Posted on Friday August 28, 2020

The beach isn’t always considered the most handicapped accessible activity. Soft sands can prove to be a challenge for those with mobility disorders. But with it being National Beach Day, we believe everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy a day in the sun. From motorized beach chair options to beach mat access to get you close to the water. We’ve put together a list of some top handicapped accessible beach locations and tips to help plan your outing!

Beach Wheelchair Available Sign

Planning Ahead: Access

What is deemed accessible by a location, may not fit your specific needs. Before traveling to a beach location that states they are handicapped accessible, look into the following:

  • How far is the parking lot from the beach?
  • How far are wheelchair rentals from the beach?
  • Does the beach have a rubber access mat?
  • Does the beach provide beach wheelchairs?

Planning Ahead: What to Pack

  • Your own seat cushion for more comfort
  • Velcro strap to help stay in place if you need extra support
  • An umbrella that attaches to beach wheelchairs to minimize sun exposure
  • Sunscreen
  • Extra Water

Planning Ahead: Beach Chairs

As you’re planning your beach trip it’ll be important to think about what activities you’d like to enjoy. There are multiple types of beach wheelchairs. Determining what type fits your needs best will help ensure your vacation will be as best as possible.

  • Manual Beach Wheelchairs
    • Manual Beach Wheelchairs may have wheels that allow you to float in the water and have that beach experience. The major downfall of them is that the user is dependent on another person to help move them. 
  • Power Beach Wheelchairs
    • Motorized wheelchairs allow the user to have some independence and keep themselves mobile. However, unlike manual beach wheelchairs they can’t be used in the water.

U.S. Accessible Beaches

Alabama

Gulf Shores Drone Shot

Gulf Shores Public Beach

This popular tourist spot has become one of the most accessible beach destinations as well. Many of the overnight accommodations in the surrounding area have added in roll-in showers with extra handles and large tubs. One of the newest additions to the beach is the beach accessibility mat. Users can get from the sidewalk to the beach of the main area. Beach wheelchairs are available to rent from Beach Power Rental and Ike’s Beach Service.

California

San Diego Beach and City Shot

San Diego

The City of San Diego brings the sun, surf and sand to all. You’ll find endless ocean views and opportunities. Manual, powered and floating beach chairs are available at various beaches. As well as, sand access mats.

Free beach wheelchairs are available throughout the city. You will need to plan ahead to get one. They are claimed quickly. Power wheelchairs are a hybrid of a power wheelchair and dune buggy that can get through the soft sands. For the manual chairs, you’ll need a friend to help you.

Florida

Pensacola Beach Boardwalk over ocean

Pensacola Beach

Access Mobility of Pensacola has brought coastal relaxation to visitors of all needs. The small company saw a greater need and started offering power beach wheelchairs for rent. Meaning there is no excuse to not one of the longest piers in the Gulf of Mexico. Manual beach wheelchairs can be rented from Scooter Hut Beach Rentals and The Fun Store.

Tranquil Adventures

Check out our previous Friendly Wheels Article that features the Key Largo based charter, Tranquil Adventures. This company focuses on creating adventure through fishing excursions for all!

Hawaii

Hanauma Bay with people at beach

Hanauma Bay

Can you imagine traveling through a dormant cone volcano crater? That’s just what you’ll get when you visit this 100% accessible Hawaiian attraction. Visitors can take the transport shuttle to get to the beach that is accommodating of wheelchairs, it only costs $1.

There are two beach wheelchairs available to reserve at no cost. We recommended taking the shuttle to and from the beach. Power wheelchair motors may struggle going up the hill.

Wheelchairs are available from the beach information kiosk from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. year round.

Michigan

Muskegon State Park Lake Shot

Muskegon State Park

Visitors will get to experience one of the longest coastlines in the U.S. when they visit Muskegon State Park. The state park has made an Action TrackChair available for rent to disabled guests. The chair can make it through dirt, sand, mud, and even over rocks. Contact the office to reserve.

Nevada

Lake Tahoe Sand and Water

Sand Harbor State Park / Lake Tahoe

Sand Harbor State Park is equipped with a long beach access mat. It allows all guests to make their way to the water’s edge. And while it may not be a tropical beach – Lake Tahoe can give them all a run for their money.

North Carolina

Wilmington Beach Picture

Wilmington

One of the most popular beach towns in North Carolina, Wilmington has wheelchair accessible attractions and three accessible beaches. Beach wheelchairs are available to rent at all three of the following. Wheelchairs can be reserved for up to a week at a time. There is also a beach access mat near Carolina Beach’s Boardwalk.

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