7 Best Wheelchair Accessible Beaches in the US and World

About Bryanna Tanase

Bryanna is passionate about writing and helping others overcome their disabilities. She lives with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy and is a full-time wheelchair user. Not only does Bryanna have first-hand experience with the challenges those with disabilities encounter, but she is also a para-dressage rider and doesn't let her disability stand in the way of her love for horses. She hopes to one day represent the US at the Paralympics.

Going to the beach as a wheelchair user can be a hassle because I don’t always know where the wheelchair accessible beaches near me are located.

Fortunately, wheelchair-accessible beaches exist in major cities across the United States, each with benefits and features that provide an inclusive experience.

You can experience handicap-friendly beaches in many different places, so read on to learn more about the best locations in the United States.

Key Takeaways

  • There are several handicap-accessible beaches across the United States and the world.
  • Wheelchair access at beaches includes ramps, walkways, and beach wheelchairs.

Best Wheelchair-Accessible Beaches Near Me in the USA

After an extensive search, I am happy to share the current best wheelchair-friendly beaches in the United States.

1. Best Wheelchair-Accessible Beaches in California

California is home to some of the most popular beaches in the United States.

People travel from all over the country and world to enjoy the white sands and participate in water activities such as surfing, snorkeling, and swimming.

Wheelchair-Accessible Beaches in Los Angeles County

According to the Department of Harbors and Beaches in Los Angeles County, these beaches offer beach mats so wheelchair users can stroll the beach in their wheelchairs. (1)

  • Dockweiler State Beach
  • Manhattan Beach
  • Marina Beach
  • Topanga Beach
  • Torrence Beach (April thru October)
  • Will Rogers State Beach
  • Zuma Beach (April thru October)

These beaches in Los Angeles offer beach wheelchairs for disabled guests to transfer into so they can access the beach safely.

  • Zuma Beach
  • Topanga Beach
  • Will Rogers Beach
  • Santa Monica Beach
  • Venice Beach
  • Manhattan Beach
  • Hermosa Beach
  • Redondo Beach
  • Torrence Beach

Here is a video demonstrating how beach wheelchairs work.

Wheelchair-Accessible Beaches in San Diego County

These beaches offer manual, power, and beach wheelchairs to use on the sand independently or with the help of a companion.

  • Ocean Beach
  • Mission Beach
  • Coronado Beach
  • Silver Strand State Beach
  • Imperial Beach
  • La Julia Shores
  • Oceanside Harbor Beach

These beaches offer sand mats that create a wheelchair-accessible path through the beach sand.

  • Imperial Beach
  • Cardiff State Beach
  • Moonlight Beach

2. Best Wheelchair-Accessible Beaches in Florida

Florida is another popular beach tourism destination in the US.

In 2012, four of the ten most visited beaches in the US were located in Florida, and the total number of beach visits was 810 million. (2)

Here are the wheelchair-friendly beaches in Florida.

Personally, St. Pete beach is my favorite in Florida because of the gorgeous scenery and nearby shopping.

Wheelchair-Accessible Beaches in Pinellas County

These beach locations have beach wheelchairs on a first-come, first-served basis:

  • Clearwater Beach
  • Fort De Soto Park
  • Sand Key Park
  • Treasure Island Municipal Beach

Treasure Island Municipal Beach is the only beach in this Florida county with a sand mat.

Fort De Soto Park and Sand Key Park have wheelchair-friendly boardwalks with sand access.

Wheelchair-Accessible Beaches in Sarasota County

These are the beaches that have beach wheelchairs available in Sarasota County, located south of the Pinellas County beaches previously listed:

  • Lido Beach
  • Manasota Key Beach
  • Nokomis Beach
  • Siesta Key Beach
  • Venice Beach

These are the beaches in this area that have sand mats for wheelchair access:

  • Siesta Key Beach
  • Venice Beach

In addition, Lido Beach, Manasota Key Beach, and Nokomis Beach have boardwalks that are safe for wheelchairs and allow access to the sand.

3. Best Wheelchair-Accessible Beaches in Nevada

Nevada is a state that doesn’t have ocean beaches. Instead, it has gorgeous freshwater lake beaches surrounded by mountains.

Sand Harbor Park on Lake Tahoe has one of Nevada’s most well know beaches with handicapped access.

It offers a small number of beach wheelchairs, a beach mat, an accessible hiking trail, an accessible paved picnic area, and a wheelchair-friendly boardwalk.

Lake Mead in Nevada has self-identified a need to improve its accessibility barriers.

Currently, the following beaches on Lake Mead allow cars to pull up directly to the water’s edge for disabled visitors and have accessible restrooms:

  • Special Events Beach
  • Canoe/Kayak Beach
  • PWC Beach
  • Nevada Telephone Cove
  • Cabinsite Cove

4. Best Wheelchair-Accessible Beaches in Alabama

Alabama may not be one of the first states people think of when it comes to the beach, but all states along the Gulf Coast have beautiful beaches to offer.

Here are the best beaches for wheelchairs in the state of Alabama.

Wheelchair-Accessible Beaches in Baldwin County

Gulf Shores Beach and Orange Beach are the two accessible beaches in Baldwin County that provide a fun experience for people with disabilities.

Gulf Shores Beach has a sand mat for wheelchairs that stretches 200 feet down the beach to the Gulf of Mexico.

Orange Beach offers powered beach wheelchairs for those with mobility issues and has wheelchair-friendly attractions lining the coast.

Wheelchair-Accessible Beaches in Mobile County

The only wheelchair-accessible beach in Mobile County is Dauphin Island West End Beach. A sand mat was just installed there last year.

The mat is 200 feet long and spans the Gulf and Bay ends of the beach.

5. Best Wheelchair-Accessible Beaches in South Carolina

South Carolina has well-known and beautiful beaches like many other states on the East Coast of the US that add to the beauty and rich history.

Here are the best beaches for wheelchairs in South Carolina. 

Wheelchair-Accessible Beaches in Beaufort County

In Beaufort County, the best wheelchair-accessible beaches are Islanders Beach Park and Coligny Beach Park.

This is because they both are involved in a Beach Wheelchair Program.

The program was started in the town of Hilton Head, allowing people to reserve a beach wheelchair for free as needed.

A credit card is placed on file in case the chair is damaged or not returned when the beach wheelchair rental period is over.

Wheelchair-Accessible Beaches in Horry County

The only wheelchair-friendly beach in Horry County is Myrtle Beach.

Myrtle Beach offers beach wheelchair rentals and several attractions that wheelchair users can access along the beach.

6. Best Wheelchair-Accessible Beaches in Michigan

The beaches in Michigan are not the typical saltwater beaches since the state borders the Great Lakes, which are freshwater.

Before reaching the lake shore, you will see a lot of sand dunes.

Wheelchair-Accessible Beaches in Bay County

Bay City State Park Beach has an accessible walkway to the water, beach wheelchairs, and an accessible fishing pier.

Wheelchair-Accessible Beaches in Livingston County

Brighton Recreation Area has an accessible walkway down to the beach and beach wheelchairs for rent on a first-come, first-served basis.

Wheelchair-Accessible Beaches in Kalamazoo County

Fort Custer Recreation Area has an accessible walkway down to the beach.

Wheelchair-Accessible Beaches in Muskegon County

At Muskegon State Park,  the beach has an accessible walkway to the water and offers beach wheelchairs for rent.

7. Best Wheelchair-Accessible Beaches Around the World

If you are a world traveler and are looking for a beach day, I recommend these handicap-accessible beaches around the world:

  • A-One Pattaya Beach Resort, Thailand – This beach offers an accessible boardwalk and beach wheelchairs on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Nassau Beach, Bahamas – There is an accessible wood boardwalk, beach wheelchairs for rent, and excursion opportunities for wheelchair users.
  • Sirens Resort, Greece – There is a wheelchair-accessible ramp leading to the sea, sea wheelchairs, accessible lounge chairs and cabanas, and paved paths through the beach gardens.
  • Nova Icaria, Spain – This beach has multiple points of wheelchair access,  sidewalks and boardwalks leading to the water, water wheelchairs, and a lift for transfers.
  • Jaco Beach, Costa Rica – This beach has a recycled beach mat for beach access, water wheelchairs, and a lift to help with transfers.

FAQs

Can wheelchairs go in the sand?

Most traditional wheelchairs cannot handle traveling through a sandy beach, which is why beach wheelchairs are available to rent on most beaches.

Is Laguna beach wheelchair accessible?

Laguna Beach is wheelchair accessible because they have power and manual wheelchairs for rent that can get through the sand.

Conclusion

If you have wondered, “Where are wheelchair accessible beaches near me?” I am happy to have shared some of the best locations across the U.S. and the world.

The amenities that make a beach wheelchair-friendly are ramps, rubber mats, accessible walkways, and beach wheelchairs.

me on one of the best wheelchair accessible beaches near me

Do you know other than the above beaches where wheelchairs are accessible? Let meknow in the comments section!

References

  • 1. LA County ADA Beach Access – Beaches & Harbors [Internet]. Department of Beaches and Harbors. [cited 2022 Nov 22]. Available from: https://beaches.lacounty.gov/la-county-beach-ada-access/
  • 2. Houston J. The Value of Florida Beaches Esthetic Recreational Environmental Storm- Damage Reduction Economic [Internet]. 2013. Available from: https://www.fsbpa.com/13AnnualConfPresentations/HoustonValueofFloridaBeaches.pdf

1 thought on “7 Best Wheelchair Accessible Beaches in the US and World”

  1. I know going to the beach in a wheelchair is almost impossible unless you have wide rugged tires. My grand father in law had a special chair made for my aunt so she could go to the beach. It has wide tires and was maneuverable in the sand.

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