Activities For Kids, Floating, Tubing, Water Sports

What Are The Different Types of Water Inflatables?

Relaxation, fun, family and friends — that’s what summer lake and beach dreams are all about. Choosing the right inflatable or towable toy and entertainment options for the water is just part of the fun!

But there is such a vast selection available out there, it can be difficult or confusing to find exactly what you want. Here’s a rundown on some of the types of inflatable and towable water toys.

Floating Tubes

We all know this one — a time-honored way to float yourself around and relax on the water.

Even if all you want is a traditional round “inner tube” style toy, there are a million styles available, from small kid-size tubes to adult-oriented giant floats.

Glitter-filled tube? But of course…

And no doubt you’ve seen or heard about the latest in beach floats, the ones shaped like unicorns, mermaids, dragons, flamingos, peacocks, dinosaurs, and all kinds of other whimsical and fun designs.

There’s even a unicorn-pegasus combination inflatable tube!  This one is manufactured by Captain Floaty.


Other Floating Toys

Then there are the overachieving versions of floating toys that promise upgraded fun and relaxation.

Like this floating canopy shaped island by Intex that offers beach or lake lounging with sun protection thrown in for good measure.

Some of these floating-island-style inflatables are also made for multiple people, such as this Sportsstuff floating cabana islander, that offers shade, built-in cup holders and drink coolers, and a platform on the side for hopping in and out easily.

You can anchor them in one place or let them free-float, as long as you aren’t in danger of floating too far!

Some manufacturers also make giant eight-person inflatables that let your whole group or family lounge on the water, like this Sportsstuff Fiesta Island.

Or, check out the giant size version of a classic water toy, the rubber duck by BigMouth Inc. It’s meant for pool and beachside fun, as kids and adults can tow it around, jump from its back, or relax on top if you’ve got good enough balance.


Rafts and Floats

Just like the unicorn- and dinosaur-shaped inflatable tubes, the trusty pool or beach float has evolved into most any shape and design imaginable. You can float on a slice of pizza, or a retro video game controller if you want to.

This kind of inflatable toy also has gotten a bigger and better makeover in recent years, with water toy companies producing a ton of choices for either individual floats or big rafts capable of fitting several people on.

If you’re at the beach solo, you might try a floating hammock, which can gently cradle you in the water with comfy neck pillows and even attached drink holders in some cases.

Floating water mats are also a popular choice, as these foam pads can be sized for just one or a whole group.

Some are sturdy enough to allow you to walk on them and jump off, while others are better used for sunning and relaxing.

They’ve even created a floating mattress, like this model by Aquaglide, reminiscent of the kind of air mattress you sleep on at your grandma’s house, but way more fun and multi-purpose.

Of course, this one is made for the water, and allows several people to nap, relax, or whatever you like, all accompanied by an inflatable cooler and plenty of cup holders.


Towable Tubes

These are easy to find each summer at any sporting goods store you walk into, and they’re that popular for a reason.

Ranging from individual tow-behind tubes, to multiple-person toys designed for top boat speeds, these tough versions of the classic inner tube are made to be pulled behind a boat.

New designs have features like high backed models to keep riders safer, like this O’Brien Baller Soft Top 2-Person Towable Tube (pictured below).

Some have multiple towing points, like the Sportsstuff Super Mable, so you can have several different ways to ride.

This category has its fair share of entertaining shapes too, like this Airhead hot dog towable tube, for four people.


Towable Riding Toys

Besides towable tubes, there are plenty of other rideable toys for your boat.

What’s better than tubing behind the boat? Maybe this inflatable waterskiing riding toy for two people, the Airhead Xcelerator.

Or, a three-person towable boat like the RAVE Sports Warrior 3 Recumbent Style 3 Person Towable Ski Tube, suited for either gentle cruises around the lake or high-speed hot laps off the beach.

The innovation of the water mat carries over to towable toys as well, like the Towboggan, which as you can probably guess, looks a little like a toboggan sled, but in floating form.

It holds up to six people, and can be either towed behind a boat or left free-floating at the beach.

There’s a whole range of towable water mats from its manufacturer and others, and individual water mat towable loungers exist too.


Inflatable Beach Loungers and Chairs

If going to the beach is definitely your thing, but getting in the water is definitely not, there’s still an inflatable for you.

More comfortable than a plastic or metal-frame beach chair, and as cute as any beach lounger, inflatable chairs and loungers are hitting the sand frequently.

There’s the more-or-less-blob-shaped kind, like the Air Chair.

And then, there is the the longer sofa-style inflatable chairs, like this Bry Inflatable Lounger Air Chair Sofa Bed.

If a less amorphous look suits you better, inflatable loungers like this Intex Comfort Wave is made for the beach and offers structure, style and even cup holders.

And the best thing about these inflatables is that they can be set up in minutes, sometimes just using the air around you!


Inflatable Accessories

The top inflatable accessory out there has to be the variety of floating drink holders you can enhance your beach time with, whether that’s for a beer, soda or any other drink of your choice.

If you want one to match your fun floating unicorn or pegasus, there’s an adorable rainbow cloud drink holder on the market, by Jasonwell.

Or, if what you really need is a remote controlled drivable floating drink holder to steer drinks around to your friends, of course that’s been invented too.

Fun and games are a huge part of beach life, and there are all kinds of inflatables to use for them.

Young kids especially will appreciate this floating snorkel tube by Sea Window, with a clear window to watch the water below, but honestly that looks like fun for just about anyone.

Floating and bouncing water balls also lend themselves to all sorts of outdoor beach games.


If your beach fun is more on the adult side, there’s always beach beer pong — this inflatable 6-foot-long floating beer pong table is designed with the college game in mind, with setups for cups on each side.

Or, if your love for the beach is more exercise-focused, you can try perfecting your yoga poses while floating, with water mats made for floating yoga.

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