Many beaches have made strides in being accessible to people with limited mobility. 90% of beaches are wheelchair friendly, but shockingly, only 50% offer beach wheelchairs. 
It’s practically impossible to navigate the uneven sand in regular wheelchairs or walkers.
If you do not visit the beach occasionally, it doesn’t make economic sense to purchase a beach wheelchair.
So how do you get a beach wheelchair rental?
Let’s look into that and some.
- Beach wheelchairs are special wheelchairs that can move on the soft sand of beaches.
- Some beaches offer free wheelchairs on a first-come, first-served basis. Booking at least an hour in advance is the best option because the wheelchairs are few.
- A regular wheelchair sinks in the sand on the beach, which is usually soft hence the need for a special chair.
- Rentals companies are available all over the country and can deliver the chair to whatever beach you need them to.
CHECK: Where Can I Rent a Wheelchair Near Me?
How to Secure a Rental Beach Wheelchair?
Going to the beach is one of the greatest aspects of family vacations. So what if the family has a wheelchair user whose wheels would be useless in the soft sand?
The solution is to use a beach wheelchair. These wheelchairs have low-pressure balloon wheels perfect for movement on the sand.
See how easily the beach wheelchair in this video moves on the sand:
A quick search of the words “beach wheelchair rental near me” will give you access to many companies offering the service.
Many are private companies with a presence all over the country’s beaches.
Contacting them will help you get a wheelchair for the beach for a family vacation. The charge per service for the wheelchairs varies with the company you rent from.
Some rental companies will deliver the wheelchair to your desired beach at an extra cost. Others even have a 2hour rush delivery package if you need it.
However, you don’t always have to rent a wheelchair for the beach, especially if you’re going to a public beach.
Some beaches offer much-needed wheelchairs for improved beach mobility for disabled people.
If vacationing on the Oregonian coast, there are several beaches with free beach wheelchairs (2).
The California Coastal Commission lists all California beaches with free wheelchairs for beach access (3). Famous beaches on the list include Muir Beach, Baker Beach, and Rodeo Beach.
Of course, the wheelchairs are provided on a first-come-first-serve basis. So you’ll need to make a reservation or arrive first to avoid missing out.
There’s always the chance you’ll arrive at the ocean beach when the special wheelchairs are out.
25 Beaches with Free Beach Wheelchairs
- Clam Beach
- Cayucos State Beach
- Carpinteria State Beach
- Carpinteria City Beach
- Bolsa Chica State Beach
- Coquina Beach
- Coronado City Beach
- Crescent Beach
- Daytona Beach
- Harbor Beach
- Hollywood Beach
- Huntington City Beach
- Doheny State Beach
- Desire Beach
- Arroyo Burro Beach
- Aliso Beach
- Newport Beach
- Imperial Beach
- Avila Beach
- Manhattan Beach
- Carolina Beach
- Crissy Beach
- Ocean Beach
- Mission Beach
- Laguna Beach
For Ocean Beach, you must pick up the wheelchair at Fort Mason before proceeding to the beach.
Some of these beaches will also have a sand helper to help disabled people navigate the sandy shores.
There are plenty of beach access resources at these beaches as well. Beach access mats are one of the necessary modifications the beaches make to cater to disabled beach patrons.
Avila Beach offers both motorized and manual beach wheelchairs. Motorized beach wheelchairs are fun to use, as you can see in this video:
Manual wheelchairs for the beach need a non-disabled person to push you.
Why Rent a Beach Wheelchair Instead of Buying One?
There are three reasons why it’s better to rent beach-powered mobility.
1. Beach Wheelchairs are Expensive
Wheelchairs for the beach aren’t cheap, which makes rentals the best option. Someone could have already spent a good amount on their regular wheelchair, making little sense to have a beach wheelchair too.
2. Limited Usage Time for the Wheelchairs
This is the main issue with buying a wheelchair for the beach. You won’t always be able to go to the beach.
That will leave the wheelchair to eat up storage space at home as you await your next trip to the beach.
Unless you live so close to the beach and can visit whenever you feel like it, buying a beach wheelchair makes little sense.
3. Transportation Difficulties
If the closest beach is miles away, you’ll have to travel there with two wheelchairs in your car- the regular wheelchair and the beach version.
It gets even more complicated if you are using public transport thanks to the bulky nature of the two chairs.
Factors to Consider When Renting a Beach Wheelchair
Before you rent a beach wheelchair, it would pay to think of the below factors.
1. The Price
Compare the wheelchair rental prices for all the major rentals before settling on one. That will ensure you get a good deal on the wheelchair you rent.
2. The Distance to the Beach
The farther the beach is, the higher the price becomes. That’s why you should only consider rental companies closer to the beach you’re going to be at.
Sure, they can deliver, but if it’s halfway across the country, they’ll charge you an arm and a leg.
3. Availability of Free Beach Wheelchairs
Some beaches allow complimentary reservations for their wheelchairs. So before you pay for a rental, it will pay to contact the beach and see if you can reserve one.
Are there wheelchairs made for the beach?
Yes, there are special wheelchairs with balloon tires made specifically for the sand on the beach.
What would happen if I used a regular wheelchair at the beach?
The regular wheelchair has stiff wheels that would sink into the beach’s soft sand.
Are beach wheelchairs easy to push?
Granted, they’ll need considerable force to push them; I’d say they’re easy to push. You’ll need to have a non-disabled person help with the pushing.
If you’re a wheelchair user planning to go to the beach, you’ll probably need to plan for a beach wheelchair rental.
Most coastal beaches have unique wheelchairs for charge-free rent. These, however, are in limited supply and need you to book hours in advance.
With the many wheelchair accessible beaches, you have no excuse not to join your friends and family for a trip to the beach.
And if you need to get into the water, you could rent a floating wheelchair and enjoy the water like everyone else. I have listed several beaches with charge-free wheelchairs. If you’re close enough, pass by.
What other beaches do you know that offer free beach wheelchairs? Please share them with us in the comments, and I’ll promptly add them to our list.
- 1. Why life is not a beach for wheelchair users | James Coke. the Guardian. Published July 28, 2015. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/28/beach-wheelchair-users-access-britain-beaches
- 2. Oregonian/OregonLive SS | T. Free beach wheelchairs available at more than a dozen places on the Oregon Coast. oregonlive. Published August 19, 2022. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.oregonlive.com/travel/2022/08/free-beach-wheelchairs-available-at-more-than-a-dozen-places-on-the-oregon-coast.html
- 3. California Coastal Commission. www.coastal.ca.gov. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.coastal.ca.gov/access/beach-wheelchairs.html#text