra-sweat-wicking headband and a mesh vent panel to keep you refreshed even when it’s blazing hot. The tight weave construction with UV absorbent yarn blocks the full spectrum of harmful UV rays. And a toggle at the back and an adjustable chin strap provide a snug fit, so you can sit back and focus on reeling in your next catch.
Best summer hat for playing sports: The North Face Horizon Breeze Brimmer Hat
No matter your degree of athleticism, this pretty pastel sun hat will keep you feeling fine and looking stylish all summer long. Whether you’re playing a casual game of corn hole or swinging it on the tennis court, you’ll be covered with this full flexible brim. A soft terry sweatband provides all-day support, and mesh venting with overlay offers added breathability. It’s available in two sizes, and the adjustable and removable drawcord make it a top-rated pick for steamy outdoor activities or backyard games with the family.
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