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18 Best Summer Hats for Every Outdoor Activity

An essential warm-weather accessory, a sun hat will help you stay safe all season long—in style

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These hats are all that

It’s the time of year everyone has been waiting for! Summer means endless hours of fun in the sun, but unfortunately, all that outside time means more exposure to harmful UV rays. So it’s important to wear a 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. But, she warns, wearing a hat doesn’t replace the need for face sunscreen—you need to apply (and reapply) SPF, even if you’re shaded by one of the best sun hats for women.

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 beach towels, the best sun hats for women are a key accessory to keep on hand all season long. And not only do caps these days offer crucial sun protection, but they’re also seriously stylish.

How we chose the best sun hats

To find the best hats for all your summer activities, we went straight to the experts. We also searched the internet and our favorite shops for both practical picks and fun, fashionable finds. Some items are universally loved, with thousands of five-star reviews, while others are new products from beloved brands. There are options for every price point and occasion you might encounter this summer. Whether you need a topper for gardening or a day at the beach, you’ll find the perfect selection for every alfresco adventure on this list.

Here are our picks for the best sun hats for women:

71hjxlfeyhlvia merchant

Best for the beach

Lanzom Foldable Wide Brim Straw 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 5.3-inch, extra-wide brim that supplies full coverage in a stylish silhouette. The foldable design makes it effortless to carry, and the UPF 50+ sun protection makes it ideal for long days spent at the shore. Add some UV protection sunglasses to complete your beach-day look.

Pros:

  • UPF 50+ fabric
  • Packable design
  • Adjustable size

Con:

  • Needs to be hand-washed

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Sun Cube Wide Brim Sun Hat Ecomm Via Amazonvia merchant

Best 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. Aguilar also suggests looking at a hat’s UPF factor, and this one is rated 50+. “A UPF 50 fabric blocks 98 percent of the sun’s rays,” she explains. The higher 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.

Pros:

  • Breathable, lightweight and quick-drying
  • Adjustable head strap
  • Foldable and packable
  • 14 colors

Con:

  • Not waterproof

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2 Fitficks Hat Ecomm Via Walmartvia merchant

Best for sporting events

FitKicks Folding Baseball Caps

Whether you’re watching your kid’s soccer practice or rooting for the pros at an outdoor field, a summer hat is an essential accessory for cheering 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. Bonus: It’s sold in a pack of two, so you’ll always have headwear on hand. While you’re shopping, add one of the best beach umbrellas to your cart to ensure your whole body stays shaded during days at the shore.

Pros:

  • Crush-resistant foldable cap
  • Quick-dry materials
  • Unisex design
  • Comes in a two-pack

Con:

  • Cannot choose which two colors you want

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Sundancer Hat Ecomm Via Amazonvia merchant

Best for lounging

Sunday Afternoons Sundancer Hat

The dramatic, pleated-neck silhouette on this Sunday Afternoons number adds a pop of personality, making it one of the best sun hats for women who want a style that’s both practical and incredibly chic. 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 on the 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.

Pros:

  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable sizing
  • Ponytail-friendly opening
  • Lifetime guarantee

Con:

  • Back flap is not removable

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Ultra Light Run Cap Ecomm Via Athletavia merchant

Best for running

Athleta Ultra Light Run Cap 3.0

The moisture-wicking performance fabric on this baseball-style hat helps keep sweat at bay and your eyes clear on a jog. The featherweight ripstop nylon has two-way stretch for added mobility as well as the ability to quickly dry and vanish sweat. Both sides are made up of perforated panels that allow maximum airflow, so your head stays as cool as possible. An easily adjustable back strap helps it remain perfectly positioned throughout any athletic activity.

Pros:

  • Breathable and moisture-wicking
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Four solid colors and one funky print

Con:

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Fringed Bucket Hat Denim Ecomm Via Hatattackvia merchant

Best for long walks

Hat Attack Fringed Bucket Hat

Whether you’re on a sightseeing tour or a sunny-day stroll through your neighborhood, this classic cotton bucket design 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 timeless look that won’t ever go out of style. FYI, a bucket hat works on most people, but here’s a comprehensive guide to the best hats for your face shape.

Pros:

  • Sturdy denim construction
  • Stylish frayed-edge detailing
  • Comfortable and breathable cotton lining

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Dry clean only

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San Diego Hat Company Ultrabraid Large Brim Visor Ecomm Via Walmartvia merchant

Best for picnics

San Diego Hat Co. Ultrabraid Large Brim Visor

For a fun day of alfresco dining with friends, this hat-visor hybrid provides maximum shade and breezy, all-day comfort. When it comes to the best sun hats for women, Aguilar says her favorite style is “definitely an all-around visor,” adding, “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 less than $40 a pop, you can afford to buy more than one (it comes in 17 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.

Pros:

  • Compact and portable
  • UPF 50+ protection
  • Adjustable Velcro strap

Con:

  • Open-top design doesn’t offer complete sun protection

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Frogg Toggs Waterproof Breathable Boonie Hat Ecomm Via Amazonvia merchant

Best for swimming

Frogg Toggs Waterproof Boonie Hat

This waterproof hat (which comes in two solid hues and eight prints) should be your go-to for any water-related summer activities, whether you’re splashing around in an inflatable pool or in the waves at the beach. A breathable, wind-resistant 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.

Pros:

  • Waterproof
  • Machine washable
  • Crushable and packable for easy traveling
  • Affordable

Con:

  • Only available in one size

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Peloton Cap Ecomm Via Backcountryvia merchant

Best 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 Giro 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 cap’s ability to block out the elements. Don’t own a two-wheeler yet? Find out how to choose the best bike for you.

Pros:

  • Fits under a bike helmet
  • Moisture-wicking fabric
  • Thin and lightweight
  • Smart seams alleviate pressure

Cons:

  • Only black and gray colors available
  • Only available in one size

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Furtalk Beach Hat Straw Ecomm Via Amazonvia merchant

Best 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 10 different colorways and two sizes. Among the more than 13,000 five-star reviews on Amazon are plenty of variations of this: “I am in love with this hat.” Reviewer L. Hyche kept the praise coming, saying, “I needed a hat for the pool or beach that didn’t cut off the circulation to my brain or look clown-like on me with its relatively tiny size compared to my big noggin. I had basically given up hope but saw this came in a large size and thought, ‘Why not? Let’s spin the wheel of chance one more time.’ OMG … this hat is the answer to my dreams.”

Pros:

  • Packable and foldable
  • Velcro strap inside the wicking sweatband adjusts the size
  • Removable adjustable chin strap

Con:

  • Not waterproof

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Ae Road Tripper Hat Ecomm Via Aevia merchant

Best for boating

American Eagle Road Tripper Hat

Ideal for cruising on the water, or anywhere with a chance of high winds, this comfy topper adds a fashion-forward flair to your day-in-the-sun outfit (don’t forget the sandals!). Tie the two chin straps in a bow to ensure the cotton number stays put. The wide brim shields your face, while floral eyelet details make for an effortlessly stylish vibe. Don’t forget a shield for your furry BFF: American Eagle also makes a ridiculously cute sun hat for your pup (or oversized cat—one happy shopper posted a pic of her kitty sporting the cap).

Pros:

  • Chin straps to keep the hat in place
  • Machine washable
  • Adjustable straps

Con:

  • Only available in one size

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Nike Womens Aerobill Heritage Performance Hat Ecomm Via Amazonvia merchant

Best for golfing

Nike AeroBill Heritage86 Golf Hat

Top off your tee-time look with a Nike design 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, and an inside terry cloth sweatband is soft and absorbent for humid days on the course. Furthermore, an elastic strap on the back adjusts for a custom fit, cementing this performance pick as one of the best sun hats for women.

Pros:

  • Designed for pro golfers
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Laser perforations provide added ventilation

Con:

  • Prominent logo might not be to everyone’s taste

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Sunday Afternoons Bug Free Charter Hat Ecomm Via Reivia merchant

Best for camping

Sunday Afternoons Bug-Free Charter Hat

Pesky critters can put a damper on any camping adventure, but this smart style ensures you stay burn- and bite-free. Create a no-fly zone around your noggin with this EPA-registered fabric, which repels bugs and insects. Choose from two sizes, then use the adjustable internal band to ensure a flawless fit and the chin strap to keep it secure. More to love: A nifty sunglasses lock helps keep glasses in place, and a hidden pocket in the crown can stash valuables.

Pros:

  • Fabric repels bugs
  • UPF 50+ fabric
  • Floats in water
  • Mesh ventilation and moisture-wicking sweatband
  • Quick-drying

Con:

  • Brim cannot be folded for easy storage

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Women Shapeable Sun Catcher Hat Ecomm Via Collibarvia merchant

Best 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’s 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 the company’s fabrics have been approved as effective UV protectants. This ultra-soft and lightweight topper is also made with quick-dry performance fabric and has an adjustable chin cord that will keep it in place while you tend to your plants.

Pros:

  • Guaranteed to block 98 percent of UVA and UVB rays
  • UPF 50+ sun protection that never washes out
  • Shapeable brim

Cons:

  • Hand-wash only and line dry
  • Not water-repellent

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Yeti Hat Leather Logo Ecomm Via Yetivia merchant

Best for outdoor parties

Yeti Leather Badge Logo Hat

The company that conquered the cooler market now makes cute summer hats that have an unexpected feature: They’re also eco-friendly. With the goal of helping reduce plastic pollution in the ocean, the brand has partnered with Bureo to design a brim made from 100% recycled fishing nets. The result is a classic (and sustainable!) baseball cap suitable for any sweltering outdoor soiree.

Pros:

  • Soft and comfortable cotton construction
  • Adjustable back strap
  • Made with eco-friendly materials

Con:

  • Noticeable branding may be too pronounced for some

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Womens Sun Hat Packable Reversible Bucket Hat Ecomm Via Amazonvia merchant

Best for traveling

Caistre Packable Reversible Bucket Cap

The best sun hats for women are the ones you can wear all season long, for any occasion or outdoor activity. The soft material on this Caistre cap 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.

Pros:

  • Foldable, packable design for easy storage
  • Extra-wide brim
  • 28 colors and patterns to choose from
  • Affordable

Con:

  • Not all colors have an adjustable chin strap

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Bora Bora Booney Hat Ecomm Via Columbiavia merchant

Best for fishing

Columbia Bora Bora Booney

There’s nothing better than a nice, relaxing day on the water, whether a pond, a lake, a river or the best beach in the state. The downside: It leaves you exposed to the full glare of the sun. This unisex hat 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 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.

Pros:

  • UPF 50 sun protection
  • Breathable
  • Nine color options

Con:

  • Not the most fashionable design

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North Face Bucket Hat Ecomm Via Northfacevia merchant

Best for playing sports

The North Face Horizon Breeze Brimmer

No matter your degree of athleticism, this pretty pastel sun hat will keep you feeling fine and looking stylish all season long. Whether you’re playing a casual game of cornhole or swinging it on the tennis court, you’ll be covered with this fully flexible brim. It’s available in two sizes, and the adjustable and removable drawcord makes it a top-rated pick for steamy outdoor fun or backyard games with the family. Rest easy after any activity: The UPF 40+ fabric earned the design an official Seal of Recommendation from the Skin Cancer Foundation for safe and effective UV protection. A lifetime guarantee ensures it’ll last for many summers to come.

Pros:

  • Soft terry sweatband for all-day support
  • Made from recycled fabrics
  • Lifetime guarantee

Con:

  • Hand-wash and hang dry

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Sources:

Rachel LeWinter
Rachel is a New York City-based writer, editor, and style expert. She served as the Fashion Director at a national magazine, and has spent more than 15 years styling celebrity cover shoots, writing editorials, and finding the best products you never knew you needed. At RD.com, she covers fashion, beauty, gift guides, and various other lifestyle topics.