Summer Travel Guide: Accessibility at the Beach
Beach wheelchairs offer accessibility at the beach
Whether you’re lucky enough to live near the sea or need to travel across the country in order to catch some waves, a trip to the beach is always exciting. The combination of sun, sand and surf makes for a memorable, relaxing experience.
Although the beach promises good times for all, it’s no surprise that most wheelchairs and sand don’t go together very well. For those who need a wheelchair to get around, here are a few options to enjoy the beach with fewer worries.
Public beaches often offer paved boardwalks for pedestrian use that follow the shoreline and allow visitors to enjoy the fresh, ocean air without needing to step on the sand. These readily available paths are usually wide enough to comfortably accommodate wheelchair users and companions or caregivers side-by-side and are sometimes bordered by shops or outdoor restaurants. Boardwalks can generally be easily accessed from a parking area, and some even offer direct access to the water, should you want to cool off.
Although they have yet to be universally implemented, beach mats offer a convenient way to access the beach without getting sand in your chair’s tires. These hard, rubber mats provide guests in wheelchairs access to the shore without the need for any adaptive equipment. Be sure to contact local beach facilities in order to check if there are mats available at any entry points along the beach of your choice.
Equipped with wide plastic tires, these specially crafted wheelchairs make navigating sandy beaches a breeze. Beach wheelchairs are also able to roll directly into the water, eliminating the need to transfer from the chair. Although manual models cannot be self-propelled and require the assistance of a caregiver, powered options are also available that allow the driver to be totally independent. These wheelchairs are available for rent or purchase, however some beaches also offer rentals at no cost to beachgoers.
Are you planning a trip to the shore this summer? What are your recommendations for accessible beach vacations? Be sure to share your stories with us on Facebook and Twitter!
The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a handicap accessible car, truck or van, please consider one of our mobility equipment dealers.