U.S. Accessibility Guide: Beaches
U.S. beach destinations with accessibility options
Don’t forget to pack the sunscreen; a day at the beach guarantees great memories. From the sun-drenched shores of California’s Pacific Ocean to the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the USA is known for its pristine beaches. Whether you’re looking to relax on the sand, play in the water or take in a spectacular sunset, many beaches in the USA are committed to providing accessibility for all guests.
Beach Accessibility Basics
While not all beaches provide the same accommodations, here are a variety of accessibility options often made available to guests at beaches across the USA. It’s recommended you call ahead and confirm details with the destination or specific beach before traveling.
Accessible Boardwalks: Providing easy access to and from the beach, many beaches have installed wider boardwalks designed for wheelchairs and visitors with limited mobility.
Beach Wheelchairs: Offering easier transportation across the sand, these wheelchairs are designed with larger wheels that are meant to glide over sandy surfaces. Manual and powered chairs are available depending on location.
Mobi-mats: More often, beaches are providing Mobi-mats to help guests with wheelchairs get to and from the shoreline. These long rubber mats help accommodate wheelchair travel so all visitors can enjoy their dream beach vacation.
Mobi-chairs: These unique beach wheelchairs are built not only to move effortlessly across sand but can also float in the water as well.
Eight Wheelchair-Friendly Beaches in the USA
Gulf Shores, Alabama: The city of Gulf Shores has made a commitment to accessibility, providing AccessMats on public beaches that run up to 60 meters. Manual beach wheelchairs are available for free while limited power beach wheelchairs can be rented for a fee. For beachgoers seeking fun on the water, many charter boats provide wheelchair accessibility as well.
Silver Beach, Michigan: Offering accessibility on the shores of Lake Michigan in St. Joseph, Silver Beach offers a variety of accommodations for guests of all abilities. The barrier-free walkway to the shore provides easy access for wheelchairs, which are also provided free of charge. The restored Silver Beach Carousel is also wheelchair-accessible and great for families visiting Michigan.
San Diego, California: San Diego is home to more than a dozen wheelchair-accessible beaches, from Coronado City Beach to Mission Beach. Marvel at the sparkling mica sand, experience a bustling boardwalk and more, all from the comfort of a powered or manual beach wheelchair. Most wheelchair rentals are free, but it’s best to check availability before arrival.
Cannon Beach, Oregon: One of Oregon’s newer accessible beaches and home to the iconic Haystack Rock, this Pacific Northwest gem offers free beach wheelchairs and accessible bathrooms. Wheelchairs must be booked five days in advance.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: There are more than two dozen accessible entrances along this stretch of South Carolina beach, as well as accessible walkways to the shoreline. Free parking, with proof of need for accessible parking, tag also available.
Hanauma Bay Beach, Hawaii: Featuring more than 550 meters of scenic shoreline, this Hawaii getaway offers free beach wheelchairs daily between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Guests with disabilities will also have access to modified changing areas, as well as shuttle and tram services.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts: Cape Cod is home to multiple beaches with accessibility features. Whether you’re spending the day lounging on Brewster Beach, enjoying a sunset dinner at South Cape Beach or dipping your toes in the surf at Old Silver Beach, accessibility options are available, from over-sand and floating beach wheelchairs to accessible picnic tables.
Luquillo Beach, Puerto Rico: Visitors to the tropical paradise of Puerto Rico will find wheelchair access at Luquillo Beach, home to the “Sea Without Barriers.” This wheelchair-accessible facility provides a special ramp that allows wheelchairs to traverse the beach from the parking lot all the way down to the water. Visitors will also find wheelchair-accessible picnic tables, outdoor showers and bathrooms.