Wheelchair Travel – Accessible ‘on’ the Beach

beach-wheelchairRecently, we attended a conference on the Alabama-Florida border – at the beach. We have been to this conference a number of years and always enjoy this lovely trip to the Perdido Beach Resort and the Gulf Shores area.  We also enjoy the resort’s complimentary manual beach wheelchair.

This year we took our wheelchair travel to an entirely new level by renting a powered beach wheelchair from beachpowerrentals.com.

Let me tell you – a powered beach wheelchair is the bomb! The freedom to move around on the beach, walk your canine assistant and hold your husband’s hand is absolutely exhilarating! What a wonderful experience to use a beach wheelchair with power and have sandy independence. The experience of a mile long walk/roll down the beach without someone pushing me was priceless!

family-beach-wheelchair

On our honeymoon and many times since, Brent, my husband, and I have walked on the beach together in a manual beach wheelchair, but never in a powered one. The power gives a sense of independence even when parked on the beach. I can’t explain why, but knowing that you have the ability to adjust your position or move a couple of feet makes a difference in the way you feel about your independence. Not only that, Brent was able to easily walk out to the beach with me and I carried beach supplies while he enjoyed the sand.

Manual beach wheelchairs are great, but they are not always easy to maneuver! They require extra effort on top of the work walking in soft sand requires. Having power makes all the difference in maneuverability and independence. This chair was a blast and could go fast.

I learned of such powered beach wheelchairs at local parks when we were in San Diego, but had never seen anything like it on the East Coast.

More about the beach wheelchair travel

– There is plenty of power and stability in this chair.
– The seat and back are padded.
– The joystick can be adjusted for left or right-hand maneuvering.
– The foot rests are adjustable and the back can recline slightly.
– The company adjusts the footrests, joystick, armrests, etc for individual comfort upon delivery.
– Multiple sizes are available to accommodate different bodies/frames.
– The battery life was never an issue although a charger is delivered with the chair.
– Thankfully there are wheelie bars to prevent tipping over when climbing in soft sand – and when driving like crazy to soak in every moment.
– For five dollars a day an umbrella is supplied. It is a large umbrella that shields the sun from everywhere except perhaps your feet. Well worth it, even in October.
– These chairs are also sold by the company…just bring a truck or trailer to transport it.

I suspect that people who have never driven a wheelchair might have a learning curve, but an experienced wheelchair driver can go directly on the beach without difficulty.

More on the experience

I used the chair three times for about two hours each! I would’ve stayed longer but the sensitive skin on my bottom could not handle the cushion that came attached to the chair longer than about two hours. It would have been advantageous if I could have put my own custom cushion on the chair – there would have been no stopping me for a 12 hour day on the beach.

The company brings the large chair 15 to 20 miles from their location and multiple day rentals were discounted. Also, to defer delivery charges you can drive to their location and enjoy a large area of undisturbed beach parkland at Ft. Morgan, AL.

Yes. We will do it again.
I can’t say enough about how much fun it was to be on the beach in a power chair! I will definitely do this again and am forever grateful for this priceless experience. If we ever lived on the beach there’s no way we would be without a powered beach wheelchair!

If you are planning a trip to the beach, consider the area around Gulfshores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan, Alabama. All I can say is I’m thankful and wish all beach towns offered this fabulous service.

Do you know of beaches where powered beach wheelchairs are available?  Please share!

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